It’s kind of amusing how this blogging business is really a different sort of journalism, with that possibility of changing at the last minute always there. I sat down this morning, prepared to put together the latest post and I was going to lead with a great sparrow shot I got yesterday down by the harbor. But as I was about to upload that pic, I heard a noise outside the window by the computer and there I discovered a pair of bluebirds(!!!) resting on the deck.
Zippity-doo dah and stop the presses – we just got a new lead photograph!!
I’ve never seen bluebirds before, though I’ve been hearing they were all over the Cape this winter…Lenny had even mentioned having seen them in the feeders downstairs. This, though, was the first time for me and I’m kind of excited about it.
The poor things; it’s 24 degrees out there today, which is cold, even if its warmer than the 18 degrees (or colder) we had here overnight. I wonder where it is they are going to keep warm when they aren’t visiting local feeders.
Yes, winter just goes on and on here this year. Like many parts of the world, our temps seem just a little colder this year. There’s another round of snow coming this way tomorrow…and much of the state is expecting 6 – 12 inches of snow. Here we are supposed to see snow at the start, changing to sleet and rain and other things which are less pleasant than snow, but indicate rising temperatures, so I’ll wait and see what happens before deciding to complain. And seriously, how does one complain when a pair of happy little bluebirds are just outside the window, offering to make one’s kitty a new frock?
And anyway, there’s plenty indoors to help me create the illusion that spring’s already here. The amaryllis is sporting a fourth flower now, it’s towering stalk beginning to list from the weight of all that beauty. In fact, it shows signs of another flower stalk beginning to rise on the far side of the bulb.
Down at the feet of the towering amaryllis stalk in an adjacent pot you’ll find some of those primroses which I brought home a week or so ago, continuing to bloom merrily, since I’ve been remembering to water them every other day (they are in tiny pots and experience tells me they dry out pretty quickly…so water and some regular deadheading will keep them blooming a while longer, anyway).
It’s a good time of year for snuggling in with some gardening catalogs and spending a little time daydreaming and wishing. Here’s a few pictures from the Park Seed catalog which has recently captured my attention. It’s a good thing I know I traditionally buy flowers in so many other colors, since so many of the purple things are drawing my attention here. I’d love to try some of this Angelonia…what a great look potted up like that.
I’ve always been a fan of beebalm, aka, monarda, so it’s no surprise I’m drawn to that version which blooms purple so far down (or up) the stalks. And the Corkscrew vine has always intrigued me, though I’ve never tried to grow it before. Maybe this will be the year for that.
Amaranthus always fascinates me, too, the way they, like the poinsettias of Christmas, are known for flowers that are actually bracts of leaves which change color…and boy, do the leaves of these amaranthus change color, eh?
Right now, I’m simply daydreaming with the catalogs, since I’m still getting my sealegs about just what form my garden may take in this new year. But someday, I’ll get around to playing with some of this amaranthus stuff. It looks spectacular.
Meanwhile, this variety of amaranthus (below) seems like a good one to plant if you are trying to get a particular message across to your neighbors, eh?
This past Sunday was actually not such a cold day, although it becomes such a relative business after so much cold. It might only have been in the high thirties, but it seemed warm to me. Not enough to draw me outside, though – there was much I hoped to accomplish indoors – but it felt warm enough to turn the heat down a bit and crack a few windows to get some welcome fresh air blowing through the Nest, while I tended to some housekeeping stuff.
Of course, I also continued the recent campaign of pampering some of the houseplants…and the large pothos above was featured that day. It was long-stemmed and many leaved when I brought it inside from outdoors in the fall…but I’d watched over the course of teh autumn as almost all the leaves feel off and I knew there was some issue I’d need to address.
I discovered that the soil in this gifted pot was quite depleted and the pothos had few roots remaining, so I ended up discarding some of it, and repotting the rest (knotting the base of the stems to help them create some fresh roots down there in the dirt) in a pot full of fresh soil, before pruning and giving it a good soak. It’s back in the living room and we are hoping it will rally.
