Saturday, November 29, 2008

November: nothing much to say

When all else fails, post a picture of the dog.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

The indoor garden, part 2

It's barely above freezing in Chicago today, with overcast skies and snow flurries. Just last Tuesday I was lounging about in Grant Park under moonlit skies, wearing a light jacket, cheering our next president with a quarter million of my closest friends. Between weather and politics, it's already been a crazy month! Which makes me appreciate my indoor garden all the more. It's a tiny little universe entirely at my mercy; its successes and failures depend solely on my ability to remember to water them sometimes. Houseplants are great for control freaks like me, and the payoff in sheer gorgeousness is huge.

So let's get to it: the rest of the pictures I took on October 18:

Ponytail palm, Beaucarnea recurvata; ZZ plant, Zamioculcas zamiifolia

Asplenium nidus 'Fimbriatum', a somewhat succulent and deeply dissected birdsnest fern (a real adventure to ID this one... Home Despot's label said, helpfully, "fern". Yeah, thanks, I got that part.) Rather prone to scale as I have discovered.

Dracaena something or other; desert privet, Peperomia magnoliaefolia

Mother of Thousands, Kalanchoe daigremontiana, which keeps rotting at the soil level while the rest of the plant stays lovely; Christmas cactus, Epiphyllum sp. (currently starting to bloom!); ponytail palm, Beaucarnea recurvata. The ponytail palm was rescued from a clearance shelf at Target where it had been glued into a bonsai pot with an impenetrable layer of gravel. I chiseled the gravel out and repotted, and now have an adorable little friend that can actually be watered! What a concept.

Bleeding heart vine, Clerodendrum x speciosum; Aloe squarrosa; and paddleplant, Kalanchoe thyrsiflora, which is losing its leaves just as fast as it can. So annoying.

One of my favorite plants: climbing onion, Boweia volubilis. It should send up a new vine around January 1.

A rooted runner from the Aeschynanthus longicaulis, which is leapfrogging from pot to pot down the windowsill; Tradescantia zebrina 'Red Hill'; and a wooden frog puzzle my father-in-law made. Seriously, I need to gather my frogs and get a picture one of these days. Or maybe it will be too humiliating.

Aloe; chenille plant, Acalypha hispida; and toad cactus, Stapelia variegata, a close relative of the carrion flower (and likely just as stinky when it blooms). Fun fact! The Acalypha has already died, I think. It had some mystery bugs and also it dried out at the drop of a hat. I apparently drop my hat a lot because it's crunchy now. That's twice I've killed Acalypha. Based on Darwinian principles I conclude this species is not adapted to this habitat and I officially give up!

Silver philodendron, Scindapsus pictus argyraeus - so cute!!

Schefflera, some family photos, and the world's most pathetic Norfolk Island pine* on the shelf over my stairs.

*There's a story behind the pine that explains why I keep this sad specimen around. At Alma College where my husband and I both went, the school symbol is the white pine (a species that was of course logged out of existence in central Michigan where the school is located). In each student's freshman year they are given a Norfolk Island pine as a stand-in for a white pine, and asked to nurture it as the school nurtures them blah blah blah you get the point. Anyway, it's kind of touching to see all these different kinds of college students, football players and computer nerds and drunk sorority girls, carefully keeping their little trees alive. Mine died a few years ago but this one is my husband's, and it's still** hanging on, reminding us once a year to send Alma a donation. However, since the tree is rather silly-looking, I don't lavish much attention on it, which perhaps goes without saying.

**I just realized that he has had this tree for 20 years now. Wow.

Housekeeping of the technical sort

I finally sat down and fixed my feeds today on both blogs. I hope I have not already frightened away anyone who tried to add me and got a whole lotta nothin'! The feeds are in the sidebars. If anyone still has troubles, please to let me know. Blotanical should be picking up the mcgarden feed properly now, fingers crossed.

Monday, November 03, 2008

November: more trees

It's a little premature to take a picture of the burning bush but I was afraid the Japanese maple would lose its leaves before the burning bush was fully red. If a better shot comes along I'll just take another picture!

What did we do before digital cameras??

Acer palmatum dissectum 'Garnet' and Euonymous alatus; the burning bush is supposedly invasive and a big no-no to plant but I didn't know that when I put it in. Besides, although it does set fruit, I've never found a seedling anywhere so I suspect it's sterile anyway.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

November: the warm red glow in my bedroom

First day after turning the clocks back. The sun rises earlier, and it's nice to wake up to this:

Acer x freemanii, a red-silver hybrid maple - thank you, Chicago Dept. of Forestry!