Today is the official first day of spring but it has been snowing since midday. So far we have accumulated around two inches. I don’t mind the big fluffy flakes with no wind; very peaceful. However that spring itch has gotten to me. I started trimming the tropical plants in the basement and fed the ones I have no plans for transplanting to a new pot. It’s a task I do one month before I can take some of them outside for real sunlight and fresh air.
They seem to know that spring is coming. Many of them are pushing out flowers and new leaves. The ones that have been in a semi-dormant stage during winter are showing signs of new buds. Here are some ‘basement buds’ trying to rush spring along a little:
And a welcome mat from the windowsill: Moth Orchids
There is not much to see in the garden other than white snow on the ground that’s not leaving us anytime soon. We just had a snow storm today and another one is due in two days. Then the temperature will drop into single digits again. When the weather is this unforgiving, so many birds come around to the feeders, even crows. Deer and rabbit tracks crisscross the garden and yard looking for food. I was tempted to feed the deer this winter when I saw seven of them drop by one day to root in the snow for seeds dropped by the birds. Any edible leaves and branches above the snow were nibbled off. The thought of feeding them stems from wanting to protect my plants from them, but I know if I do they will continue to return. There will be more of them too once they know where an easy food source is. They are fast learners.
Not much I can do outside but refill bird feeders and birdbaths. I check on plants in the basement once every couple of days and they keep my spirits up. The tropical plants are doing poorly this winter since it has been much colder than previous years. Many have dropped leaves and have gone into a semi-dormant stage. If it’s going to be like this next winter I may consider putting a small heater down there.
Some of them , however, still bloom at this time. The Christmas Cactus (Schlumbergerahybrid) has continued producing flowers since December. The Gerbera started a new flower bud despite a spider mite infestation. Myrtle is also blooming. A little color, a little scent, that’s enough to keep me going. Spring will come around the corner soon.
What’s left blooming in our garden now are just some hardy roses, calendula and the broccoli that we let bloom for the bees (though technically a vegetable). The re-blooming iris are just producing flower buds which may or may not bloom. The weather has been staying around 50º F during the day and drops down below 40º F at night. Last week it dropped below 30º F for a couple of nights and that stunted the growth. The iris will bloom again if the weather stays above a frost. I’m keeping my fingers crossed.
There may not be much left in the garden but down in the basement where the tropical plants reside in winter there is still activity. I can smell perfume wafting up the basement stairs from a variety of jasmines every time I open the door. I’m thinking of taking a table and chair from the garden and putting them down there so I can continue the joy of being in a tropical garden in winter.
The Night Blooming jasmine (Cestrum nocturnum) are doing well this year. I re-potted the largest one to its benefit. I also propagated a few plants from the main one and gave some to friends. They perfume the basement now, competing with the Orange jasmine (Murrayapaniculata).
Jasmine ‘Poet’ (Jasminum grandiflorum) loves cooler temperatures and started to bloom profusely outside, but it continues to bloom down in the basement.
One of the Christmas cactus (Schlumbergera hybrid) bloomed as soon as it got inside. This is a hard to kill plant. No matter how negligent the treatment I give them they never miss producing flowers year after year.
I took this Orange jasmine (Murraya paniculata) photo back in June when it enjoyed sunlight outside. It still blooms here and there until sometime in the middle of winter when it will bloom heavily again.