Sunday, October 10, 2010

Slouching Towards Winter

There was frost on the grass this morning, and Wolfie, stimulated by the chill, raced around and skidded and slipped and almost fell.  Good practice for icy mornings to come.

I thought the cold night might have done in the beans, but no such luck.  By noon they were looking as perky as they did in August.  The eggplants and banana peppers are still bearing, and the chard and kale, needless to say, are chugging along as if The Killing Frost weren't around the corner.

Because it was a nice day in which to do the job, I brought in my two zonal geraniums and put them by a south-facing window.  They will stop blooming for a while, but when the snow covers the ground outside, the reflected light will stimulate them to bloom again.

I gave the scented geraniums in their heavy pots a good pruning and dragged them inside for the winter.  I did the same for the big rosemary bush.  Please understand that I mean "big" by Vermont standards.  Rosemary cannot survive our winters and has to be brought indoors, which means it has to be kept in a pot, which keeps it from reaching its full splendor.

Still, I'm quite pleased with my rosemary, which made it through last winter and is the first rosemary plant that hasn't given up the ghost within two weeks of being brought into my house.  I owe this success to my herbalist friend Dona, who told me that rosemary hates to be moved.  I paid attention to her advice and kept the pot anchored next to a south-facing window, refusing to move it even to make room for the Christmas tree.

Also, remembering that the name "rosemary" comes from the Latin ros marinus, meaning sea-dew, and that it grows in the semi-arid hills near the Mediterranean, I kept the soil fairly dry but misted the needles after feeding the dogs every morning.  The plant rewarded me by covering itself with lavender-colored blooms and hanging on until late spring, when it could go back outside.

The rosemary and scented geranium clippings are now drying on woven-straw trays in the dining room.  Does this herb business never stop?  I had finally finished stripping the oregano, thyme and lavender (three whole cups of lavender blossoms, of which I am inordinately proud), and now here are these handfuls of heavenly-smelling leaves that I cannot possibly throw away....

Meanwhile Bisou is mourning the disappearance of her frogs, which have abandoned the warm stones of the patio and dived into the depths of the pond, there to slumber cozily until the spring frenzy wakes them up, a long, long time from now.

7 comments :

  1. I didn't know that etymology. I love word histories, and rosemary. I kill all rosemary as well. None survives the mid-spring.

    Today's high in St. Louis was 87.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Just keep misting it, and don't move it around inside the house! 87???

    ReplyDelete
  3. But rosemary (also Rosemary) does well in the tropics. I have two pots on my lanai that seem to want more room, but I've convinced them to grow up rather than wide. Here, the salty ocean air seems to make rosemary more thirsty than probably on the mainland. But, here too, she hates to be moved.
    And geraniums are blooming in a pot next to the rosemary - wonderful to read about yours and our synchronocity.
    I do miss those beautiful crisp Falls and the changing leaves though...

    ReplyDelete
  4. I love your picture of Bisou. It's just like her.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Rosemary, wouldn't your rosemary plant do well if you put it in the ground? I had a big healthy rosemary bush in Maryland that lived outside year-round. Such a pretty name you have.

    mrb, walking in the woods with Bisou these days, it's hard to see her in all the gold and orange leaves.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Lali,
    It would if I had some ground - alas - only a lanai - and the ocean...

    ReplyDelete
  7. I must confess I had to look up "lanai"--and now I think I want one, with ocean, of course.

    ReplyDelete