Gila's Place | Plants in for the winter

Plants in for the winter

November 12, 2016  •  Leave a Comment

A few months ago I decided to kick back and take pause. I booked only a few photo gigs, laid off the odd jobs for the spring and summer, dropped almost completely out of rescue, and haven't written anything to really speak of. I really needed the break.

I've filled my days with my "day job", (a new position I took in the spring), as well as my family, and of course, my animals. As full a my days still are, it's been a much needed break.

One of the things I found time to actually enjoy this year was tending my plants. My yard soil isn't all that great so most of what t I grow is in pots. At the end of the season, a lot of my plants come indoors; all the house type plants and some herbs.

While I do prune in the spring, fall is usually when I prune the most. Some of my plants and trees get sizable over the summer, basking in the sun on my deck, and typically I have to prune them when I bring them in because I only have so much space in my little house.

That wasn't the case this year.

Spring before last, I messed up and put everything out on the porch too early in the year. We had a week of perfect spring weather and then one night everything froze.

I was devastated (yes devastated) when I thought that most, if not all, of my plants were gonners. I've had some of them for years and years and spent a lot of time and love tending them. The memories some of them hold are priceless.

At first I thought they might come out of it if I brought them back into the house. But every stalk turned golden, dried, and snapped easily within days.

I got discouraged, but instead of throwing them out, I thought I'd cut them back completely and hoped that might force some shoots from the roots. But when I cut into the stalk, I saw larva. I knew I was in trouble then.

Turns out that those pesky Japanese beetles that kill 100 year old trees aren't all that picky about where they live, eat, and lay babies; almost any stemmy plant or tree will do. My Ficus and Fig trees worked out just fine for them. The stalks were all just full of larva.

I cut everything back to soil level, plucked out all the larva I could find, and spray painted the open cuts in hopes of smothering any worms left behind still alive.

Weeks passed and nothing. Everything went out on the deck, and what a sight it was. A bunch of huge pots with nothing but stumps showing. I waited and watched patiently for a couple of weeks, and nothing.

Then the rains came and blessed our area for about 5 days. By the end of those five days all of my plants had some green showing. A couple weeks later, and another couple of rain showers, I was seeing life in the pots again. And thankfully, no sign of bugs.

By the middle of summer, here they were. They were only fractions of their former size.

The Ficus (Indoor Fig) was about 7-8 ft tall and at least 3 foot in circumference before I had my lapse of judgement. I've had it 16 years this May. The plant in the middle, the one I can never remember the name of (schefflera), was about 3 ft tall and 2.5 ft in circumference and also 16 years old. My poor of Rubber Trees were both over 4 ft. tall and sprawled out in circumference that two people couldn't wrap their arms around them. I was looking forward to sharing some good cuttings from those with friends last year, but they don't freeze well. :-(

Over the winter and this past summer, everything regained some size and vigor. The only plant that required pruning was my Spider Plant. She had so many spiderettes (babies) spilling over the pot, the weight was more than my wall mount could hold. I hung her up and walked into the other room and then heard a crash. I wish I had taken a picture of her and all those cascading babies before I pruned her today. She was huge.





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