Last year my parents bought me a beautiful, tropical Jasmine plant for my birthday. It thrived during the warm, humid summer months, but as soon as we started using the wood stove the interior of our home became a hot, dry climate. When the sun began its descent into oblivion, our southern exposure window just wasn’t enough. That poor Jasmine plant slowly lost all of its leaves and dried up, no matter what measures I took to prevent its demise. It’s now buried in a snow bank behind the house, may it rest in peace. To fill the empty area in our living room, I decided to try my hand at growing an herb inside. I needed a pick-me-up after my utter failure with the Jasmine.

Fast forward a couple weeks and there are four strong borage plants growing inside the pot. I’ve been told the leaves are good in salads and taste like cucumber. It’s only supposed to grow 1′ tall, so it should be a perfect one for the windowsill. Here are my first seedlings of the year:

Borage.

Borage.

Since my small success with borage, I’ve also started this year’s onion experiment. Last year I didn’t start the onions until the end of February, and they were small at the end of the summer. This year I started them at the end of January to give them another four weeks of growth. I have a red and a white variety, both new since I wasn’t very impressed with last year’s stock, though I’ve kept what onions I harvested from last year and plan on replanting them as sets this spring. The experiment continues!

Red and White Southport Globe onions.

Red and White Southport Globe onions.

I’ve also been experimenting with indoor plants. If you know me, you know I have always had a black thumb for house plants. Maybe my problem is that I chose exotic plants that need a very specific microclimate in order to thrive. Maybe my problem is that I assume all plants enjoy tons of sun. I’ve learned a lot so far this winter. For instance – my aloe plants. Aloe. Grows wild in arid climates. Loves the sun. Right? That’s what I assumed, so I had it in the southern window for the longest time and the darn plant kept wilting and getting browner and browner. So I switched it to a northern exposure window in desperation and the damn thing plucked right up! It’s sitting happily in the kitchen window, watching as we do dishes and haul wood to the house. My mom gave me a couple spider plant babies she snipped from her plants, and I’ve successfully propagated them into crazy, beautiful specimens. The regular spider plants enjoy direct sunlight, but the variegated variety is loving indirect sunlight on the kitchen island in the middle of the great room. For some reason the variegated one was only growing long, spindly, horizontal offshoots when in direct sunlight, but in the week since I’ve moved it to the island it has filled in on top with a bunch of wild, vertical leaves. One of my neighbors noticed how much I enjoyed plants and gave us what she calls a Walking Jew. In her house, they are purple with a silvery sheen. In my house, the plant is purple with a green sheen. Crazy how two different environments can make the same plant behave in different ways.

Here are some pictures of my indoor house plant successes, because I need something to brag about while I wait for this depressing winter to pass.

Variegated philodendron start.

Variegated philodendron start.

My aunt called this her Goldfish plant because the flowers look like goldfish crackers. It vined and hung downward in a shower of leaves and flowers for her. For me? It's lifting its long arms upward and waving them around like Medusa's snakes. Wacky plant.

My aunt called this her Goldfish plant because the flowers look like goldfish crackers. It vined and hung downward in a shower of leaves and flowers for her. For me? It’s lifting its long arms upward and waving them around like Medusa’s snakes. Wacky plant.

Two spider plants around the Walking Jew plant.

Two spider plants around the Walking Jew plant.

My husband has been keeping himself busy doing various things. He finished the bathroom cabinets (except for the magnets to hold the doors shut… still waiting on that), and we finally got the granite counter for it. We got a box of rocks to do a stone wall behind the mirror. Not sure when that’ll get done, but it should look really neat when it’s done.

DSCN1170

 

He started on the loft recently, too. That was our winter project, but since I’ve started working and we’ve had cruddy weather, we hadn’t been able to get the drywall. We have it now! As soon as he’s done with the drywall, I’ll put up the pine ceiling and tie it into the great room ceiling. Then we can start on the wood floor and get the office, library, sewing nook, and guest room going up there. Exciting stuff!

Yay, drywall!

Yay, drywall!

Spring is still a long way off. We have snow and it’s cold. Winter. Still blah. But this past week I got four half flats of herbs planted, and next weekend I’ll start planting a couple dozen types of peppers. You remember my 321 pepper plants last year? Expect more this year. Many more.

Tarragon, anise, oregano, and many others...

Tarragon, anise, oregano, and many others…

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