Color Your World: Perseverance

The Star Magnolia wants to break into bloom in the depths of our Virginia winter. February 11 Grey

The Star Magnolia wants to break into bloom in the depths of our Virginia winter. February 11 Grey

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“Begin doing what you want to do now.

We are not living in eternity.

We have only this moment,

sparkling like a star in our hand-

-and melting like a snowflake…”

.

Francis Bacon

We woke this morning to the unexpected beauty of our garden covered in snow.  An inch fell sometime between midnight and morning.  The clouds were long gone by the time I wandered to the window to look out on this new day; a day bathed in warm golden sunshine, reflecting off that brilliant and sparkling snow.

We are in those depths of a Virginia winter when one must expect the unexpected.  We’ve more snow on the way, and we are preparing for night time temperatures to grow ridiculously cold by Saturday night.  These are the days and nights a gardener dreads, when those tiny bits of life one tries to nurture through till spring finally might succumb to winter’s frigid touch.

Knowing this, we moved the olive trees into the garage at sunset yesterday.  Now nearly 4 feet tall, they have made it through three winters in their very portable pots.  Hardy to Zone 8, I have left them out longer this winter than ever before.  But now they are situated in the garage to survive these next few frosty nights.

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Sedum rupestre 'Angelina' shrugs off the cold without a single leaf withering. They may turn a bit rosy in the cold, but always recover. February 13 'Yellow Green' and February 7 'Fuzzy Wuzzy Brown.'

Sedum rupestre ‘Angelina’ shrugs off the cold without a single leaf withering. They may turn a bit rosy in the cold, but always recover. February 13 ‘Green Yellow’ and February 7 ‘Fuzzy Wuzzy Brown.’

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“You never know what’s around the corner.

It could be everything.

Or it could be nothing.

You keep putting one foot in front of the other,

and then one day you look back

and you’ve climbed a mountain.”

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Tom Hiddleston

I’m always a bit restless in February.  I want to keep on gardening, but most of the garden has gone dormant.  I wander around looking for signs of change and growth.  Perhaps I’m looking for reassurance that things are still alive.

While it is fine to have a rest from weeding and watering, I miss the dynamic change of watching plants grow and develop into the fullness of their beauty.

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Selaginella with a new Amaryllis

Selaginella and Strawberry Begonia with a new Amaryllis bulb. February 10 ‘Granny Smith Apple Green.’

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This time of year challenges our spirit of perseverance.  

We plan, we order, we clean, we prune, and we wait.   I fiddle endlessly with those plants wintering indoors, too; taking cuttings, watering, and admiring those in bloom.

I planted up the last of our autumn Amaryllis bulbs today with some beautiful Selaginella adopted from The Great Big Greenhouse last week.   Understanding how February affects us all, they compassionately have a full month of special events to promote tropical houseplants.  I made it for the last day of their sale on ferns, but  will miss the Orchid presentation next Saturday….

The little Strawberry Begonia has been growing outside in a pot since last summer.  Today I finally rescued it,  and brought it inside for this arrangement.  Maybe it will respond to the warmth by sending out runners and ‘baby’ plants some week soon.

There are rarely immediate results from those tasks we tackle in winter.  We have to bide out time and wait for our efforts to bear fruit sometime further along in the season.   We wait and watch for those first tiny signs of spring’s awakening, ready to celebrate each unfolding.

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The first tiny green tips of awakening bulbs break ground in this pot by the back door. February 8, 'Gold.'

The first tiny green tips of awakening bulbs break ground in this pot by the back door. February 8, ‘Gold.’

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I am happy, this February, to participate in Jennifer Nichole Wells’s new “Color My World: One Hundred Days of Crayola” photo challenge.  Jenny is working from the Crayola Crayon chart of colors, and offers a new color challenge each day for 120 days, beginning January 1.   I’ll aim for one post each week, sharing photos of as many of that week’s colors as I’m able.

This week’s colors include:  Fuzzy Wuzzy Brown, Gold, Goldenrod, Granny Smith Green, Grey, Green, and Green Yellow.  These colors were easy to find in the garden today, even in a February garden.  There are abundant signs of life in our Forest Garden, and we appreciate finding each and every one.

