Winter Walk

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What’s Happening in the Garden- January 30, 2017

Hello out there and Happy 2017.  I’m feeling quite sad and worn by recent events here in the US and sometime I need a mental escape and happier thoughts, even if just for a few minutes. One of my biggest escapes is always the garden. We’ve had a mild winter so far but the garden is still cold and quiet on the surface. Below the ground, the perennials and bulbs and trees and grasses are alive and well and just waiting for spring to arrive.

I’ve added lots and lots of houseplants in the past few years and my time at ICS Plant Specialists taught me how to take good care of them. I’ve been enjoying my indoor garden this winter.

img_2700-003My mom’s Christmas Cactus, which sat in her dining room window for my whole life, is a little bit behind schedule but it’s finally blooming. She would be proud to see it here.

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img_2701-003I still have wax begonias from last summer blooming in the office. They’ll be ready to go out to the deck in a few months.

img_2720-003Our bookshelf in the living room holds an angel begonia (also mom’s). It seems fresher and stronger than it used to… right plant, right place… maybe it will bloom?

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This little vignette kind of cracked me up (no pun intended) when I saw it so I had to share. Do you happen to have a bamboo plant, fresh eggs and a Droll Designs Bugs Bunny teapot sitting together on your kitchen counter?

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My very sweet sister-in-law gave me this Thanksgiving Cactus during the holidays and I just moved it into a more permanent pot last week. My Dad took the photo somewhere in Asia many years ago.  He passed away when I was 21, but I always look at it and think that he would have appreciated the attachment parenting style that we chose to use with our children when they were small.

img_2712-003I have philodendron everywhere and to add to the cactuses, here’s an orchid cactus! It blooms in the summer warmth and looks like a piece of sculpture in the winter.

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My money tree (Pachira aquatica) also came from Mom. When I brought it north last fall the leaves fell so much that I was sure I was going to loose it. I did some research and found that this plant likes to stay away from drafts and hates being overwatered. Those were easy things to fix and as soon as I moved it away from the front door and adjusted my watering routine it started to produce new leaves and they’ve been filling in ever since.

img_2725-003 I found this cute little polka dot plant on sale for $2.50 last week. It brightens things up!

img_2718-003My succulents thrive outside in the summer but they’re holding up well in their indoor winter home.

img_2737-003Maddie is standing guard over them. Fortunately, our current cats never touch the plants.

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This is the first time that I’ve raised African Violet to a full bloom stage. They’re in a bathroom with very filtered light and it seems that between the humidity from the shower and the gentle light that they’re receiving, they are happy. I need to add a few more plants to this windowsill.

img_2736-003Here’s another first… a hellebore bloom out in the herb garden!  Something is munching on this plant (I believe that it’s bunnies or deer) but that one bloom is enough to keep me in the game!

I’m hooked on African Violet and hellebore!

img_2728-003You may remember that I’m also hooked on seed starting and it’s just about time to start the onion seeds. I picked these up last weekend and they’re sitting above my kitchen sink calling to me to plant them. I’m receiving seed catalogs and thinking about the spring plan. See, the garden is an escape all year long!

In other news, I’m still working on getting a  handle on this full time work schedule, but it’s getting better as we adjust and develop good, new routines. I think there may be some fun garden projects at my workplace as the year goes on. If that happens, I’ll be sure to share them here.

I hope that this little trip through my indoor winter garden gave you a break and made you smile.  Check in and let me know how you and your garden are doing! I miss you and wish you peace and love, wherever you are.

Love,  Michele

Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day from Incredibly Snowy Salem

We’ve received 87 inches of snow in Salem Massachusetts since January 23rd.

That’s a lot. 
IMG_8159Here’s the garden this morning. We’ve lost sight of the fence and picnic table. The chickens are in there somewhere.IMG_8158

The flowering plum tree is in danger of being completely covered.

IMG_8155Our front walk is a memory. It’s buried 89% of the time these days.

