Friday, January 15, 2010

January Bloom Day

Not surprisingly, nothing is blooming in our Chicago-area garden in January. The snow cover we've had since December had accumulated to about a foot, and is now disappearing during a welcome January thaw.

There are a few blooms in the basement 'greenhouse,' like this wax begonia. I almost didn't bring in this planter. Wax begonias are cheap and common. Replacing the three in this leaky old watering can planter would have set me back less than $1.00. Still, after several light frosts, this planter came inside, too sweet to let it die.

Last year was the first time I grew the ubiquitous wax begonia. Despite how common they are, I've decided I like them after all. Even in the hottest part of summer, they needed watering once a week or less. More tolerant of spring deluges, they survived last year's without rotting (more than I can say for some of the other, fancier begonias who shall remain nameless.) Wax begonias added color to our shady garden and containers from May through November. That's what I call Non Stop!

Not actually a bloom, this bromeliad bract is welcome in January. Athough it's not as fresh as it was a few months ago, it's still pretty.

I wasn't sure how these torenias would fare over the winter in the basement. . . so far, so good!

The dragon wing begonias have been overwintered for three years. They bloom like crazy all winter.

For more Bloom Day posts, please visit Carol at May Dreams Gardens, who hosts this popular favorite every month.


  1. I love that bromeliad! We don't mind that it's not really a bloom. It's bloomesque. :)

  2. Nice to see flowers blooming all winter. They will melt the snow.... ~bangchik

  3. Very nice. Impressive Bromeliad even if the bloom is not fresh. The torenias have just about taken over my gardens.....

  4. How cheery are those for winter! Even if the blooms are a little past their prime they still lift your spirits.

    I can't have anything inside for winter with two cats.

  5. It's those inside blooms that can keep gardener satisfied for quite some time. Very lovely shots!

  6. Thanks Diane! I've never had a bromeliad before, and am glad this one is thriving. It's a lot easier to take care of than I feared.

    LOL Bangchik! I think I'd need a lot more blooms to melt all the snow we have here. ;)

    Thank you Darla. Torenias are such nice annuals for our containers - they bloom so well with so little sun.

    I know what you mean about the cats - I've had cats most of my life. The last three we had moved out of the house with two of my girls. I miss them, but don't miss the havoc they wreaked with house plants. (especially floor plants - the cats thought they were litter boxes.)

    Thank you Rosey! Thank heavens for plants that bloom indoors - sure makes winter more cheerful.

  7. Wonderful to be part of the Garden Network Bloom Day! LOVE YOUR BLOOMS... enjoy the day!

  8. Linda girl you have wonderful blooms in that basement of yours !
    It would be a piece of heaven if I ever had a space to try and over winter some plants .. when we win the lottery I intend to have a greenhouse ... heck ! SEVERAL greenhouses !! LOL
    Joy : )

  9. Linda, your basement is as full of color as any greenhouse! Your torenia looks so healthy--I couldn't even keep mine alive outdoors this summer. I don't blame you for bringing in the wax begonias; they may be common, but it's hard to let go of such a survivor.

  10. Hi Linda! Your blooms are perfect...I, on the other hand, had to buy mine! I hope all is well with you! Happy Bloom Day. gail

  11. I think gardening at your location is much more interesting than it is in the tropics. Your blooms could be transfered into your house! So nice. But definitely requires diligence. Garden girl, way to go! Your torenia is cute ;-D Enjoy the weekend ok.

  12. Anonymous5:20 AM

    Hi Linda, I love how that light makes your flowers look, like we are in a magic conservatory. I remember your begonias from last year, is this the same plant? The torenia was unidentifiable! How fun. What does it do to a human complexion? That light? :-)

  13. That begonia is way too sweet to leave outside to die for sure. I love begonias for their long bloom in the garden. You'll have a headstart this summer.

  14. The bromeliad is lovely! It looks like you have good blooms in the basement to last through the winter!

  15. Anonymous8:49 PM

    I have to agree with you about the wax begonias, they're really not that bad. When I was a kid my aunt had a few pots of it on her windowsills and I remember eating the flowers on many occasions-actually liked the taste.

  16. Hey Linda,
    I admire your diligence to cart your plants to the basement and nurture them the best you can for the long winter. They love you back I know... I see them in summer and they appreciate your hard work.

    I'm pretty sure you were suppose to garden down here ... your love for tropicals makes me smile. I actually took lessons from you (and other northern gardeners) and when the temps were getting so low here I went out and dug up some of my broms to bring into the garage. I am quite certain it is what saved my aechmeia blanchettianas from burning to a crisp. So thank you.
    Enjoy the rest of your weekend.

  17. What pretty blooms. You must have the perfect set up for growing them inside.

    I've quit keeping house plants (except for one Christmas cactus) because of the cats. My windows at work are all filled with the amaryllis brought inside in Oct.

  18. My overwintering wax begonias are blooming nicely and adding a bit of color now...well worth bringing in.
    Love the colors of that bromeliad!
    Torenia! It's amazing what will overwinter, isn't it?
    I may have to add a dragon wing begonia to my overwintering collection next year. Anything that blooms like crazy all winter is my kind of plant!


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