Friday, January 16, 2009

January Bloom Day

Nothing's blooming outside here, that's for sure! Like much of the country, the Chicago area is in the deep freeze this Bloom Day. Our current temperature is 19 below zero. I'm still enjoying nesting and still not minding the winter - so much so that I'm losing track of time. I've been off a day all week, so I missed bloom day. Better late than never, right?

In spite of the cold I'm still enjoying the usual suspects blooming happily in the basement 'greenhouse,' and the two dragon wing begonias blooming in our living room while they wait for spring.

The caladiums still haven't gone dormant. They keep growing, so I keep watering.

I pulled all the tired blooms off most of the geraniums in the basement, but they continue to bud.

This red is the only geranium in bloom at the moment.

The heliotrope's blooms are paler and less compact under artificial light, and just about done for now. That's a jasmine bud in the foreground.

Speaking of jasmine, this bloom day I actually have blooms. They smell heavenly.

Diamond Frost euphorbia has been going strong too. The tiny blooms are tough to photograph. This one always looks better in person than in a picture. I adore this plant. It doesn't like cold temperatures, but it blooms non-stop indoors and out. I'm crazy about the clouds of tiny blooms this euphorbia churns out, even in spots with very little sun. The plants stay smaller in the shade, but still bloom like crazy for me. In full sun, they can become shrub-like in size and bloom even more. There's a cassandra and a French pussy willow cutting in the foreground.

Mexican Heather's been a stalwart basement bloomer too!

A tiny Endless Summer hydrangea is blooming already. This little plant was started from a cutting in early October. The Annabelle cuttings are holding on, but not thriving in the basement. Endless Summer seems to be weathering winter in the basement much better so far.

In spite of the frigid, snowy weather, I'm enjoying winter. I'm in no rush for spring yet, and that's not like me. It's amazing what being off work for the winter has done to my attitude about cold weather!

For more bloom day posts, please visit the rock star founder of Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day, Carol at May Dreams Gardens.


  1. The caladiums are so cute and I love their name, too. (I also like the word bromeliad...) I don't have much blooming except one African violet.

  2. Hi Monica, I'm surprised the caladiums are still up! Last year at this time they were mostly dormant, with an odd leaf unfurling now and then. I have another pot of them that are either dormant or dead, only time will tell.

  3. Hi garden girl, I am rather content this winter too...and it isn't like me either. I feel at peace with it! Weird, huh? Anyway, you have beautiful indoor blooms and you are smart to have and indoor garden area for your plants to over-winter. I haven't done that but I'm inspired to do it for next year. Your temps are chilly;( Today, in Northern VA, I woke up to 10 degrees, and that's cold for us! All I want is the snow now--just for a bit--then it can melt:)


  4. You have a whole business in your basement! What a wonderful sight for you up there in frigid Chicago.

  5. Wow, you have so much going on there. I'm surprised about the caladiums. They rot so easily when it gets cold.

  6. Amazing GBBD for an IL basement garden, Linda! Keeping them alive and blooming takes special talent. I'm glad I saw the euphorbia in person last summer- until then I couldn't figure out why people were making a fuss about it. The fragile charm just disappears in photos, no matter how good the photographer.

    I've been feeling sympathy for family, friends and online friends during this awful deep freeze - looks like you have one more bad night and then maybe a break?

    Happy GBBD!

    Annie at the Transplantable Rose

  7. Gosh -19 does sound cold but I do love your basement 'greenhouse' it sounds fab

  8. First, I love that wintry blue header photo, Linda. You have so much in bloom! I don't believe I've ever seen a dragon wing begonia before, but it's beautiful and orchid-like. I have such limited window space here in my apartment that it makes overwintering anything almost impossible. I even gave up on my wonderful geraniums. :( Oh well, another growing season is just around the bend.

  9. Dear Linda,

    Hello. You might recall I already have basement envy and now I have it even more! Your basement must be incredible...caladiums, euphorbia, jasmin; just don't tell me you have tomatoes growing down there, too! I am so glad you are having a good peaceful rest and that the stress of this weather isn't getting to you. It's a good feeling! Do keep warm.


