Mental Health Medicine: Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day January 2015

– Posted in: What's up/blooming

It’s January, and cold climate gardeners everywhere are finding their hardy souls tested. Winter is tough on the body and on the spirit, and indoor plants are one of the many ways we keep cabin fever at bay. Plants, especially flowering plants, are not an indulgence. They are mental health medicine. The contents of my “medicine chest” look pretty similar to those of December, but it doesn’t hurt to refresh your memory.

Remember that AeroGarden?


Little baby herbs have emerged.

The AeroGarden that I was sent to review just before Christmas is keeping my 12-year-old daughter and me amused. She informed me when every seed sprouted and whenever a message popped up on the little screen.
AeroGarden herb seedlings

Six out of seven isn’t bad. (Can you see the dud in the back on the right?)

Unfortunately, the mint never sprouted. We don’t know why.

Amazing amaryllis

The amaryllis that bloomed so stupendously a month ago are on their second stalks.

white nymph amaryllis

‘White Nymph’ amaryllis

Only two blossoms on this second stalk compared to six on the first stalk, but I’ll take them. I never knew one amaryllis bulb could pack so much flower-power. Thanks to Longfield Gardens for opening my eyes.

What about that orchid?

phalaenopis orchid

This orchid may be in suspended animation.

What about it? As far as I can tell, it looks exactly as it did when I first bought it more than a month ago. I’m not sure how I feel about that.

Persistent poinsettia


This is the biggest poinsettia that has ever spent time at our house.

When our friends walked in with this poinsettia shortly before Christmas, I could not believe my eyes. We had never had such a big one before! One of my brothers lives in Hawaii, and he grows poinsettia as a landscape shrub, so I know they can get even bigger. This one keeps dropping leaves despite my careful attention to watering, so I know it’s only a matter of time before it goes to the compost pile. But I plan to enjoy that vivid red as long as I can.

Heavenly hyacinths

Forced hyacinths from the grocery store

The fragrance of hyacinths: love it or hate it. I love it.

I turned a corner in the grocery store, and I could smell them before I could see them. For a moment, it was spring. I had to bring that fragrance home with me, but I chose the least-opened flower spikes, so they would last the longest at home. I have something to look forward to.

How about you? What plants are your secret weapons against cabin fever?

Inspired by the words of Elizabeth Lawrence, “We can have flowers nearly every month of the year,” Carol of May Dreams Gardens started Garden Bloggers Bloom Day. On the 15th of every month, garden bloggers from all over the world publish what is currently blooming in their gardens, and leave a link in Mr. Linky and the comments of May Dreams Gardens.

About the Author

Kathy Purdy is a colchicum evangelist, converting unsuspecting gardeners into colchicophiles. She would be delighted to speak to your group about colchicums or other gardening topics. Kathy’s been writing since 4th grade, gardening since high school, and blogging since 2002.

In the end, this may be the most important thing about frost: Frost slows us down. In spring, it tempers our eagerness. In fall, it brings closure and rest. In our gotta-go world–where every nanosecond seems to count–slowness can be a great gift. So rather than see Jack Frost as an adversary, you could choose to greet him as a friend.

~Philip Harnden in A Gardener’s Guide to Frost: Outwit the Weather and Extend the Spring and Fall Seasons

Comments on this entry are closed.

Anne Kim January 21, 2015, 1:39 pm

It’s wonderful to be reminded about the uplift received in seeing seeds sprout and plants grow, and having flowering plants in the home. Thank you for this refreshing post.

Frank January 19, 2015, 9:10 am

I’m with you on the orchids. I used to visit a greenhouse filled in winter with the blooms, and that was awesome, but to have such a slow growing flower on the windowsill is…. boring? I need action out of my winter plants, it’s the only garden entertainment I have while the snow is flying :/

Kimberley at Cosmos and Cleome January 18, 2015, 7:51 am

My answer to the winter blues is grocery store primroses! I buy enough of them to fill my kitchen windowsill. (Costs less than a good bouquet and lasts much longer!) As long as I don’t let them dry out, they’ll provide colorful blooms through April, and maybe into May.
I have a similar looking droopy poinsettia that may be headed to the compost bin this very day!
Orchid blossoms last a LONG time! My two plants are growing new flower spikes, but I think it will be March or April before I see the flowers.
That White Nymph amaryllis is pretty. It would look nice next to Apple Blossom, I think! I’m waiting on a few amaryllis bulbs to do their thing, as well as some assorted narcissus and tulip bulbs potted up in the basement for indoor blooms.

