Pied Beauty

Gerard Manley Hopkins (1844-1889)

Glory be to God for dappled things—
For skies of couple-colour as a brinded cow;
For rose-moles all in stipple upon trout that swim;
Fresh-firecoal chestnut-falls; finches' wings;
Landscape plotted and pieced—fold, fallow, and plough;
And all trades, their gear and tackle and trim.

All things counter, original, spare, strange;
Whatever is fickle, freckled (who knows how?)
With swift, slow; sweet, sour; adazzle, dim;
He fathers-forth whose beauty is past change:

Praise him.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Who's In, Who's Out

Okay, I'll confess.  You may have heard me declaim that I never protect plants in the winter.  And it's true, mostly.  If you're planted in the ground, you'd better be able to stand on your own two feet in my garden, metaphorically speaking. 

However, I realized this weekend (after two hard freezes in a row) that there are some container plants that I do lug into the house each winter.  Fewer and fewer every year, it turns out, because at the moment of truth, there are always some that do not make the cut.  This year, a ratty old mandevilla has been left to freeze to death.  And that Northern Maidenhair fern that moped for a solid year? Abandoned to the bitter north wind.  (In my dark little heart, I believe it served him right!)

The best of the bunch.
But in the interests of truth and justice, I not only take it back my rash statements regarding winter protection, I offer proof of what a pitiful winter gardener I actually am.  The picture above is my south-facing bathroom window.  The light in there is so bright that I have to use the blinds or the clivias would frizzle up and die.  Here's where I have my portulacarias, the two clivias and a hoya.  And now that I see how ratty the hoya looks, I'm almost wishing I had left it on the back porch to fend for itself.

Red philodendron, the vining sort.
Here's the red philodendron, who's only just now recovered from the sunburn he received at the beginning of the spring.  I really should not keep container plants!

Here's the kitchen window -- a motley assortment if ever there was one.   Two paddle plants (Kalanchoe thyrsiflora); a clivia that almost died and is now, slowly, trying to recover; an amaryllis that I haven't gotten around to planting in the garden yet; a cutting from said ratty hoya; a toad lily and a peacock ginger.  My daughter inadvertently dug up the ginger and I never replanted it either.  So here they sit, accusingly.  (Don't you think they look sullen?)

And finally, the window by the front door, a horticultural shame.  The poor croton not only got too cold the other night, it needs water in the worst way.  And I haven't watered it because I can't find my plastic saucers.  You can't find them in stores right now either, so we're at a stalemate.  Sitting next to the croton are two different sorts of pothos ivy.  One is a variegated white and green one but the other is just a plain old variegated yellow one.  I should have left him outside too, especially since there's an old wren nest in that pot.  I think I'd really rather have wrens than that old ivy.

So there!  I do bring provide some winter protection for some plants.  Now that I seem them all sadly arrayed in the house, I wonder why I bother.  Bah humbug to winter!


  1. You will be protecting your nursery inventory in Winter and Spring like a mama grizzly protects it's cubs.

  2. So true! I already have a whole roll of frost cloth and all sorts of contingency plans! :)

  3. Thirsty, thirsty! China saucer or wide shallow dish from the thrift store? Works for me, and it looks better than the various evil colours plastic comes in ;>)

  4. I know, I know! I'm a baaaaad gardener in the winter. I relented last night and gave that poor croton a pie dish so he could have water.

  5. I too have an array of outdoor plants living in my office brought in only a few weeks go. I always wonder who I forgot. I did see two frozen clay pots with remnants of life, and now they will be toast. Well anyway, you are not the only one that winter sneaks up on.

  6. We bring in our container of chives and also our geraniums. We live in New England and everything else stays out for the winter. Enjoyed your blog.

  7. Is it okay this plant if you put in container?

    Just like to share with you a famous quote...

    "The voice of parents is the voice of gods, for to their children they are heaven's lieutenants. " -- Shakespeare

    You can get more famous quotes at http://quotelandia.com