Wednesday, December 15, 2010

December Bloom Day

It's a travesty but it's true - this month's first blooms are (gasp. . . )


The floral arrangement and matching candy cups came from the south suburban garden club's holiday pot luck. The little bouquet was a door prize. I was thrilled since it's so cute, and surprised since I rarely win anything. (Mom made the quilted table runner for us, and the lotus candle holders were gifts from the Lawn Man's mom our first Christmas together.)

The African violet is still going strong, with lots more blooms than last month. Another one or two might end up coming home from the grocery store over the winter, if I can find another couple of sunny spots to put them. I've fallen in love with African violets all over again. The last time I had one, I was still a kid.

Down in the basement, there's a bunch of stuff overwintering under our big grow light. Some of it's blooming again already, even though everything was cut back hard before coming inside a few weeks ago. It's hard to believe this fuchsia is 'Blackie.' Under the big light in the basement, we still get blooms, but they're much paler than they are when the plants are outdoors. Fingers are crossed on the fuchsia. I've killed one over the winter each of the last two years.

Here's a close-up of a red dragonwing begonia - another example of pale basement blooms. Outdoors this begonia's blooms are truly red.

Also blooming in the basement are purple-leaf oxalis, pink dragonwings, a peach-colored geranium, and a bunch of Diamond Frost euphorbias.

It's 9 degrees outdoors as I write this, and the garden is covered in a blanket of snow. Winter is settling in here in Chicago's south suburbs. The kids and grandkids are healthy, the freezer and pantry are stocked, Christmas decorations are up, and the Middle girl and her fiance' arrive from tropical Florida this weekend. All's well in my world, as I hope it is in yours too.

For more Bloom Day posts, please visit Carol at May Dreams Gardens.


  1. Hi GG,

    Even the fake ones look good to me today!


  2. Linda girl it all looks wonderful to me ! Fake is a good thing at times .. especially if you have cats that like to investigate ? haha
    Your basement has such an aura of garden grace .. so many little plant lives are hanging on in there ! LOL
    Positive forces indeed : )

  3. How wonderful that the fuschia and begonia have blooms down in your basement - beautiful! I so love African Violets and yours is so pretty.

  4. What a beautiful table arrangement.
    Coming from what is considered a cold place in Australia, I find it amazing what you go through in winter.

  5. Anonymous7:25 AM

    You tricked me. I thought it was a real roses centerpiece. Even the fake one was pretty too.

  6. Fake or not, it's still a pretty bouquet. I'm so glad you mentioned the table runner, Linda--my eye was immediately caught by it; it's beautiful! Glad to hear you're all ready for Christmas and that Middle Daughter is coming home. Stay warm!

  7. I love the lotus candle holders! Glad you are staying warm!

  8. If I lived in Chicago I'd be scanning the papers to see if you do garden tours in your basement.


  9. I know what you mean Eileen - there sure aren't any blooms outside around here, unless that is, they're fake too!

    Thank you Joy! Oh yes, I do remember the combo of cats and plants. . . !

    I brought George with me, but the girls kept our cats when I moved here. I miss having a cat, but having house plants again for the first time in years is kind of nice.

    Since the Lawn Man is not a cat fancier, even live plants grow unmolested indoors. George is completely indifferent to them.

    I think so too Elaine! I really enjoy puttering down there during the winter. I'm surprised how many of our overwintering plants bloom under the light.

    Thank you Mac! I sometimes find it amazing how brutal our winters can be too. It's colder than usual here so far this December. Right now it's still -1 degrees F. At least it's sunny, and I'm grateful to be indoors.

    GWGT, I'm kind of glad it's fake, since it's a nice memento from the garden club that I can keep and use every Christmas. I'm a sentimental old girl, and love holiday decorations with fond memories attached to them.

    I think so too Rose!

    I love the runner. Mom does a lot of quilting with her super-duper sewing machine, and makes some really gorgeous things. The runner is beautiful on both sides - it reverses to rich fall colors and a Thanksgiving theme. It's a treasured keepsake I love bringing out every November, and flipping over to the Christmas side in December.

    You stay warm too - this winter is starting out to be quite a doozy!

    I love them too Rose! I think they're perfect with the Asian-inspired furniture and Oriental rug in our dining room.

