Wednesday, October 30, 2013

A Day For Treats

It's that time again. Trick or Treat. As a child I loved Halloween. It wasn't dressing up in costumes that excited me but the candy. Candy that lasted for months because my mother only allowed us a certain amount each day; saved our teeth. Our bags would be bursting when we came home after dark. As kids we usually walked from house to house in our neighborhood and sometimes drove by car to other neighborhoods to get even more candy. It's sad that this is no longer safe for children to do and safer options are parties. I remember my mother and aunt having Halloween parties and bobbing for apples. That was fun. When my daughter was young she didn't like Halloween or dressing up and going from house to house. It was like Christmas. I didn't have to tell her there was no Santa Claus, she knew. She told me she couldn't imagine a man coming into her home down the chimney. What is there was no chimney? Her father and I tried for several years but let her assert her independence and choice not to participate in this yearly event. I did buy treats so she would have a treat but not have to participate in wearing a costume and parading the neighborhood in the dark knocking on doors. I don't think she liked the scary costumes that some wore. When I was younger I never gave much thought to the origins of Halloween and why it is celebrated. Being of the Christian faith I don't really celebrate Halloween any longer knowing what this day originally focused on and still means to many. I decorate in September with pumpkins and sometimes a wreath to welcome the Fall and the harvest. I keep Fall decorations up until Thanksgiving. I do give out treats. This may still be considered celebrating. To all children, may this be a safe day for you.

Some of my Sister's decorations.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Thoughts for Today

Today was a beautiful day. Blue sky, temperatures in the  low 60's and a light breeze. Weather for a sweater outside. The house is cool inside. The heat is turned on but adjusts to the temperature in the house. The thermostat reads 70, but it feels much cooler. My daughter asked if I would like to light a fire. The leaves on the trees continue to turn in beautiful shades of red, orange, and golden yellow.  My pajamas feel warm and comfortable. I am snuggled in bed with my computer, magazines, and books. This is the best part of the day. The work day has ended and I can relax and get refreshed before the start of a new day. I spoke to my mother in Georgia today. She said the temperatures have been in the 80's there for the last few days but gets much cooler at night. She will return from Georgia this week and asked me if I wanted some tubers of elephant ears from my Uncle. I certainly said yes. I guess you call them tubers, they are so large. I bought one last year and I don't think I planted it when I should have, although I did plant it, it didn't come up this Summer. They can be pricey not something to kill. She is also bringing me some spider lilies from her yard.

I was at Home Depot last Friday. The artificial Christmas trees are up and an entire section is complete with lights and decorations. Outside where annuals, shrubs, perennials, and last seasons plants stood is now empty and arranged to receive Christmas trees. I have been reading a small pamphlet  from the African Violet Society of Philadelphia; it's small but very informative. As I previously posted, my violets were wiped out last year by some type of insect/disease. I learned a lot of information about African violets that I didn't know. According to the society, African violets or Saintpaulia are native to Africa although they are not related to true violets. I didn't realize that new growth was from the center or crown only and that once a leaf sends out blooms it will never bloom again. Blooms form only on new growth. New growth in the crown can be cut and each leaf can be propagated to be a new plant. I have propagated leaves before but I did not remove them from the crown. Usually it was from a leaf that dropped off or was accidentally knocked off by myself or the cat. The leaves won't be damaged from water if you don't use cold water when you water them.They tend to collect dust and in my house; cat hair from when the cat sashays past them. African violets can be washed off with water but make sure it is not cold water. Leaves should not stand up straight but should actually lay down in a more flattened position (African Violet Society of Philadelphia, 2009).

Hopefully this weekend I will be able to plant garlic and some bulbs. I love shasta daises and I bought 2 plants at 50% off. I want to put them out front in the flower bed. I love the white flowers in the Fall. Since I will be removing a peony that did not bloom this year and the dead foxglove, I will have room for these. Hopefully they don't take over the flower bed. I had another type of daisy  before and it took over the bed. I don't have a lot of plans for the front flower bed. It's already packed to capacity. I want to see how the perennials I planted this year do next Spring, then I can get an idea of what I may like although it would only be annuals for some color and constant blooms.

What else did I ponder today? I thought about aging and I believe that with age comes freedom. If you are willing to embrace it. Freedom from worrying about what others think of you, freedom from trying to "do it all." I learned that things don't have to be perfect. I am learning to be confident in who I am as a person. I am learning to let "God be God", and not be disappointed in myself if I can't help everyone. That's God's job. I have always been a helper, comforter, a person who encourages others. I have become more assertive. I grow stronger and gain wisdom in my beliefs and in God as my savior, provider, protector, comforter, shield, and friend. If I could, there are numerous things I would love to do. Maybe this is the time to envision how to attain some of those things. I do believe that without a vision the people perish (Proverbs 29:18).

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Gardening Indoors/The House Plants

Today was the day to take in the last few houseplants on the front porch, the sweet potato vine, and the coleus cuttings. The temperature is expected to go down to 37 tonight. Although I have a sun porch it is not heated and gets real cold although there is some protection from the elements. I need to tidy us some of my house plants, cut off leaves and repot some.  

The orchids from September after blooming. Now to keep them alive. I'm shocked they're still alive. I have to cut off the flower spikes and take the stakes out of the pots.
I guess I will loose the yellow leaf.
I need to clean them up and remove some dead roots. Should the roots be out of the pot? I will have to read the e-book on my kindle on orchids.

Miniature succulents except one that I purchased last year at the flower show. I have never been a succulent girl but I have a few more than I used to.

