Monday, November 17

November Questions

Who says plants don't know what day it is on the calendar?

On Saturday, I double-checked this passalong Thanksgiving cactus, Schlumbergera truncata, to see if any of its long, cherry red buds showed signs of opening on November Garden Blogger's Bloom Day. They were closed tightly, and didn't seem nearly long enough, so I didn't even mention it on my post as a soon-to-be-in-bloom plant.

Last night, as I was going to bed, I caught what I thought was a flash of bloom out of the corner of my eye. "Keep going up the stairs," I thought to myself. "It's the 16th... if it is in bloom, you really don't want to know." But today, I couldn't help but admire the full-blown flowers peeking out from between the blades of the nearby phormium. *sigh* (And yes, that's a potted bamboo in the background.)

These other two pictures have no questions accompanying to them, really. They're just gratuitous fall color photos that I took along with my original Bloom Day pictures on the 14th... and since the snow is swirling outside my window, I can't resist posting them:

Above shows the interesting clash of an unnamed heuchera, golden oregano in its acid fall color phase, and the deep red leaves of the lowest doublefile viburnum branch. When the winds swept through on Saturday evening, the doublefile lost almost all of its remaining leaves... a bummer, since I really enjoyed this little vignette.

Below shows the clash of my burgudy grape arbor, the fiery fall foliage of 'Diablo' ninebark, the green of oregano and lemon verbena near the arbor posts, and a carpet of fallen yellow leaves from the mulberry tree behind the garage. The ninebark held onto its leaves better than the doublefile out front, but the cherry trees held onto theirs best of all--some of them are still pretty green, even!

But the title of this post does say questions, plural, and so I might as well get to my second one. I have a little problem at my house... you know that saying about how your eyes are bigger than your stomach? Well, my eyes are bigger than my... windows!

Yes, I have a bunch of sun-loving, not-hardy plants strewn throughout my house, looking for a good home. I can put a couple in my west-facing studio room window, but there will still be a couple of large pots left. I DO have a south-facing window in my attic, however... so...

Can I put a couple of marginally hardy plants, like my red cordyline (zone 7) and bay laurels (zone 8) up in the south-facing attic window for the winter?

I keep my house pretty cool throughout the winter--60 during the daytime when I'm not home, and at night when I'm sleeping, and 65 during the evening hours when I'm around. The attic is always at least 10-15 degrees colder than the rest of the house, and I have a heavy blanket blocking the open doorway to the attic for just that reason.

I'm kind of thinking that the plants would go semi-dormant up there in the attic, but still get a reasonable amount of sunshine... so the only trick would be remembering to water them. Does that sound reasonable? Or am I setting myself up for unforeseen issues here?

I'd appreciate hearing any input/experiences you all have here. Because unless I make friends fast with someone who is willing to lend me some window space, I might be forced to take drastic (experimental) measures! :)


Philip Bewley said...

Hi Kim,
What beautiful images. I enjoyed these and the others on your beautiful blog.
Unfortunately, I cannot give advice about over wintering plants as it does not get that cold here. My twin brother just moved to CT from Mill Valley just north of SF. He said he is going to have to re-think plants, and bringing less hardy ones in. So, he may end up asking you for advice!
I love the silver contrast with the salvia in the earlier post,too.
Best regards,

Stratoz said...

as one with no good windows, your on your own. and I would imagine what just hit PA has passed through Ohio, this is not late fall wind chills. The garden is now on its own till spring emerges.

however, the biologist in me says, why not experiment. no data is bad data. though in this case it may joyful vs sad data. good luck.

Benjamin Vogt said...

Honey? Yes Dear. Do you hear that? Hear what. Shh! There it is again! I don't hear anything.... Just listen--there it is again, it sounds like, like.... Plants in the attic! Get out!

Well, anyway, your ninebark is very lovely--I hope my coppertina soon looks like this.

Unknown said...

Hey Philip, you might want to tell him to wait until next year to ask... *grin* It looks like I'll just be experimenting this year, so maybe next year I'll at least have some data to go on if asked for advice!

Stratoz, yes... it has passed through here, and will continue to be cold this week. I have put on my storm windows, and that's part of the whole problem. All of the plants that I knew had to come inside, are now sitting on my kitchen floor in various states of distress... some potted up, but other still in bags. lol. Ah well.

I do like your inner biologist. And since I like to experiment, it seems like that's the way to go...

Benjamin, nice to see you coming up for air--and comments--at this busy time of the year! Are plants in the attic like bats in the belfry, do you think? :)

Anonymous said...

Hey I just posted about this and your very plant!! Your attic will be totally fine for the zone 8s (read a trench mani for how cold I let my plants get!) and according to our esteemed speaker at Bwold last week, you can put the cordyline in the basement (in the dark!). Plus your plants will slow down for the winter and not need as much water - maybe check them every 2 weeks or so.

Gail said...


Is there possibly a computer calendar program somewhere (my total computer ignorance is showing) that would email a reminder to water your plants!

Beautiful vignettes! I love the heuchera with the golden oregano and viburnum adds even more to the combination.


Kylee Baumle said...

Hi Kim. I'm going to say yes you can put them in the attic, based on what I did a couple of years ago with a rose tree that was potted. I didn't want to leave it outside, so I put it in our unheated garage, with very little light (just what came in a window at the top half of a regular door). I only watered it a couple of times all winter and I'll be darned if that thing didn't start showing green growth around the end of March! I started watering it a little bit more then, and when it was a little warmer outside, I planted it in the ground.

I realize your plants are not as hardy as a rose, but your attic won't get as cold as our garage, either, where it is below freezing much of the winter.

Katarina said...

I like the dirrerent shades of golden, grenn and red in your pictures - they make great companions!

I'm starting up a new meme for Fridays - Blooming Friday - it would be great if you would like to participate with one or two pictures of blooming plants. I thought it would be nice to share eye-candy for the week-end... Welcome!

Anonymous said...

Kim: Great colors in the garden and with those leaves, who needs flowers? Trust Kris. She knows of what she speaks!

Mr. McGregor's Daughter said...

Your photo of the clashing Physocarpus foliage with the arbor made me laugh. Autumnal foliage changes present such a fun challenge to garden design.

lisa said...

I say experiment all the way! My mom always puts her geranium in a NORTH window in the unheated northern Indiana basement for winter, watering it maybe twice the whole time. It's a beautiful monster every summer.

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