Crazy Busy With Indoor Plants

Many of the 'southern' gardeners seem to think that all winter, we 'northern' gardeners are sitting by the hearth, wrapped in a warm afghan with wool socks on our feet, browsing through seed catalogs and dreaming of spring.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

First of all, you should know that if you sit by a warm fire wrapped in an afghan, you'll fall asleep in ten minutes, and the seed catalogs will slip from your hands on to the floor. (So I've heard.)

Plus, there is no time for sitting by the fireplace. I have a lot of indoor gardening work to do. A lot, I tell you.

First, I have to do something about this amaryllis. Putting this sign up has certainly coaxed it to flower, but I would have preferred it if the flower stem had grown a little taller first. I think the main problem is "cheap bulbs".

I've learned my lesson.

I have a cactus problem to deal with, too. Here's the "mother" cactus plant. And here is the 'baby' cactus I rooted when a stem fell off the mother cactus a few years ago.
This cactus used to have another longer stem dangling over the edge of the pot, but over time, where the stem touched the edge of the pot, it rotted, and look what happened sometime in the last day or so.

Crash! The stem fell off and as did all the little side stems on it.
Now I must decide. Do I try to root all of these stem pieces, or compost them? I didn't really want to have a lot of cactus plants, but it seems a shame to waste them. I should at least try to root them, right? Hey, I could give the baby cactus away, maybe put them in my nieces and nephews' Easter baskets?

I've also got an African violet situation to deal with. These two violets have formed multiple crowns and should be divided up. I'm guessing from these two African violet plants, I'll end up with five plants, plus I have another African violet that I rescued earlier this fall. So two becomes five plus one equals six. Remember when I boldly announced that you should only have one African violet per decade of your age? This would put me WELL OVER the limit, if we follow that rule. I'll have to give at least one to my sister, 'Sister with the Homestead', so she can be convinced that she can grow houseplants. After all, it's her birthday today, this would make a great gift!

Other gardening tasks that involve the indoor plants include:

- Divide up the aloe plants. These plants grow like weeds, even indoors. Plus, mine are the last plants that still seem to have a touch of mealybug, so I want to completely remove them from their pots, hose 'em down and re-root new cuttings. These MUST be saved because they were some my grandmother had.

-Repot the Jewel Orchid, Ludisia discolor, just as soon as it finishes blooming, and it should bloom in time for January's Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day. I am embarrased about how pot bound I've let it get.

- Go through and give all the orchids a little TLC. They just need a little attention right now to keep them looking their best and coaxing them to flower. Plus, there are bound to be a few orchid shows around here in January, and if I feel like I am properly taking care of the orchids I have, I'll feel like I can buy 'just a few more' to add to those I already have.

- Figure out what to plant in my terrarium and just plant it. Maybe some smaller orchids?

- Clean up the dead leaves on the four poinsettia plants my sister-in-law made me take home on Christmas Day. I am actually thinking about trying to get them to rebloom for next year. They cost me nothing, so I can experiment a bit with them and not feel bad if they die and I have to compost them.

- Pot up the Christmas cactus starts, even if it isn't in the container I really want to grow them in.

- Find some ivy to start working on some bonsai of some kind.

- Get the hyacinth bulbs out of the refrigerator so I can force them in to bloom. I hope they don't bloom on short stems like that amaryllis.

Does all this make me seem like some kind of crazy plant lady?

Do I look like a crazy plant lady?


  1. Is that you?! Really you?!

    Here I was wondering if we were going to go the whole day without a post from May Dreams.

    For some reason, I scrolled right to the bottom without reading so now I'm going to read it. (I like to know how long a blog post is before I get started. Weird, huh?)

  2. It really is her. If you divide your African violet, I would love to have one. I looked for one at the store yesterday and they did not have any. It sounds like you have too much gardening to do.
    Kathy, the older sister

  3. Okay, I have to say I don't like cactus indoors. Unless it's a greenhouse. Prickly plants indoors, in your home, in your sanctuary? I think it's dangerous feng shui at the very least.

