31 January 2011


I thought I'd killed my Oregano.
I realized what was wrong with it; why it got so leggy and all the lower foliage died when left in care of a neighbor. It got overwatered. It was happiest when in the dry summer yard. So I took drastic measures a week or so ago. I chopped off all the stems, down to a few inches, and now I only water it once every two weeks. The best tender stems that I cut off got stuck into soil with some rooting hormone in hopes the cuttings would generate new growth.
I don't think that worked. Only one piece still shows signs of life, the rest are dying.
But today I found new growth on the remaining stubble of my big plant! Little teensy leaves are sprouting on many of the dry stems. I'm so happy it's reviving.

28 January 2011

jade twins

The two little Jade plants look so happy. The original leaf they sprang from has finally shriveled into the ground.
Parent plant is still just getting taller and taller. I think it will never branch until I cut the top off (and then I can replant that top for yet another crassula!)

27 January 2011


Even more glad that I covered the Strawberry bed, because it just kept snowing yesterday. A few hours after that first picture it looked like this (snow still falling)
And this morning there were at least six inches on the ground!
My neighbor's arborvitae trees that make a screen between our yards looked so pretty when the snow was falling
but by morning are all bent over under the weight. I hope they revive okay and stand up straight (and they're not even my trees!)


All my Dumb Cane plants are getting so leggy! They seem healthy enough otherwise; keep putting out new leaves. I think there just isn't enough light here in my lower-level of the house during the winter. Also some of the larger leaves are curling, perhaps because of the cold?

It's hard to find a spot to make them happy. At night when it's colder I've been setting them on top of the fridge where there's a heat vent nearby, and misting with water so they don't get too dry.
During the day I set them on a makeshift shelf in the mudroom near the window. No heat, but for a little protection I've draped a towel over piece of old carpet wedged between them and the wall.

Come spring I think I'll chop the tops off to restart a new plant and let those in the pots get fuller.

26 January 2011

end of the kiwi

It appears to be dying. I just can't seem to give it the right kind of care. The leaves keep shriveling. O well. It was a fun growing experiment, and looked so pretty back then.

fresa bed

Yesterday I noticed the wind has been blowing the newspaper covering off my Strawberry bed. The leaves on the edges had all turned black, but ones further in still tucked under the mulch remain green. So I raked up the scattered newspaper shreds, dry leaves and thatch off the lawn, and added it as an inch more covering over the bed.

I'm glad I did. This morning it looked like this
with a new dusting of snow. We're supposed to get more this afternoon, too, mixed with freezing rain again.

25 January 2011

spider plants

A while ago I moved the two baby spider plants into the same pot, the one that had been solo and the other that grew off my larger plant.

The second plantlet was still attached to its parent for a few weeks. I would have left it hanging by its stem (you can barely see it on the left there) but it's all twisty, so didn't look very attractive.

Awful pictures, I know. Hard to get good ones in front of the window and I just didn't feel like moving the plants.

Just now I cut the stem, and let the small plants hang by themselves. They're starting to grow lots of new leaves!
The parent spider pot is getting huge. It's growing so vigorously I'm going to have to repot it soon, or divide it up again. And it started from just this neglected plant crowded into the little red pot that holds the two babes now, just about a year ago!

24 January 2011

geranium shape

I'm rather pleased with the appearance my Geranium bonsai has right now.
The little geraniums are never very happy in winter, with such low light, but I recently pinched off all the fading/overly-large leaves from this plant, and then wedged a few pieces of cut wooden chopstick between the branches to spread them out more nicely. When the windowsill light fails at end of day I move it to the desk under a lamp where I can look at it while I'm typing, and perhaps it enjoys the light a bit more.
It's kind of interesting to look at this plant I've been training next to the one I let grow freely. The second plant there? It was a smaller branch I took off the first one, and left alone it's already grown twice as big with much larger leaves.


Even though we have more snow days predicted, the trees and shrubs outside are showing their promise of spring. Fat buds showing on the ends of all twigs. Here's some off the front-yard trees.
My daughter's little Apple plants in pots on the porch are also forming buds; but I couldn't manage to get a clear picture of them. She's so excited! She feared her baby apple trees were dead because they dropped all their leaves (although she knows the full-grown trees "go to sleep" in the winter and loose their leaves, I guess it was just dismaying to see it happen to her own!)

