Wednesday, November 20, 2013

The Great Indoors

The blooms are gone.

The lawn has been cut for the last time.

The transplanting has ended.

All of the bulbs have been planted (well almost).

Now what the hell do I do? 

I'll tell you what I do. I garden ... inside. 

Full disclosure - I have virtually no idea what I am doing when it comes to houseplants. Or growing anything indoors. Zero. If you read my recent post about trying to keep a Meyer Lemon tree alive, well, the proof is in those photos. That thing is hurting big time.

But it all changes this year. I need something to hold me over during the winter months beyond catalog reading/planning. I need to tend to something that doesn't include bickering children. 

So I've taken some first steps and while they may seem small to you, I'm pretty fired up.

As you'll see in the photo below, I have a few plants that are resting comfortably in a southern exposure outside my back windows/sliding door:

On the left is a Norfolk Island Pine that I've tried to keep alive and thriving in the past but was not successful. I like it as a mini X-mas tree and dig its shiny green color and texture. It will definitely need sufficient light and I am up to the task of making that happen.

In the middle is a rosemary plant that I brought in from outside. Only once have I been able to overwinter one of these plants outdoors so why not give it a whirl indoors. I love its scent and I am not above rubbing a branch under my arms and calling it "natural" deodorant.

On the right is the aforementioned Meyer Lemon. I am supplementing the natural light with a grow light:

and took a chance and fertilized it a week ago. I am going to baby this sucker all winter because I MUST have lemons soon:

But does it end here? Hell to the friggin "no".

A sprig of mint is sitting on the window sill by the kitchen sink (and yes this giant container is awkwardly overhanging the sink):  

How about some bulbs being grown indoors? Amaryllis and Paper Whites (Narcissus papyraceus) are on their way already. I timed their expected blooming for Christmas because I am that skilled:

What's that you say? People have been doing this for centuries and it is the easiest task of all time. Next ...

This last one is the one I am most proud of. I have had this terrarium ever since it was given to me by the people at H Potter over three years ago. I finally took the initiative and filled it with six different ferns:

I actually researched it and planted it appropriately with charcoal, moss, potting soil and river rocks. We'll see how it goes.

My next task is to purchase some mini succulents online. I'll be sure to share the results with you.

All of this non-outdoor work is occupying my time nicely and I vow to continue to educate myself more and more on these plants. As always, I would love to hear your thoughts on what you cold weather people do with indoor plants. And please provide very specific and detailed instructions as I'm a little slow to grasp this stuff.      


  1. I hope that you have lots of success with this project John.

  2. I'm lucky down here in VA...our rosemary overwinters well outside. It's a huge bush that's blocking half the driveway now! The indoor activities sound exciting & I am interested in particular about how you planted the terrarium...why you need charcoal, how often to water, etc.

  3. It is a fine plan ! The succulents idea sounds very interesting and I have grown cacti from seed before and been surprised how easy they are. Like you , I need a project inside once there is simply nothing left to do in the garden. I do have a greenhouse but even that is unappealing when it is cold and dreary. We have plants in the conservatory but I don't do much with them that is active. Think I need to get obsessive about Amaryllus or something !

  4. Good luck. I am death to houseplants. The only reason I am slightly successful in gardening outdoors is that it rains.

  5. I was thinking john, speaking of bringing the outside in for winter...perhaps next year
    before the summer ends, how 'bout taking some cuttings from a favorable plant or shrub and see if you can get it to root and grow over the winter.
    For ex: since I like coleus, I take cuttings in late summer/early fall~ place them in
    water near light till roots are sizable~ then pot them up in Starter Potting mix + give
    them a drink of water.~ Next, placing in a sunny window and then checking to make
    sure to water when slightly dry.~~ Come spring, these coleus cuttings are now plants
    and I can take more cuttings off of them, to spread the wealth around the yard!
    Have you tried this? It CAN be a fun project!


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