IMG_8156And I’m not sure that the Juneberry tree is going to make it. It’s always kind of fragile, even in good weather.

IMG_8152But we have puzzles to do.

IMG_8181And Michael gave me this pretty orchid for Valentine’s Day.

It’s still Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day, even with 87 inches of snow!

IMG_8170 I had a good time taking photos of it..

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Different backgrounds, different camera settings…

Who knew that one day I’d enjoy photographing orchids?IMG_8137Maddie and I think that life is pretty great like that.

In other news, I came across these onion seeds in the basement…IMG_8168Their from last year but if I can find some seed starting mix I think I’ll get them planted!

Spring will be here before we know it!

Be sure to visit May Dreams Gardens to see blooms in gardens all over the world.

Those wonderful posts will fast forward you straight to springtime!

Stay warm and well,

Love,  Michele

Blizzard in the Garden

It’s Wordless Wednesday but I couldn’t really do a post without words today. We just had a blizzard after all…

The official snow total for Salem is 24 inches, but honestly, I think our number is a little above that. It snowed well into the night last night, long after I read that on the internet.

IMG_7958 The garden fence is buried. Michael usually shovels through the arbor but decided to take a little break from that this time. That made me feel better about all of the shoveling that he does.IMG_7945The coop can be reached again!IMG_7946But there’s not much room to play.IMG_7949 Which is just fine with the girls who are refusing to go outside. I’m with them!IMG_7944Michael feeds the wild birds..IMG_7942The cold snowy bunny hutch doesn’t have a path yet…IMG_7955but that’s okay because Paula Tucker is happily tucked away in the chicken coop.IMG_7939 The pond is white now, and the big rock is submerged in snow. See the track across the bottom? A deer or coyote must have gone through.IMG_7935As buried as we are, all is well. Everyone stayed warm and dry.

The next storm is on Friday but nobody’s talking about that yet.

Stay warm my friends!

Love,  Michele

 

Christmas Herbs

It’s been so warm here in Salem that we have lots of fresh herbs for Christmas this year.

I consider them to be my own personal Christmas gift~IMG_7737There’s little bits of dill popping up out front… not quite enough to cook with but there may be just enough for a bowl of carrots in a day or two.
IMG_7735 I brushed my hand over lemon balm and was transported right back to July….

…in my mind, but it was very pleasant.IMG_7733a few more days like this and we could have blooming lavender again.IMG_7732 There’s fresh growth on the sage…IMG_7729 …along with the oregano.IMG_7727My rosemary plant that never quite made it inside this fall is full of beautiful fragrant foliage..IMG_7722…same with the thyme.
IMG_7719And I’m putting fresh parsley in everything..potatoes, chicken soup, you name it!

Merry Christmas to me!

Love, love, love,

Michele

Zebra Finches, Guitars and a Chinese House–Just a Typical Afternoon in Salem

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It’s hard to believe that this afternoon we threw on our shoes, drove five minutes and walked into this amazing building in downtown Salem.

Then paid nothing (because Salem residents are admitted for free), and waited in line for twenty minutes to view from here to ear, an exhibit featuring zebra finches playing electric guitars and cymbals…

No photos were allowed, but check out the video in the right margin here on the PEM website and you’ll get the idea. It was quite an experience.

While we waited to see the birds we looked out and enjoyed this view of Yin Yu Tang, a two hundred year old merchant’s house that was brought here piece by piece from China in 2003 and reassembled by the museum…

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No photos are allowed of the inside of Yin Yu Tang either, but it’s full of original artifacts from the house as it was while it was used by the family that owned it. It was easy to imagine what it might have been like to live there.

After all of that amazing cultural opportunity, we ran right into this guy

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Who elicited this reaction from my littlest girl…

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There was even a quick view of a frozen garden through a window…

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Maybe we don’t need spring in Salem after all?  We’re doing just fine.

Enjoy everything!

Michele