A Winter Day in the Greenhouse

14dec_treelights_cr_smChristmas mail has made it clear to me I am a very bad blogger. “We miss your blog.” “No updates on your blog.” “So sorry you’ve stopped blogging.” OK. Truth is, I haven’t stopped blogging. I just haven’t done it lately. (And I’ve blogged at least as often as I hear from my Christmas correspondents.)

It seemed after a while that the farm things must be getting a little boring to you, dear readers. After all, every year the same plants grow, or don’t. The animal procreate, or don’t. The rain falls, or sometimes doesn’t, and we complain either way.

All right: Here is what I am doing today: I am trimming up the over-wintering geraniums in the greenhouse.

The greenhouse turns out to have been useful for a number of things. Last fall (a year ago), I moved a number of my zonal geraniums into the greenhouse to hold them over. I usually start them from seed in the spring, but I thought I’d see how they did inside. I remember my mother wintering hers over in the garage with little light and hardly any water, so I thought the glassed-in beds would be good for this. It was:

15jan04_geraniums_sm They got a little out of hand. And I didn’t, actually, get them planted out into the garden in the spring. So we have had a forest of happy geraniums in the greenhouse, though there was room for other things until summer advanced and we noticed they had fairly taken over the world.

It was nice in there in the spring and summer with the blooms, the scent of geraniums, and the everlasting nosegay. In April we had a bottle lamb from the sheep flock, one whose mother did her best but died when the lamb was a bare 3 weeks old. So Folly, as we called her since she was born on April 1, moved into the greenhouse where it was more convenient for us to meet her feeding schedule.

14apr_greenhousefolly1_cr_smShe enjoyed the geraniums, too. Folly has since then returned to being a sheep and lives with the other ewes.

In summer we had another blessed event, one we would have avoided if we could’ve. But when you live in the country, Providence brings you cats, and it happened that She brought us both a feral tom and a sweet, fertile queen at the same time. In a longer story than I will tell here, Gollum the tom, is no longer with us. But he left a little bit of himself behind. That’s Gollum’s Precious and her 4 grey-striped kittens.

14jul_kittens1_cr_sm We found a good home for 2 of them, and 2 have stayed with us. For a short time, while their mother was recovering from her female surgery, they all  took up residence in the greenhouse, which had been vacated by Folly, and where they learned essential gardening skills.

14sep09_cancat2_sm

So the greenhouse has been successful for animal husbandry as well as botanical experiments. But really, really, those geraniums need to be taken in hand. Hard as it is to whack something so thriving, if we intend any use of the greenhouse in the spring, we have to do it. So here I am today, whacking:

15jan04_geraniums3_smThe mask is for the clouds (clouds!) of old pollen falling from the dried blooms.

15jan04_geraniums2_sm

There are benefits to this exercise: I’ll recover planting space, the geraniums will be, I hope, in splendid condition for planting out in the spring when they will have put on new growth to their now compact limbs, and: I find things! (I knew that trowel was in there someplace!)

15jan04_geraniums4_sm

It’s raining outside, and I could complain about that, but this is nice way to spend a winter afternoon in the garden. I once had a university professor who said, in regard to plants, “You have to hurt them to make them thrive. Cut them back!”

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Published in: on January 4, 2015 at 4:12 pm  Comments (7)  

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7 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Great post!

    Sent from my iPhone

    >

    • ‘Bout time, huh?

      S.

  2. Yay! A post! Your stories never get old, even if I have heard versions of them before. Geraniums from seed? That never occurred to me. Just whack them off and stick them in the ground. Or planter, in our case. Trade with friends. Steal a few cuttings when on a walk or at a fancy hotel. Ooops, probably shouldn’t admit that.

    • I was just saying, this evening, that I had resisted any thought of keeping cuttings! Where you are, in SoCal, of course pelargoniums winter over outside. Here, before we had the greenhouse, I really had no good space to keep them. They are fast from seed, bloom the first year, and sometimes you get pretty “off label” sports. I can see you saying, “Oops. That bit broke off. Sorry.” and sticking it in your bag for safe-keeping.

      S.

  3. Lovely post, Susan! Happy Winter and New Year! -Barbara

  4. This was really nice to see on a cold day. Makes me wish I had a greenhouse, but maybe not all those geraniums. Yvonne Date: Mon, 5 Jan 2015 00:12:21 +0000 To: yhajda@hotmail.com

    • Want some cuttings?

      S.


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