Tag Archive for coleus

Indoor gardening tasks–repotting and transplanting

Gardening doesn’t stop just because there is snow on the ground. When the need to work in soil and nurture plants strikes, even during winter, look to indoor gardening tasks such as repotting and transplanting.

These rooted cuttings of sansevieria and coleus beckoned to be firmly set in soil … a perfect task for a snowy day.

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While it’s less messy to do this outdoors while temperatures are still balmy, I get the sense that I’m fooling Mother Nature when my hands are in soil while my eyes look out on a snowy landscape. In addition to the rooted cuttings, I collected other plants in need of transplanting.

The work area.

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The stainless steel bucket – a repurposed milk bucket – stores a blend of potting mix and compost. Newspapers cover the counter. Not seen is an assortment of clean pots.

 

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Cut a piece of newspaper to keep potting soil from escaping through drainage holes in the bottom of the pot.

After I cleaned old soil from around the roots of this amaryllis bulb, I added fresh soil to the pot and packed more fresh soil around the bulb.

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Make sure the bulb sits so about half the bulb and all roots are below the soil.

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Then find a nice decorative pot and dress it up.

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Follow a similar procedure for other plants. Rooted cuttings should be firmly set in soil so their roots are completely covered. Note: the sansevieria will be top heavy until its roots extend out into the potting soil. Either support the leaf structure with a small piece of a bamboo stake or place the potted plant where its leaves can lean against something sturdy – like a window frame.

Water each pot thoroughly and dress up your indoor garden with decorative pots.

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These coleus will live out the winter on a bright northeast exposure window sill. The sansevieria and variegated ivy will thrive in a windowed room that gets bright morning sun for just an hour or so during winter. The amaryllis went to live in a sunny, south-facing window.

In just a week, it’s showing signs of life.

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The other transplants are looking pretty happy as well.

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Plants on a frosty morning

Awakening early on the first frosty morning of autumn is a photographic opportunity not to be missed. October 13, 2012 brought not just the first frost to my Connecticut gardens, but the first freeze. Temperatures dropping to 28 degrees F. ceases the growing season for tender annuals. The secret is enabling the camera lens to catch frosted leaves before they begin to thaw.

Coleus hates cold, but frost crystals add new depth to the maroon leaves of this variety. The moment the sun began to warm these leaves, they turned mushy brown.

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Other garden plants are a bit more hardy. They usually bounce back from the first frost as if nothing hit them. Still, a coating of frost gives many leaves a whole new look.

Fern fronds appear to have been sprinkled with sugar.

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Tiny leaves of ordinary thyme take on a variegated look.

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Though temporarily weighted down by a coating of frost, these mums bounced back with new vigor.

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Frost highlights the intricate patterns of foxglove foliage.

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The grass blades crunched under each footstep. (I don’t recommend walking on frozen grass unless you don’t mind damaging it.)

grass and leaf

 

Look at your landscape from a new perspective. You are likely to walk away with renewed appreciation for common scenery.

This bunch of grass grows next to an old tree stump piled with fieldstone while awaiting removal. It’s an eyesore from any other vantage point, but not from ground-level with the sunrise glowing in the background sheds new light on the ripened seed heads.

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Early morning observations, such as these, allow you to identify the areas of your landscape most susceptible to frost and give you insight into how frost settles. This can be valuable knowledge when trying to find the right place for new plant purchases. Placing a more tender specimen in an open spot may doom it to failure yet the same plant, in a more protected location, is likely to thrive.

One of the many pleasures of gardening comes from watching and learning about your landscape. An early frosty morning is another opportunity to learn … even without camera in hand.

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