23 January 2011

hanging gold

The Goldmoss I potted in from outside is looking awful, too. In this case I think I've not been watering them often enough. Lots of dried-up leaves.

When I clean the dead stuff off they look really skimpy.

But there are new baby leaves growing in the middle of each pot, so I haven't given up on them yet.

21 January 2011

green woe

My Dracaena is not doing so well now. The smaller cane which I thought was reviving with new leaves, suddenly they all turned brown and wilted.

I just pulled the whole cane out, fearing it was dead and would spread rot. It had hardly any roots. I'm afraid I'm not watering it properly. Too often, probably. Hopefully the other cane stays alive, it still looks healthy enough, and has new little leaves sprouting in each crown.

20 January 2011

bird feeder

I've made a bird feeder of sorts. I never did like the milk jug one. Looked like trash. This, fashioned out of an empty plastic bottle, has a better appearance. Pretty simple, too. Four holes on the bottom to shove dowels (or sticks or pencils) through, a small hole above each perch for the birds to get seeds out, and twine to hang it.

Lost the cap so I put one of foil on to keep the rain out.

Unfortunately, the best place to hang it, near my porch and the window, no longer has a suitable tree. Just my neighbor's arborvitae against the fence where the birds always are around, but none of the limbs are strong enough to hold this. So for now I've hung it on a tree in the back by the shed. But if any birds find it I won't be able to get a much better photo than this. Disappointing. (And probably a squirrel will get to it first, we'll see).

I have seen lots of birds around the yard this winter: juncos, sparrows, chickadees, a few robins. I miss the cardinals, although I see them in other yards. I see them around the areas where I left sunflowers and cosmos plants standing, so I wonder if they're after the flower seed that fell. Nice to think so.

19 January 2011


I don't know why I've been feeling the urge to do stuff with plants lately, when we're still stuck in winter! But the past few days I've been repotting a few plants and grooming others. Although winter is really the time they should rest and stay dormant...

My Oregano although still alive is looking very leggy after I cleaned off its dead foliage. I gave this one a new pot as well; realized when I dug it up in fall I just dumped the plant in a pot in its lump of garden soil. Probably part of the reason why it was unhappy. The soil heavy, clumpy, and harboring some worms! I loosened all the heavy dirt off its roots and gave it a new mixture of potting soil as well as a deeper pot with more room for the roots.

I never read about overwinter care for Oregano before; now I know I should probably have just cut it down to the ground and mulched it over, left it outside. But since I've got it indoors now, I'm wondering if I should go ahead and clip the stems all short, let them grow back for a fuller shape? If I can root the cuttings too I won't feel so bad if the parent plant dies. I'm really tempted to try it...

thyme trim

My pots of Thyme in the windowsill are getting scraggly and out-of-control. I don't eat a ton of it either, so it doesn't need to be so prolific! A few days ago I repotted them all into slightly smaller pots (there was plenty of empty soil space, not at all root-bound) and then trimmed quite a bit of foliage off.

Here's two pots before

and after their trim.

These other two I had the idea to make them look tree-like

so I started off by cutting away the lower sprigs.

Now there's quite a bit more space on the windowsill (which my cats will appreciate), the pots look tidier and I have a ton of Thyme cuttings to use in cooking right away!

18 January 2011


We've eaten the final jar of the canned Green Beans. They didn't last for long! Next year I'll have to be sure to grow a crop that matures all at once, and can a whole lot more. I did noticed that the jars I'd processed first, before I was good at keeping the pressure steady, didn't have much flavor. Most of them were pretty tasty, though. My daughter even prefers home-canned now to fresh-steamed.

Now all that's left of garden eatings comes from the indoor pots of Thyme and Oregano, and of course two seasons' worth of cured Garlic! And a bit of Lettuce from the coldframe...

14 January 2011

winter greens

Yesterday I picked some Lettuce from the coldframes outside- a bit of romaine and a handful of simpson. It's not nearly as tasty as when it grows in spring/fall, but surviving the snow regardless. Works fine as an addition to tacos and other dishes.
The Chard didn't fare as well, though. All dead. I think perhaps because that coldframe is stacked with boards and doesn't insulate as well as the lettuce ones, made with bricks? Maybe next year I can get a proper built coldframe or row cover to do a better job.