Wednesday, December 09, 2009
There is no way to recreate the idea of a garden inside a zone 5 house. And I think that’s why many gardeners in my situation just give up on houseplants altogether, unless they have attached greenhouses or Florida rooms. It’s just not the same, by any means. But I still find indoor gardening rewarding and fun. Inspired by local avid growers of these plants, I have begun to take up the amaryllis and orchid habits. Baby steps to be sure: I have 10 amaryllis (hippeastrum, correctly) and 7 orchids (phalaenopsis, dendrobium, oncidium, and cattleya).
Most of my winter gardening centers around spring bulbs. I have 40-50 hyacinths down in the root cellar and about as many tazetta narcissus either in progress or in bags waiting to be grown on stones and water. I think some of them will bloom in time for Christmas, but not all; they are all fancy types that take a few weeks longer than the traditional paperwhites. They are well worth the wait, and have a much softer fragrance.
Everything is ready, but nothing is blooming. For that, I rely on my old standbys (and by old, I mean plants I’ve had for 10-20 years): African violets, Christmas cactus, and cyclamen. These will bloom almost all winter. What perennial gives us as much bloom time as these plants, which are despised/overlooked by so many gardeners? Seriously.