I bring greetings to you all on this first day of November. It would be nice if on this day it would be like it was when I wrote this column last week. On that day the sky was blue, there was a slight breeze and the thermometer read 64 degrees at 10 a.m. It continued to rise until it reached 70 degrees. The following day it rose to almost 80 degrees. Since November has arrived, the weather will no doubt be colder soon and we might even have some snow today.
Meanwhile, before that beautiful white stuff arrives, I've found many enjoyable things to watch, experience and as always some outside tasks to be accomplished just outside my door. I can do some of the later, but nowadays I need more help than in yesteryear. Nevertheless, I enjoy being outside during these last autumn days.
Recently I dug up the geraniums in the big black kettle in our front yard. I trimmed them down and put them in a porch box. Bill carried them to the backyard porch where they will stay until it gets too cold. Then he will bring them inside and put them a room in the house which has two large south windows. It won't take long to get them growing and blooming. I got the idea from my mom who had what she called a "sun parlor" inside the house. It had several south windows in it, and her geraniums bloomed beautifully all winter. Periodically she would put some ammonia in the water she used on them. It had nitrogen in it which made them bloom, and we enjoyed them all winter. Usually there were other plants in that room too.
I don't think that in those days when I was growing up there was such a thing as Miracle Bloom which, when used on flowering plants, makes more flowers. In fact I doubt it has been available until at least 20 years ago. I have used it on summer flowering plants for some time, and two years ago I tried it on my Christmas and Thanksgiving cacti and they started blooming continuously. Eventually I quit using it for a while to let them have a rest. It's nice however, to have them bloom more than twice a year.
There's another way geraniums can be kept over winter, and I've also done that. They can be kept in the basement and seldom watered or not at all. It depends on how hot your cellar gets. I have also put them in a cool place upstairs and only watered occasionally. Either way, come nearer springtime, I take them to a warmer place inside or outside and start watering them again. The best part is you can already have some of your flowers cost free for your gardens.
I've learned a lot about gardening and flowers through books and my own experiences over the years, but I have often got it from magazines. If you are interested in gardening indoors and out there are many such sources available on the market today. Don't let their name fool you because they also have considerable other information about birds, construction for garden items such as birdhouses and many other useful items for gardening and more. Some of them offer tips from well-known gardeners or birders. One of them is just about gardening.
A few of them that I currently get are: Bird Watcher's Digest; Birds & Bloom; Bird's & Bloom Extra; Country Woman; Country Gardening - How To. All of these can be found on the Internet. If you can't find them contact me. I have all of their addresses.