  10. You are the first person I've read in the last few days to say she enjoys winter! But I do understand, Linda; I spent so many years looking forward to summer and hoping it would never end:)

    I'm embarrassed to admit my overwintering has not gone well, despite all your helpful advice. Perhaps if I had not been so tight and invested in a good grow light in the basement, I would have had much better luck.

    I do have some Diamond Frost euphorbia in the garage, though, unless it froze last night. This was my first year to plant some, and I agree it's a great plant! It will be in even more of my containers next year.

  11. Hi Jan, we may as well be content, since we can't change the weather anyway!

    I'm glad we have a deep snow cover. Hopefully it's protecting the plants from this bitter cold. Your temps sound downright balmy to me!

    Hi Tina, I guess it's the plant preservation and propagation society down there!

    Hi Donna, those caladiums are pretty cozy in the basement I think. It's pretty warm down there.

    Thanks Annie, well, they're alive, but not really thriving! I have had casualties, and cuttings that didn't take, but all in all I'm pretty pleased.

    You're so right about Diamond Frost - it just isn't very photogenic.

    It was actually up to -2 earlier this afternoon, but it's heading back down now, then hopefully a break starting tomorrow.

    Hi PG, It's very frigid here. I stay in as much as possible in this weather. I'm so glad I don't HAVE to go anywhere in it!

    I do enjoy having a spot to overwinter plants!

    Thanks Nancy! I love early morning and late afternoon winter shots when they come out blue like that.

    I do love those dragon wings. Sun or shade, they never stop blooming, and they're very graceful.

    I almost left the geraniums. I was so tired of lugging stuff in. Our warm November gave me a second wind though, and now I'm glad I did. I'm even propagating them.

    I'm lucky to have the space to bring in so many plants, but you get to try new colors and new varieties by starting fresh.

    Spring will be here before we know it!

    Hi Gail, funny you should mention tomatoes. . . no, just kidding! Although. . . I have the space. . . I could get another light. . .

    Seriously though, I do enjoy having the basement, especially living in tornado alley. A couple of houses ago I didn't have a basement for the first time. That was a big factor in deciding to move - I felt insecure without a basement living in this area! When I moved I decided any future homes I lived in would have one.

    I hope you're staying warm too!

    Hi Rose, it's not the weather I'm enjoying, that's for sure! Brrrr! I try not to go out, and am grateful I don't have to. Winter is so peaceful now. And, the icing on the cake is my kids are all grown, so basically this winter I'm able to do whatever I want. There've been few times in my life I could say that, and it's really wonderful. I really can't believe how fast winter is going by. Every day flies, and I'm enjoying it. If this is what retirement is like, I can hardly wait.

    I'm sorry your plants haven't done as well as you'd have liked. I think it does take a pretty substantial light to be successful in the basement.

    The light I got was expensive, but I really feel it paid for itself very quickly in saved and propagated plants, and it was good for seed starting too.

    But there's no reason for embarassment. Kudos to you for trying. It must be disappointing for you though, especially since it's a fair amount of work getting the plants ready and lugging them in.

  12. It's nice that you have a place to store your tender perennials during the winter months Linda. Looks like your basement must smell really good now! ;)

  13. Hi and thank you for your kind comment on my blog. I have just been looking at your pictures and am so impressed by what you have growing in your basement! Beautiful. I can't say I am resigned to winter here. I wonder if it is easier to go with the flow when you have really low temperatures like yours. Here it is about 6 degrees C today, cold enough for not much to be growing although the snowdrops are starting to stick up their snouts. It is the short days that get me and I love it as the days begin to lengthen. roll on spring!

  14. You've been able to keep so much going inside!

  15. For someone in cold country, you sure have a lot of pretty blooms!

  16. You've got a lot going on inside. When weather is like this, those plants are wonderful to have, aren't they.

    Thanks for joining in for bloom day!

    Carol, May Dreams Gardens

  17. Jasmine blooming in the winter time! No wonder you are enjoying hibernating in the house this winter. I would too with that smell keeping me company :-)

  18. So nice to see blooms at this time of year! Each year I think to myself I've got to get a Jasmine plant, this year I am going to do it. I want to experience that heavenly scent!

