Marty's Gardening Journal, January 7th, 2014


Indoors I survey plants brought indoors months ago. Half of the fancy begonias went dormant. Now they are surviving in pots in the basement with just enough water to keep the plants alive. Others took to their drier but warmer environment just fine and brighten up rooms. Meanwhile, every time I visit a new nursery, I keep finding new agaves; ones that I don’t have. Of course, since I have only about 6 different varieties, I am bound to run into (although not literally – that would be painful!) new agaves. And every time I find myself shelling out money to add to my now growing collection. With all the agaves out there, I don’t think I will have to stop any time soon.


It was less than two weeks ago when we hit 70 degrees on the weekend and I did some work in the garden. The second willow has now been pollarded and it once more resembles a round hat rack. Come March, April it will start pushing out new growth and go from hat rack, to lollipop, to tree with large branches. Ah, the power of nature is amazing. Any greenery pushed up by daffodils and tulips has stopped growing with this cold snap. Patiently waiting underground until weather once more warms up, we will have to be equally patient for spring color to reappear.


So far the big pond has not yet iced over. Even the waterfall is still going strong although I have added the second pump to keep a hole in the ice open once the temperatures remain below freezing for an extended period. It is only a matter of time before the waterfall needs to be turned off because of icing over and then the pump will be a life saver for the fish. So far the fish are also less inclined to stay down deeper in the pond. Specially, George, my biggest and friendliest koi keeps surfacing daily to check out the surroundings and on warm days, the rest of the koi join George (who is really a girl) lazily circling the pond. When the temperatures were up near seventy I actually fed them for a few days with special fall/spring food, as they were hungry. Fish’s metabolism hinges on the temperature of the water; if the temperatures are low, they stop eating. When temperatures rise, they get hungry and want to eat, but there is a delicate balance between the two. Rather than feed the fish when temperatures are starting to fall with the possibility the food will sit in their gut and rot (and kill your fish) you are better off withholding food and let them nibble on whatever they can find in the pond.


So, as the days grow longer I keep myself busy tending to plants, acquiring new agaves and watching flower spikes grow on the orchids. 


My Paphiopedilum insigne v. Sanderae orchid (which is quite a mouthful) is now in full bloom.  Suffice it to say, I refer to this one and others like it as a “paph” orchid, which is more commonly known as a tropical slipper orchid. There will be more color in my life soon as additional plants start blooming indoors. I bide my time and wait, because that’s all I can do for now.