Hello everyone! Just checking in with a mid-January update, so you don't think I've totally disappeared. Now that the holidays are over and cold weather has finally caught up with us (after our strangely warm December), it's a good time to for me to hole up inside with a warm cat on my lap and a big pile of books.
Mostly I've been reading about sunrooms and conservatories, and about the plants that are commonly grown in them, as well as house plants in general. I'm still hoping to enclose my front porch into a sunroom this year, and I've been researching this and planning the layout and materials of the project, as well as thinking about the plants I'd like to grow in the sunroom. My collection of books on the subjects of conservatories, sunrooms, greenhouses and house plants has grown to nearly forty titles, and has provided me with many hours of research and dreaming.
|This is a particularly inspiring book, filled with portraits|
of drool-worthy plant-filled conservatories, garden rooms and
indoor oases, all in the US (not in England -- most books
about conservatories are published there).
Additionally, I've been adding to my house plant collection -- I honestly thought that the season for buying plants wouldn't start until April, but I discovered the world of house plants this fall. Yes, I've had a few indoor plants before, but I've been on somewhat of a binge for the past two months. It's amazing how many beautiful and interesting plants can be found at Lowe's, Walmart, Aldi and one of the local nurseries, and for incredibly reasonable prices. My husband is beginning to look askance each time I bring home a few more, and it's true that I do sometimes wonder where I will put them -- but I guess that's not so different than buying outdoor plants (except that I have five acres to plant in outside, and only a limited number of windows in my house...).
Here are a few shots of my growing indoor gardens:
|I wanted to grow some plants on my kitchen windowsill, but it's less than three inches deep. So I bought a drawer organizer 15" long by 3" wide, and put mini plants in 2" pots that are intended for terrariums in it. About twice a week I put the pots in a flat-bottomed bowl and fill the bottom of it with warm water to water the plants. Eventually I will probably have to repot these and buy new mini plants, but it should tide me over for some time, giving me a little "mini garden" to look at when nothing is green or growing outside my window.|
|My upstairs east window is becoming filled with several kinds of ferns (including an unusual Blue Star fern or Phlebodium aureum mandaianum at left), an Arabica coffee plant, an Artemisia and a little Ficus 'Curly Fig'.|
|OK, my husband may be somewhat justified in his concern. It should be obvious that I need a sunroom so|
that our bedroom, with its south facing double window, can be freed from the plant takeover.
|But isn't it beautiful? A closeup of the plant table, with Phalaenopsis orchids, the lovely pink and green Aglaonema and the|
fascinating "ZZ plant" or Zamioculcas zamiifolia at right with its shiny architectural leaves.
I think being able to focus on indoor plants has made this winter easier for me so far. I know we've had an unusually warm and easy winter (until the bitterly cold recent temperatures), but compared to last year, when I was thoroughly ready for spring on December 26th, I feel much less desperate for spring's green growth and flowers.
Now I just need to find a few more spots for some plants.... I am getting ready to repaint our upstairs bathroom in an all-white scheme in order to maximize the north light in that room. The ferns would love the higher humidity in there. I'll post photos of the before-and-after when I've finished the project.
And I'm thinking of making a terrarium or two, and trying to figure out how to transform a fish tank that I found at Goodwill into a Victorian-style Wardian Case like the one in the photo below:
|This lovely Wardian Case was sold by|
Lee Valley and Veritas (although it seems not to be
available any longer). But I want to make one for
around $20, not the $200-$400 that they sell for online.
I'll share my results if I succeed.
Anyway, that's what I've been up to recently. I hope you are enjoying some winter projects as well, and keeping warm too! (Sunday is forecast to stay below o°F all day here, and get down to -11°F [-24°C] at night.... Brrr.)
Thanks for reading! -Beth