Thursday, October 11, 2007

Taking the Garden Indoors

The kitties are huddling and our dog Simba can no longer sneak up on me as I'm working in the garden. Too many dry leaves lying on the ground; I can hear her coming. The mosquito population has taken a dive (yay!) and spiders swaying from the trees keeps me walking in the open spaces.

A few days ago, fellow garden blogger Yolanda Elizabet made a post with the same title, Taking the Garden Indoors. However, she was talking about a different thing than I am. With fall definitely in the air and us well past the average first frost date, we're scrambling to get all the tender plants 'debugged' and inside for the winter.

Last year, I set up the basement greenhouse where I kept many things I wanted to winter over. There were geraniums, coleus, orchids, brugmansia, and others. I'm not going to attempt to keep the coleus this year, but somehow I've ended up with more things than I've got room for.

The brugmansia grew over the summer. How about that!?! In November of last year, I received sticks in the mail from other gardeners which I rooted and started in pots, then planted them out when it got warm enough in the spring. Oh myyyyyyy. What I have now are about 18 small trees. I definitely have a problem.

I need a conservatory. But that's not likely to happen in the next week or so, nor even in the next fifty years, so what to do?

I'm going to be forced to cut the brugs back. This is going to hurt. Several of them are so nicely shaped, I really don't want to do this. I know it won't hurt them, but it will hurt me. I'm one of those people who can't get rid of anything if it's got even a speck of green left on it, regardless of the fact that the rest of the plant died months before and it looks worse than Charlie Brown's Christmas tree.

But clearly, I'm either going to have to prune these things or find more room inside for them, or both. I'd decided last winter that I wanted to get a section of the storage room in the basement cleared out so I could overwinter plants in there maybe, instead of in the small room where our water heater and other necessities are kept. But now there's no 'maybe' about it and there's no 'instead' either. I need both areas. More lights. More shelving.

The twin bed we had for sale at the garage sale is still here. It's a platform base, so it will now become a great holding area for the brugs. It has three drawers below it for storage, too, so I'm thinking it's a good thing it didn't sell. It will no longer be a bed, but a rather strange looking plant stand.

We bought more shop lights to hang over the plants when we were at Kara and Adam's house last weekend. Lowe's has them for not much money at all and I don't buy the expensive grow lights to put in them. Regular fluorescents (40W) worked just fine for me last year, so that's what I got for the new ones, too. Four lights plus the two hanging fixtures was about twenty dollars, tax and all.

I'm giving a couple of the brugmansias away, but Romie wants me to keep as many as I can so we can plant them all in the ground next summer and have our own little jungle. We'll see...

In the meantime, in come the plants and I'll take care of them in the basement greenhouse, where I hope I won't have a white fly problem like I did early last year and I pray I can keep things going until we're once again on the warm side of winter.


Kylee Baumle said...

I just want to add a comment here: The variegated brugmansia pictured towards the end of the post had NO leaves on it when my mom passed it on to me three weeks ago. Someone gave it to her and she had no room for it, so I said I'd take it. I mean, it's VARIEGATED and I only have one other variegated brug, so I mean, what would YOU have done?

I think it's like the rescued kitties - they know you've taken them in and they reward you with lots of love. And blooms. :-)

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