Monday, December 15, 2008

Back for Bloom Day

It's been hectic lately, and I've taken a blogging break the past few weeks. I'm happy to be back for Bloom Day, and even have a few December blooms to show off.

. . . like this light peach geranium blooming in the basement. Last year I tried to root some geranium cuttings, but none of them survived. Recently I tried again, and much to my delight the three cuttings I took, one from each of three different colored geraniums, have all rooted and are growing happily. I didn't do anything differently this time. Sometimes persistence pays off.

This hydrangea cutting rooted easily and is thriving in the basement, even blooming already! It's either Endless Summer or Nikk0 Blue, I'm not sure. In the basement under artificial light, the blooms are very pale, mostly white with just the slightest bit of pink. The first bloom on this same plant was pale blue, but that was in the fall when it was still outside. I have three different kinds of hydrangeas started from cuttings this fall - this one, and several cuttings of Annabelle and Endless Summer. The cuttings are compliments of the nursery and two of my clients. Three Endless Summer cuttings, if they make it through the winter, are being grown for the client who so graciously shared them with me. My fingers are crossed that they'll make it until Spring when I can move them outside. The cuttings, all started in October, seemed too immature to plant outside this fall. I've read it's difficult to keep hydrangea starts inside over the winter. Has anyone had luck with this?

Last year I brought the the purple oxalis inside for the winter in the same containers they'd been growing in all summer. They went dormant almost as soon as I brought them in. This year right before bringing them in, I transplanted them all into the same container and they have grown and bloomed nicely. From what I've read disturbing them will often trigger dormancy. Go figure!

Mexican Heather is blooming happily in the basement. The blooms look bluer than this, but the sodium grow light in the basement distorts color.

The lighter pink double impatiens have bloomed nonstop since coming in for the winter, in spite of the fact that I pulled off all the blooms and buds before bringing them in. They were budding and blooming again within a week or two.

Dragon Wing begonias are in the living room and have also been blooming nonstop since coming inside. This month the blooms have more color than last month, although they're still paler than they were outside during the summer.

This is a bright pink geranium blooming in the basement, another one I successfully started from a cutting.

This dark pink double impatiens is blooming in the basement too.

Last month on bloom day I had jasmine buds but no blooms yet. The jasmine has bloomed all month until the last few days, and now we have buds again. This plant has really taken off since coming inside for the winter, after a year of very slow growth. It's going all over the place and I really should prune it. But that would mean removing buds. That's not going to happen anytime soon. Their gorgeous fragrance is food for the gardener's soul in December.

Ok, I know they're not blooms, but the caladiums are just so darned pretty they made the cut for December Bloom Day anyway.

I needed the blogging break, but it's good to be back. I've missed you all!

For more Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day posts, please visit Carol, the creator and hostess of Bloom Day, at May Dreams Gardens.


  1. I need to get a basement! You have wonderful success with cuttings and here they are blooming their heads off down there! What a delight it must be to check them out and see the pinks, peaches and off whites all smiling at you!

    Glad you're back! You have been greatly missed! Have a good bloom Day Linda.

  2. Glad you are back for bloom day.
    I love that you are growing things in the basement. Here in the UK basements are dark, damp and rather grim .... ?

  3. Nice to have you back Linda :) Look like you've got your own basement garden paradise! My children have been experimenting under my basement grow lights. Apparently they even got a dried date pit to sprout and have planted it up. Sometimes I wonder what neighbors must think, seeing that constant glow from the basement window. I hope no one calls the police!


  4. Your basement must be a veritibly delightful garden!

  5. Hi Linda, How in the world do you have caladiums blooming? And who said they weren't blooms? You have really been rewarded by that basement and the light you invested in. So many great blooms. Come spring you are going to be so happy you spent the time and energy to overwinter with such diligence and care.

    See, I could have waited one more day and seen that you were okay. Glad you poked your head out for GBBD. You were missed.
    Meems @ Hoe&Shovel

  6. Welcome back Linda. What a great work to actually keep things alive in the basement, alive and in bloom. Wonderful / Tyra

  7. I think I need to be working a little harder with cuttings that will bloom over the winter - you've given me a number of ideas for next blooms day - thanks for the tropical tour of the lower level.

  8. If something's bright and cheery, like your caladium leaves, I think it counts as blooms in December!
    ~ Monica

  9. Thanks Gail. I'm pleased with all the free plants I get with the basement light, and I sure do enjoy the blooms during the dark winter months.

