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How Goes the Greenhouse?

Sunday, March 9, 2014

I promised I'd let you know how things go in the greenhouse, as it recovers ever so slowly from the devastation of the November 23, 2013 freeze. This photo's pretty symbolic. In the foreground, a budding Christmas cactus. I bought it in bloom in December, when I desperately needed flowers. It obligingly dropped them all, and all its buds. Oh, thank you. But then after sulking for a couple of months, it made  more buds, and these have carried through beautifully. Flowers.

 In the middle, a little rose-pink Abutilon I ordered from Logee's that makes me very happy. And in the rear, the huge vigorous leaves of a theater-curtain red geranium that was killed to the soil by the freeze, but somehow sent up a shoot. Yep, this photo says a lot about what's gone on in the greenhouse since the event I refer to as the Apocalypse.

Pulling back a bit, here they are in context. And there's the scarlet tanager-red stellar geranium that I was sure I'd lost to the freeze. It came back. The blue lobelias volunteered from seed, after the freeze, in the pot of what was once my huge tangerine orange hibiscus. Now represented by one shoot, on the right margin of this photo. But that shoot has some tiny buds on it.

Fireworks!! Color and life and beauty, once again. So hard-won, so longed-for.

The gardenia my sweet reader "Diana" sent, blooming in ones and twos, perfuming the whole place. We've been fighting red spider mite, and we're winning. The top bud opened today. Sooo intoxicating.

As is my dear Jasminum sambac, "Maid of Orleans," who lived through the freeze, sprouting from dead-looking sticks. Ahhhhhh. She's far better than before.

Chetty takes it all in, sniffing the perfumed air. He likes to help me clean the place, sweeping and scrubbing, and rearrange the plants.

I can't believe that this tiny Ruby Red grapefruit tree is doing what it's doing. Because it set too many (about a dozen), it aborted a handful of fruits,  but the four that stayed on are growing by leaps and bounds. Wow!! I imagine it laden with full-sized grapefruit and smile.  And it burst into bloom again, and made some new leaves! I think it likes me. It smells so sweet. I love this tree!

The big lumpy 25-year-old Mammilaria, perking along. I love this hardy old plant, too. 21 degrees ain't nothing to him. Been there, done that. The desert is a tough place. Your greenhouse is a walk in the park, freezes and all.

I was gone for 12 days and this marvelous flame-crested creature, here listening to a favorite tune from "Mulan" on her Macbook Air while she soaks up the sun, watered all my plants and twiddled the heater dials as conditions required. Not only that, but she enlisted sweet Liam to help her bring every last one of them inside before the temperatures dipped below zero again. "I was sick of worrying about what might happen if the gas went off or I couldn't keep them warm enough. So we brought them all inside." 

You can't buy or even wish for kids like that. You have to make them, raise them so they love all the same things you do. It's partly luck, partly magic, all miracle. We're blessed. 

The seedlings thrived under her care: tomatoes, tomatillos, cucamelons, peppers, and Swiss chard.

The tomatillos burst into bloom!! Well, who wouldn't, with Phoebe loving on you?

The greenhouse is back. And I feel each bud bursting into bloom inside me. The sun's heat races through my veins. 

Come on, Spring. Do it. 


So happy for you!

I am all smiles, just like Chet. Touring your greenhouse makes me feel peaceful. And sends me plant shopping again....
Miss Weezy in TX

Posted by Anonymous March 9, 2014 at 7:22 AM

The greenhouse is living up to its name again! Love the grapefruit tree. And your children? You ARE blessed. What a great family. Including child #3, Chet Baker.

Lovely - your plants, your words, the colors, your kids and of course your Chet.

Posted by Lucy from MN March 9, 2014 at 12:08 PM
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