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Goldenrod yellow shines in the face of this tiny Viola. February 9, "Goldenrod."

Autumn’s ‘Goldenrod’ yellow shines in the face of this tiny Viola. February 9, “Goldenrod.”

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“God has, in fact, written two books, not just one.

Of course, we are all familiar with the first book

he wrote, namely Scripture.

But he has written a second book

called creation.”

.

Francis Bacon 

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Our Forsythia continues slowly breaking bud in the garden. We didn't enjoy Forsythia until mid-March in 2015. Here it blooms by the drive.

Our Forsythia continues slowly breaking bud in the garden. We didn’t enjoy Forsythia until mid-March in 2015. Here it blooms by the drive.

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Woodland Gnome 2016

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Our pond at sunset last Saturday. February 12, 'Green"

Our pond at sunset last Saturday. February 12, ‘Green”

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“Even in the mud and scum of things,

something always, always sings.”

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Ralph Waldo Emerson

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February 10, 2016 winter growth 030

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Wednesday Vignette

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“Simplicity, patience, compassion.
These three are your greatest treasures.

Simple in actions and thoughts, you return to the source of being.

Patient with both friends and enemies,
you accord with the way things are.

Compassionate toward yourself,
you reconcile all beings in the world.”

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Lao Tzu

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Here is another of the ‘accent plants,’ grown in a shallow Bonsai style pot, I’ve been working with this summer.  The two main plants were sold unnamed, but I believe they may be a cultivar of Alocasia, another of those plants commonly called ‘Elephant’s Ears.’  Tropical, they prefer warmth, high humidity, filtered bright light, and moist soil; a winning combination for a houseplant!

I fell in love with these striking leaves and adopted both plants on the spot.  They came in tiny 1″ pots, and have been growing in their new, more spacious pot for almost three months.

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Mid-June, right after planting up this arrangement.

Mid-June, right after planting up this arrangement

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The ground cover plant is Sellaginella, or ‘Spikemoss.”  Spikemoss also appreciates constant moisture and high humidity, but indirect light.

These little ‘accent plants’ require the frequent,  close attention a proper Bonsai requires to keep them hydrated, groomed, and in good health.  It only takes a moment or two, but the plants must be checked every few days.  I feel more comfortable growing the little ‘accent plants’ because they don’t require the frequent pruning woody Bonsai need, and can grow fairly happily in their shallow little pot for a long while.

They grow on a windowsill where they never get direct sunlight, but have bright light all day.  This has been a good windowsill plant as it never drops a leaf or petal and fills its space elegantly.

Caring for little plants such as these helps us cultivate mindfulness and patience.

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Our little Alocasia after a summer of growth.

Our little Alocasia after a summer of growth.

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“Time is a created thing.

To say ‘I don’t have time,’

is like saying, ‘I don’t want to.”

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Lao Tzu 

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My appreciation to blogging friend Anna at Flutter and Hum for hosting Wednesday Vignettes each week. 

Photos by Woodland Gnome 2015

 

A Re-do and a Potential Success

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After constructing several terrariums this winter, I wanted to experiment with an “aqua-terrarium.”  I wanted to try a terrarium of plants growing in a watery environment.

Petco offered a selection of plants sold specifically for use in aquariums, from which I chose two small ferns.  Both ferns were new to me, and so I did a little internet research between buying them and planting them.  Which proved very helpful.

I learned that the Crested Java Fern, Microsorium pteropus, ‘Windelov,’ should be anchored to something and not planted directly into soil, sand or gravel.  And I learned that the (so called) Aqua Fern, Trichomanes javanicum, does not grow well completely submerged.  The success rate of growing this fern in an aquarium long term is slim to none…

I pressed on, allowing the upper leaves of the Aqua Fern to remain above water, and nestled its roots into a pocket of potting mix covered in small stones.

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January 16, 2015 terrarium 004

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Less than a week into the experiment it was clear that this was not a healthy planting.  The water quickly grew murky.  The Aqua Fern never perked up.

