I am ready. Ready to have my house back. Ready to throw everything out of our holding greenhouse. Ready to empty the root cellar. Ready to get on with Spring. By April the urge to throw every surviving plant in my house outside is all consuming. I’m tired of them demanding water (the sink is right there, get it yourself). I’m tired of leaves falling. I’m tired of the ones that just barely hang on so you give them more time but they never really do anything. I’m tired of them taking more than their rightful share of space. So when May arrives each day is marked off the calendar as we approach that most glorious day of all days – the day of frost-free weather.
People who do not garden fail to have even the slightest notion of how important that date is. This is the day when the dahlias can go in the ground. This is the day when the tomatoes can be planted. This is the day the houseplants can go out on the porch. THIS IS THE DAY WHEN WE GET OUR HOUSES BACK! For two months I’ve been fighting with the Enstetes in my laundry room for access to the dryer. I finally cut a leaf off one of them this week. At the same time I am so grateful that my two biggest are still alive and growing. They are actually pushing against the ceiling (say a little prayer for some of the smaller ones in the plant room). In just a few weeks their huge burgundy and green leaves will bring tropical splendor back to my yard. That’s one of them in the background of this picture.
It’s been a banner year for mealy bugs in the holding greenhouse. They’ve been breeding like white trash at a family reunion. As we remove the plants we pull off as many ugly leaves as possible taking the mealy bugs with them. A good bath with soapy water will get rid of some more. It’s important to remember that frequently while a plant is outside in the fresh air and sunshine, all happy and healthy it suppresses the insects. You bring the same plant indoors to less ideal conditions. It becomes stressed. Boom! The insects are back with a vengeance. So my stressed out plants in the greenhouse are a mess even though they went in looking fine. But with a few weeks outside and some extra care they will be beautiful again in our gardens.
In the root cellar the Brugmansias are begging for some warmth and sunshine. They are one of the easiest tropicals to overwinter. You don’t need a root cellar certainly. A dark basement is nice to keep them dormant but just keeping the water to a minimum will work as well. After several weeks they will be covered in trumpet shaped fragrant blooms. Hopefully the dahlias and cannas survived alright. We’ve had years when nearly all of one was great nearly all of the other was lost. No rhyme or reason. Just so you know we go through many of the same problems every gardener experiences.
Right now there is a nice rain falling. Looking out my window everything is shades of fresh green. We’ve had the best year ever for flowering trees and shrubs – dogwood, magnolia, crabapples, redbuds, cherries, and lilacs all in bloom at the same time. I can’t say I have ever witnessed that before. And they remained lovely for so long. I just love Spring. Everything new and fresh, full of hope and possibility. And the truth is I want to get my plants outside before I kill anymore of them.
Filed under: Horticulture