Don't be fooled. Inside this thin coating of sweetness is a fiery core of total insanity.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Tucked Away for a Winter's Nap

Over the weekend, with Nigel's help, I managed to move all the plants that need a frost-free environment into the greenhouse for the winter, with room to spare. There isn't a frost or a freeze predicted in our immediate future, not for a few weeks at least, which is unusual for this part of the country. Our average first frost date is normally in mid- to late-October. I had to put off moving things for the last few weeks because Nigel wasn't feeling up to helping (first a cold and then a wrenched knee that made walking difficult). I had already managed to get all the tender plants that like to spend their winter dry moved into the greenhouse on my own, before the latest wave of torrential rain.

At any rate, this past weekend, we moved plants, I took apart my porch containers, threw out the plants I didn't care to keep alive, and potted up others, as well as stuck a few cuttings of a Pelargonium that I grew this year and liked. I also cut back the Burro's Tail Sedum that has a lot of bare spots, and stuck those cuttings into cactus soil.

I was quite amazed to find that everything fit into the greenhouse, with room for more. Yes, it's crammed, but there is still room to move and work, and even to sit at a table and have coffee if I want.

View through the door of the right hand side, now full of Brugs, Cannas, Aloe glauca, and Echium.

That same area viewed from inside the greenhouse

I also dug and potted three double-flowered purple Daturas that I grew from seed this year, but that never got big enough to bloom. They were very wilty at first, but have since perked up. I hope they'll survive and bloom next year. They are in fact tender perennials, which many gardeners treat as annuals because they won't survive our winters.

Three wilty Daturas

The Aloe glauca, which impressed some of the Portland garden bloggers a month ago when they were here for the plant exchange, is still flowering. There is a second, shorter flower stalk, as well as a third which hasn't opened yet.

Aloe glauca flower No. 3

The Brugs have quite a few unopened flowers too

The far end of the greenhouse is crowded, but even so, there is still room for me to stand at the wire table and work.

If I absolutely need to, I can clear off all that stuff on the third shelf down and put more plants there.

Pelargonium sidoides, Cordyline 'Cha Cha' and Loropetalum 'Carolina Midnight' waiting to be potted up. They were all pulled out of the mixed containers on my front porch.

Pelargonium sidoides foliage -- the delicate, dark red flowers are pretty special too.

I grew a couple of different Pelargoniums in the mixed containers on my front porch, but besides the P. sidoides, there was only one other, with chartreuse leaves and salmon pink flowers, that I liked enough to want to grow next year. The stems had gotten quite long, so I cut them back and saved the tips for rooting.

Several had incipient flower buds, which need to be cut off before sticking the cutting.

Wish me luck, I've never tried rooting Pelargoniums before.

Sedum morganianum (Burro's Tail Sedum) had gotten long and bare stemmed, so I cut them off and stuck them as well, per Jean's instructions at Secrets of a Seed Scatterer.

All the little jelly beans that fell off in the process were strewn across a tray of cactus soil, to see what they produce.

I took a stab at making a panorama shot of the greenhouse, but had to do it in two. My cellphone won't do 360 degrees, only about 180. So I took two pictures.

First the left-hand side.

And the right-hand side.

Look at all that empty floor space! There's definitely room for a few more plants.

Now...if I can just get out into the garden to plant some bulbs...


  1. Great post Alison! I'm green with envy over your greenhouse. Do you heat it?

  2. They all look comfy and snug there. And having room to spare is a luxury :)

  3. They look nice and cozy for the winter . I've got all mine jammed into my sunroom .

  4. Oh, the baby beans! I hope all the cuttings take. I'm impressed by the 'geranium' cuttings, too.

    Peculiar weather -- we've already had frost here. Wonder what this winter will be like? I almost froze last year with so many consecutive days of cold.

  5. Your green house is really pretty. Must be nice to be in there on a grey day with all the green.

    I've got an entire rectangular pot of that Sedum, nicely draping now by the front door, all grown from fallen leaves. It's such a fun plant.

    Good luck with bulb planting!

  6. What a fun greenhouse! I like the pattern of the floor too. Empty floor space a problem? That will surely be rectified as time goes on!

    You've been busy-- all that work will pay off in the spring, when you're going to be overflowing with propagated plants.

  7. Thank you for the tour round your greenhouse. I loved it. People don' t often show them on blogs and I am always curious to see inside a gardener' s greenhouse. It's a bit like looking at peoples' bookcases. Always interesting. I am fascinated to see all your lovely plants. All those lovely Daturas. And I love your Aloe.
    It' s funny how we all propagate whether we need more plants or not. I mean just how many Burro' s Tail Sedums do you need? I am just the same. I just can' t help propagating things.

  8. The greenhouse - and the plants - look great, Alison. I love the idea of puttering inside a warm greenhouse out of the wind and rain (if one had rain, that is). Arguably, this isn't needed in SoCal but I still like the idea of my own "plant cave." Let us know how the Pelargoniums do. I tried some cuttings in mid-summer when I pulled out a plant to refurbish the bed but they fried during our incessant heat.

  9. Lots of room for more plants, lucky you! Do you think the Brug flowers will open? That would be so cool. And I'm in lust over those Aloe glauca flowers, of course (No doi, as my kids used to say.) I'm saying a little prayer for my Echium in the ground. It'll be nice to see how well yours will do.

  10. My brugmansia is covered in buds too. Would you suggest moving it into the (uninsulated) garage now, or waiting until signs of frost?

  11. Greenhouse envy from me too Alison. You are going to find it invaluable. It would be a shame to loose some of those gorgeous plants.
    I've just succeeded in getting my first ever cuttings in compost to root, which I am so excited about but thought I'd share with you the fact that I managed to have Pelargoniums root in water on the kitchen windowsill very easily.

  12. Like Angie, I have had many things root easily in water...better luck, actually, than using rooting hormone and compost. A sprig of willow helps things along. Glad you left some room to shoehorn yourself into that environment. Many happy hours ahead.

  13. Splendid GH Alison. I will restrain my envy ! We too still await first frost down here in Norcal and I have yet to move anything to it's winter home- I love the floor, and don't recall noticing it before. ..both playful and practical !

  14. Alison, loved seeing your beautiful greenhouse tonight. You have some fantastic plants in there. I'm sure the pelargoniums will root just fine. My own plastic greenhouse won't be up until April, so I will live vicariously through yours. I'm sure you will spend many blissful hours in the greenhouse this winter.
    You have a wonderful eye for design in the garden. I also loved seeing Pam's garden, what a showstopper!

  15. Oh how I wish I had a greenhouse just about now!!

  16. I see tons of room for more plants, a tiny table and a couple of chairs, and more.
    All you need leave is room for your footprint.

    What about the Folly? Is there a possibility of using it in cold weather too?

  17. Everything looks cozy and ready for winter! You're right, there's room for a lot more plants! All ready for the January 30% off houseplants sales! Did you take all of your bromeliads in the house for the winter?

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  19. You make me really want a greenhouse. I have a covered patio that is protected but is still open on the sides. Something that would really keep plants warm would be so nice. I made cuttings on a few pelargoniums too but they're just in water right now. Your Echium is to die for! Great post.

  20. I really like the looks of your new greenhouse. It will really help over the winter. Do you have any fans in the greenhouse. We found they really help to keep down the mildew.


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