When it's all wintry and disgusting outside, it's nice to have photos like this to look at and remember the good ol' days of... Winter? Well, not quite, but almost--this photo of the Mr. Yogato garden was taken on 29 November. The trombetta squash produced fruit right until a hard frost in mid-December. The Datura looked alright until then, too, and the grapes, and everything else! (Last year, the frost-sensitive plants had to say goodbye at the end of October, when a freeze knocked them down.) Right now, the place is a barren patch of browning twigs and fallen ivy leaves. Soon, however, the bulbs will start popping up; the strawberries, mint, and herbs will start leafing out again; and maybe the chard will flower! Maybe the grapes will also bloom this year--it will be its third year in this location, and last year, it grew a hell of a lot more than it did two years ago. I actually had to trim the grape vines back in a couple locations (although there were some I couldn't reach that I thought could stand to be trimmed--unfortunately, I am not 15 feet tall).
Sometimes, however, winter offers you a view of plants that you may not otherwise be able to encounter--this, for example, is a type of bushy landscaping plant that I see occasionally (very occasionally. In fact, rarely, I should say.). I noticed this one of a matching set outside of a shop in Georgetown when I was there last week to get my DC license (after three and a half years in DC, I finally had to get the license in order to file a Home Occupation Permit for DC State Fair so we can get a basic business license and a license to solicit funds--in case you were just dying to know why I gave up my Maryland license with the cute little crab on it). Sometimes, plants sans leaves have more interesting architecture than they could even with flowers. I'm a fan of this plant--I'd grow it just to kill it and keep it in a pot by itself! (No, I wouldn't--I don't like to intentionally kill plants. I'd "accidentally" kill it, then.)
I visited Al's Orchid Greenhouse the other week with Kyoko of the local chapter of the Gesneriad Society. We helped "clean up" some of the plants (although it felt more like "cleaning out" Al's stock), and I spent more than an hour just wandering through looking at everything. I can't say this is the "most impressive" display, because there were a lot of impressive features at the greenhouse, but it is certainly the largest and most intricate piece there. Now I want to install a rainforesty water feature in my apartment! (You know I got plants from here, too. I'll be sure to, at some point, blog about them.)
This lawn made me tilt my head like a confused yet curious six-week-old puppy with long, floppy ears. I was excited by the exposed soil just waiting to be planted--and then I realized that the raised beds were made of broken-down bookshelves. That made me chuckle at the ingenuity and resourcefulness, but then I worried about the glue from the compressed wood and the coatings on the "wood-grain" covering getting into any edibles grown there and thus into the gardener's body. Then I saw the snow, and I was almost depressed, knowing that nothing would be growing in that soil for weeks if not months. All thoughts of others' potential health issues were wiped with that sobering thought.
Speaking of confusing plants, this is the beau's attempts at houseplants. He keeps his Epiprenmum aureum and Chlorophytum outside during the warmer months, but at no part of the year do these plants get watered regularly. Nor have they been repotted in years. I know I should be helping take care of them, but, y'know, they aren't my plants. And, well, they aren't quite dead, so...
I am jealous of my new local hydroponics store, Urban Sustainable--man, if I had crazy-expensive grow lights, I'd have eggplant, peppers, and tomatoes growing this hardy in the dead of winter as well!