“Sharing these plants, known as pass-along plants, had the same result as sharing a family recipe; it is a way of remembering certain people, places, or events … “
–Patricia S. York, Southern Living
The past week the weather could not have been more beautiful. With the cool nights Harry and Wilhelmina, the cats, choose to stay out all night and chase little critters. On more than one occasion we have discovered little critters placed thoughtfully on the doormat at the front door as a gift. It’s the thought that counts, but rather than little critters we’d prefer something, well, maybe more colorful.
The sudden coolness brought with it a tumbling of golden and red leaves across the yard. The grass has greened. Spider lilies popped up everywhere this year — in the raised bed where they were planted and in the yard and woods where they were not planted. I’ve gathered them in bunches to display in vases where they look so lovely. I’ve learned to mix other flowers with them, adding a shock of blue from the Prairie petunias or the blue salvia, or even a wayward yellow cosmos. Now the swamp sunflowers are blooming. So faithful.
A couple of visits to the garden centers have provided yellow, blue and purple pansies. These will do well in cold weather except for the deer nipping pansies. I have planted most in flower boxes above the reach of the deer. There are a few mixed with pink and white dianthus and planted in pots. Dusty miller does well in winter coldness, but I haven’t found any yet.
Some wildflower seeds can be planted in fall from Sept. 15 to Nov. 15. The seeds will germinate and the seedlings will have enough root system before going dormant in the winter. Some seeds may not germinate but will stay dormant and emerge in the spring. I was excited to read this in my wildflower catalog. Two years ago, I planted a mixture called “Butterfly /Hummingbird Blend.” The first year was not very successful but subsequent years were. I also planted a mixture called “Southeastern Wildflower Mix.” My Southeastern mix worked well but I found it rather humorous to discover what I had purchased and was growing in my flowerbed was also growing in the surrounding fields.
Since all my flowers were successful this year with just the right amount of rain and sun, I called the seed company about purchasing the “Pollinator Mix” and the “Cut Flower Mix.” I asked if I might plant these mixtures right now in the fall. The nice lady suggested I wait until spring for the best results. I was disappointed because naturally with the weather so beautiful I was ready to get going. Waiting on nature isn’t easy.
As temperatures drop potted plants from the porches and all around the yard are moved into the greenhouse: poinsettias from last Christmas, bougainvillea, mandevilla, hostas, peace plant, caladiums, pothos, swiss ivy, dracaena, airplane plants, angel wing begonias, wandering Jew, a few succulents, an avocado plant and a dozen pineapple plants.
The best part of caring for these plants is remembering their source. Many have arrived as gifts or pass-along plants, each holding its own sweet memory.
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