Monday, October 21, 2013

So Long, Summer

The day has come. Tonight the first freeze is forecast and the growing season has come to an end. We still have bulbs to plant, as well as beds to weed and annuals to pull, but for the most part the growing season has come to an end. 

Bittersweet? Of course. 

However, I am eager to focus a bit more on home. With the majority of the tropical plants staying at my parents' I will have a real dining room this Winter, and would love to do a bit more entertaining. I also have a major reorganization planned of the entire apartment. There are too many things stashed in too many places and I need to sell or donate, and many collections that need to be edited.

As the birds fly South, I feel the need to nest.

I spent yesterday pulling all of the tomato vines and taking down their supports. Already taking stock of the Garden and planning where things will be planted in the spring. I also want to get it cleaned up before the ground freezes for a Fall tilling to work in the summer's compost and then cover with shredded leaves and grass clippings.

Maybe the gardening season isn't at an end.
Every single tomato, no matter the size or ripeness, was snatched from the vines. The green ones are already in a brown paper bag forcing them to ripen. I'll start to check in a few days, and then every day, to see how they are doing.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Moving the Monster!

A low of 39 degrees tonight really means that the time for anything tropical to be outside is over. On Tuesday I finally dug the Monster (what I lovingly call the Upright Elephant Ear plant), potted him up, and brought him home. Tonight I need to actually make room for him somewhere in the Penthouse. 

Tonight the agaves and colocasias will make their way indoors, and next will be the figs. I'm afraid I've probably waited to long to keep the fig trees from losing leaves and going dormant, but for two years it has worked fine this way so hopefully the third year will be a charm.

He really grew large. I cut back a lot of the coleus to root over the winter. If nothing else they make a nice, long lasting flower/foliage arrangement.

Before I dug the Monster, however, I did a little winter trimming on the cut leaf philodendron.

As well as the potted palm, which I believe will end up at the Penthouse.

I was rather surprised at how little the tuber had sized up! The roots had grown long, but the tuber was still small.

The neck was bigger than the tuber! I guess maybe the tuber grows if you let the leaves die back?

About five new pups are forming.

Digging him was a bit difficult, but he's all potted up for the winter in a big #5 plastic pot. Next year the entire pot will be planted, making re potting unnecessary.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Bring On the Baby!

Two weekends ago I had the honor of co-hosting (with the dee-vine Cara Lee Wade) a baby shower for my one and only blind date ever, Colleen. Clearly (as this baby will be Baby Swisher rather than Baby Savant) our blind date led to undying friendship rather than, well, you know...

Sometimes things come together so easily that one wonders why one stresses over the details. Cara and I are lucky to know a really great person named Dan who let us take over part of his gallery (follow this link to see a bit of Cara's work, which is no longer up, then go to the Facebook link to see what's currently happening at Wunderkammer) for a few hours on a Saturday afternoon. I was at the opening for the current show and fell in love with Elly Tullis' work. You really need to make a point to stop in before this Sunday (October 20th) to check out "Elly Tullis:Birdlover", or stop in ON Sunday and see the show and shop Wunderkammer's second w

Happily we decided this gallery would be the perfect place for Colleen's shower. And it most certainly was.

The only guidelines we had were no games involving baby food in a diaper or guessing how big mama's belly is. Fine by us! We went for a much more "baby chic", streamlined look. Like a cocktail party for a baby! There's Cara snapping away in the background. A little discovery we made after guests arrived is that the painting of the house in the center of the photo is actually the childhood home of Baby Swisher's Grandma B! That, to me, was a sure sign that THIS was the place for the shower.

Love! Get there this week to actually see these pieces! They are remarkable and these pictures don't show them half as lovely as they actually are!

My favorite. I think. There are also prints available of several of the smaller paintings.

The cosmos bloomed just in time to mingle with the changing hydrangeas. Why was I so worried about the old Limelight hydrangea going brown early? I had more than enough flowers in the Hydrangea Border, and also mixed in some chocolate mint, sedum, ferns, and sage for some texture. They looked great against the linens from All Occasion.


And more food. And more importantly, cheese!

I did fudge one thing. We had planned on using fabric markers to decorate bibs. Well, I bought terry cloth bibs before realizing what a royal pain it would be to try to do anything nicely on terry cloth. So onesies were purchased and ended up even cuter! Whew!
Hard at work on a one of a kind gift!

Honestly, they turned out awesome.

Baby Swish will definitely be decked out, if only Baby Swish would arrive already!!!

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Time to Start Transplanting

The weather is gorgeous. Fall is here. Time to start moving all those little plants that were never in quite the right spot. Or maybe divide that giant clump of hosta that is really overgrown. Or perhaps move that plant that seems to need more sun, or that clump of daffodils that is due for a divide (if you can remember where the clump is located). Whatever it is, now is the time to do it and get it done once and for all.

I've only just begun.
We bought some lovely little mixed heuchera last year (I think?) and sort of lined the path through the Shade Garden with them. Well, we didn't quite have enough, but the plants have grown wonderfully.
I decided to move the ones from the west side of the path and just continue a large arc across the east side.
Much better. The area behind the arc will be filled with all of the pink-cupped daffodils come Spring.

And as for those three lavender plants that were taking up space in the vegetable garden, well, there were actually about five plants. Some were a bit straggly.

