Almost All Tucked In

Got all the plants inside, with the exceptions of a few casualties. Sad to see the succulents turn from a healthy turgid puffiness to one-step-away-from-putrefying liquid, but you can’t win ’em all. There were some pots on my sister’s back deck that I forgot about. I still haven’t even checked on them, but after the 5 below zero weather we had last week I can assume they are goners. Oh, well, they were nice while they lasted.

I have to get over this feeling I have about plants, that they have human qualities. I was fairly ruthless this week, cutting back my woody geraniums by 50%. I almost always try to save the tips to root, but this time I just dropped them onto a pile of compost.

It kills me to do this. I can just imagine the tiny little screams as I drop them onto the pile. I get visions of the pauper’s burial in Amadeus where Mozart gets dropped onto the open public grave. Ridiculous to feel bad about this process though. Repeat after me, Sarah: they are not sentient beings, they are not sentient beings. But I still feel a bit like a murderer when I prune.

Anyway, 97% of my non-hardy pot plants are indoors and ready for a bit of dormancy. Some of them will live in the front porch. It’s not insulated, but has south facing windows. Some heat from the hallway spills out and stops them from freezing on the coldest nights. (In theory) They stay pretty healthy because they are somewhat cool, and somewhat moist. No forced hot air blowing right on them.

Because I don’t have quite enough room in the front porch, 2 or 3 plants will be wintering in the Arizona-like climate of my apartment. It’s very hot, dry, and fairly sunny. They won’t like it, particularly. But they’ll make it through the winter.

Sort of like me, in that respect.


  1. I can attest that you are a good, kind mother to all those wee (and not-so-wee) plants. They love you for it — in a green, non-sentient kind of way, of course.

    Mine persist (or don’t) despite (or because of) my neglectful parenting. Witness the lovely “Shoene Helene” geraniums you bought me that are now experiments in cryo-plantology, frozen to the roots. I hope you can revive them. H.

  2. I'm sorry but it's simply not fair for it to be so cold in Toronto so early in the season!
    Sarah, it sounds like you've stepped up and done your best for the non-sentient ones on your watch. I applaud your efforts. And cheer you on, over to Helen's, to work your magic on G. 'Shoene Helene'…

    Wishing my favorite sistahs a warm evening beneath the comforters!

  3. Okay – this is one of the funniest posts I've read in a long time. I love your Amadeus reference! I TOTALLY get that same feeling when I just ruthlessly heave my very-rootable cuttings in the composter.

  4. Nice to meet another plant wimp! They seem pretty sentient to me though, and I spend a lot of time apologizing and suggesting that they focus on their descendants or remaining limbs. As Susan McCarthy says, "Nature green in tooth and claw".

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