Desperation for Plants in Winter

The other day in my blog feed, I ran across this post from the Outlander Plant Guide. I admire Marie’s restraint and wish I had that much patience and respect for the workings of winter.  Maybe someday I will get into the groove.

Winter is all about letting your garden rest.  Kind of like how humans need 8 hours of sleep (10, in my case) to function normally, your garden needs to turn in upon itself in the same way.

However, I do not have that much patience.  All of my herbs are begging me for sleep, but I am trying to trick them into thinking this is Florida. This requires lots of mist, constant vaporizer running, and sticking them outside whenever the temperature rises above 40. I usually break down and start my spring planting in February (which is still too early for the south) because I just. can’t. wait.  During this season, I thrive on plants that bloom and produce in the winter to keep my plant mania in check.  Which plants do this, you ask? Here are my favorite three:

Christmas Cactus

Screen shot 2014-12-27 at 12.31.49 PM

These are hard to kill and look great from around Thanksgiving up until the New Year, depending on the variety and how it was planted and conditioned.  Mine stopped blooming in mid-December, regrettably. But when they bloom, they literally explode with color.  They require a lot of room to stretch their legs, so I opted for a wide and deep pot that is so heavy I count it on MyFitnessPal every time I have to move it.

Paperwhites

Photo Dec 21, 2 39 56 PM

This plant is in the amaryllis family and varieties like it (hyacinth, daffodil, snowdrops, etc.) can vary throughout the winter into early spring.  Most of them smell divine and can be raised both inside and outside, lucky for those of us with limited space. Plant it deep if you can. Mine is rather top heavy and leans toward the light.

Wax Myrtle

Photo Dec 22, 3 55 32 PM

Wax Myrtle trees litter my apartment complex, especially near the dumpsters, as their smell can cover a vast amount of indecent odors.  Next time you walk by one, tear a leaf and breathe deep. The leaves are a great bug repellant in summer, because it smells like Christmas and confuses the mosquitos.  You can also harvest the winter ripening berries, stick them in a giant pot of boiling water, and skim the wax from the top when it cools.  That’s how people used to make bayberry candles, by the way.  I learned that from Outlander, too.  I’ve been taking said wax and melting it into unscented candles for a lovely seasonal smell.  If you’re lazy, just boil the berries.  The smell will permeate the kitchen, and possibly the rest of your living space, with an addictive, cozy smell.  For some extra fun, throw in a few sticks of cinnamon.

Those are just my three favorites, but there are a ton of things you can do with your garden in winter.  My ultimate dream, once I attain an actual yard, is to have a winter vegetable garden.  Because food.

What are your favorite winter active plants?  Are you also having a hard time restraining your plant mania this winter?

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