I decided to cut my losses and save the Crested Java Fern by moving it into a new, soil-less  “aqua-terrarium.’  I used pure spring water in the construction, and placed the newly built container where it would get bright but indirect light for most of the day.

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And the fern has responded with new growth.  There is not only evidence of new shoots from the base, but what appear to be roots have begun to grow from the tips of some of the fronds!

Native to Southeast Asia, this fern may be found growing along areas that flood and in shallow bodies of fresh or brackish water.  It will grow in anything from moist soil to a completely underwater environment.  And it spreads itself, with those growths on its leaves which take hold to most any surface, to cover wide areas.  I enjoy the beautiful shape of its fronds floating in the water.

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I clean the surface of the water every week or so with a paper towel before topping off the water level.  I don’t know what the “sheen” which forms on the water’s surface may be, but I remove it and wipe residue from the neck of the vase to keep it looking fresh.

Thus far, I rate this experiment as a potential success, and would recommend it to others who want to try growing an ornamental plant underwater indoors.  Now, I’m considering whether to add a small aquatic snail to help feed the fern and balance the planting….

After cleaning the murky water from the original ‘aqua terrarium’ planting, adding a bit more gravel, and allowing the Aqua fern several weeks to show new growth; I decided a “re-do” was in order.

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Who knows; this poor fern may have been on the decline when I purchased it.  An unfamiliar species, I don’t know how it should have looked to begin with, but it didn’t look particularly appealing from the beginning.

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Back to Petco to find a replacement plant, I was amazed to find several containers of my favorite Peacock Spikemoss on the aquarium plant display!  Really?  I know they appreciate moist soil, but have never heard of growing them completely submerged!

But I decided that while I wouldn’t try to grow it underwater, spikemoss would certainly look better in my vase than the dead fern!  And I just happened to have some clumps already growing well at home…  Remember the Amaryllis planting?  Well, the strawberry begonia plants and spikemoss are still growing strong.

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The re-do was a simple bit of “chuck and pluck.”  I very unceremoniously chucked the dead fern where all such things land, and plucked a healthy bit of spikemoss and strawberry begonia out of the Amaryllis garden where they were growing.

A bit of re-arranging of stones and cleaning up of the original vase made it ready to accept the new plants.  I added some clumps of moss, an Apophyllite cluster for sparkle, and watered it all in with a bit of pure spring water.

Although not an ‘aqua-terrarium,’ it is still  a pleasing ‘terrarium.’  We will enjoy it until the plants grow too large for the vase.

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March 19 bottles 009

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Although the original ‘aqua terrarium’ experiment didn’t work out as I had planned, it has finally worked out OK.  All I lost was a single plant, while gaining some useful experience.

Lessons learned:  Regular potting compost doesn’t work out well in an aqua-terrarium.  Maybe I needed a thicker layer of sand and gravel to contain it, but I still think it was the factor in making the water murky and unpleasant.

Don’t depend on the pet store to recommend appropriate plants for growing underwater.  I should have browsed and noted the names of the plants first;  then done the internet research before making a purchase.  Just because a plant is sold for use in an aquarium doesn’t mean it will grow successfully underwater.

Given the right plant, like the Crested Java Fern,  this approach to an aqua-terrarium works and makes an interesting and unusual display.  I would definitely construct ‘aqua-terrariums’ in future, using the Java fern, with an eye to an interesting container and beautiful stones.

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This fern is known to grow rapidly and divide easily.  It is a good gift for someone who claims they have no green thumb, but would like to have a plant in their home or office.  There is no worry about over-watering!

Gardening experiments give us ample opportunities to fix our mistakes and try again.  It is better to try something new and learn something, even if we have a ‘re-do’ or three along the way.

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Woodland Gnome 2015

 

Silent Sunday

Silent Sunday

 

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“A garden to walk in and immensity to dream in-

-what more could he ask?

A few flowers at his feet and above him the stars.”

*

Victor Hugo

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“Our duty is wakefulness,

the fundamental condition of life itself.

The unseen, the unheard, the untouchable

is what weaves the fabric of our see-able universe together.”

