One thing that remained remarkably green during our severe drought is our moss.
We have it in many places in the yard. It occurs naturally and where it does, I do what I can to encourage it for precisely this reason. It’s a wonderful ground cover, a great backdrop for other woodland plants and it’s incredibly drought tolerant.
This is an area where the moss has dried out. You can see how dry our ground is. Ideally we will get some rain this week–or maybe not. The moss won’t care.
Whenever the rains come, if it’s this week or next year, the moss will rehydrate and turn green. That’s the beauty of it.
Remember my trip to Oklahoma City back at the end of January? Me either. That might as well have been in another century.
I bring it up again because I remember remarking when I was showing pictures of the Land Run Centennial Park that I hadn’t seen a lot of plants (well, yes, it was January) but I could identify an aloe that I had at home that blooms for me in a container.
And here’s my blooming aloe. Now I can no more identify it (by variety or species) here than I can in Oklahoma. My recollection is that it came in a container of mixed succulents–and not necessarily the one I currently have it in.
But clearly it’s happy at my house. That’s all that matters to me.
I talked last Friday about lecturing on house plants and how I always talk about the importance of interesting leaves in a house plant collection.
Another thing I mention–although it’s not as important as colorful leaves–and it’s much more elusive–is fragrance.
Fragrance can be tricky. The classic example of this is paperwhite narcissus. I’ve mentioned that I like the smell of those, but many people don’t. In fact, many people find the scent downright objectionable.
Jasmine is another one (Jasminum officinale). In small doses, it’s a heavenly scent. But once the whole plant starts blooming, it can be so overwhelming, it can actually give me a headache.
There’s a whole science to what goes on behind scent–I won’t get into it because I am not qualified and would make a muddle of it. I’ll simply repeat what I said at the beginning–scent is probably our most visceral sense. We know immediately what we like and what we don’t.
One of these small flowers–a lemon blossom, but it’s true for other blossoms in the citrus family as well–perfumes a whole room in my home. I need only to walk into a room and I can tell when this plant–or my other citrus–is in bloom.
This plant has bloomed quite a bit this winter–winter is the normal bloom time for many citrus–and already you can see small lemons beginning to form at the end of the branches. So long as I transition this plant gently outside in the spring–and gently back inside this fall–by next winder I should have edible lemons.
All of this is accomplished with no additional pollination from me. I have heard of folks who hand-pollinate their citrus with paintbrushes and I have seen small mechanized devices sold for such purpose.
As I have repeated many a time, in my house, it’s every plant for itself–and clearly this lemon is doing just fine. Bring on the lemonade.
This, supposedly, is a yellow clivia miniata. It’s definitely a clivia. It’s the “yellow ” part that I am questioning. I just acquired the plant last year and while it is very healthy, it hasn’t yet bloomed for me.
Here’s my orange clivia. It’s probably 5 years old and it probably blooms every other year. Clivia questions are one of my biggest house plant questions–to the extent folks know what they are. But with house plants coming back into “fashion,” it’s only a matter of time before this long lived, attractive plant becomes popular.
Why is my post called the Lazarus Plant? Because I haven’t watered either of these plants since mid-October. That, supposedly, is the protocol for blooming.
The actual instructions are to stop watering in mid October. Chill the plant to 40 degrees and hold it there (now I have really cold places in my house, but none are that cold!). Resume watering January 21, after bringing the plant to a warmer (and by warmer, they mean low 60s, which is about where I have it now) place.
If you can manage to achieve that, bloom should follow in February. Since even I can’t, I will often get blooms in May or so. That’s fine. Blooming is blooming, so far as I am concerned.
And the plants did look pretty with the Christmas wreaths around them. I finally have a good use for those!