Friday, December 18, 2009

Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day - December '09

I almost didn't do a December Bloom Day post because I couldn't fit it in on the 15th, and then yesterday was much the same, but today I resolved to get it done!
Not that there's a lot to show, but I do have a few house plants blooming, and some of the overwintering plants are putting out blooms.

Abutilon Gold Dust is the star, with more than a dozen lovely orange flowers and loads of buds.

Outside on the front porch during the summer it produces sparse blooms, but overwintering in the house it really revs up production! Strange plant. But beautiful, so I happily forgive its idiosyncrasies.

Another orange bloomer is Columnea, sometimes called Goldfish Plant because the flowers resemble little goldfish. That's a pink Bacopa on the shelf below, which sowed itself in a last year's container and grew into a nice healthy little plant. I couldn't bear to throw it away in the fall so I potted it up and brought it inside. Bacopa is a half hardy annual here in the northeast. It'll be interesting to see what it does.

The overwintering wax begonias have a few blooms, but the Thanksgiving/Christmas cacti are both finished blooming, unfortunately. Posted by Picasa

I brought the pot of Anemone de caen into the house too because they were still popping out blooms.....and to my surprise are continuing to do so. I love these glorious blue flowers!

The Babywing begonia was disappointing this past summer after growing into such a beautiful plant last year. Begonias can be baffling. Sometimes, for no apparent reason, they just begin to whither and die off. I managed to save a couple of pieces of this one
and they rooted, so I didn't lose it entirely. Now I need to snip off another cutting, and keep doing that until I can hopefully make the plant fuller again. Does anyone have any tips on how to keep them healthy?

This is last year's Poinsettia!
It's just a small one that I kept on the covered side porch all summer and neglected badly. A few weeks ago I noticed red bracts on it, so I brought it inside and began treating it a little better (like watering it!). There are 2 more sets of bracts turning red now. I don't know if they'll get bigger, but I'm happy just to see them small. I didn't give the poor little plant any special treatment to make it turn (I think it's supposed to have at least 11 hours of darkness - or is it 14? - each day for a certain period of time) so this is a very pleasant surprise. I've named it The Little Poinsettia That Could!

In two of the upstairs bedrooms overwintering geraniums are happily blooming and there are also some under lights in the cellar. Posted by Picasa

Some of the containers are in the cellar as well. There were plants still blooming long into the fall and I didn't want to throw them on the compost heap, so I just left them in the garage and they kept right on blooming with very little light. With the onset of very cold weather we recently moved them to the cellar. This is a purple Osteospermum (African or Cape Daisy) and it's blooming its head off. The warmth of the cellar brought on a whole slew of new buds! I wonder how long it will last.

This is "Copper Purple" Osteo. It has few flowers but is still looking happy.

I usually put the vinca vines into the veggie garden to overwinter, but the ground was too wet with all the rain we had before Thanksgiving, and then the cold set in and I caught that nasty cold bug and couldn't get out there to do the job. This one is in the cellar but will eventually go outside (I hope). That purple spike is a cordyline I'm attempting to overwinter.

Outside in the garden there are no blooms, only ice and snow. Last Saturday, when the temperature warmed enough to loosen the ice in the birdbath, I dumped it out and it made a pretty ice sculpture in the snow with the embedded leaf. Posted by Picasa

The little Rock Garden #2 is wearing a blanket of snow and I need to get the de-icer out for the birdbath so that the birds will have some water available. Posted by Picasa

I hope you'll find the time to visit Carol of May Dreams Gardens to see what else is blooming in other parts of the world.
To those of you in warmer climes: Please soak up some of that warmth and color for those of us in the frozen north!
I hope you're all enjoying the pre-Christmas season and finding at least a little time to relax and remember the reason for the season.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Winter Creeps In

Subtitled: Conversation with a Recorded Voice

Yesterday, trying to place an order for Christmas, I had a “conversation” with a prerecorded voice. You know those voices you hear at the other end of the line telling you this call is very important to them, and it may be recorded for “whatever purposes”, blah, blah, blah?

It went like this, after the initial intro:

If you’d like to place an order, say, “order”.

If you’d like to speak to Customer Care, say, “Customer Care”.

I said, “Order”.

The Voice said, “I’m sorry, I didn’t catch that, would you mind repeating it?”

Now this is funny!

My hearing is less than perfect (perhaps a slight understatement), and I’ve made that same request so many times to people at the other end of the line. Here, now, was an automated voice saying it to me!

I repeated, “Order”.

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I should note that my voice is very low at the moment because I’m still recovering from a humdinger of a cold, but I said the word loud and clear both times.

The Voice said, “I’m sorry, but I still didn’t catch that”.

OK. What next?

Before I could react The Voice continued, “Please stay on the line and Customer Care will be with you as soon as possible”.


The Voice: “We are experiencing longer waits than usual. Your call will be answered as soon as the next assistant in Customer Care is available. Your call is very important to us, etc., etc. ……..”

At this point I hung up and placed the order using my computer. No hard-of-hearing, non-human voices to contend with. Short and sweet.

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As you can see by the above photos, winter is creeping in.

The gardens are wearing a light covering of snow.
Jasmine and Hannah spend a lot of time sleeping on the back of the couch.
Molly sits among the plants and watches the birds, when she's not sleeping.
A red squirrel routes around in the snow under the birdfeeders. We see so few squirrels that we always consider it a treat when one shows up. Be careful out there, Squirrel!
Chickadees and other birds delight us with their boundless energy.
We feel like to snoozing away the days like Hannah and the rest of the crew, but there's much to be done in preparation for the Christmas celebration.

Hibernation will have to wait.