Alana January 16, 2015, 6:24 pm

Besides a pepper plant (actually, my son’s) we are trying to keep alive, I have a poinsettia I didn’t feature on GBBD and my one blooming African violet. It’s not enough! Tomorrow, if a certain store whose name begins with “W” has primroses, I am going to pick one up.

anonymouse January 16, 2015, 5:35 pm

On your enthusiastic rec I ordered 3 amaryllis bulbs from Longfield Gardens back in, I think, November. The first flower (‘Exotica’) opened earlier this week and is so lovely and cheerful. A second bulb has a stalk and bud that looks ready to open in the next few days. I’m excited but deliberately not lifting the pot out of the cachepot to read the cultivar name – I want the color to be a surprise. I’m surprised to read that you got a second flower stalk from your bulbs…I will cross my fingers for that!

Kathy Sturr of the Violet Fern January 16, 2015, 11:12 am

I almost feel like a traitor for migrating. I am certain most of my house plants in the great cellar experiment are dead – what was I thinking?! – as I look at the temps back home. Still, I am happy and grateful to be here. I will allow myself only 5 new houseplants and they will all have to be gems but oh, I will morn my Norfolk pine … I have/had dreams of planting it down here one day in a winter home. I am on “island time” and consider it good if I actually know what day of the week it is. There isn’t too much blooming here, but there are some things – an hibiscus here and there, some sort of “plum” shrub at the park, shepherd’s needle, some sort of yellow flower I need to look up … I love that orchid! When all my orchids were happy (in Maine no less), they would bloom for months on end.

Kathy Purdy January 16, 2015, 11:59 am

Enjoy your “island time” and I hope things are not as bad as you feared with your houseplants.

Leslie Gilstrap January 16, 2015, 9:44 am

When we lived in Sweden, the tulips were offered for sale right after the New Year. Now I associate January, February, March… with lovely store-bought bouquets of tulips that bring hope that Spring will eventually come.

Kathy Purdy January 16, 2015, 10:16 am

My friend Debra Prinzing lives in Seattle and gets to enjoy locally grown (in greenhouses) tulips throughout the winter. You would think more local operations would catch on and do the same. Maybe not throughout the winter in the coldest climates, but at least several weeks before they’d bloom outside.

Lisa - Ontario January 16, 2015, 9:21 am

I have some amaryllis bulbs on the go. One is done blooming, another is in full bloom and two haven’t put up their stalk yet. I brought home some supermarket tulips, they had some long grasses tucked in with them, quite nice really, however the cat has been eating them and then getting sick. You would think once would be enough, but no, everyday. So I’m not sure if I will continue to buy flowers. She will eat a daisy right down to the stalk.

Kathy Purdy January 16, 2015, 10:14 am

Oh, dear, Lisa, that does sound like a problem. But your cat doesn’t eat the amaryllis? Maybe only certain plants attract your cat?

Kate January 16, 2015, 8:00 am

Re: orchid in suspended animation…. that is a feature, not a bug. The blooms hang for at least a month, maybe two. Then they all drop off and (for mine at least) a new leaf grows, and old one drops off. It stays like this all summer. Mine has never had more than three leaves. It blooms once a year, every year without fail, a single stalk with 3-7 blooms, in winter. What more could you want?

Kathy Purdy January 16, 2015, 10:03 am

Kate, your “feature, not a bug” comment made me smile. I bought my previous orchid while some flowers were still in bud, and had the pleasure of watching them open. I purchased my current orchid with all its flowers already opened, and am surprised that none of the opened buds have shown the least sign of withering.

Jane Rutkowski January 15, 2015, 9:27 pm

I enjoyed my Red Lion Amaryllis flowers for the past 2 months. Now they are pretty well spent and looking kind of sad. 🙁
Now a (once a week) bouquet of supermarket fresh cut flowers easily will brighten the dreary days of winter til Spring. Hurry up Spring!

Kathy Purdy January 16, 2015, 10:19 am

Yes, once it’s done, an amaryllis does look pretty sad. My grocery store has been pretty good about stocking flowering plants growing in dirt as well as cut flowers. Maybe you can find an amaryllis in bloom, or a hyacinth.

Joanne Toft January 15, 2015, 9:13 pm

For me it is my Christmas cactus that is in full bloom. (It is about 43 years old). Also have an African violet sitting under it that began blooming a week or so ago. I have an amaryllis from last year but not sure it is going to produce. I will wait and see. Looking towards spring!

Kathy Purdy January 16, 2015, 10:17 am

Wow, congratulations on your 43 year old Christmas cactus! It must be gorgeous!