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.

Bah. Humbug.

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?


  1. You poor thing, more ice. Well, I think your kitty has the right idea. You should follow suit.

    I just love those succulent plants. Surely looking at them will make you happy. They sure made me happy.


  2. You say "half" the garden blogging world is getting flowers for spring already? Make that closer to 90% or so, based on the March Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day posts.

    But you know your time will come!

    In the meantime, the ice does look pretty neat on those branches.

    Carol, May Dreams Gardens

  3. I didn't realise how cold your part of the world could be until a relative of mine lived there for a few years. Wow.

    My housplant collection grew exponentially this winter :)

  4. Kitty definitely has the right idea, sleep until spring really comes. Those planters with the succulents are stunning! I love those kind of combinations and love to put them together here.

  5. Bah humbug here too. It's freezing! Nasty, cold wind blowing in through all the cracks, snow and sleet today. Sorry you had the evil ice again.
    Good idea to go plant shopping though. I love the kalancho. The succulent dish gardens are so interesting, aren't they?
    Mungus has the right idea...curl up and sleep until the 'real' spring gets here.
    Dare I say...happy first day of Spring?

  6. it really, really stinks that spring is the only season that doesn't arrive on the calendar day it's supposed to. winter always lingers...and that Dave Phillips forecast. Couldn't you just scream?

  7. Great photo. Ice photos are always fascinating, as we don't see ice here very often. Of course, I'd rather look at it from the comfort of a warm house! Being outside in your weather must be really tough, but you have such gorgeous spring and summer seasons to make up for it.

  8. So sorry for your ice, Jodi. But your cheering kalanchoes would help anyone's mood with those colors. And the kitty foot warmers help us here too, very medicinal. Your spring will come, sounds like a good name for a song!


  9. Hi Jodi,

    We've snow forecast for today and over the weekend, so we Brits can join you in moaning about the lack of a springlike climate for a while at least!

    Have a good Easter, no matter what!

  10. Oh, Jodi, I am so sorry. I love the photo of your cat, head buried in paws. I felt that way myself yesterday, but it had nothing to do with the weather.~~Dee

  11. Ohhhh, I can see how that would put you in a bad mood. No matter how pretty the ice looks, all the charm is gone by the second or third time in a season. Only 10 more days of Farch to go.

  12. I sympathize. Nice ice storm picture though. Cheers, Yvonne

  13. Ya gotta do what ya gotta do. If buying plants helps you get through, go for it. There are worse coping mechanisms. I also can't put a name on my Cactis & Sepervivum, which irks me to no end. Would it be that hard for the suppliers to stick even a popsicle stick with the name on it in the pot? Soon, the warm breezes of Spring will drift your way. Hang in there.

  14. Hi Jody,
    it' s right, the succulent dish garden is great and gorgeous. Here in Bavaria it' s snowing I hate it I need SPRING!!!
    Wishing you a Happy Easter Wurzerl

  15. We have Canadian weather in Sweden now! A white Easter,...I can't believe it... So, adieu to the lovely flowers...
    -Happy Easter! /Katarina

  16. Sophie says you furry master has the right idea about pws over head napping .. close out this weather and snooze ! LOL
    Sunny here in Kingston but it isn't really melting any snow .. and certainly not out iceberg at the end of our driveway .. sigh !
    I think I will go snooze too !
    Joy : )

  17. Lisa, succulents do indeed make me happy...as do the rest of the plants, and the furballs too. It's just fun to grump about the weather. A great Canadian pasttime.
    Carol, well, I was thinking the northern Hemisphere,...as the southern hemisphere is sliding into autumn, of course. If I think about that 90 percent, I'll just sniffle. ;-)
    Amy, it CAN be cold and annoying here, but then spring does arrive, and we have long glorious autumns too. So it's a tradeoff.
    Melanie, today the catchildren were all lined up around the stove, either on the hearth or in the rocking chair, or behind the stove, absorbing and napping. I felt like joining them.
    Kerri, we've changed from sleet and rain to snow, but it's the wind that's annoying me mostly, because we had so much earlier in the week. However..reading and writing and thinking about gardening does help. Doesn't it?
    Irena, I did growl at the radio when Dave Phillips was so blissfully cheery on CBC. At least in Toronto, spring does come earlier than here; I've been there in March when it was lovely, and also when it was -25.
    Aiyana, if you want some ice...I'll trade climates with you, just for a couple of days. Really. I won't mind a bit.
    Frances, yes, between the cheery plants and the feline footwarmers, it's not that bad. I didn't leave the house today (Friday), just glowered out the window and immersed myself in reading.
    VP, I saw where you were getting a touch of Shelagh's brush (the post-St. Patrick's Day snowstorms that come). Happy Easter notwithstanding.
    Dee, hope you're feeling better. This time of year can be trying for a whole lot of reasons.
    Entangled, after watching the news tonight, I figure we've got NOTHING to complain about here in Nova Scotia--parts of the US heartland are having real difficulties, and I'm worried about some of our bloggin' buddies. The end of Farch can't come quickly enough.
    Yvonne, still getting snow in Ontario too, aren't you? I know Kingston, Ottawa and Belleville have had their share, plus some extra.
    MMD, yup, exactly. It's far easier for the growers to label these plants than for us to try keying them out, but some of them just don't, and I don't know why.
    Wurzerl, let's think positive thoughts...come spring...come spring...(and happy Easter to you.)
    Katarina, I saw that you were getting snow in Sweden again. I'm going to be hearing one of your countrymen speaking here in Nova Scotia, Peter Korn, from Skane (can't make the accent over the a); he will be here in a couple of weeks time to speak to the rock garden association.
    Joy, Sophie is a wise kitty indeed, but isn't Sophie Greek for wisdom? I think snoozing is a most excellent idea zzzzzzzz.

  18. I can't wait to see your lovely gardens when spring finally gets here. It will be so worth the wait.

    It won't be long now, chin up, my friend.

  19. I feel your pain, girlfriend. We just got ice, too. And a little snow to go with it. *sigh*
    Pretty succulents! And I love the salmon kalanchoe!

  20. I hope your weather improves soon! You've had far too much ice this year - helpfully stores provide lots of retail therapy.

    Happy spring - when it finally does arrive there.

  21. I'm thankful that we haven't had any more ice storms. I still have plenty left from the last one. Anthurium is one of my favorite houseplants but mine doesn't seem to want to rebloom. I love anything tropical indoors.


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