Assuming there is some wisdom in the saying, “A picture is worth a thousand words”, today I’m offering extra pictures. Some of you have seen the above shots of our Sunday afternoon visitor a few years back, at our home up North. I’m posting them again because: 1) they are fun, and 2) a new online friend, a retired gentlemen and photographer who lives in Finland, had expressed an interest in another photo of a black bear which I posted awhile ago.
For a wonderful tour of Finland, try http://sartenada.wordpress.com/ . You’ll be glad you did! I’m amazed at how Finland and Northern Wisconsin are so similar. (We have the immense Lake Superior for our Big Water.) The entire earth fascinates me, but I love the far Northern reaches of the world most of all! They are “home” to me.
Here ↑ is a glimpse of one of our winter gardens. Indoor plants help to keep us Northerners contented during the long, cold months—and they satisfy our craving for earth and greenery. The structure which houses some of my African violets is a Wardian Case (a replica of course) named after a 19th century English physician. Information on Dr. Ward is available online:
“Dr. Ward was a physician with a passion for botany. His personally collected herbarium amounted to 25,000 specimens. The ferns in his London garden in Wellclose Square, however, were being poisoned by London’s air pollution which consisted heavily of coal smoke and sulphuric acid.
“Dr. Ward also kept cocoons of moths and the like in sealed glass bottles, and in one, he found that a fern spore and a species of grass had germinated and were growing in a bit of soil. Interested but not yet seeing the opportunities, he left the seal intact for about four years, noting that the grass actually bloomed once. After that time however, the seal had rusted, and the plants soon died from the bad air. Understanding the possibilities, he had a carpenter build him a closely fitted glazed wooden case and found that ferns grown in it thrived. Dr. Ward published his experiment and followed it up with a book in 1842, On the Growth of Plants in Closely Glazed Cases.” Wikipedia
I have at present six African violet plants. I rotate them, three at a time, in and out of the Wardian case as the closed container helps to keep them hydrated without over-watering. Fortunately we don’t have any coal or sulphur pollution here—just a gas furnace which tends to dry out our indoor air.
In Milwaukee’s Mitchell Park Horticultural Domes, African violets grow close to the ground in the shade of huge plants in the tropical dome which is kept moist at a constant temperature in the low 70s, Farenheit. This is where I got the idea of a little extra hydration for my beauties. They don’t like to be over-watered (and must be watered from the bottom) but they love moist air.
Our East facing living room and patio door make a perfect environment for the above plants which don’t need (or can’t tolerate) huge blasts of winter sunlight. But our Christmas cactus, blooming instead for Lent, and a few other succulents (some jades, orchid cacti, candleabra, and an aloe plant) happily thrive in the Eastern exposure—with the morning sun.
Our other winter garden sits in our bedroom, facing South ↑. This is a glorious spot for succulents—including large and small leaf jades, and a crown of thorns. The succulents remind me of another beloved place on earth—New Mexico, especially Taos and Santa Fe. The curly creature in the above foreground is a Hoya, commonly called Turkish Rope. I have a couple of these, and delight in them. Maybe that’s why I love my Potato Chip scarves. They look like the Hoya.
The toothbrush in the Hoya plant belonged to a precious Pembroke Welsh corgi, Meeghan. On the sad day that she died, I put her toothbrush in a plant pot and it has been in one pot or another ever since. Meeghan hated to have her teeth brushed. That’s why the brush is in such good condition. I could almost use it, but I probably won’t! Meeghan also refused to floss.
Margaret L. Been, ©2012