Monday, January 27, 2020


January in Kentucky is proceeding in the way we've learned to call 'normal.'  Grey rainy days when the wind has a cold bite, interspersed with blue skies and climbing temperatures.
Yesterday was one of the overcast days with a high in the mid-forties.
I've been eyeing the amaryllis bulbs which, removed from their outdoor tub in October, refused to enter dormancy. 
I've never coaxed an amaryllis to rebloom, but Fred, our friend and former renter at the Amish farm, had success with this, encouraging me to try again.
Most of the fat white roots on the bulbs had shriveled to dry strings which I carefully rubbed off, then settled the bulbs into pots of fairly coarse soil mix.

I have three large bulbs and two 'babies.'

We've been noting that temperatures inside the greenhouse stay about 20 degrees above the outside temp, although even a few minutes of sunshine bring a quick climb. 

A self-sown catnip plant had burrowed into the soil in a big tub;  I lifted it carefully, discovering  a stem and pale leaves beneath the soil.
Do I need a pot of catnip?  Perhaps not, but the temptation to have a few hardy things growing was irresistible.

Lemon balm is one of my favorite herbs---not because I do anything practical with it. I love the dainty crinkled leaves and the fresh scent which links me in imagination with gardeners and herbalists of many centuries.
I grubbed about in the mud beside a rose bush where a root of lemon balm was hastily interred during our move in the autumn of 2018.
Although I couldn't work free much in the way of roots I'm hoping these bits will thrive and produce several new plants.

The foxgloves which should have been self-sowing abundantly by August didn't produce seedlings until the rains in October.  I found them  popping up by the dozens.  Most have languished not having time to develop good roots, but poking about in the sodden garden I found several small clumps of plantlets.
I brought one clump into the greenhouse and carefully unraveled the roots to find that I had 5 sturdy baby plants.
These have been given individual pots.  Being cold hardy they should quickly grow into strong plants for locating into the garden in early spring.

I trudged from the lower porch to the greenhouse many times relocating empty pots, buckets for mixing soil, small tools, all tidily stowed under the benches.

My largest rosemary, about 5 years old, hasn't been thriving in the window of the downstairs family room. Perhaps it will enjoy the greenhouse.

 I had to discard a rosemary plant which developed mildew.
I took clean cuttings from the tips of several branches and put them in a tiny vase of water which I placed on the east-facing kitchen windowsill.
About 10 days ago I noticed that roots were forming, so topped up the water.
This week I mixed seed-starting mix with a handful of perlite and tucked the tiny cuttings into a container.  They are residing on a windowsill in the sunroom.  I'm hoping I can grow them on.

Not sure yet where the greenhouse project will take us. Jim mentions installing a fan, maybe a small heater.  Watering won't be a problem as there is a stand pipe/faucet right outside the door. 
I suspect I will find excuses to spend many hours 'pottering!'


  1. I love your greenhouse and miss ours on our allotment so much, in fact I miss the whole planting and growing business. I only have a tiny garden now but feel blessed that I had the opportunity to garden when I could.
    Our catmint was continually flattened by cats on the allotment even when we tried to protect it they managed to sit on it. lol

    1. Briony; I've had many a catnip plant destroyed by cats who weren't content merely to wallow on it but had to uproot the whole thing and drag it about. I try to keep a plant or two tucked into a border where they might not find it.
      Gardening is becoming physically more tiring, but I'm determined to keep on, although I recognize that I need to be less ambitious in my plans.

  2. I like seeing your greenhouse project. Wishing I had one! My Rosemary has not fared well in the house, thus far. Not sure it will make it.

    1. Michelle; I've grown rosemary over the years--sometimes from seed and sometimes buying a small nursery plant. They are tempermental! The plants dry out easily and don't recover--or they feel too damp, not enough sun and succumb to mildew. I stubbornly keep trying!

  3. I think your greenhouse is going to give you hours of pleasure(and being 20 deg. warmer than outside you will be able to potter even in the winter months. Tam has bought me a new polytunnel type greenhouse but we are waiting for the weather to improve to get it put together.

    I hope all your little hopeful young plants and seedlings will reward your efforts.

    1. Jennie; I'm hoping I can extend the season to grow salad greens--that's the practical application. Beyond that having a place to start seeds, experiment with propagating cuttings should be a source of interest--and a greenhouse is a peaceful place where one is seldom disturbed.

  4. What a joy for you to be able to potter around in your new greenhouse. I love it and to think that it is about 20 degrees warmer in there than outside is really nice. Enjoy ~ FlowerLady

    1. Rainey; I love the term 'potter'--so fitting for a greenhouse. Its a relatively small space but I might put a folding chair out there as an 'escape.'

  5. I am sure you will spend many happy hours "pottering" about in the greenhouse. (From the comment above ~ I also love the term "Potter." When the kids call and ask what I am doing, I usually say, "Oh, I am just pottering about." Which actually means, I am not doing anything I want to tell them about, but something they might consider a waste of time. My mother would say, "I am just piddling, which meant she was sewing." So... "pottering" is for working in the greenhouse and gardens, and "piddling" is for working in the sewing room. Ha!Ha!) After I read your post, I rushed out to my garden to look for foxglove seedlings. None were to be found... :~(

    1. Mary; I think much of my activity could be categorized as pottering, piddling about--meaning not terribly productive! As long as I'm not 'dithering!'
      I often think of my Grampa Mac's phrase, "Getting ready to commence"--in other words, the preparation out weighs the task!