This guy seemed to be the healthiest.
I'm hoping they all grow in nicely and make a full border of lavender. We will just have to hope for the best. We had a great deal of rain last weekend, and with the cool temps following the rain the ground is really rather lovely to work in. I watered everyone in well, and will continue to water them as needed. All of the heuchera and lavender also had a healthy amount of compost mixed into the new holes.

Now to find that row of allium beneath the overgrown raspberries, as well as a place to move them to.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Who is Moving Where for the Winter?

I'm one of the biggest fans of sweater weather, but not a fan of moving the tropicals in for the winter. This year, however, we have made some space in a room at my parents' where most of the plants will live for the winter. Thank goodness! The thought of shifting all of those plants back to the Penthouse always causes a bit of stress as I lose a large section of my dining room, and the plants really sort of just lump along in a Northern window with grow lights. This year they will actually have full use of the light of a wide, bright, unobstructed south facing window. I will, of course, use the grow lights as well, but I'm excited to test what this change will bring.

Hopefully it will be a change for the better!

All of the amaryllis have grown strong and the bulbs plump over the Summer.

This Upright Elephant Ear really has grown this Summer. Upright Elephant Ears are Alocasias, whereas the more common Elephant Ear is a Colocasia. I love both, as they lend a rather tropical look to the garden. The easiest way to tell them apart is the foliage. Most Alocasia leaves stay upright, as the stiff leaf stems, or petioles, extend into the leaf. Colocasia leaves dangle, as the petioles connect down at the notches in the leaves. Colocasias prefer full sun and can be grown in standing water, but Alocasias like shade or partial sun and moist but not boggy soil. This is why the Upright Elephant Ear grows so well at the North entrance to the Garden.

Smuggled home from Charleston almost two years ago, I'm not sure that I have a pot big enough to pot him up in. He grew just fine at the Penthouse last Winter. Actually, he didn't grow at all. He just left one large leaf standing the entire time. He didn't die, though!

There are also many pups growing off of the main plant. I might just plant him in a plastic pot and follow Martha's lead of planting the entire pot in the planter so you can pull the entire thing in the Fall and not worry about digging and repotting.

The little banana tree has grown by leaps and bounds in the month or so that he has been moved from under the pergola to full sun all day. Stupid me. I should have placed him here long ago. I think he will move to the Penthouse this Winter, as he did quite well last year, and I'm really trying to keep the limited space at Mom and Dad's for the more troublesome plants.

I love all of my agave. They will benefit from the Southern light.

This Colocasia (the common Elephant Ear) Has done very well and might be houseplant material, although I should probably put him in the full sun window.

This guy was doing great and then just sort of slowed way down. I think I may try my luck at letting the frost hit him and then digging and storing the tuber much like you would a dahlia.

I'm not sure what to do with the Agapanthus. I've read you can treat them as houseplants, although they like that tough combo of bright light and about 40 degrees. Non-evergreen types with less thick leaves (I have no way of comparing-do mine have thick leaves or thin leaves?) can go dormant and stuck in the garage. I might have to put two in the room and two in the garage. Ugh! I guess I could just leave the heat off in the room, as citrus benefit from a "cool" greenhouse, as well. I was so excited to find these plants this year that I would really like them to survive.

Oh, and as for the Amaryllis, they have moved into their cabinet to await dormancy and reblooming later in the winter. I never really attempt to make them bloom by Christmas anymore, I buy new ones for that. I'm happy letting all of these guys brighten up the late Winter gloom, as well as surprise us with flowers once they move outside in the Summer.

Now to decide where the figs will go...

Friday, October 4, 2013

MORE Great Stuff at Magpie Vintage

Way back in December of last year my friend Abigail was getting ready to open her wonderful shop in the historic Wells Street Corridor. Nearly a year in and she just keeps finding more and more treasures to fill that thrift store, tag sale, vintage-aholic in all of us. I stopped in the store last week to purchase a great collection of pottery she found for me, and took a few snaps as well.

Stop in and see her at 1622 Wells Street (46808) soon! The store hours are Friday and Saturday 10-6, and Sunday 12-5. Or call ahead! 260-203-2347  

Amazing old children's items, perfect for showers and first birthdays!

Looking for bachelorette/bachelor party gifts? Abigail has some fun things!

I honestly cannot believe these prints are still here. They are laminated, and I almost feel like they were once place mats. They are both from original watercolors by James McBride, and were once a set of four. Here is the Allen County Courthouse and the Lakeside Rose Garden. The Old Fort and The Landing are missing.

So much good stuff!

Who doesn't want a couple of altar chairs?

Lamps, lamps, lamps.

That one thing missing from the lake house?

Alright, I die for the pitcher and coffee set. I mean, if you go in and buy them before me just don't tell me and don't invite me for coffee.

One of a couple of travel bars on hand.

The perfect way to end Thanksgiving dinner? Pumpkin pie and coffee out of this great pottery set.

Love these clear glass mushroom containers.

And this bread box.

That margarine tin would be perfect as a garbage or recycling bin!

And who wouldn't want a picture of Castro feeding bagels to a little Jewish boy on their wall?

Artwork to brighten any wall!

This fabric remnant is pretty funny.

These leaf dishes would be perfect as salt cellars on a dinner table.

And as for the musical whisky decanter, well, it's the tops!