20 March 2008
Mother Nature is a Trickster
Okay, so while half the garden blogging world was joyously exulting in the arrival of calendar spring, what did we get in lovely Nova Scotia? Yet another ice storm. Well, we hadn't had one for a couple of weeks, after all, and we apparently needed to have roads, doorways, drives, plants, and anything else possible, covered in a case of finest crystal.
As if that wasn't enough, the ice on the wireless Internet receiver outside was so thick it blocked our service for a good part of the day...but the good news is that our intrepid service provider--a local company that does care about their customers--fixed the bottleneck of traffic in Scotts Bay so that we shouldn't have any more of the terrible downtimes we've endured in the past few weeks. So two thumbs up to Steve and the crew!
However, the weather, though annoying, isn't that surprising. I heard Environment Canada meteorologist David Phillips interviewed on CBC this afternoon while I was sulking in bed with the heating pad and a cat or two foot-warmers, and Phillips reminded us that we Maritimers have long, glorious, exultant autumns...the tradeoff being our springs, not to put too fine a term on it, suck. While many of you have been laughing in flowers, or at least giddy with spring preparations, for some time now, we have a few weeks of cranky weather left to contend with before we can say spring has arrived. But that's why we are such a stoic, sturdy lot. Or so we tell ourselves.
My coping mechanism this week was to simply get me to a nursery and load up on a few new houseplants. Not that I needed any more, of course, but it's not about needing, it's about coping with spring's tardiness. Most of my houseplants, of course, live in my office because I spend so much of my working life in here, so a few more to add to the atmosphere was a good plan, at least in my spring-starved mind. Since my salmon-pink kalanchoe is still blooming amazingly well...
...I brought a nice happy yellow one home to keep it company. These plants do so well with a minimum of attention; mine sit on the windowledge, where I occasionally remember to water them, and they bloom their heads off for months, and in fresh clear colours, too.
My son asked me, back before Christmas, for a peace lily (Spathiphyllum). I haven't seen one lately, but found something in the same family (Araceae) that I thought might do: an anthurium, or Flamingo flower. In fact, I liked it so much I needed one too. Of course. Big surprise, that. I just love the spathe and spadix that make up the inflorescence of these plants. For those whose botany is a bit shaky, the spadix is that spike in the centre which carry the tiny male and female flowers (the 'jack' in the pulpit) while the spathe is actually a modified leaf, a bract (remember the bracts in the euphorbias, such as poinsettia 'petals'?) or the pulpit part of a Jack-in-the-pulpit. That may have been more than you wanted to know, but it might be handy for playing Jeopardy sometime.
I happen to be extremely fond of succulents, both the hardy sedums that grow in our gardens, and the less-hardy types that we enjoy indoors, in collections or in dish gardens. So I also picked up four different succulents that I was pretty sure I didn't have, just going on the colour and shape of leaves. The problem with some of these garden centre places is that the plants come in from somewhere else bearing labels that say "succulent" or 'cactus', or something else not very helpful. So I'm not sure yet if I got sedum, echeveria, aeonium, semps (pretty sure not) or what. This isn't one of my collections, but was at the greenhouse at Kingstec College, and is a lovely colourful grouping.
This is one of the most gorgeous succulent dish gardens i"ve ever seen, located at the Rock Garden at the Nova Scotia Agricultural College. It lives outside all summer, and I assume the staff put it in one of the greenhouses for the six months of winter that we endure. Oh, now I'm depressed again. I had to bring up the lack of spring, didn't I?
Maybe I'll just take a page out of our cats' book of wisdom, and sleep for a few weeks. Wake us up when spring really gets here, okay?