Monday, December 15, 2008

GBBD: Frigid December Blooms

Brrr! It is darned cold here in central Illinois today--10 degrees F. at the present (-13 C), and I was told the wind chill was below 0 this morning. It's so cold that this Bloom Day post almost didn't get done.

Braving the biting wind and frozen tundra this morning I looked in vain for a decent photo. I knew nothing would be blooming outside, but I had hoped for a nice covering of snow or even a coating of ice to create a pleasing picture, but no such luck. Even the yarrow, which has been the one plant blooming (sort of) from my first Bloom Day post in March to the last one in November was a huddled mass of frozen green. I am thankful, though, that we did not get the ice storm that was originally forecast for today.

Quickly retreating from the cold into the garage, the Euphorbia "Diamond Frost" is still producing a few blooms, though it is fading fast. I did bring in a few pots of annuals this fall to see if I could over-winter them. Two weeks ago I had geraniums and impatiens blooming in the basement, but their blooms are all gone today. I hope they didn't suffer permanent damage from neglect the last two weeks.

Not much is to be found blooming in my house either. I gave up growing houseplants several years ago after one after another succumbed to my neglectful care. I have decided, though, after visiting Arizona that cacti and succulents might be the perfect choices for someone like me. I purchased this Agave "Angustifolia" last week in Phoenix at a local nursery. Did you know there are hundreds of varieties of Agaves? I certainly didn't. I felt rather foolish asking the salesperson for an agave and being asked "which kind?" After getting a mini-lesson on some of the types, I settled on this one because it should grow rather large, and I bought another variety (name forgotten already) without any prickly spines for Daughter with the dogs.

But here is the best bloom of all--just perfect for the season! I purchased this poinsettia from the high school's Art Club and was a little disappointed in its size, but oh well, the money goes to a good cause. Now if I could only get the rest of the house decorated soon and the Christmas cards signed and addressed and the rest of the Christmas shopping done . . .

Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day is brought to you this December, as it is every month on the 15th by Carol at May Dreams Gardens. Visit her and check out other posts--I know flowers are blooming somewhere!


  1. Rose,

    Hello and thank you for braving the frozen Illinois winter to search for blooms! That was a dedicated blogger move if I ever heard one.

    Your poinsettia is perfect for the holidays...was it supporting arts programs at your old school? It's so important to help the schools with all the funding cuts; arts programs seem to go by the wayside.

    You say there are hundreds of agaves...Rose will this be a new hobby, learning all about agaves and succulents;) It's going to get crowded and dessert like in your basement. In the meantime your first one is very nice!

    Keep warm and safe out there. We might be getting the ice storms you missed!


  2. Rose, do you call agaves "mother-in-law's-tongue"? We have a couple of them that are three generations old; one I'm pretty sure my grandmother had in her house when I was little. It's enormous, but I'm afraid to divide it for fear I'll do it in. I have no idea what their specific name is.

  3. I like your bravely taken yarrow pic. My son loves agaves, and has a few. I was supposed to take one of the big ones he had more than one of, but forgot about it until I saw yours. They always come here, rather than having us over, so I don't ever see it. I'll have to ask him about it.

    I don't think they are mother-in-law tongues, but I could be wrong. I have one of those in my upstairs restroom that gets neglected for the most part.

    Well, I better get to bed. I've been telling everyone in my comments that it's 2 degrees here in SE Nebraska. I don't know if I'm getting any sympathy, but I'm whining about it anyway! It was in the upper 50s Saturday, so it's quite an adjustment. If we get snow tomorrow, I'll try for some pics.

  4. It was frigid here today also, Rose. You did very well with this post since I always forget (am all over the place these days ~ not good for my memory ;) Enjoy your poinsettia, which I think looks quite lovely, knowing you did a 'good thing'.

  5. Well now I just feel silly for whining about our 30 degree weather.

  6. Too hot here for me. Very unusual for our neck of the woods in central NC. Your blooms are bootiful as is your blog.

  7. You were much braver than I. I ventured out only to go to work. A garden walk was NOT on my list of things to do today. BRRRR!

    I like the poinsetta, I wish I could have a real one, but Gray Girl tries to eat them. Don't your cats?

    The agave you brought me is doing very well in the garden window. It will be interesting to watch the 2 of them grow.

  8. There ARE things to photograph, but not much of interest our way. Not in my garden anyway.
    You have found some good things though!
    The poinsettia is fine! They are not easy to maintain, are they?

  9. Poinsettia's beautiful. I was again expecting a viola/pansy bloom from western gardeners but am disappointed. Did it become obsolete these days?
    I never knew Agaves can be grown indoor, for that matter I don't know anything about growing plants indoors and am learning a lot now, thanks to my fellow bloggers

  10. You did better than me at braving the cold. I go out as little as possible lately. Although I am tempted to go the sunshine which is very deceptive. Your poinsettia is lovely and very festive.

  11. Hello there frozen Rose ! LOL
    We are back to the deep freeze here after some wacky warm temps and rain. Big sigh !
    Diamond Frost will survive I'm sure of it girl !
    Does Toby leave your poinsettia alone ? .. we would love to have one in the house for Xmas but Sophie and Emma are just too chancy with it. So I am going to have to enjoy everyone else's and yours is very pretty !

