Monthly Archives: December 2010

Dear Santa

Dear Santa,

 Merry Christmas to you and the Mrs. I wish I could say that I have been very good this year, but that would be untruthful . Anyway ,I have figured out that some years when I am very bad you are actually much nicer to me, so without worry  here is my wish list for the garden in 2011.

1.) Snow, snow and more snow. Aside from the prettiness factor, a good 2-3 foot layer of snow is the perfect insulation for the plants here in the fabled “hills of Worcester” It also covers up all the crappy chores I never got around to in 2010 and makes me forget for a while all the work that awaits me in spring.

2.) Moderation. A small favor whose impact is immeasurable. No overly rainy springs causing plants to rot at the crown and fungal diseases to abound. No letting Mr. Heat Miser fry us with temperatures from hell and droughts that drive my water bill into quadruple digits. While you are at it, tell the north wind to take it easy on my arborvitae and rhodies, they do not enjoy his dessicaating  breath. In addition, no more “Ice Storms of the Century” either.  Really, all I want is just average, normal temperatures and precipitation please. Again, small favor, big impact.

3.) I asked you for a tree under the tree, a meyer lemon, but your elf in the nursery saw fit to ship it unprotected in an unmarked cardboard box during a spell of artic temperatures. The UPS man left it on the porch and it is dead, dead, dead. I am pretty pissed about it so a replacement would go a long way toward getting back in my good graces.

4.) I could also use the gift of time in the spring to re-landscape around the fence. And if  you could, a little backbone to say “no” to garden tour requests or overly large summer parties that force me to frantically and constantly prune, deadhead and otherwise spruce up the garden. Let’s let 2011 be a year of the “natural “  (read:untidy, overgrown, and messy) look I so prefer.

That’s all, really a very manageable list. I know I can count on you to come through for me.

Happy Holidays! Hugs and Love, Cheryl

                                                                                                                                                                                       photo:                       David, Pumpkin, CJ

                                                                                                                                                                                                                Erin, Tigger, Faith

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The Most Wonderful Time of the Year?

Really? because I hate the mall, stress out when forced to do any cooking that requires measuring spoons and mentions using your food processor ( one of which I REFUSE to own lest someone expect me to whip up a salsa or something), and hate being cooped up inside. Lately, although the temperatures have been pretty reasonable the wind has been ferocious and I find being outside highly uncomfortable.

Being stuck inside, I spent some time re-arranging the family room to accommodate the( as yet un-bought )christmas tree. This is always a perilous time for my houseplants. Most of my indoor plants come from florists , sent by well meaning people after a tragedy or some other nonsense like anniversaries that  people equate with house plants and cut flowers. For me, plants belong outside, but out of the guilt that my parents worked so very hard to instill in me via church and their own financial worries growing up, I am forced to nurture these sorry looking specimens that have shown up on my doorstep through the years. It is a half-hearted effort at best, and when the furniture gets moved, there are always casualties.

 Last Christmas it was moving the bookshelves that cause the 90 foot long  philodendron to get tossed. Watching it forever stretching it’s ugly legginess all over my books was more than I could bear anymore. To the trash it went.

Over the summer I parted with a large palm- looking monstrosity that had been lurking in the corner of my daughters room trying to hide it’s yellowing leaves from the over- watering ministrations of my 13 year old.

And in an move I am not overly proud of, I left an 8 foot ficus tree out on the deck, promising it that if it overwintered I would   let it come live in the living room again. It didn’t make it, which is not shocking since it is only hardy to zone 8 or something and certainly can not survive a zone 4  New England winter. The ficus had been my dad’s, lovingly groomed and grown from a small 2 ft plant to  a beautiful  8 ft tree while in his care. When he died my brother declared that he refused to spend his time raking the hallway at the house, so either I took the tree or else. My mom thought that was a great idea and so to Bill’s dismay it came to live here. We have short ceilings so immediately it had to be trimmed. It was sited next to the couch in the living room , where you would go to enjoy a book, or a fire, or a good poke in the eye from a wayward ficus branch. We all hated it. It dropped leaves constantly, had to be trimmed  often and given the resentment we all felt toward the space it took up the pruning was done in such a manner as to make it look about as hideous as any tree could. When we switched the dinning room and living room last year, and finally fit all the rsepective furniture back into each room , the ficus was left standing in the kitchen. I realized that to fit it in the “new” living room would mess up everything I had accomplished trying to arrange things well. So out to the deck it went. This spring we cut it up and composted it and I do not miss it at all.

Even though I am not enthtralled with houseplants, I have a few I am proud of. Some are cuttings of the many plants I grow outside and by propagating them I feel like a true gardener and a frugal yankee , although neither description  is true . Another is the christmas cactus that blooms like clockwork in December like it should and if it ever doesn’t- it is compost city baby. The biggest is a poinsettia that not only has been   kept alive, but has grown huge and is now in the process of turning it’s green bracts red just in time for the holidays. I hope it neighbors have warned him that to live here you must never do anything to upset me, like stay green or drop all your leaves or other post-christmas poinsettia behavior.

a bract turning red

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