Sunrise in December
Gardening all year long is something that I like doing. I garden in a temperate climate and that means that outside gardening is not always possible. Right now the days are very short as it gets light around 8 o'clock in the morning and dark around 4.30 in the afternoon, so that leaves very little time for outside gardening during weekdays.
People over here who work outside their homes leave in darkness in the morning and return home in darkness again at night. It's small wonder that there are many people suffering from the winter blues. The only daylight they get to see and enjoy is during the weekend. I'm fortunate in that I work from home and can work at any time during the day or night, as long as I meet my deadlines/targets.
This season so far we have had some light night frost, but not really all that much to write home about. The temperature is on average between 5 and 12 degrees C during the day, but it feels a bit colder when there's a nasty wind blowing from the north or east. It rains quite a lot here during the Autumn and Winter; in fact it rains a lot here all year round and sometimes for days and days on end which makes outdoor gardening impossible, whatever the season.
But, because I am fortunate enough to have a nice big conservatory (a big selling point when we bought this house), I can always manage a spot of gardening, either indoors or out, all year long.
In my conservatory there are many houseplants that do quite well there as it is the lightest room in the house and, as we all know, most plants need tons of daylight. It still gets to be around 18 to 20 C in the conservatory during the day when the sun is out, which makes it a very popular place to be for many plants and also for all the members of the Bliss team.
I love growing orchids in my conservatory as they do quite well there.
There are many plants to be found in my conservatory, even a big tree. I like trees of all kinds and shapes and sizes except for the Monkey Puzzle tree. For months this year I've been trying to find the right bottles to make myself a fun bottle tree for my garden. I've wanted one ever since I saw a pic of a gorgeous bottle tree on Pam's Digging blog, but so far no luck. Oh well, I suppose I'll have to be happy with the tree in my conservatory I have at the moment and it's a very special tree indeed, as you can see here. ;-)
My indoor cat tree; charmingly decorated from top to bottom with: Kadootje, Merlin and Dolly.
As I wrote before I love growing orchids in my conservatory and they do surprisingly well here. When I buy a new orchid it is usually put in either the living room, kitchen or bedroom so I can enjoy lovely orchid flowers dotted all over my house. As soon as an orchid has stopped flowering, I pop it into my conservatory and mostly forget about it. I water it from time to time and so far I've managed to keep most of them alive and well. Some of my orchids I've had for years now and they keep producing flowers again and again, year in, year out.
This one for instance, is producing some more flower shoots even as we speak and I've lost track of how often it has done that. I bought it years ago for only 5 euro (slightly more than 5 US dollars) at a market stall in Rotterdam years agoand think it's great value for money as its flowers last for months on end.
I'm utterly amazed that my orchids are doing so well as I'm not really all that green fingered and have managed to kill off a fair share of the houseplant population through the years.
This orchid growing thingy is new to me and rather exciting; I love it that I have orchids in flower all year round. Those gorgeous exotic blooms give me such a sense of luxury, especially during wintertime.
A very cute mini-orchid flowering for the third time.
The conservatory is also used for propagating plants. The above plants are kept in a mini Victorian greenhouse so that my cats will leave them alone and won't eat them. The spider plant on the left is grown for one purpose only; it will be eaten by my cats once it has grown a bit more. I like providing my cats with some grass to munch on during the winter season and this one is a firm favorite with them and o so easy to propagate. On the right is a botanical Cyclamen that I've grown myself from seed of which I'm very proud.
Apart from the lovely loads of daylight and the nice warm temperature, there is one more reason why both my houseplants and kittycats love the conservatory:
the indoor fountain that keeps the humidity up and provides my cats with drinking water. Of course, the sound of running water is wonderful to listen to, as it is so soothing. I love being in my conservatory this time of year. It can be a bit hot during summer in there, but during the rest of the year it's a great place to be.
And perhaps surprisingly, I also do a spot of harvesting from time to time in my conservatory. These mini-oranges and the many fruits on my little kumquat tree where ready for picking. But what to do with them?
The mini oranges are not sweet enough to eat just like that so, after giving it some thought, I did this with my harvest of kumquats and oranges.
So, you see, it is possible to garden all year long even when the climate you have is temperate or even cold instead of hot.
copyright: Y.E.W. Heuzen. 2007
The simpler effect is always obtained by means of temperate and wise restraint.