    The rule about African violets in the house is hilarious.

    How can you write a whole post about gardening indoors without mentioning the Cereus?

    And, finally, you do realize that you will be what people see when they do a Google Images search for "gardening geek"? It won't take long.


  4. I ask myself the same question all the time! Nice picture, I may just have to try to get one of me.

  5. Carol: Nice to see you! Plant addict maybe but that is a great club to be in! I need some African violets! LOL

  6. Actually, you look rather sane . . . no one would ever guess your true passion by looking at you. I'd say you look more like . . . hmmm, a librarian!

  7. I always like to see pictures of bloggers that I read, because then I have an image in my head when I read.

    I almost never do indoor plants anymore. I forget to water them. I just remembered there is one plant in the window above the kitchen sink and I just now went in to check and sure enough it was dry as a bone.

  8. Carol, it is wonderful to "meet" you at long last! That's a very nice photo, and you don't look at all like a gardening geek. Now if you'd shown us a photo of yourself all wrapped up cozy in an afghan by the fire, nodding off with a seed catalog slipping out of your hand . . . then yes, gardening geek. :-)

  9. NO! Not a crazy lady at all! It's good to see you, Carol!

    You are just busy. I admire your enthusiasm and energy.

    I'd never deal with Cactus in my house. I give you a lot of credit in the bravery department.

  10. You don't look like a crazy plant lady - you look just like my cousin Gypsy Nelson Jolly of Kenai, Alaska. They say everyone has a double...

    PS Have been reading your blog for a few months and this is what it took for me to finally comment:)

    I really enjoy what you write!

  11. Crazy plant lady or gardening geek ? I don't think so-with that healthy "garden glow " you could be the poster child for an Irish advertisement!

    It's nice to be able to at last put a face on the all that creativity at May Dreams gardens.

    Since you've inspired me to turn my sunny dining room into an indoor garden I don't think I have room for one more plant.

  12. Good. Now I can recognize you if fate ever allows us to meet in person ~ it's one of my dearest wishes, Carol!

    Annie at the Transplantable Rose

    [on this one I agree with Chuck - throw out the cactus droppings]

  13. Carol,

    I would love to have some of Grandma's aloe plant (yes, I know I've killed off many aloe plants before, but I promise to do better this time - I'll put Sophie in charge of it. Also, a nice African violet would be awesome as well........

  14. Chuck B., the question is, can you go a whole day without a new post from May Dreams Gardens??

    Kathy, the older sister, don't buy an African violet, you can have one of mine!

    Chuck B., I guess the night blooming cereus doesn't need attention right now, so I didn't include it, but I am tempted to go back and do so! I hadn't thought about my picture being the image of a gardening geek. I hope not!

    Christine, Yes, join the crowd and find a picture of yourself to post.

    Layanee, everyone needs some African violets, but not too many!

    Kathy, A librarian!? A librarian?! Is that because I'm holding a book, a gardening book by Elizabeth Lawrence?

    Bill, actually indoor plants do fine with less watering than most people think. I think overwatering is how most people kill their plants so you would do well with indoor plants.

    Pam/digging, Yes, I'll have to get a picture of me in 'gardening action', even reading seed catalogs, then you would know for sure that I am a gardening geek. I actually wanted to post a picture of me mowing the lawn, but couldn't pull it off this time of year.

    Mary, cactus inside isn't bad, you just have to 'respect' it.

    Flower50, welcome and thanks for commenting. I checked out your profile and see that you are right here in Indianapolis and you are a gardener. If you see me around at a garden center, tap me on the shoulder and say 'Hi'!

    Carolyn Gail, thanks for the nice comment. You can't make room for one little ol' cactus?

    Annie in Austin... Perhaps we shall meet one day. Who knows? And thanks for the advice about the cactus. I think I will try to root those stems in one pot so I end up with just one more cactus to give away instead of a whole bunch.

    Sister with the Homestead, I'll set you up with some African violets, some aloe and a surprise Swedish Ivy, and then Sophie can take care of them for you!

