Updates: Crocuses, Terrariums and Pets

Last weekend, I posted a picture of crocuses taken by my front step and several commented that they had never seen crocuses bloom this early in zone 5. I swear that picture was truly taken last Sunday. Since then, the outside temperature has been steadily dropping and so today, the crocuses look exactly like they did last weekend. Just those two buds, frozen in time.

I suppose I took some liberties by saying those were blooming, because really all you see is the bud. And that is all you would see today if you stopped by. But you will be pleased to know that once it warms up again to above freezing, and the sun shines on them, those crocuses will open up. They always do. I'll try to take a picture when it happens.

Later in the week, I showed you all my empty terrarium. I got some helpful comments about what I might plant in it. And now that you all know about that empty terrarium, I feel I must put plants in it and post a picture of it again. Have any of you garden bloggers done that? Posted about something you needed to tend to in the garden, and then you got comments, and so you felt you had to just to tend to whatever it was? I WILL be planting that terrarium sometime this spring! Then we'll have a party. Maybe I'll have it planted by the time we have the next book club meeting at the end of February? That is, if I can find plants locally and don't have to order by mail.

And I was particularly amused by my sister and Annie commenting about adding geckos or lizards to the terrarium. My sister was being funny. She knows my history with pets. It begins and ends with an aquarium. That's right, no cats, dogs, rabbits, guinea pigs, birds, chinchillas, African hedge hogs, ferrets, iguanas, snakes, lizards, geckos, as pets for me. But between two of my sisters, they have had all those animals as pets at one time or another, and probably others I can't remember.

As I said, my attempt at keeping another living thing alive began and ended with the aquarium, or as I refer to it, the "underwater garden". I woke up one day and I decided I should have a pet, and fish seemed like a good choice because they wouldn't demand my attention all the time, but I could tap on the glass and get their attention if I wanted to. Plus, I could put plants in with them! I wouldn't dream of landscaping the aquarium with fake plastic plants, I wanted real plants. So, I got myself all set up with a 20 gallon aquarium, then went to the pet shop and bought several different plants, and oh, yes, some fish, too. I planted the plants, added the fish, and viola! Pets.

Everything went quite well for several months, no fish died and the plants thrived. I remembered to feed the fish and I even named them. I can't recall exactly what types of fish I had, I got what they recommened at the pet store. There were three fish named Richie, Potsie, and Ralph; I think they were some kind of tetras. And another fish named Fonzie. And there was one slightly bigger fish named Beatrix Potter. Beatrix Potter is my all time favorite pet name, the one I am hanging on to in the event that one day I decide to get a dog or a cat. You can call the animal Bea, or Trix, or Trixie, or BP. Lots of good nicknames!

Anyway, as I said all went well for a few months with the aquarium and my pet fishes. Then I noticed that the plants were starting to thrive just a bit too well, and needed to be trimmed back. So I did that. I rolled up my sleeves, reached in and did a little pruning on the plants.

Well, the next time I looked at the aquarium, I was shocked to find that algae had started to take over. More algae than even the algae eating fish could eat. Now what? Well, I took measures recommended by the pet store to clear up the algae, but the plants were never the same again. I had to remove them and replace them with plastic plants. After that, I began to lose interest in the aquarium. Over the course of a few years, the a few fish began to die off (they don't live forever, you know) until I was down to two fish (fishes?). Richie and Potsie, or maybe it was Potsie and Ralph?

Anyway, I called my youngest sister, who never turns down the opportunity to have another pet, and offered her the aquarium and the two fish. She said yes, that would be good for her kids to experience. So I fished out Richie and Potsie (or Ralph), drained and cleaned the aquarium, and delivered the two fish and the aquarium to my sister before she could change her mind. I think I even helped her set it all up again at her house.

So you can see why I am amused at the idea of using my terrarium to house a pet, of any kind! I'm going to stick with just plants for now. Or maybe that suggestion was just a way for my sister to try to get me to give her the terrarium, once I tired of the lizard? Anyway, if I do get a lizard for the terrarium, guess what I will name it?


  1. Let's guess....Beatrix Potter?


    I still think the solution to your rabbit problems is a kitten.

    P.S. I wouldn't recommend a lizard for a pet. It's annoying to have to buy crickets every week to feed them. Then some always find their way out, and then you have crickets chirping all over your house. And if you find yourself reaching in to your terrarium quite oftn to "fix" a plant, you're apt to have an escaped lizard running lose in your house. No, definately no lizard for The Gardening Aunt. A kitten. That's what you need. Besides, what cuter name for a kitten than Beatrix Potter?

  2. to me a fish is not a pet. It can't interact with you like other pets. Take the iguana, Phoebe. when you passed her cage & said hi, she would stop & stare at me. The ferrets, Snow and Storm, If you talk to them they will pay attention. Since they are very good escape artists, it took awhile to learn how to keep their cage door shut. Several times in the middle of the night I would be awakened by Snow. She would get out of the cage, come to my room,climb up on the bed, burrow under the covers and come out by my face sniffing till she woke me up. We found out that if you use book binder clips on the cage door, the binders ar so stiff they can't unclip them. Occasionally we will let them out of their cage so they can run around and stretch their legs

  3. You need a real pet. Just like you can't live "by bread alone", no one should live petless. Two nice little kittens would be so much fun. I hope to never be cat-less again.
    Kathy, the older sister(and one of the sisters with lots of pets) (although we are down to 2 guinea pigs now, from a high of 5).

  4. I am so not weighing in on the idea of a pet... that, like when and whom to marry, is something that one needs to decide alone! :)

    I will confess to posting pictures of my gardening procrastinations in the hope that it would give me a kick in the butt. This was early in my blogging days (*ahem* in June!) and nobody ever asked me about my undone projects so it didn't help. Do you want us to keep after you about the terrarium?!

  5. I occasionally write about something I need to do as a way of pushing myself to get it done.

    As far as a pet goes, I like my virtual pets just fine. No fuss, no mess.

  6. More pets, more pets, more pets, more pets........


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