January 2011 Bloom Day-In My Room

Ilex verticillata 'Sparkleberry' and 'Winter Gold'

It is beautiful outdoors, really it is.

May 26, 2010

But it is Bloom Day, the day when garden bloggers all over the world share what is blooming in their gardens, thanks to friend Carol of May Dreams Gardens. Here in Southeast Tennessee, some little something can usually be found outside during the cold months that resembles a flower, but nothing even close to the fabulous spectacle that is spring however.

But (again with the but, what is this, Conjunction Junction?) most of the action during the depths of winter can be found in my room, the greenhouse/sunroom that is.

That is where the orchids live, among others. Their numbers have been whittled down from a once large collection of many species to a niche group of eight Paphiopedilums and two Cattleyas. See the page on the sidebar for the names and mug shots, Plants We Grow-Orchids.

Paphiopedilum 'Starr Warr'

January 2011 finds every Paph budded or blooming. One Paph was repotted last winter, the subject of a How To post that can be seen by clicking here-How To Repot A Paphiopedilum. The success of that repotting instilled us with enough confidence to repot all of the rest last fall before they were brought inside after a summer vacation under the allee of river birch trees along the lower west side of the property. ( It is really only a half of an allee since it is a row of trees, but allee sounds so much more romantic and garden-y.)

Paphiopedilum 'Raven Forever More'

It is believed that repotting spurred the formation of buds. That tidbit had been read in the many orchid books on the Fairegarden shelves before, but never actually carried out.

Now, we believe.

There are a few other plants in my room, some are tender perennials from which cuttings will be taken soon. A post was written about how to take cuttings from this fragrant Salvia elegans ‘Golden Delicious’ last winter that can be seen by clicking here-How To Take Salvia Cuttings. Always learning, the cuttings for 2011 will be planted en masse in spring, if the shock collar is working that is. (The shock collar is what is needed to force a gardener who wants to plant things in a one here, one there method, you know, to spread the wealth, to plant them all close together in one spot for more impact.)

The little daffodils from the grocery are opening. The purple crocus purchased the same day are still in bud stage.

This room is not a real greenhouse. It is a space at the southeast corner of the house that was designated as a room for plants when the main house was remodeled. I drew up the plans for the remodel myself, on a sheet of graph paper. There is a sink in the corner, the old kitchen sink saved from the kitchen redo. There is a fifty foot coil hose attached to the spigot that is long enough to stretch out the back door for some quick watering or washing since it has hot water, in addition to keep the inside plants moist and happy. The floor is tiled with one full tile up the wall to help with splashing. There is a drain in the middle of the floor. There are five windows and two skylights to provide maximum light. There are brackets along all the windows to hold portable shelves made from cedar planks. There is a small fan that runs 24/7 to provide the needed air movement. There is a heat vent in the top of the interior wall that keeps the minimum temperature during the winter at around 50 degrees Fahrenheit, perfect for the orchids we grow. All good, right? One huge flaw in this design, besides being too small, but all greenhouses are too small, is that the walls are gypsum board, drywall, the green kind used in bathrooms. The walls have many coats of exterior primer and paint, as do the wooden window casings. Over the years, we have learned to be less wild with the water spraying, to keep down the mold that is inevitable in such a moist environment. It is best to keep the overspray to a minimum. The room is humid enough from the plants themselves. In late spring, after the night temps are consistently above 50 degrees, the room is emptied and given a good scrubbing. Sometimes a chair and table are moved in there for some quiet reading. It is a nice place, my room.


There’s a world where I can go
and tell my secrets to
In my room
In my room

In this world I lock out
all my worries and my fears
In my room
In my room

Do my dreaming and my scheming lie awake and pray
Do my crying and my sighing laugh at yesterday

Now it’s dark and I’m alone
but I won’t be afraid
In my room
In my room

“In My Room” is a song written by Brian Wilson and Gary Usher for the American rock band The Beach Boys. It was released on their 1963 album Surfer Girl. It was also released as the B-side of the “Be True to Your School” single.