*

Robin Craig Clark

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“It is good to love many things,

for therein lies the true strength,

and whosoever loves much performs much,

and can accomplish much,

and what is done in love is well done.”

*

Vincent van Gogh

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“And now here is my secret, a very simple secret:

It is only with the heart that one can see rightly;

what is essential is invisible to the eye.”

*

Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

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photos by Woodland Gnome 2015

The Gift: Growth

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The Amaryllis bulb, given to us by a neighbor at Christmas, has grown to a little more than a foot tall over the past week.

It is quite amazing how quickly these bulbs grow once they get started!  The little peackock spikemoss divisions and  strawberry begonias have grown quite a bit as well.  Moss lifted from the garden in early January continues to thrive indoors.

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We enjoy observing this little indoor moss garden each day.  Often times it seems as though new growth is visible from one day to the next!

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Peacock spikemoss, Selaginella uncinata, has grown enough to begin cascading over the side of the dish.  The strawberry begonia, Saxifraga stolonifera, has sent out a runner.  A tiny new plant will develop at the end of the runner one day soon.

Peacock spikemoss, Selaginella uncinata, has grown enough to begin cascading over the side of the dish. The strawberry begonia, Saxifraga stolonifera, has sent out a runner. A tiny new plant will develop at the end of the runner one day soon.

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All it requires is a little spring water every few days and whatever light reaches it from the windows.

Here is a post on constructing the garden, if you missed it; and photos taken last week, as the bulb began its growth,  here.

It isn’t too late to start an Amaryllis bulb of your own to enjoy indoors as you wait for spring.  There was a large box of them at our Lowe’s this week, and many mail order nurseries still have them available, also.

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January 25, 2015 Amaryllis 007

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An Amaryllis growing indoors brightens up the gloomiest of winter days.

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“The only way that we can live, is if we grow.

The only way that we can grow is if we change.

The only way that we can change is if we learn.

The only way we can learn is if we are exposed.

And the only way that we can become exposed

is if we throw ourselves out into the open.

Do it. Throw yourself.”

 

  C. JoyBell C.

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Woodland Gnome 2015

Tropical Plant ‘Bonsai’ And Other January Adventures

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It is too wet and cold to putter about outside, but I’m still cruising the garden department at our local ‘big box’ stores.   My shopping list was a short one this week.  I hoped to find some little 2″ potted Rex Begonias or ferns for terrarium building, and held out hope to also find an early shipment of potted Hellebores for some pots outside.

Disappointment on all counts.

But, instead I found the first of the summer bulbs and tubers at our local Lowes.  I picked up several bags of interesting things, including some Cannas with dark burgundy leaves.

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Our native maidenhair fern has a spot in the 'kitchen garden' for the next few months.  This is a hardy fern, and will spread to a 2' clump after several seasons.

Our native maidenhair fern has a spot in the ‘kitchen garden’ for the next few months. This is a hardy fern, and will spread to a 2′ clump after several seasons.  A rooted Begonia cutting now shares its newpot.

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There was also a single pot of our native Maidenhair fern, Adiantum pedatum, for only $2.98 at Lowes.  Considering my favorite plant catalog offers the same fern in the same sized pot for $15.00 plus postage, that one purchase made the trip worthwhile.

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Arrowhead vine, Syngonium podophyllum, can eventually grow to about 6'.  Commonly kept as a houseplant, it is native to Mexico and Central America.

Arrowhead vine, Syngonium podophyllum, can eventually grow to about 6′.   Roots can form at each joint in the stem.  Once established, it is a prolific grower.

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And finally, when Home Depot offered nothing but an assortment of tropical houseplants, this little arrowhead vine called out to me.  This lovely little tropical vine, hardy only in Zone 10 to 12, is native to Mexico and Central America.  Poisonous, Syngonium podophyllum, is a useful, if invasive, garden plant in Florida.  But we generally grow it in a hanging basket here in Virginia.  You may have grown a green or green and white version of this common houseplant.

I have a weakness for the pink leaved variety, and adopted this one on the spot. It will join our indoor garden for the next four months, but will move into a basket on the deck this summer.

