Monday, February 12, 2018

How to Garden in Winter

First of all, thank you. For your kind expressions of sympathy, emails, cards, and just being there. It truly does help, knowing that so many people are sending good thoughts, prayers, and hugs. I guess we're at that age where so many of us have had to deal with the loss of a parent, family member, or good friend, and the support of this lovely knitting/reading/blogging community is something I deeply and sincerely appreciate.

Those of you who have experienced this know there is much to do, and to be honest, I haven't wanted to do any of it. Notify people, make plans for a funeral, make choices that simultaneously feel overwhelmingly important and yet not important at all in the grand scheme of things, clean out, decide what to do with all the bits and pieces of a person's life, and then there is the business end of it. Death certificates, the bank, the will, the lawyer, Social Security, multiple insurance companies, doctors, cancellations, bills, and the seemingly endless phone calls. It was during one of those phone calls (I was on hold for an hour and 42 minutes) when this view from the kitchen window inspired me.


That's the garden, on an 18 degree day and encased in several inches of ice after a day of snow, sleet, and freezing rain. I certainly couldn't garden outdoors, but I could plug in my phone, put it on speaker, and garden inside while I waited.


I have a lot of plants, and while I move many of them outside after the last frost in May, they just kind of limp along inside during the winter. I have them in the best light I can provide, but many of my sunniest windows have steam radiators under them, and I don't want to cook the poor plants' roots at those windows. I tend to neglect watering, fertilizing, and pruning in the winter because it's a messy job indoors, but the perfect one when you're forced to wait on hold.


I mixed up some dilute fertilizer, grabbed my pruning scissors, and got to work.


The pots all have built-in drainage saucers, but they leak, so I water and prune in the kitchen sink before hanging the plants back up.



I water the larger ones in place and use a turkey baster to quickly suck up any extra water
 from the saucer before it overflows onto the floor.


All my little orchids get a good rinse and a little fertilizer in hopes that they might bloom again soon.



Hearing "We apologize for the delay. Your call is very important to us, so please remain on the line,"
 means that I have time to decide if I should keep that last poinsettia that just won't give up. I did.


I returned all my well-tended plants to their locations, cleaned up my mess in the kitchen, and then
 miraculously got to speak to a human being on the phone. They only partially resolved the issue,
 but my spirits soared when I checked the mail and found this incredible gift from Kym.


I missed planting my amaryllis bulbs last fall because that was the beginning of my father's real decline. I can already see the tips of two flower shoots, so I'm thrilled and hopeful for Amaryllis Watch. Kym often says flowers are magical, and these most certainly are.

18 comments:

  1. Even in my darkest days, I find some glimmer of hope when I can get my hands in the dirt. Even if it's just my fingertips! Flowers are magical -- and there is power in dirt. Sending all my love - every day. XOXO

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  2. You've been in my thoughts daily and it's good to "hear" your voice again. Yes, flowers truly are magical. Enjoy!

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  3. It is good to see your post today. I am in a similar season with Dad so you have been on my heart. I don’t have indoor plants but this post makes me think I might need to change that. Take care and enjoy your indoor garden.

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  4. I'm glad that you are back. I certainly know how you are feeling, and also that sometimes the smallest things make a big difference. Take care, and know that you have made your plants really happy!

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  5. Hello, Bonny, you have been missed, and I am glad that you feel up to blogging. You used your time on hold most wisely, and I will try to keep that in mind next time I am on perpetual hold. The mindfulness coaches would enthusiastically endorse your ability to stay in the present moment! The best way through is just to keep going, and it seems that is what you have been doing. I hope the continuous paperwork and detail begins to wrap up soon. Kym sent you a perfect gift to nurture hopefulness.

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    1. Thank you, Becky! I have missed you and your thoughtful comments and am glad to be back. Today was a long, frustrating day with the lawyer, administrator of the nursing home, and mean woman at Orphan's Court, but reading all the lovely and kind comments has done me a world of good (along with the magic of flowers)!

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  6. You have been in my thoughts daily, Bonny. Turning your action to something mindful and enjoyable nullified the frustration of being on hold. Your plants look happy for the attention and care and you're happier for the accomplishment. That is the lesson of being "in the moment". Flowers are magical, especially when they're from Kym.

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  7. Welcome back, Bonny. I've been through similar times first with my dad and two years ago with my mom, so I have been thinking of you and all you are going through. I've always found that working in a garden, whether it's indoors or out, always brings comfort, peace, & healing. Wishing you well!

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  8. I'm happy to see you again! And you have been in my thoughts every day too. The deciding what to do with the bits and pieces can be the hardest I think. I'm glad you made the best use of that frustrating wait time! xo

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  9. I am with Kym, there is something purely amazing about your hands in the dirt. I don't mind dirt under my fingertips and have always deeply loved the smell of gardening. You know... that earthy, lush, dirt smell!

    I am glad that you had some things to occupy your time while waiting an inordinate amount of time on hold to complete tasks that should be simpler. Nothing like making the grief process even more challenging to add in the things on your list.

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  10. You made good use of your time while on hold and that's wonderful. I don't have many houseplants but I have managed to keep a Boston fern that I had on the deck last summer alive - so far. I've been thinking of you and hoping that you'd be back to blogging soon. It's good to hear your voice again.

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  11. I am so sorry, Bonny; I've been thinking of you everyday. Thank goodness for that speaker feature and a great way to use that time!

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  12. As with all the above comments, we are glad you’re “back” and are able to blog once again. Many of us are at that age when parents are leaving us, we have an inkling of what the grieving process is, and though each of us is different I have sympathy for you and your family.
    Dirt, yes, dig in and feel and do speak to them plants . . . they know how to feel, in their own way of course.
    You have a lot of plants (and room wow), I am in need to do just what you have done, only my orchid needs repotting and I am not feeling secure about it. Internet, here I come.

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    1. Thank you, Annette! I can't promise I'll post every day, but I did miss the camaraderie, and am glad to be back. I got a lot of pleasure out of the mundane task of taking care of my plants, and will remember that for the future. I used to have a lovely large cattleya orchid that I received as a gift, and was heartbroken when I repotted it and it died shortly afterwards. I'm sending you good orchid repotting wishes!

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  13. Welcome back. I am glad you were able to take care of those plants while on hold. My sympathy to you and your family. Be gentle with yourself. Green plants are a welcome sight on a winter day.

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  14. I am so very happy you are back here on your space, you were missed. I hope as spring slowly returns your grief lessens.

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  15. Welcome back! Friends AND flowers are magical! (my amaryllis is STILL putting out blooms; I look forward to your watch as well!)

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Thank you for visiting and taking the time to comment! :-)