Sunday, December 28, 2008

A New Little Gardener

Once upon a time there was the sweetest little Niece who used to follow her Auntie around the garden full of wonder and curiosity. Her Auntie could see even then that one day her Niece would have a garden of her very own.The Niece soon grew up. Her love of gardening continued. She even attended Chicago's agricultural high school and became valedictorian of her graduating class. She became a beautiful young woman with a generous, kind, loving heart.

Off to college she went. Before we knew it, she'd graduated, and one day awhile later, she married her college sweetheart, a young man who'd grown up on a farm not too far away from her own great-great grandparents' farm, then studied horticulture in college, and soon embarked upon his horticultural career.

And one fine day a few weeks ago, the Niece and her husband welcomed a new little gardener into the family, Ms. Liliana Lee.
Our new little gardener had a bit of a rough start in life. Having been born a few weeks early, her lungs weren't quite ready and she had a hard time breathing. The Niece and her husband had to leave her in the hospital for a while until her lungs were more mature and she was able to breathe and eat on her own.
Thankfully our new little gardener is doing wonderfully well, and was able to come home to celebrate her first Christmas with her grateful parents.
And the Niece, her husband, and the new little gardener lived happily ever after, growing and blooming in a garden of their very own.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas!

For the first time in years, M&M won't be able to make it for Christmas. They're snowed in. Don't you feel sorry for them? Peace, quiet, sleeping in their own bed on Christmas Eve, and waking up to each other and this boring view from their living room window Christmas morning - how sad! ;)

My youngest daughter and grandson moved back to the east coast earlier this year and will be spending Christmas there.

My stepdaughters are spending Christmas together in sunny California.

And my niece and her husband will be at home a couple of states west of here, enjoying their brand new baby girl.

We'll miss them all this Christmas. Together or apart, we're glad they're all warm and safe at their Christmas destinations, whether snowed in at home or visiting other family members, not sleeping at the airport or trying to drive long distances in the sleet, snow and ice we've experienced in wave after wave this cold midwest December.

We're looking forward to celebrating tomorrow with the Lawn Man's mother and sister and my oldest two daughters with their significant others. The Lawn Man is planning a feast of ginormous proportions. His holiday dinners are legendary, and this Christmas will be no exception. I've been working on some baked goodies and appetizers, and we'll be doing lots of prep work today getting ready for tomorrow's celebration.

Wherever your loved ones are geographically, may you all enjoy a safe, peaceful, and Very Merry Christmas!

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.