Saturday, January 3, 2009

Day Three: So Far, So Good!

Well, we’re three days into the New Year, and so far I’m staying on top of my resolutions… I think.

The ever-supportive Suburban Spouse read my first post yesterday, then said, “You want a rain barrel? Why don’t you just go out and buy one?”

Well, my love, they’re around a hundred bucks apiece.


“Can’t you just use a big bucket?”

On that promising note, here’s the second half of my Top 10 gardening resolutions for 2009.

6. Get more flowering indoor plants. I don’t usually get excited about houseplants, although I always have several around, ranging from the obligatory philodendron to a ceiling-height dieffenbachia inherited from a neighbor who moved to New Orleans. Most of them were gifts, and all are sadly neglected. I forget to water them until they start to shrivel and droop.

And repotting? Forget it. I have three African violets in a basket on my kitchen table that I bought at least five years ago. They’re still in their original pots. They are growing and blooming happily, fortunately for them. Otherwise, I’m one of those merciless people who throws them out when they hit an ugly stage (post-Christmas poinsettias and cyclamen, for example).

But I'm hoping to turn over a new leaf, as it were, in 2009. Seeing all the beautiful photos on other blogs has made me long for the real thing to brighten up my own home during the drab winter months. Taking a cue from Kylee at Our Little Acre, I just bought a couple Amaryllis bulbs (grocery-store clearance-priced at 2 for $5—my kind of bargain!). One of them, a pink-and-white ‘Apple Blossom,’ is about ready to bloom, and I was hoping to have a beautiful photo for this post. But of course, a watched pot never blooms.

The second one, an unnamed red one, has a lot of catching up to do, and I actually bought a third one yesterday for four bucks at the local Box-mart. I have yet to pot it up, and I confess I bought it mostly for the nice ceramic pot, but it should be pretty too. No name on this one either, but it looks similar to ‘Apple Blossom,’ but with less pink. Watch for a photo update soon!

7. Be more disciplined about adding kitchen materials to the compost bin.
I’m pretty good with composting yard materials, since I’m out there near the bin already. I’m a little lazy about the kitchen stuff though, especially in the winter. It’s often a windy trek through deep snow drifts to get to the bin, and I’m not wild about piling up stuff in my kitchen till I can get outside.

However, I’m trying something new. I’ve started collecting vegetable trimmings, banana peels, egg shells, and coffee grounds in large zipper bags. I tuck the bags right outside my back door until it’s nice enough to venture to the compost bin. That way I don’t have to keep smelly stuff in my kitchen, and since it freezes quickly on the back doorstep, it’s easy to dump out later. (And of course, I recycle the bags for the next round of compostables!)

8. Apply (organic) fertilizer/weed inhibitor to the lawn on time. Somehow, I always miss the recommended spreading time. I usually get at least one application down, but last year I didn’t even manage that. I’m not really one to worry a whole lot about what our lawn looks like. However, my neighbor is kind of picky about his, and because I value our friendship, I really have got to do something about the patch of Creeping Charlie that is taking over my side yard and fast encroaching upon his lawn.

9. Never bring home a plant unless I know where it’s going. This is a nice idea, but it probably won’t stop me from buying anything. I’ll just spend more time loitering at the garden center until I can figure out where to squeeze in another bargain, or where to start a whole new bed to make room for it…

10. Visit more local gardens. Living in the Chicago area, I’m within driving distance of some of the country’s best gardens. I’ve been to the Chicago Botanic Garden many times, but have yet to make my way down to the Morton Arboretum, Millennium Park, the Garfield Conservatory, or Cantigny. And there are dozens of smaller gardens all over. Perhaps having a blog to fill will give me a little motivation.

How are you doing with your resolutions? Or are you one of those wise people who knows better than to make them in the first place? Either way, I hope your year is off to a fabulous start.


  1. Great list! About #10...I could have written that! I have been to Millennium Park, but it was before I was so interested in gardening and it's a great place, so another visit would be fun! Chicago has some great gardens. I'm sure we'll be visiting a few during Spring Fling in May!

  2. Isn't it funny how we don't get out to see the things right next to us? I've lived in the Chicago area for about 25 years and I think I saw more of the "sights" before I lived here! Oh, well...


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