Tuesday, December 15, 2009

GBBD: Dreary December

Today is December 15, and you know what that means--well, yes, you do have only 10 more shopping days until Christmas. But in the gardening world it also means this is Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day, the day each month when garden bloggers all over the world show off what's blooming in their gardens. For Northern gardeners, it's also a time when we have to flex our creative muscles. Unless you have a collection of houseplants, there's not much to show in the garden after the temperatures have plummeted to below freezing and winter winds have ripped off any remaining blooms.

Unlike many other Midwesterners, I don't even have the benefit of snow to make dried blooms and wilted foliage look appealing. Instead, my garden is simply brown and muddy. Going outside in hopes of finding the one bloom remaining, I found that even the purple primrose that appeared last week had given up and gone South for the winter. At least its leaves are still a lively green, and, of course, the heucheras nearby add a little more foliage interest.

Apparently, though, there is a little more green in the garden than I thought. As I walked quickly back to the house and out of the cold, Sasha pointed out that the Nepeta "Walker's Low" still has some fresh growth--just enough for a little bit of cat heaven.

I am not a houseplant person anymore, so there's not much to see indoors. However, when Youngest Daughter moved out and I turned her room into a guest room, I had an epiphany. This room has lots of natural light and was perfect for overwintering plants! After my Thanksgiving guest, Arizona Daughter, left, I set up a table and moved in the geraniums and my rosemary plant from the garage. Arizona Daughter had politely asked about my little "tree," and when I suggested she sniff it, she recognized it immediately. She may not be a gardener, but she is a cook and was excited when I cut off a few sprigs to send home with her to use in her kitchen.

Also now residing in the guest room is the begonia I showed off several times this summer. This one was just too pretty to let die over the winter. It seems to prefer its new cooler home to the overheated office and has set a few new buds to show its appreciation. I have a feeling you're going to be seeing a lot of it as well as the rosemary and geraniums over the next few months of winter Bloom Days!

And, of course, it wouldn't be Christmas without at least one red poinsettia to make the house a little more festive. In the midst of this busy time, I hope you all have time to stop and smell the proverbial "roses" and enjoy the beauty and peace of this season.

Today is also the eve of ABC Wednesday, and GBBD has inspired me to write a silly little poem about the garden, which I will post later today. In the meantime, take a few moments to visit our Bloom Day hostess, Carol at May Dreams Gardens, and see what is blooming all over the world.


  1. How wonderful you found a good spot for overwintering a few garden treasures Rose! It's good for the gardener's soul having a few winter blooms!

  2. Rose girl ! how lucky are you ?!!
    I would love to have a spare room (son eventually will move out ... eventually ??? haha) .. now that is what I would do if I had that room .. funny enough we are both "talking" about rosemary in these posts ? ;-)
    PS .. Sasha is a beauty and that was a great "cat moment" picture !!

  3. Good morning Rose! I am listening to the rain upon the rooftop and thinking about all the ice melting in our pond; perhaps we will return to normal mid-40's temperature.

    Your rosemary looks extremely healthy and apparently loves its placement, and the color of the begonia is gorgeous. I am hoping that our established outdoor rosemary plants don't get creamed as two (4' x 5') did last year... can't bring them in. ;)

    Rose, we hope you and your family have a blessed and Merry Christmas! Diana

  4. I didn't know cats actually like catmint. Cute!
    Happy GBBD!

  5. That was a great idea to create a plant room. You must have gotten it right for the Begonia to be setting buds. I've managed to keep a very large Pelargonium going through the winter last year, and I'm still trying to figure out how to keep it blooming in the lower light. I hope you have better luck with yours.

  6. Love Sasha's face as she explores the catmint...I looked at ours yesterday and it was pretty well mush, though there was a bit of green around the base. I'm waiting for more snow to cover up all the yucky-mushies.

  7. Heucheras are great in the winter garden aren't they. Your rosemary looks very healthy. I forgot to water my poor specimen and now it is dried herbs. I am hopeful it will come back.....

  8. The begonia will be so nice all winter! And it's great that you have a whole room for overwintering plants. I am jealous!

  9. glad you've kept your spare room full of plants! --keep em growing over the winter. Love to see your kitty too!

