Dancing with Potted Plants

The hibiscus will stay inside until spring.

It’s the time of year here in Greenville SC when the temperature fluctuates wildly between a high that can reach the eighties to a low in the thirties at night. Yesterday for Halloween we had a deluge of rain that brought with it a warm tropical wind, and we had a high of seventy nine degrees. But I have been anxiously looking at multiple sources for weather reports. I knew that the temperature was going to plummet last night, but of course not to the exact degree. So yesterday I brought my hibiscus and gardenia pots inside, where they will stay until the freeze has passed in spring. Since the temperature dipped to thirty nine degrees last night, I did the right thing. The hibiscus plants are not hardy below forty degrees.

I’m keeping this pot with tomato and celery in my kitchen window.

The annual ritual of moving my potted plants has gotten to be a bigger chore than it used to be. I also brought in one of my avocado trees, and a potted amaryllis that I couldn’t find a spot for in my house last fall. At this point I have used up about all the space that I have in the sunny portion of our living room. I also brought in one of my pots that has both a tomato starter and a celery starter, both only a few weeks old. I put that one in the kitchen window, but I’m not sure what I’m going to do when that tomato vine starts spreading out a bit. I might experiment with keeping it clipped, (sort of like a tomato bonsai?) and see if I can coax a tomato or two from it that way. I squeezed the amaryllis into the guest room window, which already has an avocado tree, a large gardenia, and a bamboo plant that is almost ten years old now.

An avocado tree and some amaryllis bulbs in the corner.

I have some more tomato and celery starters, but I couldn’t bring them all in the house. Last year I purchased a mini greenhouse cover that was the right dimensions for a pie safe/plant shelf that I keep outside on our deck. I kept a few potted amaryllis bulbs in there last year that survived, to my surprise, but the rest were already all in the house this year. (Anyone want some very dramatic Amaryllis bulbs?) So now I have four more tomato starters in the mini-greenhouse and a couple of celery starters too.

My mini greenhouse on the deck.

I know that if the tomato vines keep growing in that little greenhouse that I will have to move them. Yes, I do love my fresh Cherokee Purple Tomatoes that much! I want to eat them in the winter time, and grow lettuce too, because I like to serve a fresh salad every day. That’s why I’m going to go to a workshop and learn about making a greenhouse that’s just a little bigger and better than what I’m doing now. And one day…I would love to have a real greenhouse, one that I can walk inside and look around at my thriving avocado and lemon trees…is that possible here in Greenville or am I just fantasizing?

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