The Weekly Gardener 1

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Ugly Weather

November Activities

Cranesbills

With the weather finally turning I moved the gardening activities indoors. Surprisingly, the potted tuberose is in bloom, and so are the lilies. Even so a trip to the plant nursery is in order, to pick up some bulbs and check up the tropical plant section, the kitchen window sill looks a little sad.

From what I've seen so far, the garden venues are still focused on fall and holiday decor, there is a lot of greenery and sparkle in the flower department, but not many potted plants with flowers.

Indoor plants that bloom in winter often come from the southern hemisphere, but if you give any potted plant summer conditions twice a year, which is basically what happens when you bring them in from the cold and expose them to seventy degree temperatures again, they shift their blooming schedule so much it becomes totally unpredictable. The tuberoses have bloomed through every season since I started them, even in the diminished winter light.

If you want to force spring bulbs during the cold season, there is still time to start some. Begin with bulbs that have been chilled, plant them in shallow containers and keep them in temperatures between fifty and sixty degrees for a couple of weeks. When the shoots emerge move them to a bright, sunny window. Keep the soil moist but not soggy and after they finish blooming, when the weather warms up, plant them in the garden.

It is not true that forced bulbs get depleted, mine bloomed every year. I even noticed that the ones that spent a winter indoors fare better than their outdoor counterparts.

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In the Clouds

Delphiniums

If the concept of living in the clouds conjures images of wings and harps, I'm afraid it's a little more prosaic than that. We've been living in the clouds this entire month with the barometric pressure being so low. Think about it, it's a lot less depressing than perceiving the weather as simply god-awful.

Sure, I like the misty and poetic version of low cloud cover a lot better, but fog is not very common in this area.

The weather is crazy, jumping from full blown thunderstorms with strong winds to barren frozen stillness that puts a chill through your bones from one day to the next. We're regaled with the crazy stormy today.

Every now and then an angry wind whips the tree branches against the window, to make the dark and moonless night feel even more menacing. One week from Thanksgiving, thank goodness for turkey and pie! I always wondered how that sweet potato, marshmallow and honey recipe came to be and now I know.

Oh, my, and winter hasn't even started yet. Of course the second I decided to clean the leaves out of the back yard the rain returned. Unholy November weather, I'm sticking with the cloud concept, much better for morale.

Wasn't this supposed to be Indian Summer? We haven't had a real frost yet, so maybe it's coming late this year, at least I like to think so.