From Left to Right:
Top Row: 1. Salvia elegans ‘Golden Delicious’ If only you could smell this chartreuse-leaved pineapple sage through the screen. Delicious. This one is definitely coming inside for the winter. 2. Sunflower ‘Vanilla Ice’ (Helianthus debilis) It’s a short, creamy white sunflower with a cheesy rapper name. There are times when the name of a specific variety leaves me with no choice but to grow it and this was one. 3. Tomato ‘Bali’ I have a thing for ribbed tomatoes and have made it my mission to grow them all. I quite liked this determinate variety and will definitely grow it again.
I’ve been hurriedly bringing all of my frost-sensitive houseplants indoors for the winter in a mad rush to beat the season. As always I am doing it at the last minute rather than drawing it out slowly. Many of you are in a similar boat so I thought I’d compile a checklist of things that I do in the process.
- Check all plants thoroughly for critters. Check underneath mulch, leaves, in the crevices between stems…
- Slugs, snails, sowbugs, and earwigs can cram themselves into the tiniest spots. Check all around containers, especially plastic pots and hanging baskets that have a crevice underneath the lip.
- To flush pests out of the soil: Add a few inches of water to a deep sink or bucket and mix in a few drops of natural dish soap (no chemicals or scents added). The unscented Dr. Bronner’s liquid soap works well for this. Set pots in the liquid for a couple of hours. I am often lazy and don’t bother doing this with all pots — just the ones that I know are problematic.
- To flush pests out of the soil: A few drops of neem oil can be added to the water as an alternative to soap.
- Scrub any outside dirt from the side of the pots while they have their turn in the soapy water.
- Lightly shower particularly dirty or pest-infested plants with a hose before bringing them inside.
- Scrub down empty pots with a scrub brush and lightly soapy warm water. Set aside to dry thoroughly before putting them away.
- Place a small piece of newspaper between stacked terracotta pots to keep them from sticking to one another.
- Prune off any dead or diseased leaves and stems and cut back hard any plants that will be going dormant through the winter months.
I recently purchased the wide angle/macro lens to use with my iPhone. I bought it specifically for the macro lens as I find that the built-in camera lens is wide enough. There are other cellphone lenses available; however, I bought this one because it was affordable at $20 for the pair and looked to be of good quality.
Japanese Maple and Persicaria virginiana flower
Here’s how it works:
I can’t seem to help myself from bringing home plant bits from here and there whether its on a trip, out on a walk, or from my own gardens. I am in awe of the architectural shapes and designs found in nature and I want to have their beauty around me at all times of the year. It is the same with rocks, shells, and sticks. The world is full of beautiful and incredible things and I am constantly amazed by it all.
I bought this homemade display cabinet rather impulsively for $15 at the flea market a few months back. It’s meant to sit flat on a table rather than propped up as I have it now. Davin could not see its potential and wasn’t particularly excited about carrying it all the way to the car, but I persuaded him to give it a chance. I could see his point as the plexiglass front is scratched and worn from its original use as a flea market stall display (it sat flat on a table rather than upright), and the thing is awfully large and heavy. Still, I think he was eating his words once I got it set up and filled with random seedpods, leaves, and dried flowers we have collected over the years.
I’ve been sick with a virus this last week, hence the lack of posting. As it is hard to do much when you are laid up in bed with the plague, I spent much of my quarantine watching historical re-creation reality shows on YouTube. It began with a re-watch of my favourite show in this genre, Tales From the Green Valley and spiralled into a marathon viewing of every one that I could find online: The 1900 House, The 1940s House, and Coal House at War. I even made my way through the less educational and more socially dramatic American programs Frontier House and Texas Ranch House.
Unfortunately, these shows (other than Tales of the Green Valley) are disappointing in their lack of information, re-creation, or experimentation with historical garden practices. I would have loved to have seen the people of the “Texas Ranch House” using the garden that was provided for them and exploring the wild edible possibilities in the landscape around them. There are a few shows that do delve into gardening and kitchen gardening more specifically. The Victorian Kitchen Garden is one that I have enjoyed in the past. Also in this series are The Victorian Kitchen, The Wartime Kitchen Garden and The Victorian Flower Garden that I am yet to watch in full.
If you’re interested in farming shows that are also educational and along the lines of “Tales of the Green Valley” (including cast members) I’d also recommend The Wartime Farm, The Victorian Farm, and The Edwardian Farm.
Plenty to entertain and educate yourself as you lay on the couch choking up a lung or blowing your brains out through your nostrils this fall and winter season.