Thursday, September 11, 2008

Readying for Winter

I have many houseplants that tide me over through the cold months. When I bring them in from the back porch, most will inevitably lose practically all of their leaves before readjusting. This always worries me. It's readily apparent that they dread winter just as much as I do.

Rubber Plant (Ficus elastica)

But this is as it should be I suppose. For if it weren't for the changing of the seasons, variety would be non-existent, or would it? Sometimes I wonder if living in one of the warmer zones, say 8, 9, or 10, would or wouldn't be gardening bliss. Would I have to pull weeds 8 or 10 months out of the year versus the 4 or so months I have to do it here?

What if there were no distinguishing between summer, winter, spring or fall? Could I grow tropical plants in zone 9 year round? Would I be able to eat bananas picked fresh from a tree in a backyard garden? I've seen banana trees in New Orleans and know they can be grown in hot houses here as well, but to have several of them and other tropical fruiting plants growing right out in the backyard garden, wouldn't that be blissful gardening?

Do you think the Garden of Eden was a tropical garden?

22 comments:

tina said...

Yes, it was a tropical garden for sure. Apples or not. I hate that about houseplants too, the annual losing of the leaves.

Susie said...

I have mostly Peace Lillies as house plants. They are pretty much status quo all year long. I do bring in 2 hibiscus that go into total meltdown though. I hate picking up all those yellow leaves.

I'm with Tina regarding the Garden of Eve-tropical for sure!

walk2write said...

It would be blissful, yes, right up until you place your bare foot on a fire ant hill you didn't see until it was too late. Just kidding! We live, at least part of the time, in zone 8, and I'm lovin' it!

Wicked Gardener said...

As an 8/9 zone gardener, I can tell you there are drawbacks. Believe it or not, you can't plant everything. I grew up in New England, and can tell you I miss tulips, daffodils, lilacs and roses. (People like to debate me on the last one, but I contend that they are not happy in Florida.) You also don't get that "clean slate" of a Northern Winter. I hate getting rid of good plants, but I have to tear out the summer plants so the the winter plants can get established before the frosts (yes, you have to go to zone 10 before you are free of frosts - where it is hot all the time.) There is always something to be doing in the garden. You don't get much of a break. I really miss this time of year up north. There is nothing better than a New England autumn.

Rambling Woods said...

I came via another blog where I read that you are getting a teaching degree in English. My husband and I are both retired special education teachers in NY state..good luck with that..

Cindy said...

I hate having to bring the plants in for the winter. There never seems to be room inside. And this year I am worried about the ever curious grabby hands of Hurricane Lillian! She loves playing in the dirt of the plant pots.

I would like a sunroom/conservatory so we could have the tropical plants but in the Northern garden. I love the change of seasons and the emerging croci (crocuses?) pushing up through the snow!

The Professor said...

TC: I live in zone 10, and bananas are not seasonal -- they bear fruit approximately 12 months after the plant first sprouts -- at any time of year. The only problem I have is getting them distributed to friends before they go bad -- each stem usually has at least a dozen "hands" of 6-8 bananas, so I can't possibly eat them all myself.

walk2write: You're right about the fire ants, but for me their sting only lasts for a few minutes

Wicked Gardener: I've been living here for 39 years, and I don't miss autumn at all. There's always something to do in my garden -- mostly keeping the "trash plants" from taking over.

TC said...

Tina: How can we be sure that it was a tropical garden? What if it were a temperate zone? ;~)

Susie: I don't have very good luck with peace lilies for some reason, and have never tried hibiscus as houseplants. And I'll ask you the same open-ended question: How can we be sure that it was a tropical garden? ;~)

W2W: I have first-hand knowledge of fire ants! HATE THEM!! I first discovered I was allergic to their sting while at a roadside picnic area somewhere in South Carolina. I was barefoot and we were eating when I felt a slight stinging sensation on my foot. I thought nothing of it, until a few minutes later when I became extremely anxious and began breaking out in hives. I had to be taken to a hospital emergency room for treatment. And so this was my very rude, and very scary, introduction to the Formicidae family of ants. Southern gardeners can keep them south of here!