Meanwhile, here’s another look at the canna, which you can see is thriving, but only in one corner of a very large pot. You might recall I’m a fan of the over-planted garden and so I added a bit of topsoil to the pot and have planted some cosmos seeds here. You might also recall the cosmos were very slow growing for me last summer when I direct-seeded them, so we’ll see if this early seeding date helps them to bloom any sooner. Fingers crossed.
There was also a marine heliotrope plant I’d rescued during my hasty departure in September, which was potted up in a pot not quite bit enough for it and sitting in a southern window. It’s survived the winter nicely and had a nice tall stem with lots of foliage on the top of it.
However, the stem itself was long and bare and down at the base was some fresh foliage, so I replanted in a larger pot and pruned down to those fresh leaves and I’ll see about encouraging it into a nice bushy shape for the summer. They are annuals, but not inexpensive ones, so the extra effort seems justified.
You regular readers, at least the one with fine memories, might recall the on-going discussion I was hosting here last summer, about what’s a weed and what’s simply a valuable plant in the wrong place, or perhaps a little too eager for a particular place.
It all started because I’d preserved some of a particular plant in building the Harwich garden. The plant – speedwell – sported tiny blue flowers in spring and spread like crazy, including up the side of the split-rail fence. Remember?
While re-potting the heliotrope, I discovered that a small slip of that eager little beauty had stowed away on the move to the Nest and so I was able to hold it aside and give it a tiny pot of its own. We’ll see what it does there.
Sunday was also a great day for getting a few more of the many things I moved into the Nest last fall, to fall into the right places where they are supposed to live, as I continue the business of getting the place (and in the process, my own brain) into some better and healthier sense of organization. Not too much, people, but some. ; )
Anyway, I was able to create some more shelving opportunites to raise some of my bigger plants up into the great sunlight the front bedroom enjoys each day. Here’s another look at one of those magnificent canna leaves, with the fuschia plant hanging in the background.
And what, you ask, does my roommate do during these activity-filled afternoons? Well, often he uses the opportunity to express his opinion about new ways and places where the small rugs might be displayed/arranged, sometimes tripping me up in the process.
But I’d taken the opportunity to hang the carpets over the railings of the deck outside to give them a bit of airing out and wash the floors, too, so he contented himself with some bird and squirrel watching in one of those warm southern windows not crammed with plants (I keep this one free especially for his use, actually), or finding open patches of floor to lay around on his back.
Of course, he also tears about the place according to his will and is a very chatty cat, instigating conversation as often as he is simply responding to whatever it is I’m saying and on those rare occasions when I sit down to check email, or lounge on the couch to watch a bit of television, he is right there on top of me. Heh…It’s nice to have a roommate who’s so (mostly) thoughtful and cuddly, to boot. Especially on these cold January days.
Some of you may have already seen word of, or downloaded this program, from the link at Sticky Crows. To others, this may be a new discovery. But here I am, adding my endorsement to Torn’s. The download is a program which may be set up to sift through all (okay, most…) of your photo files and create some interesting displays on your computer desktop, changing the background at regular intervals which you determine.
It’s a fun way to look through your old photos to remember just what is there. For my part, it’s been an interesting way to look back at the last year and see just what all it’s entailed…and yes, ahhh, how many flowers there were!
If you’re looking to transform your desktop into a digital photo frame without the expense, you should download your own copy here.
And in the category of Just Because I Think Everyone Should Know of Brilliant New Talent, I must share with you this new video by Matt Alber, which you might’ve seen elsewhere (Joe.My.God, or perhaps LOGO…)…but even if you have, you should watch it again. It’s sad and beautiful and lovely and wonderful and sweet and hopeful…and that kiss at the end, oh, my…we just don’t get to see that sort of thing often enough. “End of the World”, folks. Check it out here.
There’s that poor sparrow who got bumped from the lead of this post. He was soaking up some sunshine on one of those cold and windy days recently, as nearby a fishing boat tried to break its way through the ice of high tide.
I hope you’re finding your own patch of sun in which to lounge about. : )