  12. I'm glad you didn't get that predicted ice storm Rose. According to the weather today it looks like everyone is cold.

    Your poinsettia looks pretty even if you have no other blooms. Other than pansies I don't have much in bloom either.

    Have a great day Rose!

  13. Gail, The H.S. Art Club sells poinsettias as a fundraiser each year. Although I'm at school only occasionally to substitute, I find myself the buyer of plants, cheesecakes, magazines, etc.--the students know a soft touch when they see one:) Cacti and succulents don't need much watering--the perfect houseplants for me!

    Joyce, Agaves aren't mother-law-tongues; I think those are sanseverias. As I recall, they're very hard to kill, so divide away! I never liked that name very much, though:)

    Sue, I meant to comment on your cold temps; it's hard to get enthused about gardening at this time of year, isn't it?

    Joey, I thought it was probably even colder in Michigan. My mind is so full of Christmas "to-do" lists I can't remember anything either.

    Aunt Debbi, It's all relative, isn't it? A couple of weeks ago I was complaining about the 30's, too. Thanks for visiting.

  14. Flowergarden Girl, I won't complain about it being too hot!:) Thanks for visiting.

    Beckie, I wasn't outside very long to take this photo. I had to go to the dentist and do some shopping today; not until noon did I look at the temperature to realize why I felt so cold! I don't think Toby will bother the poinsettia, but I will keep an eye on him.

    Maggie May, You'll probably be seeing Arizona pictures from me for awhile. Much too cold here to be outside!

    Chandramouli, There are many violas and pansies pictured on other blogs, but farther south. Here it's too cold even for them. The agaves grow outside in the Southwest, of course, but mine will stay indoors until spring.

    Cindy, I have to let the dog out, so that is my only venture into the "fresh air" :)

    Joy, Toby doesn't seem interested in the poinsettia--he's more interested in all the shopping bags I'm bringing home:)

    Susie, I think the cold is sweeping the country; some southern states have had more snow than we have, which is strange. It's too cold here even for pansies!

  15. I like that poinsettia with the variegated leaves. Haven't seen that before.

  16. I think you will be very happy with Cacti for houseplants. I have killed every houseplant I ever had, including an Aloe, until I was given 3 baby Cacti in a dish. One died (but I blame that on having a plastic flower glued to the top), but I've had the remaining 2 for more than 10 years. If I can do it, so can you.

  17. I also grow cacti to remind me of my winters spent in AZ! The "Angustifolia" is still outside surviving the wind and snow!! (3 of them) I am amazed! I have them in metal urns..we'll see what happens by the end of the winter season.(I was just too lazy to bring them in!)Oh but the snow sculpture it makes is delightful!Happy Bloom day! NG

  18. Rose, That's very cold!!

    I hope you get decorated soon, enjoy it!!

  19. Dear Rose....I can only say, I would rather you than me....that is sooooooo cold. I am not surprised the garden has given up.... I think I would to.

    Indoor plants are often overwatered and that usually finishes them off. At least with cacti and succulents you can do the watering occasionally in summer and that will be it......some of my houseplants are over thirty years old. One of them was my grandmothers, that is 35 years old.......I hope that you and yours have a wonderful Christmas and that you manage to get everything done.....

  20. Rose,your bloom day is about like mine. Nothing blooming here. I just love agaves. If I had a sunny window I would grow more of them. They don't grow right in our poor light in the house. I will be anxious to see how yours does inside. Try to keep warm.

  21. Marnie, It looked prettier and more variegated in the brochure when I ordered it:)

    MMD, I am surprised with your green thumb that you don't have lots of houseplants. I do feel better now:)

    Nature girl, Your agave is outside in the cold?? I don't think I'm going to take a chance with mine yet.

    Suburbia, I am way behind this year, but I keep telling myself it doesn't matter. Somehow everything manages to get done...sort of.

    Cheryl, That's amazing that you've had a plant for 35 years! I agree with the watering--I had a jade plant for almost 10 years and loved it, but I think I finally watered it too much, and that was the end of it. So sad. Thanks for the holiday wishes; I wish the same for you.

    Lisa, I need to find a sunny window for the agave soon. Today we had snow, then sleet--yuck!

  22. I agree with your best bloom of all, that poinsettia can't be beat. It is just lovely. I hope you Diamond frost makes it thru the cold winter.

  23. BRR! That is colder than Maine. Your photo captures the chill. What contrast there is between these photos and your bright vacation ones above. It looks like you had a fabulous trip. Your indoor blooms will keep you going. We have a snow storm waging right now and this was after last week's ice storm.

  24. It's frigid and frozen here, too. That's a very nice looking poinsettia.

    Thanks for joining in for bloom day.

    Carol, May Dreams Gardens

  25. Hi Rose, I'm just now getting around to more GBBD posts. My favorite indoor plant right now is, of course,the poinsettia. I love seeing them...I didn't get a live one this year. I have several silk ones and to me, they look real, and they never die! I had no idea they grow them in India until visiting other's blogs. I'm not much of an indoor plant person right now, due to my cat, who eats them. He's even gone so far as to eat silk plants. If he goes to that big cat-box in the sky one day, I will then get back into the indoor plant 'experimentation'. But, I much prefer outdoor gardening and cannot wait until spring. Having IL weather, I'm sure you are eager for it too! Merry Christmas! Jan


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