13 November 2018

Extended Season

I heard quite a bit of grumbling at the beginning of November regarding Christmas trees being set up before Thanksgiving and stores devoting two or three aisles to seasonal merchandise.

My first Christmas cactus bud of the season appeared before we left for California, the last day of September. The white blossoms, however, take the longest to mature and open. The red ones have beat the white ones, opening the day after Day of the Dead.

So Christmas is coming early at my house, and that's okay, because the flowers make me very happy every single day they bloom. I make snowflakes all year long, so I'm not ever going to complain about when people put up their decorations. I don't care for the commercialism, but I wouldn't mind the emotions and generosity associated with my favorite holiday being spread throughout the year.

I put my two full-grown amaryllis plants in the basement a month early this year, hoping that might help them reach the flowering stage in December instead of the typical January. This year, the two mature plants were joined by the baby bulb I broke off the picotee amaryllis after the first year. It seemed big enough this year to go downstairs with the adults, and it's racing toward the finish line WAY ahead of Mama and Red! I don't know if it will flower this year, but it certainly responded well to being brought back out into the bright of day!

Every year, I've attempted to pollinate the red and white amaryllis flowers in the hopes of getting a mixture of my own creation. I've still got five little babies that aren't big enough to go into the basement yet. Somehow, two seeds got into one pot, and they seem to be friendly toward one another, so I didn't transplant.

The babies aren't showing much growth, so I don't know if I was successful in any of my pollination efforts, but I re-discovered earlier this year that pollinating the flowers degrades the bulbs for the next year's flowers because the bulbs are putting so much energy into reproducing. I'd read that the first year, but I forgot.

For the last two years, I got only two white picotee flowers. I'm not going to ask Mama to make any more seeds.

Because I've become so attached to my amaryllis plants, I decided to buy a few more this year. I invested in a few more exotic colors... Flamenco Queen (which might turn out similar to what I'd imagined for my cross pollination efforts), Candy Floss and Butterfly Papilio. I am going to have some photography fun when these babies open!

And oh, oh, oh!!! Two of the Butterfly Papilio bulbs are pregnant!!!

And you know Papilio is a butterfly, right???

I expected my garden would be snowed in while we were in California for my parents' 50th anniversary and that I'd come home to brownish-yellow and wilted mulch. So I used up a bit of space on my camera's memory cards capturing what was left at the end of September.

Imagine my surprise when we returned... during a snowstorm!!!... to find a few blossoms still thriving!

So I used up a bit more space on the memory cards.

That first snowfall didn't result in much accumulation, and apparently the mercury didn't drop too far in the next week, because I got to enjoy the cosmos blossoms for a few more days after we got back home. Then came the forecast for four inches and days of 20-degree lows, which actually happened. I brought in the potted tomatoes, peppers and a few flowers, hoping to allow them a little bit more simulated autumn before they sleep or die.

On the vine were 9 tiny little green Roma tomatoes I wanted to eat! Some apparently didn't get enough true autumn and never turned red, but I did get enough tiny Romas for a salad, then I got one more before the rest of the two plants decided indoor autumn was not to their liking. Here is my final homegrown Roma tomato for the year.

I clipped quite a few cosmos, unaware they actually have a fragrance until I began clipping them. I added a few sprigs of lavender and had a lovely bouquet in the kitchen for nearly a whole week. I didn't know if the buds would open after clipping, so I was delightfully surprised when I came home to new cosmos blossoms every single day of winter weather!

I clipped every single dahlia bud and placed them in a vase behind my kitchen sink, hoping at least a few might bloom. I got five full flowers!

The potted delphiniums, larkspur and daisies I brought indoors have been such a treat! I don't get as many photo opportunities as I would like this time of year, but I sure have enjoyed seeing the flowers in the middle of November!

Always amazed at the monsters I find when I shoot macro...

There's the annual hyacinth tradition, too. I always buy a few more bulbs so I can force them indoors during winter, then transplant them in spring for the next year's loveliness.

I clipped all the remaining live lavender blossoms hours before the snow began to fall and created what I think is the prettiest and best-smelling bouquet I've ever made. It lasted nearly two weeks in our bedroom, and I would have to say the experts are right. Having lavender in the bedroom does improve sleep quality.

lavender clipped

I made a greeting card from one of my favorite bouquet shots. Our Chinese maple had never been as brilliant as it was this year. This autumn contrast is one of my favorite lavender photos of all time.

Seeds for next year's garden are hibernating in a dry, cool bin below the indoor garden shelves, and a few will get early indoor starts next March or April. I love winter, but I sure am excited about what might will be blooming in my garden next spring!


  1. You are sure always prepared. Snow couldn't stop those flowers from blooming away. Agreed, would be nice if the spirit was kept all year around.

  2. I love cosmos. They seem like the quintessential garden flower - so simple and pretty. I never knew they had a scent!

    Any tomato is better than no tomato. :D We have a plateful of slowly ripening little pear tomatoes picked weeks ago before the first frost. It's a tiny taste of summer-that-was.

    Beautiful maple and exciting seed packets!


Dusty words lying under carpets,
seldom heard, well must you keep your secrets
locked inside, hidden deep from view?
You can talk to me... (Stevie Nicks)

All spam is promptly and cheerfully deleted without ever appearing in print.

If you are unable to leave a comment and need to contact me, please use the email address in the sidebar. Thank you!

Related Posts with Thumbnails