Saturday, November 13
Dining Room Window 2010
In the Spring, when I think of my garden, I think about areas with names like, "The Driveway Bed," "The Grape Arbor," and "The Front Yard." Through the wintertime, my live-plant areas have very different names. Names like, "The Landing," "The Studio," and--my current favorite--"The Dining Room Window."
In spite of the back strain, I really enjoy bringing my plants in for the wintertime, because I feel like I'm getting a chance to redecorate my entire house without spending any additional money. The pot colors, the plant colors, and the actual house decor all kind of flow together in a mishmash of color and texture.
A few of the plants are a little easier to tuck in here or there, but this year the Dining Room Window ended up getting all of the show-offs. Like this cissus discolor that I picked up for a few dollars on clearance:
When the morning light streams through the window, the cissus positively smolders. I could look at it for hours...
...but it's only in the early morning sun briefly before it slips into the light shade it prefers. For those few moments, though, the cissus is so bright that even the nearby variegated hoya kerrii, which should be a star in its own right, is eclipsed.
But both of these fun-foliaged beauties are taking a backseat right now to something a whole lot more... edible:
My first Meyer lemon! And it's almost ripe! I can't wait to taste it... and I'm happy to see that the plant is setting a few more buds, too. I was worried about the shock of bringing it inside a few weeks ago, and was almost certain that I would lose the then-green lemon, but it seems to have recovered fairly well. (Whew!)
Also adjusting well is the dark-leaf ficus that I brought in, dusted off, and set up on the "front" of the plant table, along with one of my two potted amaryllis, a paddle-leaf kalanchoe, and several other plants:
The kalanchoe spent the summer swathed in shades of silvery blue and the lightest of greens, but it colored up nicely once the cooler temperatures hit. I like seeing its bright contrast peaking through the screen of large but relatively sedate ficus leaves.
And to anchor this vignette of crazy, bold foliage? One (huge, amazing) jade plant:
Oh, I know. It looks like an ordinary jade plant... but it's not. That green pot is 13" tall and wide, and the plant itself is almost 3ft wide (branch tip to branch tip) at its longest diameter. This jade, who I affectionately call Buzz, was a gift from my friend Freddie, a retired teacher.* Buzz and his pot are very heavy, and I'm not sure how much longer I can continue to move them outside for the summer... but, luckily, he's very secure overwintering on the sturdy table base that I painted to match the plant table. (Both are trashpicking finds, by the way.)
I'm happy that I don't have to worry about that for a while... and I'm also very happy about how nice the Dining Room Window "garden" looks right now. We'll see how well it fares this winter--I'm keeping my fingers crossed!
*Buzz grew up from a cutting Freddie rescued when the greenhouse at Geauga Lake (where she worked part-time in the summer) failed in the middle of her winter break. As she was helping with cleanup and salvage duty, Freddie found a few fresher leaves underneath the collapsed remains of the 80-plus-year-old jade plant. Her supervisor told her to take them home and try to root them if she wanted, and she was surprised to find that her efforts were successful.
Freddie took the little plantling to school with her the following year, and Buzz enjoyed winters in the classroom and summers out on her deck until she retired a few years ago. Since she knew that I have a soft spot for stray plants--especially one with "bad hair days" that rival my own--Buzz ended up coming to my house instead of to a classroom at the end of her first summer of retirement. He's been a wonderful addition to my plant family!