I re-purposed a pot of dormant Oxalis tubers from the garage by digging out enough of the tubers to make room for the Adiantum’s roots.  Oxalis leaves may pop through the moss in a few weeks, and that is fine.  The more the merrier!

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Then for the finishing touch, I laid a green coat of moss over all to cover the soil and add a little interest.  A few pebbles and a quartz crystal dress up this little pot for display in the living room.  It looks a little like a bonsai planting even if it’s not an expensive little tree.

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This Selaginella kraussiana variegatus came from Trader Joes in December.  Known as 'frosty fern,' it is a tender spike moss and must winter indoors here.

This Selaginella kraussiana variegatus came from Trader Joes in December. Sold as ‘frosty fern,’ it is a tender spike moss and must winter indoors here.

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Are you itching to get back out into the garden?  Do you simply need to get your hands in the dirt for a while to shake off the winter blahs?

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January 24, 2015 ferns 001~

Let me whisper a word in your ear to recommend the garden department at your local Walmart or Lowes.

After much searching, a single Rex Begonia, barely clinging to life in its dried out little pot, was waiting for me at our local Walmart.  The guys were moving a shipment of lawn furniture into place when I found it.  A quick inquiry brought the biggest one over to mark down the pot by half, and I went home with a new B. Rex to add to my collection.

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Begonia Rex from Walmart was dry and had many damaged leaves when I found it.  I've cut out most of the spoiled foliage, gave it warm water and a light feeding, and am now watching new leaves emerge.

Begonia Rex from Walmart was dry and had many damaged leaves when I found it. I’ve cut out most of the spoiled foliage, given it warm water and a light feeding, and am now watching new leaves emerge.  Aren’t the leaves lovely?

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The Begonia is already offering up tiny shiny new leaves.  After another few days of recovery, I’ll pot it up into something more interesting than its nursery pot.

Your local garden centers are probably as empty and deserted as are ours.  It is still January, after all.  Who in their right mind is out shopping for plants in January?

I am, of course.

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The 'mother' strawberry begonias who have provided tiny baby plants for my terrarium projects.

The ‘mother’ strawberry begonias who have provided tiny baby plants for my terrarium projects.

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Until the specialty places restock and open for spring, I’ll keep cruising the local Lowes, Home Depot, and Walmart for “tropical” treasures.  And I’ll putter around with these little guys in the warmth indoors until the weather settles, and we can all go back outside.

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Woodland Gnome 2015

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A bit of the kitchen garden.  Cyclamen love this cool and bright window, the Begonias tolerate it, and the new maidenhair fern will just have to enjoy the attention here.

A bit of the kitchen garden…   Cyclamen love this cool and bright window, orchids will re-bloom here,  the Begonias tolerate it, and the new maidenhair fern will just have to learn to enjoy all of the attention.

 

Garden Blogger’s Foliage Day

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What fun to stumble upon something new!  Today I found a link to Christina’s gardening blog, where she hosts this wonderful event on the 22 of each month.

Christina posts, “Welcome to Garden Bloggers’ Foliage Day, where we celebrate all kinds of foliage, green, evergreen, silver, gold or red.”

And what a wonderful hour I’ve just spent following the links from her blog to other fascinating gardening blogs with posts about interesting leaves!

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My offering for this January 22 is the latest in my series of little moss gardens and terrariums.  My gardening is mostly inside at the moment, and these little moss gardens bring such pleasure.

A friend and I shopped the Re-Store, which supports Habitat For Humanity, earlier this week; and I came home with lots of interesting clear glass containers for terrariums.  This was the best one, and I made it up as a gift for her husband’s recent re-retirement.

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This little garden’s most interesting foliage is the tiny strawberry begonia, Saxifraga stolonifera.  This is another new baby off of some larger plants I’m overwintering inside.

In addition to the soft green mosses from our garden, there is a division of a special lacy fern and a division of peacock spikemoss, Selaginella uncinata.

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A bit of shelf fungus pulled from a branch in our forest completes this little garden.

All of these plants may be transplanted outside in a few months when the weather settles.  Whether moved to a pot or planted into a bed, this little grouping will grow on in a shady spot.  All little divisions now, they will each grow quite a bit larger and continue to spread.

