Saturday, November 18, 2017

Preparing For Thanksgiving

Nothing else to do to the mantel with the addition of 2 orchids today. A prettier gourd fell on the floor and broke so the orange one replaced it.

Kind of early to buy flowers for the table but I think these may survive in a bucket of water in my cold basement till I arrange them hopefully with red and orange roses if I can find some a few days before Thanksgiving. That's my kitchen floor that I've been tiling for.... One day I'll finish or hopefully get someone to finish it for me. Until then.

I liked them because they remind me of black eyed Susan's.

Looking at tablescapes on the internet I like the ideas shown of wood boxes with harvest from the fall, candles, and flowers. I'll show you the finished product. For now I stuffed it with newspaper to raise the pumpkins up.

For the table and counters. Got them out early. I'm doing good this year because I started early. Each it's gets a little better. Not easy getting the house ready for Thanksgiving followed by Christmas but the earlier I start the less stressful it is. I'm hoping my brother will do Christmas as his house.

Put the leaf in the table and that'll sit there till I decide how I want to arrange it.
Planted amaryllis Marilyn this week after baking soil to kill any possible fungus gnats that may be in the soil. Then I covered the bulbs with plastic and some sheet moss. Lets see if it works. It would be nice if they wait to bloom for Christmas. Hopefully I timed it right. Lets see.

They joined the paper whites on the shelf. The paper whites are growing. I added the recommended mixture of alcohol and water to keep them from getting too tall. Hope it works. This is the first time I've tried it.

Taking a short break.

Lets sit a bit and enjoy the fire. Till it's time to start cleaning and organizing again. If I finish most of what needs to be done I can make the cranberry sauce tomorrow, and do some prep like grate the cheese, and cut onion and celery and put into containers until I make stuffing, macaroni and cheese, and potato salad (sorry for the blurry picture).

As close as she'll get to the fire today. Are you preparing for Thanksgiving?

Monday, November 13, 2017

And So It Begins

The first to arrive. Welcome gardening season 2018. The few seeds I wanted were already purchased from Swallowtail. Others will come from seeds I already have. But, I'll love every minute of looking at each seed catalogue that arrives.

The wood debacle is over. I have wood and a new supplier hopefully. Two young women arrived on the coldest day of the year this past weekend  and stacked it in minutes. Thank you O & F Farm  for delivering to the city and your professional service. Hopefully my bulbs can be planted next weekend after Thanksgiving. Black Friday shopping first.

Friday, November 10, 2017

Why I Love Fall & Winter

These are why. We expect our first frost tonight in Philly and my chance to enjoy the flowers indoor without all that gardening outdoors involves. I love gardening outside also but it's nice for a few months a year to just enjoy the flowers and give houseplants some extra attention that they don't get the rest of the year. Forcing bulbs, waiting for them to bloom, and buying plants in bloom when they can't be grown outside at this time of year in the Northeast help while we wait for spring. Are you forcing bulbs and enjoying your houseplants? Enjoy the season. Aren't they beautiful! Twenty four roses for $6.25 and 2 bunches of lilies for $6.00's a piece. That's a lot of flowers for my type of price. The best price would come growing my own which isn't possible. Would be nice though to have a green house and property to put it on.

I used to love scouring thrift stores for vases, old bowels, and baskets for the house and my plants. It's nice to collect things for little cost and enjoy the search. That stopped for me a few years ago. What anyone who collects things knows is that you can only collect so much if you still want to live in the house and not have the house for your collection. Houses are for living. Decorating them to your taste is fun but I've learned, don't bring another thing into the house. I have a lot to donate back to the thrift store as I declutter some rooms. Back to the post. I'll use these 2 vases that sit year round on my book case collecting dust. They're glazed so water shouldn't leak from them. Just in case I'll put a liner under them.

Five vase one for each room. My yellow lilies did well and lasted 2 weeks. They're not done till I say they're done. The round vase was given to me years ago by my mother. It gets a lot of use.

That popcorn is my snack for tonight. Portion control. Who's going to measure out one ounce from a large bag? So I have no excuse to keep eating more. When it's gone that's it.

Hope to get around to planting my amaryllis this weekend. From Dutch Bulbs. They're small. I'm spoiled after the huge ones from the garden center last fall. They'll still be beautiful. Hippeastrum Marilyn is a pretty pastel bloom.

No seeds started yet. Looking forward to starting begonias early but still getting the house ready for guest for Thanksgiving dinner. Tomorrow, give the kitchen and refrigerator a good cleaning and don't buy any food. I like to keep it uncluttered in preparation for groceries next week needed for dinner. I think I'll make the cranberry sauce early.

The paper whites started last week have lots of roots.

These were started today and put in the window seal where it's cool but they can get some sunlight while they develop roots.

One of my house plants. It's grown since I've had it although I've had to cut some of the lower leave off due to brown tips. It was tiny when I bought it and seems to love my house sitting on the table under a lamp. I believe it's a dracena.

Brought the palm inside last week when the nights started getting really cold. Of many purchased during the summer for the porch over the years, this is the only one to survive to come indoors this year. The only reason this one lived is because I removed if from it original pot where it was completely pot bound. Wasn't successful getting the roots loosened but I did cut off some from the bottom of the plant to encourage new root growth and let the plant know it had room to expand and grow. She did grown 2 new fronds this summer on the porch. Will she survive in the living room? Will she survive my cat who loves plants. Don't think palms are poisonous.

