I think we could use more orange today.
A visit to Erika’s apartment a month back has inspired a new sense of excitement about my own windowsills. The morning after the tour, we experienced a rare winter treat here in Toronto: sunshine! While my windowsill has been transformed several times since, here’s what it looked like on that first morning of sun.
In the photo above you can see [left to right]: ‘French Lace’ scented geranium, Chilean oxalis bulbs that I recently planted, another oxalis that has gone dormant, variegated Cuban oregano (that thing does not stop growing. I have cut it back hard, several times), and the edge of a ‘Centennial’ kumquat tree.
This is the other windowsill in my office [left to right]: Microgreens freshly sown in a recycled salad container (behind), spineless blue agave (front), lithops, another dormant oxalis, donkey’s tail sedum (Sedum morganianum) (hanging).
And here’s what it looked like yesterday afternoon when the sun was shining once again [left to right]: Pelargonium ‘Fair Ellen’, yet unidentified echeveria I bought a few days ago, pelargonium ‘Mabel Grey’, another unidentified echeveria from the same purchase, sea onion (Ornithogalum caudatum).
What are you growing on your windowsill?
Please post a link to a photo or post on your blog about what’s on your windowsill. We can inspire one another and beat the winter is almost over blahs.
Next Friday, March 19 at 5pm EST I’ll randomly select two people from the comments below to win one of the following price packs:
Until recently I was unaware that witch hazel is cold tolerant in my climate. Here’s the evidence: a large witch hazel tree in full bloom just this morning in my friend’s garden.
We’re experiencing a warm and sunny spell here in Toronto that is lifting our collective spirits. Suddenly things are in bloom as if it is spring. But it isn’t really quite spring and I keep reminding myself that while all signs point to it, we could have another blizzard ahead of us just yet.
March is a deceptively soft and cuddly lamb, for now.
More witch hazel:
We popped over to the community garden yesterday afternoon with a frozen pail of compost. I thought I would take some pictures so you can see what it looks like in the middle of winter.
As you can see, not much is happening. Drab and dull. We stop using our plots between October/November and March/April depending on the season.
If I wanted to really maximize the space, I could construct some cold frames within my plot and grow cold hardy greens like kale, mache, and spinach. And I would, but unfortunately the lane-way that leads to the garden is typically treacherous terrain through the winter months. We haven’t had much in the way of snow and ice this winter — it’s the first year since joining the garden around seven years ago that I’ve been able to get to the garden gate with relative ease.
Instead, I grow edible perennials as a strategy for extending the season. Cold hardy, perennial herbs such as garden sage, oregano, marjoram, chives, garlic chives, mint, and ‘Egyptian Walking’ onion function as the bones of the garden, holding in the soil and offering up a harvest that starts in the early spring and lasts straight through to the late fall.
There are also a few self-seeders including calendula, chervil, bloody dock, lovage, shiso, lemon balm, and chamomile that pretty much grow themselves. They can be a curse or a blessing of plenty depending on how you look at it.
Over the years I’ve also added a few small fruit bushes including gooseberries and American black currant, and several strawberries (wild and alpine types) as a way to get garner yearly crops that don’t require seasonal planting.
This is a wild geranium that showed up one day. I always let a few survive since they’re not too invasive and I like their pretty little pink flowers. As you can see, it is also proof that plants don’t necessarily “die” during the winter, but stay alive in a dormant stage underneath the snow.
And it looks like we’ve had a visitor in our absence. I noticed new graffiti in a couple of spots along The Beer Store wall.
Yesterday afternoon I was invited into the apartment of a fellow Parkdale resident to check out her collection of fascinating and unusual plants. The visit brought the plant junky in me out in full force. I went home conspiring to get my hands on a few of those amazing plants myself and then spent the remainder of the afternoon rearranging and caring for the gazillions of houseplants I do have. Visits to other peoples’ gardens never fail to motivate me to do better by my own plants.
Erika collects alpines, Mesembs (conophytum & lithops aka living stones are examples), Gesneriads (not African violets), orchids, and euphorbias. Looking back on our conversation, I’m not completely certain that she is exclusive to those plant families. Most of her collection just seems to fall within those categories. When I asked her what inspired her collection, she replied that she has always loved diminutive plants. The perfect-sized plants for an apartment dweller.
Say what? These freakish things remind me of jelly candies or those stinky jelly air fresheners everyone had in their bathrooms in the late 70s. When I was a kid, I could never help opening up the plastic cover and poking them. I REALLY wanted to poke these too but that would have been very rude. The flower (yes they do flower) comes up between the two “leaves.” I can barely distinguish where that is on the red one.