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I am so happy to be surrounded with talented friends who love gardening and are happy to share the joy of it with me.  And now that I’ve found Garden Blogger’s Foliage Day, there is another opportunity to photograph and share the many beautiful foliage plants we grow and enjoy throughout the year.

 

Woodland Gnome 2015

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January 21, 2015 cutting board 016

Silent Sunday

Silent Sunday

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January 16, 2015 signs 030

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Photos by Woodland Gnome 2015

Building a Terrarium

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Do you like miniature gardens and “little worlds”?  I downloaded samples of several books about miniature gardens, fairy gardens, and terrariums on Saturday looking for inspiration and fresh ideas.

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Terrariums and fairy gardens first caught my imagination in childhood.  I love that terrariums are largely closed ecological systems, mimicking the water cycle of our planet where water evaporates, condenses, and then returns to the soil.  Once constructed, a balanced terrarium can live indefinitely; or at least until the plants outgrow their vessel.

These are great little gardens for those with little space, or for those who want to bring a bit of nature into their professional environment.  There isn’t any anxiety over keeping them properly watered or making a mess, with a little garden in a bottle.

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Divisions used in this little garden include a golden creeping Sedum and a division of peacock spikemoss.

Divisions used in this little garden include a golden creeping Sedum and a division of peacock spikemoss.  I broke these off of pots I’m overwintering in the garage.

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My point in building this little terrarium, beyond the fun and beauty of it, is to demonstrate a few of the “tips and tricks” which make it an easy project.  Yes, so easy that you can pull it together in an afternoon, and then spend the evening admiring it with friends over a glass of wine

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An olive oil bottle from Trader Joes. Needs a bit more scrubbing to get the rest of that glue off!

This  olive oil bottle came from Trader Joe’s.   It needs a bit more scrubbing to get the rest of that glue off!

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My bottle came full of olive oil from Trader Joes.  The olive oil was delicious, by the way, and I just saved the bottle in the pantry because it was too pretty to throw away.

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Agates from Oregon beaches have a new home now in the terrarium. They're prettiest when wet, anyway. The scarf is one I just finished for a friend.

Agates from Oregon beaches have a new home now in the terrarium. They’re prettiest when wet, anyway.  The scarf is one I just finished for a friend.

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The stones are mostly agates picked up off beaches in Oregon.  There is a layer of reindeer moss from the craft store, left over from my moss-covered wreathes, and then another layer of glass shards from a bag of assorted glass purchased at the crafts store for other projects.

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New potting soil and bits of plant materials from the garden complete the project.  My only new investment here was a bit of time on Sunday afternoon.

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All terrariums need an inch or so of loose stones as their base layer.  Not only are they pretty and interesting to view from the glass, but they form the drainage system of the environment.  Any water you add to the terrarium, which isn’t absorbed, drains down into the stones so the soil isn’t waterlogged.

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Many builders add a little bit of aquarium charcoal to this layer of stones to help filter the water and keep it “sweet.”

The layer of moss between the stones and the soil serves as a barrier to the soil to keep it from running down into the stones.  It is purely aesthetic.  I added bits of “beach glass” around this moss layer to add to that barrier, as well as for the color.

Now, there are easier ways to do most anything.  Hold the bottle at an angle when adding the stones and glass, to direct where they fall.  I added a few stones to the center of my pile to take up space, allowing more of the agates to be visible against the glass.  Tilt the bottle when dropping in bits of beach glass to direct where you want the glass to land, then nudge it into place with a long, narrow tool.

Use whatever you have on hand to work inside the terrarium.  Many builders suggest chopsticks.  The cheap ones which come with your meal are the best.  I also like bamboo food skewers, and always have a pack lying around.  Even a pencil works just fine to nudge things into place through the narrow opening of the jar.

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The depth of soil needed depends entirely on plant choice.  Ferns and sedums need a little soil.  Moss needs very little.  I’ve used just over an inch of soil.  The roots will also grow down through the reindeer moss and into the stones below to reach the water there, eventually.