Sweet potato vine. I hope they still look healthy in a few months.
I don't know if this is a Christmas or Thanksgiving cactus. I may start to put it in the dark and see if I can get it in bloom by Christmas or the New Year.
Aloe from Georgia.
Chinese Evergreen. I will repot her. She is still in the nursery pot I purchased her in a year ago. Some of the leaves have been dropping. I wonder what I am doing wrong? This is supposed to be an easy plant to grow with low light requirements. I know it doesn't like cool temperatures or drafts. It stays in my living room in the same spot which is not near a window and I don't over water it, perhaps I don't water it enough. Chinese Evergreens or Aglaonema are tropical and subtropical plants natives of Southeastern Asia. It's a plant that is said to be good for cleaning the air. It can be propagated from a leaf. I will have to try this.
Split Leaf Philodendron
Another variety of Chinese evergreen. It requires no care except a little water. It gets filtered sun on the mantle.
The coleus is still pretty and has it's leaves. They may drop during the Winter but when it goes back outside it will thrive. Spring will be the 3rd year for her. I think it's Alabama sunset. I purchased it as a 4" seedling from Select Seeds.
Another pothos
Dracena. It did absolutely nothing this Summer. Didn't grow, and added no new leaves. I will repot it. Maybe fresh soil will help. I guess I should be happy it's still alive. I have had her for 1 year. After I report her she will go in my bedroom until it's time to go back outside.
The pot for the Chinese evergreen.
Potting soil that I will use.
I have to be creative. I used what was handy to cover the hole but will still allow water to drain. A tray will go under it because this paper will decompose over time. I guess I was being lazy. I could have found something else but this will do.
The roots look healthy but she was ready to be repotted.

Lets see if it grows over the Winter?
Yellowing leaves removed. 

This should have been potted up weeks ago before the roots were this massive. 

All potted up. I potted these yesterday. Today when I came home it didn't look happy. 

My weapon this season for fungus gnats. A few sprinkles on the top of the soil and water. 

This also helped last year. Hopefully I won't have this problem this season but just in case.

What I'm Reading

Beautiful Pictures and helpful for container gardening.

This is what I need to be working on. Removing everything for seedlings to come. The plant rank can hardly be seen. I brought the table and chairs in from the yard. Hopefully they will get in the basement this weekend.

A Classic. 

This wasn't supposed to be here. I'm having trouble with the web site. When I try to remove the picture it removes other pictures also. Still learning to work the blog. 

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Beautiful Day for a Walk

Today is a classic Autumn day. Temperatures are in the 50's. Its crisp with little wind. I like the wind whipping up the leaves but no wind  today. The first frost is expected North and West of the city in the Lehigh County, the Pocono Mountains, and in the surrounding counties. For Philly it is expected to go do into the 30's tonight. Morning will tell whether we get frost or not. I'm sure the flowers will tell since so many are still green and in bloom. The trees have finally started to turn colors. I am still waiting on the tree in front of my house and those that hang over my yard. I took some pictures as I walked. 

In my zest to plant mums, pansies, and perennials, I forgot to refrigerate bulbs for forcing in September, so I ordered some for some color and blooms in the Winter. I ordered 1 amaryllis although they don't require a period of cold. It would have been nice to have tulips, hyacinths, and other bulbs in bloom in November and December in the house but I will have to settle for paperwhites and amaryllis while the other bulbs grow roots and prepare to bloom later in the Winter. This is the benefit of a garden journal. I will have to work on this in 2014.

Beautiful colors.

Lots of berries for the birds and I imagine squirrels.
I believe this was once the Germantown Historical Society. They are located now in a different building down the street.
I try to stay out of here. I love to look for vases, old linens and table cloths, old plates, glasses, a little of everything.
Pictures of Grumblethorpe I promised during the Summer.
Trying to see what is growing on the fence. I took this from across the street. I will have to go look at it another day to see what it is. It doesn't look like wisteria.

Old church! It has been here since 1836.
Church burial ground.
A small view of the community garden in Autumn. I posted pictures of it in August Still tomatoes, marigolds, and probably Winter vegetables under the row covers.
Historic house now being used as a law office. When it was for sale for a small fortune, you could view the inside on the web. It was ashamed to see it no longer as a home but as split up offices.
This is the fabric store. I love to sew but just can't seem to find the time as I work and in my time off enjoy so many other things also. When my daughter was younger I used to make some of her clothes, and curtains and pillows for her bedroom. I also made her flower girl dress for my wedding. It's nice to have a fabric store in the neighborhood. There was a beautiful one in Center City for years that sold good quality fabrics for upholstery, draperies, and pillows. It was expensive but the fabric was excellent. They also did custom orders for a small fortune. It's nice to have custom drapes or curtains done but nicer to be able to sew the same thing yourself. I miss that store. The next closest fabric shops would be in South Philly.
To think that this was once a single family home. Twenty years ago when I was looking for an apartment I looked at one in here. I have always loved old houses. It's sad to see old historic houses cut up into apartments. It's beautiful architecture. There are many homes in Germantown of this size that families are buying, renovating, and some being restored and kept as single family homes.
What can I say about Philadelphia? It's my home. It's where I was born and live. It's a city of different neighborhoods. My neighborhood is a neighborhood slowly in transition but not as fast as I would like. I would love if the city invested in restoring the historic properties in Germantown and building it up to attract tourist. There is so much history here. Visitors are obviously drawn more to Center City with it's many historic sites and restaurants. Maybe one day. Although it's not all I would want in a neighborhood many of the people who live here love Germantown and know it's a quiet gem with much possibility. Done walking,time to get warm.