Friday, December 16, 2011

Basil is doing well indoors

First I enjoyed my sewing success in finishing my quilt. Now, I'm reveling in my indoor gardening skills. If I start to claim to be Suzy Homemaker, just pay no attention.

Granted, it is only mid-December and there is plenty of winter left to go, but for now, I am thrilled that the sweet basil and cinnamon basil plants I brought in from outside, are alive and well. I've been pinching a little here and there. I use it in cooking, but the real thrill for me is having the scent of basil on my fingers. I love the smell. I like to pet the cats after I've touched the plants. I'm not so sure if they like to smell like basil, but I certainly find it rather pleasant.

For a long time--possibly related to motherhood through one of those uterine connections--I thought my green thumb had died. I used to have such beautiful house plants. At some point however, it seemed that everything I touched withered and died.

I have never had luck wintering basil. I got into the habit of simply replacing plants every spring. Perhaps things are turning around for me. I am hopeful.

I have had some other minor successes on the back porch as well. Like the Wandering Jew plant that is barely visible in the first picture. That was a huge pot with long trails of leaves. When I got ready to bring it indoors a couple months ago, I was planning to give it a good trim. When I inspected it, I learned that the best leaves were the ones hanging from nearly dead stems. When I trimmed it there was little left. I took all of the healthy parts and stuck them into water. In just a few days, they were rooted. I planted them back into the same pot.

A glass full of plants is usually an open invitation for Ryan, the eldest of our four cats. Like her sisters, she just loves to hang out with my plants. Ryan is unique though, in that she loves water too. When I water the plants she sticks her nose right there for every plant. She just loves water so much that the bathroom sink is her favorite place to hang out. See likes to drink from the faucet and when the sink is dry, she likes to writhe around in it waiting to be petted. We call that 'sink cuddles.'

I also have a couple of African Violets that are still alive. I've always had problems growing African Violets, always marveling at my mother's collection of them. I've always been stumped as to why I always killed them.

These two, plants I bought this summer at an estate sale, are not just alive, but are still blooming and looking good. I should say they are both blooming but only one of them looks good. My horticultural genius again, Ryan along with her sisters have had their way with one of them. It actually looks like a violet tree. Most of the lower leaves are gone revealing a leafless stalk with purple flowers on top. I'm not sure how to fix that problem yet.

Then there is the Christmas cactus--another plant I picked up at a yard sale. It is dutifully budded and awaiting Christmas Day so it can open. I wonder how it knows.

My plants fill a table on my back porch. They are hanging in the windows and some are on side tables. I just love being in that room. It is sunny and pleasant. Every now one of the kitties will walk past and I will get a whiff of sweet basil. Winter in Arkansas can be a very pleasant time.
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