Thursday, September 20, 2012

Recycling plants

It's that time of year when the days are getting shorter. When we roll back the clocks in November, winter has set in and we are in for a long season of dreary days. Old Man Winter stays a long time here, coming as early as late September and staying around until early June. Sometimes we think he will NEVER leave! The only way I make it thorough without going crazy, is the hope that houseplants give me! I've already started re-potting some of my summer annuals to bring inside. There are many that do well in a sunny location in your house... impatiens, begonias, spider plants and ferns. You'd be surprised how happy they can make you feel when the days are cold and blustery! One of my favorite houseplants is the Christmas Cactus. It's orchid like blooms put on a show from late November through Christmas.

They come in almost any color... I love the pinks and reds since they bloom at just the right time to add color to my holiday decorating! Easy to care for, they tolerate low light conditions in the house. All summer long I keep mine on our shady patios, other than a little plant food and a spritz of water, they are on their own... summer vacation for them and me! When nights begin to cool, I bring them inside and take away their plant food letting the soil dry between waterings. Until buds start forming, they like low light. I keep mine in the living room. Once the buds start to open, move them to a light location, not direct sun though. Favorite places near windows are perfect... bookcases, bedside tables, mantles, kitchen bars, even on the side of your tub if it's near a window! If you have a cool house, they will bloom for as long as 6 weeks! Once it's finished with it's show, move to a sunny place until summer arrives and it's time for their vacation on the patio!

I learned from Mom that summer's annuals can easily be moved indoors and enjoyed, only to recycle the next summer... and the next summer... and the next summer! She moved her ferns, wandering jew and swedish ivy inside every year and enjoyed them all winter long. The ferns set in the coolest part of our house, a foyer that was shut off from the main house with french doors. There was enough light from the rooms that came off of that hallway to keep them in a semi-dormant state all winter long. It must have kept them from doing the leaf drop that mine are prone to each winter. My house is simply too warm so I keep our ferns in the garage. Since it's well insulated, they do just fine.

I love a plant that gives me a plant, the Ivy leafed Geraniums that you may have bought this summer can be "wintered over." They are a trailing plant and by the end of the season are often overgrown and rootbound. You can simply give them a haircut, taking off all but 6-8 inches of growth, then set the pot in a cool place with weekly waterings until early spring. For us, that's March. Then you remove from the pot and slice off the bottom 1/3 of the soil to get the tangle of roots. Divide up into pots of three plants, keep them watered and in a light place until temperatures warm and you can move them outside.
Some of the plants that you can easily propagate are Spider (Chlorophytum comosum), Philodendron and almost any ivy. Just snip, plant and water! 

Hands down, my favorite houseplant is an African violet. Somewhere along the way, African violets got the reputation of being temperamental. Given a bright window and a drink of fertilized water they will fill your home with blooms all year long. I love the lacy white edged purples and the double bloomed plants, they remind me of Mrs. Freeman. She had her collection on a large table near a dining room window, they were the first thing you'd see as you walked into her house on Summit. No matter how much snow was on the ground, those violets were blooming!

I know I'll be glad I moved all those plants inside once the snowflakes start to fall and I'm on the inside more. It will make winter bearable and give me the hope that springtime will come again and I can dig in the dirt! 

Speaking of "dirt," here's a great recipe for Ghosts in the Graveyard Cake. This one is from Kraft Foods and is so easy! You can Make and Take in less than 30 minutes, so SAVE for that emergency dessert that you may be needing in the next few weeks. Click HERE for the recipe!


  1. Your flowers and plants are so beautiful. I am not gifted with a green thumb, but there are about 4 plants that I can get to survive through winter. Our soil in North Texas is clay and very difficult to dig. I used to like to play in the dirt. ;-)

    1. Nonnie, I can't take credit for the flowers, those are from Pinterest boards! The recent rains have helped a lot but our summer was KILLER! There's always next summer though...

  2. Joy, I just made 'dirt pie' the other day for our son's birthday (he loved it when he was growing up) and since our grand-daughter had never had it yet.. what a treat she was in for.

    It turned out great minus the ghosts and tombstones. But lots of sour gummy worms! It was delish.

    Now let's talk 'trash'. I so love the sunflower shovel there. Hubby make it or was this a craft show treasure? Cute indeed. Love it.

    My herb garden got chopped down 3 weeks ago and yet it's like a brand new garden growing again, love it.. just in time for the fall and prewinter making and cooking.

    warm hugs,

    Cotton Peony

    1. That great sunflower shovel sculpture was from It's a great site for recycled/repurposed ideas! I have a lot of old farm equipment and a son in law with a welder....hmmmm!

  3. LOVE that graveyard cake. I need to get my daughter on that project!

    1. Delicious and so cute for Halloween, just around the corner!


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