Sunday, October 28, 2007

First Frost

The thing about living in the Northeast is that summers are excellent but way too short. In April and May we drag all kinds of things outdoors including house plants. In October we drag them in before the first frost. The cacti and tropicals that need to be brought in are not typical sized house plants

The cactus garden in the backyard has potted cacti as well as in-ground specimens. The native Prickly Pear - Opuntia - stays in the ground all winter and flowers around Gay Pride Day - at the end of June and into early July.. They are indigenous to Martha's Vineyard, and I've seen them growing wild along the Jersey Shore. Mine have been propagated over the years from cuttings or pieces that drop off, which root easily.

The other cacti have to be wintered indoors. They used to take over the sunroom until I tried storing some of the larger ones in the basement.

Like the Dinner Plate Opuntia which I'm guessing weighs 30 pounds or more - it gets dug up in the fall, hoisted up with ropes, hosed off, and lowered into a large trash barrel, bare root, and wheeled into the basement. It takes two of us to do this. Each year, I swear I'm not going to do it anymore.

The other monster is the Strelitizia nicolai, if I've got it right, a large Bird of Paradise type tropical. It's got to weigh 80 pounds. When we brought it out last spring, I promised it would never see another summer. But I just don't have it in me to let the thing die. So, here they all are, in for the winter, before the first frost.

The thing about summers is, we have only a finite number of them.

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