HOME . GERANIUMS . ‘GREENHOUSES‘ . COUNTY DOWN .
It’s coming, I know it is, winter, that is, and I am preparing to stave off the mid winter, light depravation symptoms. The past two weeks I have been bringing in geraniums, orchids, a palm plant, a stephanotis (Jasmine), a Christmas cactus. My uncluttered, spa-like bathroom has turned into my greenhouse. It is a natural … with a window where the easterly morning sun streams in, and a large skylight where light beams trickle into every nook and cranny.
Windows in the rest of the house are shaded all summer and fall from dense leaves and branches on five mature trees throughout our property. So until branches are bare, light is at a minimum.
I love geraniums, especially the blue/pink and fushia varieties. And while the double blossoms provide a bigger show, I prefer the singles for their neat, airy, more delicate appearance. My orchids are dormant – heaven knows when they will bloom again. My Christmas Cactus is covered in small white buds so it will be bursting forth before long.
I have brought plants in before, but one or two, never in the numbers I have done in the past couple of weeks.
Then too, I have taken cuttings but they are having mixed success. Roots have only sprouted on a couple of cuttings. I have Root Starter ready to plant them into rich new soil and vermiculite.
My goal is to have blooms and healthy greenery all winter. Growing thing … living plants in abundance, to talk to, dead-head, water and fertilize. Then come February re-pot or take more cuttings so I will have a head start on outdoor planters next May 2/4.
This seem to me, to be such a sensible, old-fashioned activity. My Grandma always had plants on her windowsills mostly begonias. And in Northern Ireland, in County Down, our Irish Cousins, Maureen and her daughter, Moira have geraniums and orchids adorning their deep sills in their centuries old stone home, Drumroe (many of the old family homes are named).
Moira loves tending her garden. One of the old outbuildings contains work tables and all the paraphernalia required to carry out her gardening as simply as possible.
Moira’s sister, Anne, lives a ferry ride across the Ards, in Portaferry. She too has a green thumb. Her greenhouse is typical in Northern Ireland where summer is short-lived and not as hot as we experience. Moira also has her own greenhouse, installed years ago by her father, Alfie.
Just look at Anne’s tomato plants climbing happily inside the greenhouse. The cows in the adjoining field are a typical site throughout County Down’s Strangford and Portaferry.
My love for geraniums increased on this visit to County Down. Following are a couple of watercolours I did while there, sitting at the welcoming kitchen table in Drumroe.
As I brought in my plants, I thought lovingly and longingly of my visits with our Irish Cousins. When I look at the abundance of plants in my new bathroom/greenhouse, I remember.