In a Vase, on Monday – Rescue and Recovery

Our warm October has been a blessing, really. The first three weeks tempted me to think summer would be never-ending: tomatoes kept ripening, a cucumber kept growing, the zinnias and roses looked better than ever. I even spotted a monarch butterfly early last week, checking out a Salvia patch. It was easy to get lulled into a sense of almost normalcy, especially if you didn’t turn on the TV. Easy to ignore the nagging knowledge that winter is on its way and reality in 2020 will present more challenges than we’re used to.

A few chilly nights this past weekend snatched the blinkers from my eyes and I realized I had to get busy if I wanted to overwinter a few of the tender plants growing outside, and cut the last few blooms untouched by frost. Every Monday Cathy at Rambling in the Garden hosts gardeners around the world displaying a vase of flowers usually cut from their own garden. For me this week it’s actually a tabletop of plants and flowers rescued from certain withering or recovered from the garden before the ground freezes their roots solid.

The African Violet is a rescue from a departing neighbour who never had a good track record with houseplants. It took several months to coax it into bloom. The Echeveria is in the same pot I’ve had it in all summer – it’s sending up it’s third offset. The Rosemary was dug up on Saturday – it’s now spent three summers in the garden and I hope it will survive its third winter in this corner of the dining room. I’ve discovered that when grown indoors, rosemary needs a moist soil to stay healthy and pest free. Interesting to note that when I dug it up last year it was covered with flowers, and continued to flower all winter. This year, not a bud to be seen…

As well as the last of the zinnias (truly, this week!) I added the flowers spike of a purple pineapple plant – Eucomis. I don’t have room to bring the entire plant indoors (the leaves get close to two feet long!) so I let it go dormant over winter. For some reason, this year the bulb sent up a very late flower spike.

I hope you all have a wonderful week – stay safe!


  1. You have a nice little collection on your table Chris. You must have quite harsh conditions compared to us in the UK. We are able to grow Rosemary outdoors all year. You have worked your magic on the African Violet for sure.

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  2. Lucky you – it’s been right around freezing in MN for days, with snow. We had about 4″. Your pineapple plant blossom is intriguing! Did you eat your cuke?

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  3. Love your eucomis – I have several different ones in pots in the Coop, but unless they multiply a lot they will not be appearing a vase at any time!! You have a lot of garden housekeeping before you put your garden to bed, but I am pleased you are looking forward to all that snow…not everyone’s cup of tea!! What do you do instead of gardening during the winter, Chris?

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    1. In the winter I shovel snow! Joking not joking…😆😆😆 I also read a lot, practice my black and white photography skills and run. A lot. It’s a lot easier to run in the cold than in humid hot temps.


      1. Yes, I think so. Mainly, the cold was consistent from start of winter til spring. We could count on skating and snowshoeing. Now, there’s so much freeze-thaw all winter, it seems. And much less snow cover recently. Famous last words!!!!


      2. I am talking about the 50s, Chris, and I lived in Edinburgh in eastern Scotland so rather colder there…! Very different now of course and some years we barely see snow at all

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  4. I LOVE the Eucomis bloom! I’ve got a few plants that, despite years in the ground producing foliage, still fail to produce a single flower. I’m in the process of pulling out the last zinnias here too but that’s less a response to cold (our current temperatures would probably feel balmy to you) and more a matter of rampant mildew.

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    1. I wondered if the flower stalks I had this year were in response to several bulbs being crowded in a pot, but in the wild they aren’t crowded, are they? Maybe it’s a pandemic response! I didn’t have mildew on the Zinnias this year, but wow! it’s all over many asters, for some reason…


  5. The Eucomis is lovely… something I have not yet tried to grow. I have found a good spot for my rosemary plant outside. Maybe the driest and warmest spot in the whole garden and if we have snow it gets a nice insulating blanket from snow fall from the roof! Keeping my fingers crossed it makes it this year again after two winters already. It hardly ever flowers though.

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  6. Yes, that eucomis is odd! I am not certain if I am familiar with it. I know that there is a popular potted plant around here that looks just like it, and we even know it is pineapple lily, but it could be another species. It is not very colorful, and the foliage is not very pretty.


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