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A piece of paper, rolled into a funnel, is all you need to get soil or sand into your terrarium neatly.  Just spoon it through the opening, and nudge it into place with your long skinny tool.

Plants can be dropped through the opening, or gently rolled up into a piece of paper and then slid through the opening, before being nudged into place.

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These tiny plants have tiny roots.  It is fairly easy to work soil around the roots , pushing everything into place with your chopstick or pencil.

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I finished off by covering the soil with bits of garden moss.  Everything was frozen solid here on Saturday.  These bits were actually pried out of a pot on the deck, where I’ve been holding them since November.

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The secret to making an interesting miniature garden lies in beginning with tiny starts of things, and then allowing time for them to grow.

For example, you might plant a seed or a bulb, so long as the plant itself will fit in the space the terrarium allows.  Can you see a tiny crocus growing inside this bottle, from a bulb planted in the fall?  It would be a very temporary display, but very cool.

I’ve used another tiny division of peacock spikemoss, Selaginella uncinata, which can grow quite large, on one side of the bottle; and a tiny baby strawberry begonia, Saxifraga stolonifera, still attached to its umbilical stem, right in the middle.  My strawberry begonia plants, growing inside this winter, are making new baby plants every week!  I simply lowered this one, by its stem, into place where I want it to grow.  Its roots will take hold now in the soil, and quickly anchor it into place.

Once planted, add little stones, crystals, shells, marbles, bits of glass, or other ornaments to suit your vision.  Add tiny furniture for a fairy garden.  Lay stone paths or patios.  Add a statue if you wish.  This is your garden and you can do as you please!

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January 11, 2015 terrarium 054~

The final step of construction is watering.  I prefer to use bottled spring water so no chemicals are introduced, which might affect the growth of the plants.  And one must water very sparingly.  Little drops at a time are used to rinse away any specks of soil on the glass and to settle the roots into their new soil.

I left this bottle open for the first 36 hours to allow for some evaporation.  An opening this small could be left open all of the time.  But by replacing the stopper, this little garden won’t need additional water for months.  If the glass fogs up, I can remove the stopper for a few hours to allow the water to clear.  If the soil begins to look dry, a few drops of added water will solve the problem.

That is really all you need to know to now build your own terrarium. 

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Place your finished terrarium in bright light, but not right against a window. This one sits opposite the doors to our deck.

Place your finished terrarium in bright light, but not right against a window. This one sits opposite the doors to our deck.

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When choosing plants, select those which enjoy high humidity and which can grow without overwhelming the interior space of your garden.

Terrariums can be built to accommodate succulents.  These need openings for air circulation, and should be started off with even less water.  Air plants, which don’t require soil, make excellent terrarium specimens.  But these should be placed on wood or gravel, since contact with potting soil may lead them to rot.  The possibilities are limited mainly by your imagination and the depth of your purse!

Following are the books I reviewed this weekend.

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Woodland Gnome 2015

 

January 11, 2015 terrarium 059

Growth

January 11, 2015 terrarium 021

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The Amaryllis bulb planted last week has begun to grow, and its pale bud has deepened to green.

The building of this little garden was documented in “The Gift.”    There was a kind request in the comments to show you its progress.  It has been growing since last Sunday.

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January 11, 2015 terrarium 020~

In addition to the slight growth of the Amaryllis buds, I’ve also noticed the spike moss beginning to fill out with newly opening buds.

That is beyond exciting to a gardening addict like me!

Imagine, here we are deeply into a solidly frozen January, and I’m watching buds swell  and green in this little inside garden.

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January 11, 2015 terrarium 008

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Just for comparison, another photo taken today of a solidly frozen moss garden living outside on our deck.

If the weather forecast proves true, you may see this one covered in ice one day very soon!

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This bottle has now been transformed into a tiny terrarium.  Here, before construction began.

This bottle has now been transformed into a tiny terrarium. Here, before construction began.  Tomorrow I’ll show you the progress of that garden when typing becomes a bit easier.  My left hand remains bandaged today after an unfortunate accident in the kitchen yesterday….  And yes, all is well….

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Woodland Gnome 2015

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