One gardener's observations, discoveries and random thoughts whilst simultaneously worshipping and dallying in a Cape Cod garden. "A garden," said Ralph Waldo Emerson, "is like those pernicious machineries which catch a man's coatskirt or his hand, and draw in his arm, his leg and his whole body to irresistable destruction."

Winter Surprises


Here’s what Nauset Beach looks like this time of year.   This was taken right after that sunset shot I ended my last post with, Friday night I think it was.    We’ve had a bit of a warm-up since then…but it’s really a matter of degrees.  Mostly we still linger right around the freezing point, though some days find us dropping into the low twenties. flower-pot-mat

Hey, I forgot to show you the cool new doormat I found last week, for $1.89!  It’s just the right thing for the landing outside the front door here at the nest and I’m pretty excited about the bargain, as well.  

My houseplant pampering did continue on Sunday afternoon, as I divided one of the spider plants.   Not a very photogenic project there, as that particular spider was a bit unruly, gangly and also regularly chewed upon by my Gray Pal.  I ended up cutting each of the division down as I repotted them and so it will probably be a little while before they are properly filled out again, but I trust they’ll look great with a little time.

I had planned to do more, but then ran out of soil…and while I was out at the store(s) getting more soil, and oh, a new box of Miracle Gro…I got distracted by a couple of new plants…a lovely rosy-pink begonia and also a hanging pot with a wandering jew (spiderwort family).   I had seen the new crop of hanging plants arrive at the local Christmas Tree Shop last week and had been sort of drooling over them…although I certainly didn’t need a  new spider plant, certainly…and maybe didn’t need another new plant at all.

Ha ha ha…kidding!  At least I made a token effort to talk myself out of it.   I had been a little torn about what plant to choose, though.  The Wandering Jew and it’s lovely purply leaves would look great against the red walls of the kitchen, where I knew I could welcome a new hanging plant.   But there was also another plant, this one unknown to me, with lime green scallop-edged leaves and itty-bitty little white flowers with even ittier-bittier purple spots on them…and I was sure I could only welcome one of them.   So you can imagine my delight when I walked into the store and found a hanging basket with BOTH.  

So, here it is.   Anyone recognize the green leaved one?


Other plant points of interest there include the tall stalk of amaryllis to the left and down at its feet, a purple primrose.

itty-bitty-flowersHere’s a closer look at those tiny flowers and one of the leaves of the mystery plant, although still not the crispest shot.  Still, if any of you fellow plant-o-philes recognize it, I’d love to know the name of my newest plant friend. 

Also at the CTS, the shelves which had recently been cleared of Christmas clearance items were now fully stocked with all manner of flower pots, window boxes and other plant receptacles of all shapes and sizes.  

This was exactly the motherlode I’d been seeking earlier in the week.   So natch, I picked up two more inexpensive pots in sizes I liked, as well as the giant latte-cup planter I chose for the new begonia, which you can see below.  I do like when a plan comes together…especially when you weren’t sure you had one to begin with.




rough-play-kittyHere’s my roomie, during one of our great play sessions which have seasoned this week.   Badum’s been quite the bundle of energy lately, bouncing off walls and tearing about the place.   He is settled quite happily into our digs here and really makes the most of  the springy floors and level-changes between dining room and kitchen.

Above you can see him in something like his default position.   When he’s not tearing about like a mad-kitteh, you can most often find him laying around on his back, all his feet in the air.  Here, he’s considering lashing out at the monkey slippers, a favorite stalking target of his…but only when they are on my feet.

Over here to the right is a shot of my boy in rough play mode, as he is about to grab my hand in both of his, all the better to fake-chew on my fingers.  This is a rare face on him, since he’s generally the most agreeable cat I’ve met.  But we all have urges, eh?   I also think he’s learning to throw his voice, since twice this week he has been heard in places where he was not, a keen trick indeed.

Perhaps it’s becoming clear why I will occasionally look the other way from a bit of spider-plant nibbling.

Here’s what sunrise looked like from the deck here Tuesday morning, as we joined the world in turning our eyes to Washington D.C. and the inaugural festivities of our new American President, Barack Obama.  What an exciting day…and what a good feeling A Little Hope can be, eh?



Perhaps you saw The Gray Catsby on television this week.  He sang Yowl to the Chief during the festivities in Washington, you know. 

(Thanks to my good buddy Somewhere Joe for the link to Aretha’s Hat.)


cold-ducksThis morning I went exploring.   A friend of mine has recently inherited a house in Falmouth, which is a town here on Cape Cod in the southwest corner of the Cape.  There’s no direct way there from this end, and it’s as far as you can go from here and still be on Cape Cod, so I’d never actually been.    I understand there’s a botanical garden there, so I ought to make the effort in season sometime.

Anyway, this friend lives on the opposite coast and asked if I could drive down sometime and check on the place to see how its faring in winter and so I explored some new territory.   The house was easy to find and seemed to be in sound shape.   After a thorough examination of the place, I looked around a little, stopping by this frozen marina.   Temps were in the low 20s and the air here on the shore was very damp, so felt even colder.  

I didn’t stay longer than to snap these pictures…and I bet those ducks were even colder than me.  I look forward to exploring that part of the Cape on some warmer day.  Meanwhile, here’s the treasure that met me in the kitchen back at the Nest when I finally got home from work just before ten tonight:   it’s the amaryllis, variety Cinderella.  

Isn’t she pretty?


As a bonus, an accidental self portrait of the gardener.


Comments on: "Winter Surprises" (13)

  1. You’re right, Greg! Your post DID make me giggle….the cat in the hat took me totally by surprise…too funny. On that note, I think I’ll hit the hay…it’s almost 3am after all. I have to be up in 3.5 hrs. Ugh.