  10. Hi Rose, I'm not much into house plants either. I do keep a few going, my amaryllis and Christmas cactus (which never blooms at Christmas:)

    I love poinsettia until they start to drop their leaves after the holidays.

  11. Oh, Rose. You write so beautifully and always seem to have the perfect photos to go along with your posts. Nice to imagine Arizona Daughter going home with some sprigs of your rosemary. Sasha is so cute and also a good companion in the garden it seems. I look forward to your poem and know it will be anything but silly.

  12. Hi Rose.....I am always fascinated by cats and their love of nepeta.....I love the plant but cannot stand the fragrance.

    Rosemary is a favourite of mine and little Poppi just loves it. I like to use it when cooking......

    Fabulous idea to use a spare room to overwinter plants......just think how many you can get in there Rose. Perhaps an excuse to buy more tender plants in 2010......

  13. Rose - You even make the ordinary poinsettia look extraordinary.

  14. Linda, Yes, I'm putting this new spare room to use!

    WashingtonGardener, Sasha doesn't get a lot of publicity here, so I was glad she pointed out the nepeta for me.

    Joy, I didn't know you had a son still at home! I miss Younger Daughter here, but the extra room is nice:) Sasha did pose nicely, didn't she?

    Di, I will post more about the rosemary later, but apparently they like cool temps so the spare room is perfect for it. Merry Christmas to you, too!

    Ginger, Despite what some sources say, cats love it!

    MMD, The leaves on the begonia were drooping until I moved it to the guest room. It must like cooler temps.

    Jodi, I wouldn't have even noticed the catmint if Sasha hadn't been rubbing all over it:) My garden is mush, too.

    Dan, I love heuchera! Maybe you can save the dried rosemary for cooking:)

    Rose, This is the first time in my life I've had a spare room in the house! I'm keeping my fingers crossed on the begonia.

    Judybec, I started eyeing the light in this room before Daughter moved out:)

    Marnie, Last year my poinsettia lasted so long; this one is already dropping leaves--not a good sign.

    Donna, Thank you for those kind words! I haven't checked with Daughter to see what she used the rosemary for--chicken or a potato dish, probably.

    Cheryl, I'm already trying to figure out how to cram more tables into this room:) This is my first year with rosemary--I love it! I hope I can keep this one; can't wait to see how big it might get next year.

    Commonweeder, You're too kind--the lighting just wasn't working for a good photo.

  15. That lucky begonia. I let mine be taken by the cold. I just love begonias but they tend to have a slow miserable death if I bring them in from outside. Happy GBBD.

  16. Sasha seems quite intent upon that Nepeta I used to surprise my neighbor's late kitty in my catmint. She always looked guilty about being found out ... "I can stop anytime, really I can".

  17. Hi Rose, We don't have any snow either, though areas more northern in Michigan sure do! I think catmint puts on basal leaves before winter--I love plants that do that!

  18. An Epiphany, Rose, how exciting! I always love when those happen. The empty sunny room is the perfect spot for all kinds of gardening opportunities. All you need are lights and you will be amazed at what can be accomplished. Of course you have already accomplished much, with the rosemary and others. Love the coloring on sweet Sasha. The cats here love those rosettes too. The regular herb catnip seeds all over and it is allowed to stay to keep the felines happy in hopes of mousing, and more important, voling! :-)

  19. Lisa, This is the first time I've tried to keep a begonia over the winter--this one just seemed to be hardier than most I've had before.

    Cindy, the cats always find the nepeta in the spring; I was surprised to see Sasha still enjoying it.

    Monica, We don't have snow either! Much different than last year.

    Frances, Lights and maybe a heat mat will be added when the seed starting process begins. I'm looking forward to much better results this year with this new space!

  20. Rose,
    What do you call your freed-up guest room? Orangerie? Wintergreen house? Serre?
    Lovely to have space like that now that warmth is at a premium.
    Like you, I had a few precocious primrose flowers, but they have gone the way of all snail-food, like the leaves on your plants. Pity, as I could do with a little bit of colour. I put up a communal Christmas card HERE

  21. I love the picture of Sasha. My cats don't pay any attention to catmint. I think I read somewhere that some cats are affected by the plant compounds and others aren't at all.

  22. I wouldn't say you had a dreary GBBD what with your cute little cat and your houseplants! I imagine you've had your share of snow by now though!


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