Wednesday, February 4, 2009
This is what our backyard looks like. It has looked like this for much of the winter. I love this picture; it's like some magical winterscape, certainly not like our southern Ohio backyard usually looks.
Yesterday, Bill asked me which present I thought was the best ever. I had to think long and hard about that one; he's given me some very cool things. I had to say that the greenhouse has given me more concentrated and long-lasting joy than anything else he's given me (outside Phoebe and Liam, of course). We were limiting it to storebought things, after all. And Th' Bacon don't count. I bought that puppeh myself.
But the little wide-angle 18-55mm image-stabilized Canon lens he got me for Christmas, along with my new Canon Digital Rebel XSi camera body, is a close second. It takes pictures like the landscape above. If my photography of late seems to have improved, well, that lens is why. The body helps, too, but the lens is the key. I love this lens. It reminds me of the cool landscapes I could get with my little point-and-shoot Olympus 750 back in the early years of this blog ('05-'07).
Look at that picture again. Do you see the junco in flight? Did you see it right off the bat? Well, here's a cropped-in view.Yes, I love this camera and this lens.
And I love my greenhouse, my little Garden Pod. Bill bought it at a garden show where he was hawking Bird Watcher's Digest's wares. It's a prototype, and as far as I know it never went into production. Too bad. It's the most wonderful thing.
On a subfreezing February day, it is my tropical island, steamy and sweet with the scent of heliotrope and jasmine
bouncing with the color of hibiscus (this is Mary Alice, my peach-colored hibiscus standard)
and bright with the promise of buds (here's Grey Sprite, a miniature geranium with coral flowers).
Geranium "Bolton" was developed in and named for a town near where my sister lives in Massachusetts. Her friend Ann gave her a cutting of "Bolton" some years ago. When Chet Baker was a puppeh he accidentally broke a piece off the plant, and I promised to root it and grow it, and when I got home, I did.
Ann is gone now and sorely missed, but "Bolton" lives on. Barbie, if you ever want "Bolton" back, I've got it. It's a great geranium, big and robust and beautiful.
The "Renegade" series of geraniums are lovely, chocolate leaved. They come in this delicate pink as well as fuchsia and red. I keep over the ones that do well for me.
I've had this Mammillaria cactus for over twenty years. Last year, it finally budded some offshoots around the base. Who knows why it suddenly decided to do that? If I can, I'll propagate it from them. It's a wonderful plant.
Once I got a greenhouse, it began blooming nearly year-round. I put it outside in a dry spot over the summer, and bring it in the greenhouse in winter, where it lives atop the gas heater. Hot and dry, just like a cactus likes it. And it repays me in tiny magenta blossoms.
I thought you'd like a trip into the steamy little Garden Pod on an icy February day. I sure did.