    It's good to be back!

    Thanks Karen. Our basement is dark and grim too, not to mention cluttered, but the sodium grow light I have down there makes it the perfect spot for overwintering plants.

    Hi Amy, nice to be back! How fun that your kids are taking advantage of the basement grow light. Hopefully their love of plants will continue to bring them joy throughout their lives.

    Our neighbors, if they've even noticed the lights, can see how much gardening I do so hopefully if they've ever wondered, they know I'm just taking care of all those plants that clutter up the patio and front walk all summer, especially since the plants keep reappearing every year.

    Hi Tina, it's actually a bit messy and cluttered in that corner. I'm sure I could do more to make it prettier down there, but as long as the plants live through the winter I'm happy. I sure do enjoy getting my flower fix down there, in spite of its just being an ordinary unfinished basement though.

    Hi Meems! The caladiums all wilted and went dormant immediately after I moved them, but now some of them are unfurling new leaves. Although smaller than their summer foliage, they sure are pretty down there.

    It's good to back. Thanks for caring!

    Thanks Tyra. I'd trade my basement for your greenhouse any day!

    Hi Barbara, having blooms in Chicago even for Winter GBBD's is a nice bonus for ovwintering plants in the basement!

    I'm with you on that Monica! I do love those caladiums. There foliage is just as beautiful as any flower.

  10. Anonymous5:52 PM

    Wow you got a gorgeous blooming garden in your basement Linda! We missed you, hope things have calmed down a bit. Tis the season to be busy, busy, busy. :)

  11. Linda- I hope you had a nice, refreshing break. I'm glad you shared your blooms. Still working on getting my growing area set up in my basement, I guess it's pretty slow work when you've got so many other things going on. Thanks for sharing all of your blooms, it gives me hope that I can do it too. Maybe I'll have some in the next couple of months. Here's hoping.

  12. We missed you too! I wondered where you were. I'm going to have to try begonias again. I haven't had one in awhile. It's been really cold here. Hope my plants survive. No place to bring them in!

  13. Your Geranium blooms well! You are lucky to grow them from cuttings.

  14. Count me among those amazed that you have plants blooming in your basement!

  15. Your photos have such an eerie quality, I felt like I was being told about some new species discovered on another planet with a very yellow sunlight!

  16. Welcome back, Linda! You were missed!

    You have so many beautiful blooms; that grow light must really do the trick. I am sad to say that many of my cuttings have not survived, but I think it's due to not being watered enough. I am learning by trial and error here, and hope to do better next year. Your example is an inspiration!

  17. Your basement must look amazing and presumably smell great as well

  18. Thanks Racquel! It's fun playing down there in the basement 'garden!'

    Things are still hectic, but I'm getting caught up, and this is my last week of work until Spring! :)

    Hi Cinj, have fun working on your basement growing area. It does take time to get things set up, but once that's done it's pretty easy to just care for the plants. You can do as little or as much as you want, based on space and how much time you have.

    Aw, thanks Brenda! Begonias are SO easy - very tolerant of neglect. They seem to prefer it in fact. As long as I forget to water them, they're nice and healthy.

    Thank you PJ! I've always enjoyed experimenting with propagating plants. Cuttings are a great way to make new plants.

    Hi Leslie, the light is the key. It was a big investment, but it's already paid for itself. I spend much less $$ now on tender and tropical plants now that I can overwinter them. Propagating stuff also saves me big bucks.

    Hi Bonnie, I do kind of like the effect of that yellow light and the graininess of some of the shots in the dark basement. It is kind of otherworldly - I'd say subterranean!

    Thanks Rose! It's definitely trial and error, and while I've had many successes, I've also had many casualties. My poor fuchsia that the hummingbirds have loved so much for the past two years bit it as soon as I brought it in. I have no idea what caused its sudden demise. And none of the Japanese willow cuttings I tried rooted either. Oh well! Lots of stuff is thriving, and the fuchsia can be be replaced.

    Thanks PG! When the jasmine is blooming, which has been most of them time since I brought it in, it smells heavenly down there!

  19. Such a great and colourful addition to GBBD. Isn't it great that your effort payed off and now you do have pelargonium cuttings that are thriving?

    Happy GBBD!