    Thanks all for the kinds words and comments,
    Carol, May Dreams Gardens

  15. Hi Carol, great meeing you in Picture. :) You don't look a bit geeky or librarian-like to me.

    Maybe you should use the " new clothing rule" for your indoor plants. If you bring in a new plant you take out an old plant.???
    This is very severe even for clothing though. :)

    The best bet is to send all your new plants along to the family. That way you don't have to deal with them. tee hee... why your sister even wants some of them. The door is open. tee hee...

    Best Wishes for the New Year...

  16. You wrote "gardening geek" next to your picture. That's the thing the little Google crawlers will pick up.

    You actually look more like a vegetable geek.


  17. I think you look like a very intellectual "gardening expert"! I find that indoor plants keep me busy too, and I have the same "waste nothing" impulse with spare parts that drop off the plants. But unless you plan to sell/trade/give away plants in the spring, I'd say compost extras, too. (Although I'd be rooting them all over with no plan, easier to give advice than take it! ;-)

  18. Garden Geek....not a bad name to be called. Glad to meet/see you Carol, now when I am in Indy at the nursery's, I will keep my eyes peeled for you! One of these days I will get up the nerve to add a picture.

  19. Lisa at Greenbow, Yes, I think my sisters are going to get some new plants in the new year!

    Chuck B., You've got me worried now so I updated the post to remove "gardening geek". Now I'll just be the image of a Crazy Plant Lady!

    Lisa, Thanks, I'm not expert but I've been around the garden a few times.

    Vonlafin, I'll watch for your picture so I can recognize you someday in an Indy garden center!

    Thanks all for the nice comments,
    Carol, May Dreams Gardens

  20. One of the joys of a southern garden is that I no longer have to bother with house plants. Nothing indoors at all except cut flowers and the germinating heirloom pepper seeds that have to be sizable seedlings before the last frost or we shan't get a decent crop.

    This, in fact, is a pain in the derriere since I no longer have a light table in this tiny house and therefore have to take them outdoors whenever it is reasonably warm if they are not to become all etiolated.

  21. Librarian mostly because I wanted to tease you. But in my experience librarians are intelligent, kind and very helpful, so it's really not that far off. Also, in that picture you look too clean to be a garden geek.

  22. I love seeing pics of people I´ve only ever imagined - the reality is always so different - unless that is you cut and dyed your long black hair the day before the photo was taken .... :)
    Perhaps we should have a "post a photo" day when we all take a deep breath and come clean ...

  23. WOW...I always envisioned you as maybe of polynesian decent with a short black doo!!! Isn't that funny...but yes, you do look like a gardening "girl". Not a geek or nerd...just a great gardening girl!!! Love your blog!

  24. I have no prior reference for a crazy plant lady. I can't say that you look like one, but if I do see someone that looks like you, I'll approach slowly.

  25. I can't believe I almost missed this post! I'm still playing catch-up after my holiday trip and just got around to reading your posts I missed while gone.

    It is great to finally see you, Carol! You look younger than I imagined. I guess I figured you to be more "old-fashioned" looking because of your profile picture.

    One of the reasons I finally posted my own picture is because I love knowing the face behind the blogs I read. It just feels more personable to me. I hope to see you in person sometime!

  26. Karen, I think even if I lived in a southern climate, I would still want to have indoor plants!

    Kathy, I was clean in this picture. Maybe this summer I will have my picture taken after I've spent a day in the garden. Then you'll see the real me.

    Sue Swift, Too funny, my hair has never been long and never been black!

    Julie, thanks, though I am laughing about where the idea of a polynesian girl came from. I usually use a SPF50 sunscreen on my fair skin!

    Jim, Yes, especially if you see me in a garden center, approach slowly and don't ever try to reach for the plant that I'm going after!

    Robin's Nesting Place, my sisters remind me periodically that my profile picture is nothing like me!

    Thanks all for the comments,
    Carol, May Dreams Gardens


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