Getting ready for the big chill

Today’s cold snap reminds us. Winter is coming! The first frost for Toronto statistically falls around October 29th. But when overnight temps dip into the low single digits, like now, we know that anything could happen. So today, in honour of Cathy’s In a Vase on Monday (IAVOM) over on Rambling in the Garden, I took pity on some of my tenderer plants and rescued them for my indoor enjoyment.

Actually, as I’ve mentioned before, despite their tender look, annual nasturtiums (Tropaeolum majus) are pretty tough customers, and can take a fair bit of coolth (the flip side of warmth). There are lots of seeds strewn around to gather for next year, though. Before the real big chill comes, I also have geranium (Pelargonium) and Begonia cuttings overdue for the taking, Dahlia tubers and Gladiolus corms to dig up once the frost comes, and a few shrubs in pots that will need winter homes in the ground.

Plus, about 500 bulbs to plant. Yes, at ordering time this spring, my eyes were way bigger than my current appetite for bulb planting.

This year, I planted the cool, split petals of Tropaeolum ‘Phoenix’ – a heritage variety.
Our gran was a skilled “picker” (I’ve inherited her genes) and likely snapped up this three-legged Japanese satsumi moriage censer at a boot sale. It’s perfect with the spill of orange nasturtiums.
All parts of nasturtiums are edible. In fact, I just read Gayla Trail of You Grow Girl saying she uses the leaves to make pesto! Inspired. The variegated leaves of T. ‘Alaska’ are particularly attractive.
This week, I was supposed to be tidying my desk, and did make some progress. But not on my desk shelf. At the moment, that looks more beautifully cluttered than ever. But I like it.

I’m loving this IAVOM meme, which gives me the excuse every week to do one of the things I like best. And it’s quicker and easier than planting 500 bulbs. Don’t you agree?


  1. Love this unique container spilling over with nasturtiums.
    I’ve been procrastinating on planting my 400+ bulbs, too. So much easier to order than to plant!

    1. I agree about the ordering, Eliza. Thankfully, many are snowdrops, which is a case of one big hole, many bulbs. Next spring, I’ll be happy I took the effort.

  2. I am going out today to plant my last bulbs. I was good and only ordered about 150. Don’t have good conditions for many spring bulbs which is the only thing that helps me control myself. The Nasturtiums are perfect in that container. Isn’t there a saying about clean desks being the sign of an empty mind?

    1. My dry shade garden looks best in spring when I’ve planted bulbs, which is why I tend to overdose with excitement, ordering them when the garden’s at its best. But next year I might be more restrained. By your measure, my mind must be overflowing!

  3. They are such fantastic plants and look so cheerful in your vase. I still have lots in flower and they happily seed around for next year. Last year I ordered far too many bulbs and had to make myself go out and plant them in batches. It was worth it though, in spring I had things popping up all over. This year I am being more restrained. Good luck with the planting.

    1. Planting in batches might be a good strategy. Unfortunately, the nasturtium seeds won’t overwinter in my garden, so I’m going around today to collect them. It will be mix and match next year, but I’m fine with that. Thanks for your kind wishes.

  4. The nasturtiums are gorgeous – I’ll have to try that variety. I’ve been picking dahlias every few days also in anticipation of a pending frost & I think this is the longest I’ve ever had tomatoes still on the vine.

    1. The dahlias that are flowering most prolifically have down-facing blooms and short stems still loaded with buds. I hate to pick them! Yesterday, I went out and cut off all the green tomatoes to bring indoors. Just in case.

    1. Thanks, Loree. I’ve been trying to declutter, and waffling about what to do with this piece. Then I took off the (much glued-together) lid and realized… it could be a vase! Now what could I put in it? Well, about the only thing in bloom. I love the different pathways that ideas find to happen.

  5. Your Gran certainly had an eye for the beautiful. I love the orange of the Nasturtium and bright blue of the censer… lovely.
    I got a chuckle out of your remark about your “current appetite for planting”. I feel the same way…….my desire to do garden work is a memory about now….

    1. The trouble is, I have plenty to do. Hopefully, my appetite will revive or I’ll have to resort to force… weeding! Yes, our Grand was a wiz at finding cool things on the cheap.

  6. Wow, that vase is a beauty!I didn’t know that the entire nasturtium was edible. That’s cool to know, might try the pesto someday. I didn’t order bulbs this year; I may be sorry, come spring.

  7. This is absolutely beautiful! The vase complements thos bright nasturtiums so well! I love the varieagtaed leaves. My nasturtiums survived our first few frosts, but they are gone now. I have around 300 bulbs to plant, and it’s not my favorite garden chore either!

  8. I like your ‘clutter’, Helen – and I think you would like our house for that reason!! Your ‘picked’ vase is perfect for nasturtiums which look even jollier because of it. I have a slightly smaller bulb order this year so don’t envy you your 500 – even so, I need to get on with planting here too!

    1. Thanks, Cathy. Our house is very… lived-in. And my garden is much the same. To my credit, about 300 of the bulbs are snowdrops, so I’ll be able to plant in drifts. One hole, many bulbs ticked off the list. Looks like I’ll have the weather for it over the next few days. Wish me luck!

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