Poor baby

Monarch in October tatters This week we’ve had cool nights, a little rain, and no frost yet but the garden is just beginning to have a tattered Fall fading Miss Havesham Raggedy Annie sort of look to it. I’ve always had a soft spot for those characters and I am as facinated with the coming apart at the seams Fall as I am with the fresh flush of Spring baby growth. I spent days watching this fellow (left) – a monarch who has obviously been around the block and has lived as fully as flutterbyly possible. A monarch’s worth of wingsRight near where it was anchored, a butterfly’s worth of wings were on the ground looking for all the world like there had been a bar brawl. Gail watched our guy gimp off flying out of reach yesterday. (Amazing that it could still get loft with all those holes!)

The excuse of rain gave volunteers their first days off in a while and kept us in the greenhouse. I finally potted up some things that have been making me cringe all summer. The Container Bed was short shrifted this year because of other garden projects. We didn’t buy any new special specimens and potting-up the ones we already have was not a priority (can there be more than one priority?) and was so far down the list of things to do that it just didn’t happen. Now though, I’m putting potting-up at the top of the list (priority number 2 or 3 at least)! pot bound Agave americana ‘Mediopicta Alba’This Agave americana ‘Mediopicta Alba’ was heaving itself out of its pot (like this bromeliad had) and you can see why – the roots had nowhere to go but up and the babies were hurling themselves up and out. Mother and children should be happier and healthier now. a new pot for Agave americana ‘Mediopicta Alba’

I love and covet things like Agaves but have a slightly conflicted feeling about keeping them even in a greenhouse. Are potted plants like caged animals? Do they long to run free? When I see pictures of Agaves in their preferred environment I think “yeah – that’s a happy plant!” But then I want it and the cycle of guilt and plant torture continues… I know there are some gardeners out there (who are you? – speak up!) who won’t keep plants indoors. As conflicted as I am sometimes, the pleasure I take in green growing around me (especially in the winter) outweighs the guilt and I know I will always bring the garden in.

And speaking of gardening in – Gail and I are teaching a terrarium class tomorrow and that, I think, is one of the best kinds of indoor gardens. It’s self-contained, pretty self-sufficient and the plants seem to not think it’s torture – actually any diminutive plant that likes a warm, moist environment thrives on jarred benign neglect – now that’s my kind of garden!Terrariums and a terrarium to be

I plan to post about jar garden how-tos next week (the class is full) but first stay tuned on Monday for Blog Action Day (thousands of bloggers around the world -plus me- will be writing about the environment) and Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day.

Bloggers Unite - Blog Action Day

7 thoughts on “Poor baby

  1. Ooooh! I feel for that butterfly! Isn’t it nice to have rain just so you can get those household chores done? I’m looking forward to the terrarium instructions. They were quite the rage in the 70’s…I know, I am dating myself!

  2. Terrariums, what a timely topic, see my blog post today… I’m looking forward to your post on that!

    Carol at May Dreams Gardens

  3. Layanee, Just like clogs and the color orange – they’re baaa-aack!

    Carol, You have a very cool wardian case and I look forward to seeing how you plant it!

  4. I found a butterfly just like that on Friday. I don’t think the plants mind being potted. I guess I would like to pampered all winter and then put out when the weather is nice.

    My Dad used to love to plant Terrariums and took home blue ribbons from the Philly and Boston flower shows many times.

    Sorry to see your season coming to end on your previous post. That must have been a sad job to tear through your beautiful garden.


  5. Chris, Your Dad’s terrariums must have been spectacular! (any pictures?) It is a little sad to start taking out gardens but we’ll be moving perennials into that bed this week so it’ll probably feel like spring all over again.

  6. No pictures I could find and if I could they would be (gulp) film. They were large scale, made out of the big water bottles (like for a cooler) when they were glass.

    I am sure you will make a better garden in that ones place. Out with old and in with the new……….

  7. Chris, The terrarium books we have in our library show your Dad’s kind of bottle garden – amazing! I looked at one of those jars in a consignment store last weekend… He must have had cool tricks and tools for getting his plants, etc inside!

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