Deep Freeze and Hearts

The winter storm we have just endured in Texas is one of those for the history books.  I’ve done a little research about temperatures in Texas.  The highest ones in the summer were 120 degrees in Monahans in 1994 and 120 degrees in Seymour in 1936.  That’s no surprise.  But the lowest in Tulia in 1899 and in Seminole in 1933 was minus 23.

But I think our minus 1 might it for this century.  At least, I hope so.

Like most of Texas, we had electric rolling blackouts.  Luckily, we stayed warm with a fireplace and lots of cover.

Only wild creatures would wander out in these temperatures.

The worst part has been no water.  The pipes have been frozen for 6 days.  Even as the snow melts and the temperatures are rising, we still have no water.  My husband has brought in snow to melt in order to flush commodes.

The hardships of winter.  I truly sympathize with northerners who put up with this every year.

Continuing with the Valentine hearts theme, February reminds us what love means.  It is caring more about the other person than yourself.

Am I the only one who loves the smell of Rosemary?  I consider it romantic.  Also, it’s a great herb to use in roasted vegetables.

“The real lover is the man who can thrill you by kissing your forehead or smiling into your eyes or just staring into space.”  Marilyn Monroe

Today the heart shape is widely used as a symbol of love.  Remember exchanging valentines in grade school?  And the teasing?

Heart with sedge.  This Sedge was planted and is not the invasive kind.

“Keep love in your heart. A life without it is like a sunless garden when the flowers are dead.”   Oscar Wilde.

Old fashioned Geranium.

Obviously, this Bleeding Hearts is not in my garden.  Our soil is too alkaline.  I did try one in a pot years ago.  I think our heat got to it.

Anyway, it’s a perfect heart shape.

“Roses are red…”  Nope.  These are steel, made by my niece, who is a welder.  They’re unique and heavy.

Stay warm.  This month is turning out to be a lollapalooza.

“Ninety percent of being married is just shouting ‘what’ from other rooms.”  unknown

House Plants

There are some exotic, very pretty, and expensive house plants on the market.  What I have is not that.  Most of mine were pass-a-long plants from friends or garden club sales.

I do much better with succulents because they don’t need as much attention and watering as some other types of plants.  For some reason, I tend to neglect house plants more than those in the yard.

Many succulents are hard to identify.  I don’t know the name of this one.

I have bought a few plants, like this Petra Croton (Codiaeum variegata).  I’ve had it for years.  It looks better when watered frequently.   Not my forte.  It tends to flop over, so there are stakes holding up the larger stems.

When the Croton flowers die, a mess falls to the floor.  The flowers are sticky.

Aluminum Plant (Pilea Cadierei) came from a garden club member.  The leaves have a silvery cast that doesn’t show up in this picture.  It’s in the begonia family.

Our house has tons of light from tall windows.  That’s good for plants if they are put in the right places.  But it’s terrible for pictures.  As I move the plants around trying to find a spot to photograph them, they end up with undesirable backgrounds.

One good trait about succulents is that it’s easy to break off a stem and put into soil to root.

During the winter I root lots of plants for club plant sales and as pass-a-long gifts.  These Angel Wing Begonias are for two different plant sales.

I also use window sills where there is no direct sunlight to root roses.  Just cut a short tender end of a stem, dip in rooting compound, moisten the soil well, create a  sealed terrarium with a clear plastic bag. and wait 6 weeks before opening the plastic bag.

This cutting for an old fashioned rose came from a friend.  A tiny little bush can be seen inside.

As you can see, this one has not been watered enough.  Since this picture was taken, the plant was upgraded to a larger pot and a smaller plant was put into this pot.  The pot was a gift; it’s really pretty, so I constantly replace the plants with smaller ones.

The plant is a Dutchman’s Pipe.  Don’t think that’s the true name – just what I was told.  The mother plant is in the greenhouse and is about 3 ft. tall.  Shoots grow from the plant with new small plants at the tips.

Another unknown succulent from a friend.  The stems just keep growing, so these are snipped off and rooted.

Peanut Cactus (Echinopsis chamaecerus) has never bloomed for me, but the friend who gave it to me says her plant blooms.

This was a hostess gift for those helping with a bridal shower 4 years ago.  This is evidence that succulents can grow in shallow soil.

This cactus was bought at a big box store.  Someone told me that it’s actually two cacti.  The red one was graphed on top of the green one.  In the background is another Dutchman’s Pipe.

More Angel Wing Begonias.  I put plastic pots inside ceramic ones without a hole.  That way, extra water can drain into the larger pot and be poured out.  The larger pots protect the floor and tables where they sit.

A Hoya is pretty blah until it is put in light shade outside.  Then it will bloom when the plant is several years old.

Another garden club plant sale buy.  Sansevieria or Mother-in-Law’s Tongue has been divided two times.  As it multiples, it breaks the  plastic pot inside the ceramic one.

This Jade plant came from a club sale years ago.  Watering succulents can be tricky.  When the fat leaves just start to show signs it is wilting is the right time.

Kalanchoe are an easy plant to grown inside and outside during warmer months.  Just needs filtered light and warm temperatures.  This one has yellow flowers.

Very small pots with no holes can be used for plantings.  Put small pebbles in the bottom and plant in moist soil.  Soil for house plants needs to be very loose with Vermiculite or Perlite and Sorgham Peat Moss added or included in purchased soil.

Water lightly when soil feels dry an inch or so down.

Sweetheart Hoya, also know as Valentine Plant or Sweetheart Wax Plant (Hoya kerri) was bought at a native nursery in west Texas.  The heart leaves are intriguing.

Happy inside gardening.

“According to an ancient Japanese legend, when you cannot sleep at night, it is because you are awake.”

Hearts and Flowers

From store decorations to school parties, nothing says Valentine’s Day like hearts and flowers.  And, I must not forget glorious chocolate.

Felder Rushing is a prolific author with about 44 gardening books published.  This one is a small picture book ideal for an end table or coffee table.  For each heart picture, there is a quote.

He is a creative guy who definitely takes some unique pictures.  The theme is about hearts that can be seen on a walk outside.  There’s no plant information or garden designs, just hearts.

Anthurium plant (Anthurium andraeanum) is among the best-known tropical flowers.  Found in Hawaii and other Pacific islands.

“There is nothing in a caterpillar that tells you it’s going to be a butterfly.”                   Hans Christian Anderson

Bleeding Hearts (Lamprocapnos spectabilis) is native to Siberia, northern China, Korea, and Japan.  Maybe it can be grown in northern USA, or as a pampered container plant in some environments, but here, it’s a picture book flower.

“People from a planet without flowers would think we must be mad with joy the whole time to have such things about us.”  Iris Murdoch

This little book inspired me to look in my own environment for hearts.  Wrought iron furniture has lots of hearts, if you use your imagination.

Sweetheart Hoya or Valentine Hoya’s (Hoya kerrii) perfect green hearts fit the bill.  It’s a succulent with thick leaves and will bloom in the right conditions.  They need filtered light, water when soil is dry, and 65 – 80 degrees.  But mine lives outside in the shade during the hot summer and is brought in during the winter.

Heart on a wrought iron bench.An old picture shows a stone heart in our creek.

Have fun looking for your own hearts.  Happy Valentine’s Day.

“Love is a game that two can play and both win.”  Eva Gabor