Frances (humming softly)

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29 Responses to January 2011 Bloom Day-In My Room

  1. Nice pictures – it will be good when all this snow is gone. I just noticed all the waxwings on the top of your page. That’s a good photo. There’s a really good version of In My Room by The Bangles – probably not as good as the Beach Boys – but worth a listen

    Hi Henry, thanks. There is a story behind that waxwing photo, a post about them descending on our garden in late winter. Click here Thirsty Throngs to read the tale if you are interested. Thanks for the heads up about the cover of In My Room. I found what seemed to be a different song with the same title while researching this one as well. My heart belongs to the soaring vocals of Brian Wilson and company though. It is a blast from my past. πŸ™‚

  2. Carol says:

    A very respectable showing of blooms for bloom day, Frances. Your sunroom looks like it is a wonderful place to be on a cold winter’s day!

    Thanks Carol! It is an oasis of greenery during the white out outside! πŸ™‚

  3. Lisa at Greenbow says:

    I will be hummming the rest of the morning too. I wish I was going to be in my room today but I will be off to work. Your orchids are amazing. I simply can’t get them to rebloom so I have given up growing them. WHINE Lucky you to have blooms now. I do have a couple of buds to show. Must get that done. Have a great weekend.

    Hi Lisa, thanks. It is a good song to hum, simple with a good melody. So sorry you have to work, but happy that you have buds. The orchids can be tricky. I have found the Paphs to be the easiest to rebloom by far, but they are harder to find than those dime a dozen Phals. I am an orchid snob! You too have a wonderful weekend. We are expecting a thaw! πŸ™‚

  4. gittan says:

    Enjoyable post and pictures. I think I have to look after my orchides a little bit better to make them bloom again =) Kram gittan

    Hi Gittan, thanks. The orchids can be a challenge, they have several requirements, but the first and foremost is having the correct species, Paphiopedilums. They are more forgiving than the rest. πŸ™‚

  5. I need a room. Like yours. My mother gave me my first orchid for Christmas this year. I hope it does well.

    Love that tune, there is something about the beautiful harmonies of The Beach Boys that is classic and timeless.

    Hi Hands, thanks. Hooray for your lovely orchid, glad to hear that. Research the species and try to give it what it needs, is my advice. The Beach Boy harmonies bring back very pleasant memories for me. They were the first live concert I ever attended, back in the day! πŸ™‚

  6. Donna says:

    I agree the snow scenes are pretty outside. Your first image is testament. Your link answered a question I never asked about your banner image. That had to be a magical sight.

    I only have one of my orchids blooming now, but by February, should have three or four more. The ones you have shown are lovely. Like your shock collar reference too. πŸ˜€

    Hi Donna, thanks. I used to have the link to the waxwings post at the top of my sidebar, but on one ever clicked on it and other things demanded to be put up there. lol. Someday I might change the banner, but for now, it still makes me smile, so it stays. Hooray for your orchids! I get tired of them during the summer, just ignoring them, but right now, they are the highlight of my day! I do need that shock collar, as a less than gentle reminder of how much better a mass planting is than the plopping method. πŸ™‚

  7. Layanee says:

    It is beautiful outside and I love starting the day with a mellow, happy song. Have a great day! Head dancing!

    Hi Layanee, thanks for stopping by. I am so glad you are enjoying your morning with a sweet song. πŸ™‚

  8. I think I need one of those shock collars. LOL. Your orchids are fantastic.

    Thanks, MMD. Bzzzz. HA πŸ™‚

  9. Rose says:

    How nice to have a room of your room to retreat to and to provide some living space for all these plants. Having a water source nearby and tiled floors makes this ideal.
    One of my favorite Beach Boys songs…but then I think I like all the Beach Boys’ songs. Hate to sound blasphemous, but Brian Wilson was a genius and definitely more talented than Ringo:)

    Hi Rose, you comment’s ending had me cackling out loud! Glad no one is here to hear that sort of sound coming from the demure lady of the house! HA The room for plants is a joy, it would be nice if it were larger, but we would just fill it up with more plants, no room for people seating. The plants like it though. πŸ™‚

  10. Gail says:

    Dear Frances, It’s a very nice room filled with lovely plants~I admire the orchids, but, they would have to live in the guest shower away from a too curious cat. But, that’s just an excuse~I never seem to remember to take care of house plants. Isn’t winter beautiful?~Now, it’s time for it to go away! xxoogail

    Dear Gail, thanks. It is a room that helps get me through the winter, orchids or whatever plants are in there. I was never good with house plants either, until this room came into my life. Yes, winter, go home, where you belong, where people love you! πŸ™‚

  11. I really do love your room…and it has water. Happy Bloom Day Frances.

    Thanks Helen. The water, and the drain make me a happy indoor gardener! πŸ™‚

  12. Alistair says:

    A room of your own to while away the time, great just like a man and his shed. Ah you like 60s music, just my era, pre beatles when we youngsters in the UK loved American music, I guess I was a big fan of Del Shannon and Eddie Cochran who I beleive didnt make it so big in the States, (thats just wrong.)