    Hope you're staying warm too. Wow - it's already up to 0 degrees! It's gone up one whole degree since I started writing these comments.

    LOL Esther! I 'should' do more posts on the plants in the basement. Basement garden tours over the winter would be a really fun idea. I used to enjoy the winter break from plant care, yet have found I mind winter much less since I've started keeping indoor plants again.

  10. Hi Linda...I love the quilted table runner and thanks for showing us the prize that you brought pretty.
    Isn't this weather something else? And to think it isn't even officially winter. I wonder what the future days will bring us?

  11. PS...Basement tours would be fun. B

  12. ha ha .... I always love dropping by and seeing what you have been up to! ...
    Merry Christmas to you and your family!!

    And a Happy Gardening new Year to you!!


  13. What beautiful photos. You are lucky to have a place to keep those beautiful plants in winter.

  14. Anonymous11:35 AM

    Your arrangement was a lucky win. It looks great! We gardeners in more northern zones occasionally have to resort to the odd fake just to have a little floral type color.

  15. We do what we can do to have pretty blooms! I've seen the prettiest faux flowers and yours look wonderful! I so love seeing that sweet baby photo on your blog~happiest of times to you dear Linda! xxoogail

  16. You AV is so attractive! And so many flowers. Love it a lot. I also thinks that one is just not enough :-)

    Unfortunately AV doesn't really like my shade garden that much. The afternoon heat is too much for the plant here. More so for the flowers, they prefer cooler temperature to open/bloom well.

  17. Hi Balisha, me too! Besides how pretty it is, knowing it was made with love by Mom makes it very special. It's sure been a cold winter so far, and it's not even officially winter yet!

    We could add the dining and living rooms to our basement garden tour - there are plants overwintering in sunny windows here too.

    Hi Vanessa! Hope all's well with you. Thanks for stopping by. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you and yours!

    Thank you Commonweeder. I'm so glad we have a basement. Overwintering all these plants is enjoyable, and saves lots of $$ too. There are over $100 worth of diamond frost euphorbias alone. I like being able to rescue them from winter, enjoy taking care of and propagating them, and love the $$ savings.

    I think so too TDG. (At least the fake ones don't need watering!)

    I don't mind the odd faux arrangement Gail - I especially like dried flowers and seed heads/pods.

    It's hard to believe she'll be a year old in just a couple of months! She is such a sweet, happy baby.

    Best of times to you too dear friend! xoxo

    Thank you Stephanie. I can definitely see another AV or two in my future!

    They don't seem to be very well suited for outdoors. It seems like they prefer the more controlled conditions of indoors.

  18. Hi Garden Girl
    Wow, the quilted table runner is wonderful! The color and the pattern are just lovely. One really get X-mas Feelings looking at it.
    Take care

  19. Haha! You fooled me with the fake flowers, I was squinting closely trying to figure out what they were before I scrolled down to read. Very attractive arrangement!

  20. Hi Alex, I knew you'd appreciate the textile art! You do such beautiful work yourself. Have a wonderful weekend!

    Haha AF! Gotta get creative with blooms this time of year in our climate. Real ones are pretty scarce.

    Glad you liked it!

  21. Hi,

    wow this is a fake flower? hmm i don't think so. it looks so real

    Just like to share with you a beautiful quote...

    "Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success. If you love what you are doing, you will be successful." - Albert Schweitzer

    You can get more happiness quotes at

  22. HI Linda! We haven't had a 'blanket of snow' yet in's just been c-c-c-cold!!
    African violets are a favorite of mine since they are easy to grow/propagate. They bloom for a long time, too! Love that two-tone purple you have! Have a wonderful Holiday, Linda. I bet that new little gran-baby will be spoiled! :)
    Stay w-w-warm!!!
    Love, Lynn

  23. Are you related to a Frankie Kienthat used to be stationed in Ft Wainwright AK in 1995? My hasband and I are looking for him to reunite.
    Joe & Liz Armstrong.

  24. Anonymous4:04 PM

    Basement gardening is something I'd like to try someday.

  25. Crossing my fingers for your fuchsia. Every year I tell myself to overwinter one, but I never get around to it. I once saw the coolest mame bonsai made out of fuchsia and have wanted to try to keep one alive over subsequent years.


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