Wordless Wednesday–“Candy” for the Birds


This is what I call “winter interest.” Because these are crab apples, and therefore sour, they remain on the tree until spring, when the birds come to get them after they (they fruit, not the birds) have mellowed a bit and the birds are hungry after migration.

It’s a win-win for everyone!


The Plant that Keeps on Giving


I bought this plant (the one in the base of the citrus) as a 6″ annual for an outdoor hummingbird container I was planting in 2015. It was called “Jewels of Opar” (don’t you love common names sometime? They’re so romantic!) The botanical name is talinum ‘limon’ presumably for the chartreuse foliage.

As I was scouting around for the botanical on this, lo and behold, I also discovered it was edible! Gracious! This really is the plant that keeps on giving! When I entitled the post that, I merely meant that since 2015, it has self-sowed into various containers of mine and continues to bloom all over the place. You see it here in 3 containers in 3 different stages: blooming, near bloom, and seedling.


It was blooming outside in my garden beds as well. When I find these flower stalks going to seed, I shake the seeds over my beds and borders and the next season I find plants coming up in the gardens. How delightful. Plants without work. I am all for that!

The article I link to above makes mention of how wonderful these itty bitty tiny flowers are for pollinators. So many of us grow huge hulking flowers to draw in bees and butterflies but we forget about our smaller bees. There are bees that are the size of a grain of white rice and we need to be mindful of those pollinators too!

Of course, if you are going to attempt to eat what you are growing, make sure that you are growing it organically. No pesticides of any kind, especially on the plants but even in your soils. Be mindful of that.

Otherwise, just enjoy these lovely plants and flowers.


More About Office Plants

On Monday, I talked about how to figure out what plants might be right for your office–and showed you the cactus that live in my office windows.

I also named some good contenders for office plants but didn’t show any photos. Many folks are visual. So here are some good choices for dark offices.  You’ll see them in sort of “holding” spaces here in our offices.


This is the “snake plant” that I referenced on Monday. I am quite fond of saying that this plant will grow in a closet. Normally, we have two of these plants against the back wall of our church altar where they reside in total darkness for 20 hours a day and they do just fine so long as they are not over-watered. They are really enjoying their “temporary” vacation in our offices while the church is decorated with other things.


Our rubber plant, ficus elastica, fares somewhat better.  It is normally over near our baptismal font, which is near a side door so it gets slightly more light from small windows in that door.  Again, it is loving its vacation in the light. It normally does have this burgundy cast to the leaf veins and stems. It loses much of that in our very dark interior.


These 3 peace lilies (spathiphyllum sp.) look pretty much the same as they do where ever they are. The only difference is that they need more water now that they are getting more light–that is something to take note of as you move plants around!


Finally, here is a dracena. Dracenas have great issue with out water and our dry air–hence the browning leaf tips (many of which you can see that I have already trimmed once). Other than that, they are very easy care plants. This one is usually in the church foyer so its light situation is generally the same. it’s just probably warmer than it might normally be in our foyer at the moment!

As you shop, look around–I will bet that you see many of these very same plants behind the over-running poinsettias. And if they can live in dark suburban malls–or office parks–they can live in your offices as well!

Wordless Wednesday


These Japanese maples are not as lovely as usual this year. First a late summer dry spell, then an abnormally warm late autumn–followed by a “flash freeze” so to speak, left the leaves suspended on the tree.

But the leaves are always very late to drop–one of the last to fall off. It’s partly a protection for the delicate nub of leaf forming underneath for next year’s leaf.


On this red leafed variety, it’s even worse. It drives the Spoiler mad–and of course, we track them in until January or later.

But of course, there’s no hurrying nature. When you see the brown oak leaves in this photo, however, you know that these maple leaves are very late to fall since oak leaves are one of the last to come off the tree!

It’s Time for Indoor Plants!

Now that house plants are so in vogue, it seems almost boring to post about them.

So today I thought I would talk about bringing plants to work for a change. Office plants face an even more challenging environment than our homes. Our homes are usually hot and dry or perhaps like some of the homes here in New England, cold and drafty. But one real benefit homes have over offices is that they have windows. Lots of offices have very few–if any windows.

And while it is possible to grow some plants under office fluorescent lights, if you have a LEED certified office, you might not even have those–you might, instead, have LEDs. And those are not well suited for plants.

So what to do? First, as always, consider your conditions. Is you office bright or dark? And if it is bright, why? Are you blessed, as I am, to have natural light? This is what I am able to grow on my windowsills.

But most people aren’t so lucky. It is, in fact, the rare office that is sunny enough to grow cacti! I also have an anthurium in another part of my office, and way against a back wall, so it doesn’t burn, I have the air cleaning pothos plant.

So you see, I have some rather un-traditional plant choices at my workspace (except for the pothos, which I inherited).

What should you do if you are stuck in one of those interior offices without a window? I would definitely experiment.

Try plants that if they start to do poorly you wouldn’t mind taking home and living with in your house. For some good examples of low light plants, your garden center should have some suggestions to start.

But since many of us will be doing more shopping than we care for in the next few weeks, look around if you are in an enclosed mall. Yes, you’ll see more poinsettias than you’ve ever seen in your life. But beyond those, what are the “foundation” plants?

I’ll bet you see a lot of ficus (probably not a great office choice), dracenas (a much better choice), snake plants (also a fabulous choice–and there are some great varieties out there), ZZ plants (also good) and perhaps some smaller plants like diffenbachias, calatheas and aglaeonemas.

Take note of the mall conditions: hot and dry? Cold and dry? Drafty? You know it will be poorly lit (from a plant’s perspective, at least). How much like your office is it?

And different parts of the mall will have different conditions. Some may have skylights (don’t forget to look up for that, particularly if you are there at night).

Who said shopping has to be dull?

Leaping, Sneaping Deer

Say what?!

Have you ever seen those signs along the highways with the image–in silhouette–of the leaping deer and then a number underneath like “next two miles.”

There’s a stretch of the New York State Thruway where first you see a sign that says deer next 1 1/5 miles, then almost immediately there’s another that says deer next two miles, then there’s another that says deer next 52 miles. I guess they figured they would run out of signs pretty darn fast at that rate.

After Monday’s post about the deer, mice, habitat and ticks, I thought I would do a post about deer and deer encounters with vehicles. We are right smack in the middle of “deer prime time:”–October, November and December are the 3 months, statistically when you are most likely to encounter a deer (in a negative way, of course) with your vehicle.

Is there science to this? Yes, actually. Believe it or not, this is deer mating season. So bucks will actually chase does straight into oncoming traffic. Ah, love. Or something.

Also, we have just (or most of us have just) changed from daylight savings time to standard time. So we’re all adjusting to driving in the dark again. Ack! This is our problem, not the deer but the reduced visibility makes it difficult to see.

Finally (and this will occasionally happen in the spring as well) deer will gather on the warm pavement on cooler nights at the change of seasons so beware of that.

All of the insurance companies have statistics about how deer/vehicle collisions go up this time of year. Be aware of that and try not to be one of those statistics.