Down to zero! Gotta bring those plants in from the cold

It’s really time now, although I’ve been saying I’d better do it all month. The weather report says it got down to zero last night. Our neighborhood seems to have a bit of a microclimate, so I didn’t lose anything to frost, thank goodness.

PelargoniumCloseNow, I’ve got to figure out what to with with everything and where to put everything. I really don’t have enough room inside, but I’ll have to make room somehow.

Why do I do this? Well, I’ve been collecting specimens of geraniums for years, I’ve found particular favourites and I like to hang onto them, so they winter indoors. I’ve got massive 4 foot geranium trees, assorted smaller pots of geraniums, many pots of succulents, 2 tomato plants, herbs, impatiens of a particular orange scarlet colour I want to save, and they’ve all got to find space indoors to eeek! out an existence over the next 6 months.

Oh, and I have a massive passionflower, 2 hibiscus, a monstera philodendron that is truly a monster, assorted other house plants: a spiderplant, a lime green philodendron, a calathea…..where the hell are all these things going to live?

I also have to relocate all the stuff in my $30 plastic greenhouse. Because, while the stuff in there can take a few chilly November days (with the supplementary heating I get from my christmas lights and beverage warmer), a real big dip below zero and they will be goners.

The usual advice is to clean off and spray for bugs on every pot you bring inside. No, I won’t be doing that.

I’ll be doing my usual tried and true method of running out in my pajamas at 11 o’clock at night and dragging 10 pound pots into my kitchen and my front porch and my front hall, anything just to get them inside for the night.

And then, even though I won’t be able to walk through my house, because the floor will be completely covered, the plants themselves will look glorious – in full bloom – for about a week.

At the end of the week, the plants will suddenly look around and notice that the level of light has dropped (from ten thousand billion foot candles to 1 smidgen of a foot candle) and that the humidity is non-existent. My apartment is like the Gobi Desert. Very cosy and all, but a trifle over-warm.

All the leaves will drop at once. I will knock over several plants while moving them to new, better locations, (i.e. onto whatever available horizontal surface I can find). Soil, leaves, mysterious wet spots will appear. The joy of the indoor garden in the winter.

I’ve often thought that a person who is as inherently messy as I am ought not to have a hobby as dramatically dishevelling as gardening. And this is the time of year that proves it.

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