    Glad to send you off to snooze with a grin on. I think I’ll turn in m’self.

  2. OMG, that hat! I was horrified. A friend whom I talked with after said that oversized bow reminded him of a wind turbine and he thought that she might just kick-start the thing and leave the ceremonies that way, sorta like Mary Poppins without the umbrella.

    Ha ha…I wondered if it was a propellor at first, m’self! Only Aretha…and apparently my kitty…could ever hope to pull it off. And we hope that she DID, as soon as she got out of the cold! Glad to hear you had a good day yesterday!

  3. The first picture looks sooooo cold brrrrr! The last picture of the hot gardener warmed me back up! Have a good day Greg. :)

    Thanks, Northern Dude, yer too sweet…stay warm!

  4. Fabulous photos, as always, and I thought that the hat was faaaaabulous!

  5. Badum is a big cat! Funny, I had a gray cat that looked very much like Badum and he was huge! Had to be about 30+ pounds.

    He was about Badum size when we got him. This is the end picture:

    That’s a great picture of your lad. Looks like they have similar temperments, too.

    Badum weighed about four pounds when he showed up in the garden that night. As you can see, he’s filled out a little over the years. Never underestimate the effect of the Good Life.

    Its funny, when he’s lounging on his back, My Boy looks so wide, but it’s not like he has a paunch that hangs way down when he’s right-side-up…and I wish I had a high-speed camera to capture his episodes of Tearing About.

  6. It sure didn’t take Cinderella long to bloom. It seems like that amaryllis was just a budding bulb not too long ago.

    I potted up the bulb somewhere around the 21st of last month, so Cinders has come to bloom a week or two sooner than expected. I wonder if this is due to the warmer temps of the kitchen.

  7. Oh, the joys of photoshop. Now we can make our pets look ridiculous and not have to risk life and limb to do so. A wond’rous age we live in. I’m not surprised he’s fond of attacking the monkey slippers when they’re animated. I bet at eye-level they’re rather striking.

    I can confirm that the zooming is indeed an amazing sight. Kitty pinball.

    What a joy that amaryllis must have been to come home to! Bright colors at this time of year can almost act like an infusion.

    Glad you’re making sure to spend some time with green things.

    Badum’s lucky. He hasn’t suffered the indignity of much of this Photoshopping thing before. His big sis was on hiatus with her big website when he joined the family, so except for one photo of him riding a camel (heh…), this is new territory for my boy. And yes, little danger to me at all.

    OMG, Kitty Pinball is EXACTLY right.

    That flower is an incredible tonic to the cold slings and icy arrows of January. Everybody should have one!

  8. I loved the hat. It looked even better on your kitty.

    It suits him somehow, doesn’t it?

  9. Aretha Badum! OMG!! When you warned me that you’d done “something” with Photoshop I was at least a little worried. But he’s much more dignified than Aretha looked on Tuesday. We used to have a slow-moving, chunky longhaired gray cat growing up that assented to physical dressing up of this sort. Much of any bad karma I have derives from those torture sessions.

    The mystery plant is a creeping charlie, I believe, one of the plectranthus species, Probably Plectranthus verticillatus. Mint family. Tough as nails. A pot of it came with the house 20+ years ago and I’ll have to admit to forgetting to watering it every now and then. It lives outdoors year round here and looks really perky most of the time. I wouldn’t try the outdoor thing where you are, tho… The wandering jews are one of the banes of my gardening existence here. They reseed like mad, and even though I yank them out whenever I see them they keep coming up. Maybe more bad karma points.

    Congrats on the big red amaryllis. If only everything beautiful in life developed so quickly!

    Oh, I KNEW _you_ would know what the charlie was! Thanks, James. Love the name and happy to have one so hardy to join the ranks. I’m also not surprised about the wandering jew. The tiny blue dayflowers I featured now and then last summer are actually a relation and while I’m happy to have had them, do seed themselves pretty easily. All the spiderwort family seem pretty hardy, actually. I’ll be interested to see if any hitched a ride on the move to this garden.

    I’m glad to hear you say he looked better than Aretha. I was thinking it, but figured it was a parent/pal’s lack of objectivity.

  10. Badum is a natural for that hat, more so than dear Aretha IMHO.

    Love your creeping Charlie! What a nifty name. Creeping Charlie and a wandering Jew, what a pair in a pot.

    And speaking of pots, I love the latte cup for the begonia. Is that in your kitchen window? How appropriate.

    The amaryllis is fantastic! I didn’t realize those things sprung up so fast. How hopeful it is!

    Those cold Cape photos are beautiful. I suspect they are more beautiful on my computer than out in the frigid air. Nah, I know I’m wrong. But I’m warm, so that makes up for it.

    Thanks for these gorgeous photos and the hopeful hint of gardening yet to come.

  11. Even in the winter, the beach looks amazing.

  12. serendipity hopeful said:


    Seeking your prayer for someone in real need of it.

  13. Your beach photographs are quite tantalizing. It’s been a very long time since I’ve ambled along a frozen stretch of sand and shore, and despite my aversion to all things not warm and summery, I’ve been missing it. If the temperatures hadn’t been hovering in the high sixties and mid-seventies here along the Rockies, I would’ve hopped a train and been there in a jiffy. Duncan and I would’ve wandered the streets calling out your name until you would’ve found us.

    That would’ve been a delightful pleasure, Curt, but it would’ve been foolish to abandon such lovely sounding daytime temperatures! Of course, t’was 40 here yesterday, itself feeling just a little tropical.

    The train may not get you all the way here, so email ahead if you think you’ll need a ride!

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