Tuesday, February 4, 2014

A Few Bright Spots to Warm You Up

Brrrr. It's cold right now. We're in the grip of another Deep Freeze, which around here means temperatures that go down below freezing, usually into the low to mid 20s, and don't get above freezing during the day. The last time this happened was back in early December, just when the construction on the front garden started.

Although the greenhouse is almost complete, it still doesn't have power, which I will need to run a heater. We're waiting on the electrician to come and connect the new circuit up to the house and put a power outlet in. So my overwintering plants are still inside the house crowding the living room and dining room. Most of them are doing ok, I think. All the Begonia boliviensis have died right back to the soil, which I've read is what usually happens. I hope they are still alive and are going to leap back to life when they start getting more light and water. My Bougainvillea has lost all its leaves and flower bracts, and is basically a rather dead-looking branchy twiggy thing. A couple of other fancy-leaf Begonias have died back to the soil too. I don't know if they're dead, we'll see.

My Begonia luxurians has slowly and steadily lost leaves over the course of the winter, but recently has started putting out new ones.

Begonia luxurians new growth

Begonia luxurians new growth



However, my Bromeliads LOVE being inside the house, and seem to be absolutely thriving in our low-light winter grayness. When I first bought them on sale last fall, I didn't realize they didn't like full sun, and stupidly put them outside in a western exposure, on our front porch. They burned. So I moved them onto the back porch, which is covered and faces east. They survived there till close to first frost, when I brought them in and put them inside facing the west, but not right up against the window. Since then they've produced some beautiful new leaves.

Thriving Bromeliad


The flower on my recently purchased Bromeliad just keeps getting better and better. I love the contrast between the pink and the blue.

My Agaves and other succulents are doing well in my only south-facing window. I rarely water them, having done so only once since late October when I brought them inside. I've watered the banana more often, and it is still producing new leaves, but not at quite the same rapid pace it did when I first brought it in.

From the bottom: Agave 'Baccarat,' Dyckia 'Precious Metal,' Aloe glauca, Agave 'Blue Glow,' Manfreda 'Macho Mocha'

Agave 'Blue Glow' is doing ok but will need a little tidying up when it's time to put her back outside

Agave attenuata 'Kara Stripe' is also hanging on to dreams of summer (like me), but her lower leaves will need trimming

Unknown Agave (I assumed it was tender and brought it in)

Manfreda 'Macho Mocha' is looking like a mere shadow of her true self (yes, she's a she despite her name)

The lovely dark freckles have faded considerably indoors

But. Did you happen to see what I saw in the pot with the Manfreda?

A pup! She must be happy. I know I am.

Once the greenhouse is up and running and I get some sense of how warm the heater will actually keep it, I might move some of the plants that prefer more light out there. I really wish it had power already, so I could see how warm it gets out there during our freeze. I'm kind of assuming this week of freezing temps will be the last of the winter, and the long, slow warmup to spring will begin. Maybe I shouldn't make any assumptions, given how crazy the winter weather has been, not only in North America, but all over the world.

I guess I'm an optimist.

9 comments:

  1. Oh, no. Not freezing again! Most of your plants look as if they are enjoying camping out in the house and Manfreda has a pup!

    I have the hardest time adjusting everybody to the light levels they prefer.

    Adjust the light, adjust the heat, adjust the water, 'haircuts' for ugly leaves -- it's a struggle sometimes to get everything just right but the rewards are great.

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  2. Indeed crazy winter weather all over the world. Last winter we had snow and ice and could skate on the lakes. This winter is no winter, no snow, no ice, only a few nights with just frost on the ground, that's all. Oleanders overwintering outside.....May be we still get some but it more looks as if spring is already starting. We stopped a couple of years ago heating the greenhouse, it cost more than heating our house. So I know about it to have all these plants around in the house, and to keep them alive. Your plants are looking good, Begonias are rather easy they will grow up again in spring.
    Happy Gardening, temporary inside!

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  3. Optimism is good Alison, it keeps one going! And most of your plants indoors seems to be doing really well. Love the Agave Blue Glow and Kara's stripes!

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  4. I believe the unknown agave with the orange teeth is Agave bovicornuta.

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  5. Your botanical visitors appear to be faring well. I look forward to seeing your new greenhouse - I've always coveted one but I can't claim to need one as those of you in colder climes clearly do.

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  6. Often optimism is the only thing that gets us through. I'll take all of it I can get. Sometimes, though, it leads us into foolish behavior like me thinking our front deck would provide enough shelter to overwinter most things.

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  7. Your insiders look happy and healthy! I feel warmer already! I'll join you in your optimistic assumption!

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  8. An interesting post. Hope your plants haven't died.

    Thank you. Love love, Andrew. Bye.

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  9. Your house guests look very happy! I love the mottled colors of the Bromeliad foliage.

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