Besides raking leaves, another traditional harbinger of the fast approaching winter season is the appearance of wooly worms. For the “seasoned” among you, no explanation is necessary. For the un-initiated, it means that the shiver going up your spine is not from the northwest wind blowing leaves hither and yon–it comes from the sight of a completely dark wooly worm! Folklore and tradition says that the fewer light rings, the harsher the winter. Gulp.
Too bad lucky doesn’t rhyme with toad. While straightening the garage the other day, some flattened cardboard packaging was set aside for recycling day. The spot chosen to stack the pieces was only “a hop, skip and a jump” from the herb garden.
Orchid Cactus plants are amazingly easy to grow, easy to propagate and best of all, especially easy to encourage into blooming. For the second time, I just have to share this stunner.
All I do is set it on the porch in a sheltered but bright spot and keep evenly moist. Orchid cactus are like regular houseplants, not the prickly ones that grow in the desert, although more forgiving of a forgetful gardener who misses a day or two of watering than being overly wet. Occassionally feed with a multi-purpose plant food–then stand back. It will reward you all summer with prolific and nearly constant blooms. It is very easy to share with friends. Last season, a strong storm blew the pot over, breaking several of the long “leaves.” A few weeks set in fresh soil produced a bounty of new plants to share with admiring friends.
This past winter was a test for us all. Now that it is a not-so-dim memory, reminders of the work that a record snowfall produces are everywhere.
Today for example, brings another 3-4 hours of yard clean-up–10 1/2 hours, so far. The huge branches that came down have been chain-sawed into a manageable size. The brush pile for the bunnies and other little critters that live under its protection has grown considerably. The best thing to say about it is, that just as shoveling snow burns calories, so does spring clean-up. Especially this year. There will definitely be a sortie for an ice cream cone in this evening’s outing.
The other positive thing about our cold and snowy winter has been the positive effect it has had on the trees and flowers. Every hillside, every landscaped corner of every neighborhood is beautiful. It’s as if an artistic wind blew through, randomly brushing bright shades of pink along the petals.
The moral of the story is that winter produced lots of work–work that extends well into spring. Lots of work means lots of calories burned. Lots of snow and cold means a beautiful spring. Winter, just like the old Timex commercial says, kept on ticking. In an optimist’s world, it continues to produce a gift that keeps on giving.
The mystery has been solved. The beautiful flowering plant on my porch is a member of the forest cactus family–plants that came originally came from Mexico and South America. Specifically, epiphyllums; commonly known as “orchid cactus.” No matter what the name, it is a dramatic and beautiful plant.
My daughter lives in the city in an old neighborhood that is making a comeback. Her row house is a bicycle ride from downtown, but unfortunately does not have any garden space. The point is that I cannot claim ownership of the beautiful irises that are now blooming in my yard. She gathered the hybrid rhizomes. I weed….
My less than successful first experiment with Hyper Tufa can be visited at https://coco724.wordpress.com/2008/08/04/hyper-over-my-tufa/
Fortunately, I really did overcome the errs of my ways. My next attempt at making a planter turned out just the way it was planned. I’m really pleased with the results.
Changes to the landscape and architecture at this house have been evolving over several seasons. There’s a long way to go, but the curb appeal is definitely a long way from where it started about 2 1/2 years ago:
In the beginning, it was long-neglected, but as they say, “with good bones.”
Working our way forward, slowly, but surely, the “good bones” are starting to become evident.
Curb appeal in progress.
A few purchased silk sprays packaged with leaves and berries scavenged from my yard. The week’s vacation has fast dwindled to a few hours, but part of the joy of some time off, was the opportunity to meander through the yard, casually picking the bones of an arrangement. It happens during normal work weeks, too, but the pace is more of a sprint then–trying to fit it in minimal time and minimal light.