Winter in Michigan and the outdoor garden is far away. The months are long, cold, and dreary. All the brown grass and grey slush makes the green indoors a great relief.
I am as much a gardener inside as I am outside. My house has plants in every available window, some that I have carefully tended for over a decade. Being in the green gets me through this grey season.
This year, I looked around my house on New Year's Eve and took note of all that was blooming.
Some of these were plants I brought in for the winter. This variegated periwinkle (Vinca minor) is overwintering indoors, as this plant tends to be a tender perennial in zone five.
These are sold as plants for mixed container plantings, and can be found spring and summer anywhere plants are sold. I decided to bring in this particular plant because I liked its leaf color and was rewarded with a pair of its charming blue blossoms.
Another plant that received refuge from the frosts was a mixed planting of annuals, Salvia: Lady in Red and Lobelia: Crystal Palace. I find this salvia to be a real winner, sending out flush after flush of rosy red blooms all summer long. The hummingbirds love it. When the frosts came, I wasn't ready to let it go, so in it came. It continued to bloom through the Holidays.
You have to look for the lobelia, they are peeping out from the salvia's foliage.
Other plants are year 'round residents, like my african violets (gesneriads). These are unnamed cultivars that I have purchased on impulse at the grocery. I currently have four of them on a windowsill in the kitchen that gets no direct sun, and their only natural light for a few hours in the morning. They don't seem to mind this, and at least one of them will bloom each year during the winter. This year it was the blue one, with a slight ruffle and a white picotee rim.
In yet another east window, I have more plants blooming in winter.
Here you can find a sprawling cyclamen, and a gangly crown of thorns (Euphorbia splendens syn. milii). The euphobia was actually a dumpster find. I stuck it in soil and it's bloomed reliably for me ever since.
I've collected plants since I was just a kid, maybe 9 or 10, wanting my own versions of the plants my mom and grandmother grew. I can't imagine a house without plants. In winter the promise of the plants is one of the things that helps me get through these months of no sun and dirty snow. Who can stay glum when this is what greets you at the kitchen sink in the morning?