WG: How often does it frost there and what month brings it? I suspect not getting "much of a break" would be tiring. And, yes, I too love our gorgeous autumn season.

Cindy: The chore of bringing plants in is largely left up to me, and I'm having trouble finding room. I think it's time to bring less of them in. We worry about our cats getting in the pots too. I used to stick plastic forks upside down in them, but that looks tacky. Now, we just try to keep a close eye on the cats when they're around the pots. My wife and I have often discussed plans for a sun room when we build or "dream house."

Professor: I wish there were some way I could get to your bananas! We love them and they wouldn't rot before being consumed. But perhaps if we had them year-round, they'd become less palatable. I'm glad you're not allergic to stinging insects, I'm also allergic to bee stings, and will not be without an Epi-Pen during the warm months. I admit to some envy of your "always something to do in the garden" capabilities there in zone 10, but as I alluded to above in my comment to Wicked Gardner, it would be tiring at my age.

Thanks for all of your comments, it's a pleasure responding to each one of you.

tina said...

It has to be tropical because humans and living things like warmth. But really the Garden of Eden is mythical so it can be anything anyone wants it to be. We all know tropical gardens would not grow apples but who's to say.

TC said...

Tina: Good point. When I think of the Garden of Eden, I think perennial garden, but know that's much to narrow a description.

Roses and Lilacs said...

I wouldn't want to live in a zone where you have to mow the lawn all year long.

My cats have eliminated most of my house plants. I still grow a couple amaryllis but I keep them at work. They will be coming indoors soon.
Marnie

Sarah said...

See www.gardenvisit.com/history_theory/garden_landscape_design_articles/world/location_garden_eden for information about possible locations of the Garden of Eden. Sounds like it should have been somewhere suitable for growing heirloom tomatoes!

RainbowMom said...

I think it was a tropical garden as well. Winter makes my plants sad too but mostly I crowd my bedroom with them because that seems to be the warmest spot in the house most of the time. Makes us all happy then. :)

Susie said...

TC-Something told me you would want my(not just mine) reasoning on Garden of Eden being tropical-inquisitive minds always want to know, right?

This is my thinking-Adam and Eve didn't own a coat, well not before they disobeyed God anyway. When I think of tropical, I think of warmth. The Garden of Eden had to be tropical to keep them warm.

Sorry you have trouble with the peace lily.

TC said...

Marnie: Me neither! I would have meadowlands if not all gardens. I still have houseplants to bring in.

Sarah: "Other locations have also been proposed, including Ethiopia, Java, the Seychelles, and Florida." Is this "Florida" Florida, USA? Regardless, I would concur about the possible location being Mesopotamia.

Rainbowmom: I wouldn't be able to get into my bedroom if I put all my houseplants there; they'd like it, it's the sunniest room during winter.

Again, thanks to all for commenting, it's greatly appreciated and makes me a better garden writer.

walk2write said...

I think it had to be tropical or at least subtropical. When God arrives for a visit with his two brats, he can be found "walking in the garden in the cool of the day" (Gen. 3:8).

TC said...

W2W: I'm inclined to believe Eden was a jungle-like garden. Or should I take a more modernist view and say it was a cottage garden? ;~)

walk2write said...

I thought the modernists shunned the garden entirely and opted for looking out to sea, at marks on the wall, or at odd groups of people gathered for a dinner party.

TC said...

W2W: It depends on if you're planting old roses or hybrid teas. ;~)

DP Nguyen said...

We take all of our potted plants inside for the winter as well. We have plants everywhere!

TC said...

DP: It's a chore isn't it? But one well worth the effort to get done. I couldn't make it through the winter without my houseplants. ;~)

LK Hunsaker said...

According to certain historians, the Garden of Eden was in or close to Iraq (previously Mesopotamia I think), so it would be dry, sandy, and horribly hot, but with a cold season and snow. Not good gardening.