February 22, 2010

A Spot of Green (and Purple)

Remember in the Secret Garden when Mary says she wants "a bit of earth"? Ugg, I feel like that these days. Because of the way our house sits against a hill we get absolutely no winter sunlight so while the people across the street have only a few wisps of snow here and there in their yard, we still have a good foot or more covering every square inch of grass. A backhoe came by today and cleared the six foot wide burm in front of our curb. I'm not sure if the city is planning to dig up the street there or if they just felt sorry for us with our takes-ten-minutes-to-back-out parking space. I've got broccoli and cosmos sprouting in the mudroom and according to my Virginia Garden Book I should be putting leeks, beets, carrots and parsnips in March 1st. Yeah, right.

Whenever the snow does melt, or when I get fed up enough that I start digging it out so I can get at the soil, we'll be renting a the biggest rototiller we can handle and plowing a little mini field on the side of the house. But until then I'm feeling a little desperate for green so I opted for a terrarium.

Actually, I'm not sure it's technically a terrarium. I think they are supposed to be a closed environment. And probably succulents don't count. But since my outdoor gardening skills do not seem to transfer well indoors, succulents have become my new best friend when it comes to house plants. Last fall I made these tiny planters for an article I was writing and I have been stunned to see them thrive all winter long despite my infrequent waterings. In fact, they are probably flourishing because of my infrequent waterings, since they are succulents. Either way, they looked like they might want a bigger space than the bowl of an egg cup. And having had such great success with them at a small scale, I decided to take over the pedestal bowl that has been holding my pine cone collection all winter and inject a little green into the house.

Evelyn and I went to Fifth Season, a new store down the road that specializes in hydroponics and beer making which is sort of an odd combination, although water, and plants, I guess both beer and hydroponics are basically those two things so it kind of makes sense. We picked out a few more succulents to round out our itty bitty ones and some dried moss for the under layer and went home to get started.

The table looks a little more springish now, especially if you close the drapes so you can't see the heavy blanket of snow outside and we had enough plants to re-do the egg cup planter for the kitchen window with smaller specimens so Will is still happy. I hadn't realized how attached he was to our little mini garden until I changed them out and he wondered aloud what had happened to "his" plant. Apparently flicking some water on it has been part of his morning routine for the last four months. Which may explain how they've done well in spite of my black-indoor thumb....