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Saturday-Forcing Hyacints and Paper Whites

Three paper whites from the kit I bought from Home Depot.

The paper whites from Dutch Bulbs are larger than the ones from the kit. On the right Dutch Bulb, on the left store bought one from the kit. Paper whites from the nursery last year were much larger than these but I din't buy any because I had trouble forcing them. Think they should have been planted outdoors.

Added water to cover up to the basal plate but not touching the water and onto the shelf. Place them pointed side up. Roots develop from the basal plate. I prefer to force them in water inside instead of soil to avoid fungus gnat indoors during the winter. I don't save them after blooms because they wont bloom again for a couple of years if planted outdoors after forcing. Gnats love peat. Haven't seen any flying or crawling around my house plants but it's early. The rest will wait on the unheated porch till I want to force more.

Hyacinth Shades of Blue from Longfield Gardens. They're nice and healthy although not large. I'll have to search around to see what company has larger hyacinth bulbs.

Last years bulb forcing containers. The smallest one obviously not large enough for all the roots hyacinths make. Different containers can be used as long as it has a neck to hold the bulb and the bulb doesn't sit in water because it'll rot. 

I left the vases in the box they came in. Added water and placed one in each. The box was perfect because I can keep reusing it and it has the paper separator for each vase. I closed the top for the recommended darkness but left it slightly open to allow air to circulate and prevent mold. Now I have to wait 8-16 weeks of cooling before I start bringing them into the house to bloom. The chill period was slightly different at different sources I looked at with chill periods from 8-16 weeks. Too early and the blooms will be short and won't open fully like mine did last season. Keep saying I'll start early every year but these didn't arrive until Friday. Next season if I plan on starting earlier I won't order from Dutch Bulbs because they shipped them in November. A good start time is October so you'll have blooms earlier than the end of January or February. Old House Gardens has good information on forcing bulbs and also Brent and Becky's Book on forcing bulbs. Check the bulbs periodically for root growth and to see if the water needs changing. Sometimes it gets smelly. 

Made progress starting to get the house ready for Thanksgiving dinner and guest. Changed the curtains to heavier ones. And soaked the bind in the bath tub to clean all years dust from it. It makes such a difference.

The curtains are bit heavier with a block out lining that make the living room dark. So I always put a lighter curtain underneath so they can be pulled back during the day to let in light. I love sun shining in during the day and added warmth at night when they're pulled to close. The house is starting to look nicer. Moved the furniture to sweep the dust and cat hair. Decluttered the living room and started on the dining room. Today I'll mop and wax the floors and maybe start some seeds, make a green salad for lunch next week, and bake some banana bread. And I'm working on the laundry. Getting excited about my seeds and seeing the first one emerge from the soil. We'll see. Have a beautiful day.

Friday, November 3, 2017

Treats, Forcing Vases, and Flowers

She and I waiting for trick or treaters. The candy ended up being given out by my daughter. Kids arrived after dark with parents. Halloween was a cold day that drove me indoors to a fire. 

Callie watched hoping to see her outdoor friends. They often come to visit her at my door.

Thirty-six bags of candy and 20 of chips and time to go inside.

Unfortunately this was mail I didn't want to shred. Something has happened to the man who delivers my wood each fall. I don't know what to do. His wood was the best with a good selection of hard woods that burned long and no insects in the wood. What shall I do?

No fire wood but a nice surprise when I arrived home on Friday. Bulbs I thought I forgot to order appeared. That's the wrong box my other 50% order from Longfield. The ones that arrived came from Dutch Bulbs. What did I order? Iris reticula harmony, species crocus blue pearl, fritillaria lutea mamima, darwin tulip moonwalker, fragrant daffodil pheasant's eye, lefeber hybrid tulip blushing beauty, hyacinth blue ice, 3 double amaryllis Marilyn, allium gladiator, and hyacinthoids hispamica blue. Allium mount Everest was sold out.  Seemed like a good idea at the time but I don't look forward to planting them. Seeing them in the spring will be wonderful though.

Guess I shouldn't have bought a small box of 3 paper whites from Home Depot. Thought they'd be my only ones this winter.

Hyacinth forcing vases.

Why did I think  these would be blown glass vases? They're thick and clunky. Guess they'll do the job and with some patience I can find some pretty colored glass ones on E-bay or Amazon. After I fill them with water and one bulb for each vase, they'll stay in this box and go in the basement to develop roots until the end of January or sometime in February. Next year I'll start earlier so they'll be hyacinth blooms for Christmas.

Every sweet potato vine cutting has rooted and there are lots of new green leaves.

One of two Africa Violets on the seed shelf until they have to give up their space for seedlings. The leaves shouldn't bee so crinkly. I wonder if having the light too close caused this? One bloomed beautiful pale lavender flowers again since I purchased them.

My lilies are still beautiful. I think they'll survive until tomorrow, the 7th day. Hopefully a few more days after that. Tomorrow I have to start hyacinths a month late and it's time to start getting the house ready for Thanksgiving. Declutter, hang heavier winter drapes, mopping under furniture, and starting to clean the kitchen. My mind was made up not to change curtains every season but heavier curtains do help act as insulation during the winter. Can you believe Thanksgiving is only 3 weeks away.