New plants & new garden

yellow jasmineI think the best garden I ever had was in pots on a screened-in porch when I lived in South Florida. I had no access to a yard for growing, but I had a great selection of plants there–everything from henbane to calamus and more–and they were in really nice decorative clay pots of all sorts. The porch looked out onto a lot of trees. There were squirrels who came to give hell to the cats. We loved being out there. Sometimes I’d even sleep out there when the weather was nice.

The memory of that garden is helping me now. One of the reasons I chose this place was because they offered raised beds for the tenants to use. But this place has been so contaminated with drama and craziness from one kook tenant with way too much time on her hands that for me, the whole raised bed idea is no longer desirable. I do have big windows, so I wasn’t too upset, knowing I’d be able to grow a lot of things inside.

But it’s been a lot of years since I’ve grown plants indoors. All these decades I’ve had substantial gardens in my yard, I never had any houseplants except for some mandrakes. I haven’t got any interest in growing the standard houseplants. I thought if I’m going to focus on growing inside, then I’d really love to learn about some tropicals like jasmine and other good smelling flowers. So I’ve started collecting these plants and hope to branch out into orchids as well.

So far I’ve got two jasmines (photo above shows the yellow jasmine, Jasminum humile), a stephanotis, a New Zealand violet, a parma violet, several hoyas, and a couple of passionflowers. My goal is to fill my home with fragrant plants that I can not only enjoy for aesthetic reasons but learn to work with magically.

I have big south-facing windows here, but they might still not provide enough light, so I’ve got some lights on my wishlist for when the time comes. Right now everyone is doing well with the sunshine that comes in.

mandrake babyI did start a batch of mandrakes VERY late this year. I don’t have a basement here, which was ace for germinating mandrakes. I might have used the unheated maintenance storage area on the first floor, but I just didn’t think of it. Instead, I tried something completely different that I think will work for others in my situation: I created a good temperature fluctuation for the mandrake seeds by putting them on the top shelf of the fridge at night and then taking them out to put on a propagation mat during the day (max 70F). I did give them a brief 4-hour soak in a 1:9 solution of 10% hydrogen pyroxide (just like you get from the drug store) and filtered water. Then planted them in Jiffy pellets as I usually do. As of today, I’ve got germination.

I’m really looking forward to building my new indoor garden. Today I’ll be potting up the new plants. I’ll keep you posted as I move along with it.

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