Smiling through winter, an update

My hyacinths on the windowsill bring me happiness and joy.

After last week’s post, I implemented my seven ways to smile through winter plan. This quiet season covers at least five months of the year in Oklahoma so smiling through winter is vital. Like Demeter, we gardeners pine for Persephone until she returns from Hades, and green shoots push forth from the earth once again.

A yellow kalanchoe brightens my day as I sit on the sofa and read.
A yellow kalanchoe brightens my day as I sit on the sofa and read.

How did I implement my plan? First, I went to three four local stores–TLC Nursery, Whole Foods, Lowe’s and Under the Sun–and bought four or five six or seven indoor plants including a variegated airplane plant. The 1970s are alive and well my friends.

The airplane/spider plant is in the greenhouse video below. Consider it horticultural retail therapy.

New rugs for the living room and two orchids help too. I move the plants in and out of the windows so that they get light. You can't treat a plant like a piece of furniture.
New rugs for the living room and two orchids help too. I move the plants in and out of the windows so that they get light. You can’t treat a plant like a piece of furniture. It will die.

I returned home and transferred said plants into beautiful pots. Beautiful containers and sparkling glass do a lot to help improve a supermarket plant.

Beautiful containers and sparkling clean glass do a lot to improve a supermarket plant. Click To TweetI always keep decorative containers on hand, and I collect blue and white porcelain including the flow blue platters on the mantel, above. Beautiful containers and sparkling clean glass do a lot to improve a supermarket plant.

Joanna Gaines of Magnolia Market and Fixer Upper fame would agree. If you notice on the show, she cuts a lot twigs and branches and places them in glass vases. She even had cottonwood leaves in last night’s show! I followed her lead with this cotton boll arrangement in my dining room. That reminds me–I think I’ll grow cotton next year. Bustani Plant Farm carries an ornamental pink cotton.

Cotton bolls in a crystal vase ala Joanna Gaines and Fixer Upper. These remind me of stark winter.
Cotton bolls in a crystal vase a la Joanna Gaines and Fixer Upper. Looking at my Oklahoma sign in this photo reminds me I want to hang it above the china cabinet and retire that iron display rack for awhile.

I placed plants in spots where I could see them while I write, read books, clean house, etc. They, along with my forced bulbs, are in every window in my house. If you’d like to see more pictures of my indoor plants follow me on Instagram. I usually post once a day.

Click on the images in the gallery, below, to make them larger and see the captions.

I then decided to go outside and face my greenhouse. I haven’t written much about the greenhouse this winter because we had quite the early season disaster. My greenhouse is composed of wood and three-ply poly, so it swells and contracts depending upon the humidity. We’ve been very dry. Oklahoma is in a drought again. Of course, it is.

A huge cold front came through in December while we were away, and my son went out to check on things. God bless him for caring. If you don’t slam the greenhouse door hard enough, it can pop open especially when the air is very dry, The wind from the front nearly whipped the door off its hinges. We came home to the greenhouse standing wide open in 18-degree F. weather. Everything inside got either nipped by the cold wind, or frozen depending upon where items were inside. It was a scientific experiment in microclimates, and as in our gardens sometimes, there didn’t seem to be any rhyme or reason to the freezing. I lost several plants, and Mother Nature painfully pruned others. I’m grateful I put the coleus cuttings at the back of the greenhouse. They weren’t killed. However, my beautiful ‘Republic of Texas’ orange tree was so injured I lost half of it, the rest of the citrus were also burned, except surprisingly a kumquat on an elevated surface. The heater nearby must have kept that one warm enough.

To say I was sad about all of this would be an understatement. I was heartbroken, and after that first evaluation, I didn’t go outside and assess the damage again. I couldn’t face it, so Bill went out every couple of days and watered giving me reports. The orange tree already had ripening oranges on it when the storm hit. My beautiful dark red mandevilla died too. Maybe I can find a replacement at Under the Sun this spring. They carry the Sun Parasols® brand. Mine was a trial plant I’d overwintered twice. It was quite large.

After the post last week, I decided to go out and see what I could salvage. I took clippers in hand and began trimming away the orange tree’s dead limbs. The live video from Facebook, above, shows the results. Don’t you love how videos always catch you at your worst when they stop? Half the tree is gone, but of course, after I pruned the damaged bits, it began to perk up. I also took off the remaining oranges which did ripen but were also pithy from the freeze. As for the other trees, we’ll see if they put on a crop from their damaged blooms. It’s been warm enough this week I set the greenhouse top to open because nearby honeybees love to pollinate the citrus. One lesson I learned is there’s still a lot of good left in my greenhouse.

One lesson I learned is there's still a lot of good left in my greenhouse. Click To Tweet

The same is true about our world. You find truth in whatever you focus upon, good or bad. I choose to stand in the light.

I bought seeds this week. Because we’re having the regional daylily tour in June, I won’t plant the large vegetable/cutting garden this year. It’s too much to care for it, travel, have a wedding, get two children graduated, etc. I just can’t do it all. But, I wanted to show you these seeds from Hudson Valley Seed Company. I love their art packs. They are so beautiful. I bought their calendar too. It’s comprised of the art from the seed packets.

I’ve also kept doing videos for my YouTube channel, and as I wrote above, this is a live video on Facebook. I also read two books last week. If you’d like to know what I’m reading, follow me on Goodreads. I started a bullet journal. I’ll write a post about it another time.

I stepped up my exercise too. Thank goodness! I’m walking most days, but I also contacted a friend who is a trainer and asked her to create a weight training plan for me. I have osteopenia, and I definitely don’t want osteoporosis. Weight bearing exercise is all important.

That’s what I’ve done so far. What are you doing to improve your winter days?