  20. Thank you Yolanda! I'd say it's definitely worth the effort. Free plants fit my budget very well. ;)

  21. Hi Linda, everything looks like it is in another universe with that yellow light, I love it! Your thumb has gotten greener it seems with your successes this time after failure before. I would say that the conditions must be nearly perfect in the basement. I am thinking of adding some lights to start the seeds in the greenhouse, they just get so leggy otherwise. Can you recommend a certain type of light? There is plenty of natural light, but I think artificial on timers would make stout seedlings with less failure when planted outside. Any suggestions would be appreciated.

  22. Welcome back! I can't imagine you missing the garden at all with all that in the basement. Your blooms are just fantastic. I so love that pink double Impatiens.

  23. Awesome blooms and I really like the way the camera/light distorts the colors, especially on the caladiums. What sort of fertilizer to do you feed your babies?

  24. Welcome back! You've got some great blooms in your basement. It must be fun to go down there and "garden" in the wintertime.

    Carol, May Dreams GArdens

  25. Hi Frances, last winter I took some pictures down there and found the orangey/yellow light annoying. I'm sure I could compensate somehow if I took full advantage of all the settings on the camera, but I've come to enjoy that eerie glow as it appears in photos!

    It's always nice when the plants cooperate with my green-thumb reputation, especially since the maple-root ridden bed I garden in threatens to tarnish it.

    About the light - I like mine, but since I don't have another type to compare it to, I'm not sure if it's better or worse than other types. I have a sodium fixture with a separate ballast (which is NOT on the floor since our basement has been known to have minor flooding during torrential downpours.) I'm very pleased with it. Metal Halide is another good type of grow light.

    My light had a problem initially, which turned out to the the bulb. The manufacturer's rep was great in helping to resolve the problem, and the light's been great since. It has a good warranty as well. I've had it since October 2007, and haven't needed to replace the bulb yet. Replacement bulbs cost around $100, so I'm glad mine's still effective, but it's worth the cost with what I save in plant material.

    Here's a link to the site where I ordered my light. The light I have is on this page:

    I have the High Pressure Sodium (HPS)600 Watt DayStar Standard. Your needs might be different if your plants will be in your greenhouse room, since you have so much natural light in there. You might not need something as heavy-duty as what I have for the basement.

    Thanks MMD, ah, but I do still miss the garden. Still, the basement 'garden' does help satisfy my gardening addiction during the cold, dark days of winter.

    I'll be making some babies from those impatiens, probably start them next month after the holiday rush dies down. I'd be happy to share. They are so easy to start from cuttings, at least last year they were.

  26. Hi CG, Thanks! I'm learning to like the look too.

    I don't do much fertilizing this time of year. It's fine with me if the plants aren't growing too rapidly right now, as I have them pretty close together.

    Some things won't be fertilized until they go outside again in the spring, and some will be stimulated into more rapid growth a month or so before our last frost date. I really like the fertilizers from Gardens Alive.

    Thanks Carol! Yes, I do enjoy getting my winter gardening 'fix' in the basement. Before I got the light I wasn't sure how much I'd enjoy it, since I'd always enjoyed the break from gardening. But having everything in one place makes it so easy to take care of. Mostly all I do is preen and water. There's no weeding in the winter, although I do seem to have an abundance of impatiens seedlings come up in containers where they don't belong. Those are a piece of cake, although part of me just hates to pull them.

  27. You have such pretty blooms! I keep seeing people's thriving plants & flowers in their basements for the winter. Well, I have a basement, and darn it--I need to get on the ball and put some flowers down there with a nice bright light:) I've never tried that before, but I think it's time I do it! Jan

  28. Beautiful December blooms :)

  29. Missing your posts and look forward to after the holidays when I know you will have great stories to share! gail

  30. Garden Girl these blooms are amazing!
    Looking at them makes me feel that Santa should bring me one of those artificial lights!
    May the Spirit of Christmas leaves its blessings on the hearts of you and yours! hugs NG

  31. Linda !! Wow ... this is a teasing post to have such plant life going on here .. I am very jealous girl !
    I just wanted to drop by and say Merry Christmas and a VERY Happy New Year too !!!

  32. Stopping by to wish you and yours a Merry Christmas!!

  33. Thanks Jan, I'm really glad I got the light. I enjoy preserving my tender plants and propagating stuff down there.

    Thank you Marie!

    Aw, thanks Gail! Things should be settling down soon now that I'm finished at the nursery until Spring.

    Thank you NG! I hope Santa brings you a nice grow light!

    Hey Joy, I do love my light, and the gardening fix too. It's fun to play down there.

    Aw, thank you Kim! Merry Christmas to you and your family too!

    And Merry Christmas to everyone!


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