  19. I see you keep Persian Shield going too. Interesting! Wow, I am really impressed by your greenhouse.

  20. You're making me miss the snow! I can't believe your Mexican Heather is blooming indoors...mine quit a while ago. Enjoy the snow...spring's a coming.

  21. Hi GG, it is very nurturing of you to protect your plants over the winter. I am currently leaving mine to fend for themselves in terrible heat and dryness, to find out which plants are suitable for our changing climate. But maybe I should be a bit less ruthless and more like you.

  22. Nice Plants! I too grow plants
    indoors, I feel that this hobby
    makes living in zone 5a great.
    you have a great blog! I have about
    100 plants in my sun room.

  23. The caladiums look wonderful. I've not come across them before.

    Incidentally, I've signed the petition to Barrack Obama that you mention in the sidebar. (Clicked through from here.) It's a brilliant idea . . . though I'm not happy about the name or concept of 'Victory Gardens'. Growing vegetables is good though.


  24. Thanks Racquel! The jasmine does smell very pretty.

    Hi Elizabeth, thanks for visiting. I'm a little surprised winter isn't stressing me out - it usually does. Spring means back to work, so I'm in no hurry!

    So far so good Nancy, although I have killed a couple of things!

    Thanks Brenda!

    They sure are Carol. Thanks for all work you do for bloom day!

    Hi Skeeter, that jasmine is going all over the place. It's growing better in the basement than it did outside. Go figure!

    I think you'd enjoy it Kim. They do smell heavenly!

    Hi EAL, the Persian shield's really easy to grow. Cuttings are easy to start too.

    Hi Conscious Gardener, I'm not sure I'd ever miss snow! It is pretty sometimes though. I'm pretty impressed with the light in the basement - even stuff that normally needs a lot of sun is blooming.

    Hi Catmint, It's only recently I've been growing and overwintering tender plants. Last year I did think a lot about all the watering. I may have less plants in containers this year.

    Thank you Cathy! Wow - 100 plants! Indoor gardening sure does brighten up winter.

    Thanks Esther. I hope the Obamas will do it. There are so many issues to occupy the new administration's attention and time.

  25. Hi Linda, hope you get an email when you have a comment, this is a little late! I love that golden glow in your basement, it looks warm even if it really isn't. You have done so well with your plants, and what a head start that must give you in spring too. We were quite happy with diamond frost, hope it is readily available again around here. It is so nice to hear how happy and content you are, about generally everything, may we all feel that kind of peace inside ourselves. :-)

  26. Hi Frances, yep, I get emails when I get new comments. I was just online doing some Spring Fling planning when I received your comment notification.

    I think Diamond Frost will continue to available. It's a big seller at the nursery - usually sells out pretty early. I'm glad they overwinter so well, and have accumulated several of them. I do wish they were easier to photograph. It's hard to appreciate them from a picture.

    It's been pretty easy being content lately - life has been good. The hard part is staying peaceful and contented inside when life is more stressful and challenging, but I aspire to that too!

  27. WoW they are so beautiful. I actually have an entire article about Flowers and their Meanings, hopefully you will enjoy seeing them..
    Good Luck!

  28. Thank you Mustafa, and thanks for visiting. I popped over to your post - wow! thats a lot of flowers! Your photos were beautiful.

  29. Hi Linda,

    Let me introduce myself, I am
    Cathy daughter of Carolyn from
    Sweet Home and Garden Chicago.
    I am an indoor gardener and have
    a blog- growingindoorplants.blogspot
    I see you have a nice collection
    of plants inside too :) I hope to
    meet you at the Spring Fling since
    my mom is on the Committee I am
    going to be there too. It should be a fun event.

  30. Hi Cathy, thanks so much for stopping by and introducting yourself! I just took a peek at your blog. I see you've inherited your mom's artistic talent. I loved your hummingbird drawings - beautiful!

    I'm looking forward to meeting you at the Fling.

  31. p.s. Cathy - I added you to my Chicago-area blog roll.


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