    Hi Alistair, thanks for dropping by. That is my era too, and I have a shed! HA I know Del Shannon, but will have to google Eddie Cochran. Wow, I do know his songs and found the history fascinating! Thanks for that info. πŸ™‚

  13. Holly says:

    Love your site. Wonderful pictures and tidbits alike. You not only give us the close up of a particular plant, flower, pathway…whatever, but more importantly you give the BIG picture. I don’t know how many photographers will only give the close up
    picture of a garden with shots of Spirea blooms or Iris blooms etc…I know what those look like I want the layout and all the uglies too because there is always some of that. So thanks for giving me all of it. You do good.

    Hi Holly, thank you for such a kind and thoughtful comment. When I first began blogging, there were mostly close up macro shots, because they were prettier. But as time went on, I found the courage to show the larger view, warts and all, for just the reasons you state. I like to see the wider view, to study and learn from. I appreciate your understanding of that. πŸ™‚

  14. What will I do
    What will I do
    In my room
    On Bloom day?

    Dear Christopher, it sounds like you need some or a houseplants in your room on Bloom Day! πŸ™‚

  15. Cindy, MCOK says:

    Lovely orchids … I’m so glad you have some inside beauty to get you through the winter! Love that wheelbarrow planting and the date on it … my baby girl was 21 that day!

    Hi Cindy, thanks. What a special day for you and your baby! Congrats to you both! πŸ™‚

  16. Lola says:

    A grand room to escape to when things outside are less desirable. I would love a room of my own like that.
    Spring is coming.

    Hi Lola, thanks. It is a nice room, a real getaway, full of light and plants. I do hope you are right about Spring! πŸ™‚

  17. Janet says:

    Your success with the orchids gives me encouragement. I envy your plant room, what a great place for the orchids. I had to repot the Cattaleya when we bought it. Sink or swim baby, sink or swim. It seems to still be living, so must be on the right track.

    you do know you have planted the song in my brain……

    Hi Janet, thanks for visiting. The Cattleya are somewhat of a mystery to me. The one time I repotted, I killed it. Now I put the whole basket into a larger basket, and keep adding the wine corks to it. Good luck with yours! …there are worse songs to be in your brain…HA πŸ™‚

  18. Well I looked long and hard for a flower in bloom in either my garden, greenhouse or indeed inside the house and what did I find nothing! not a single flower and more worryingly no bud either. But never mind looking at your wonderful pictures more than made up for it.

    I am in a local dramatics group who ocaasionally do singing shows and one of the songs we do is “In my room” so your post has brought back some happy memories.


    Hi Simon, thanks for visiting. I am sorry about your lack of flowers or buds. Carol does allow store bought blooms, even cut flowers, even flowers in a picture for bloom day! Maybe next month you will be able to find something to share, the rules are quite loose. In My Room is a fabulous song, simple with a lilting melody and heartfelt words. How fun to be in a drama group! πŸ™‚

  19. Your plants are blessed (you too) to have such a great space to call their own! Enjoyed your post…always great to learn from other peoples experiences!

    Hi Cat, thanks so much for those kind words. Always learning…words to live by. πŸ™‚

  20. Lotusleaf says:

    Your room is as inviting as your beautiful garden!

    Thanks Lotus, so nice to see you. A bright room full of plants is indeed an indoor garden, especially on snowy days. πŸ™‚

  21. linda says:

    Ah, wonderful cousin!

    Everyone needs such a space of their own I think Frances! How fitting that yours is filled with plants. It’s the perfect setting for a winter bloom day.

    Hi dear cousin, thanks! I agree completely, every garden lover needs an indoor place where plants will thrive. It helps keep our sanity intact during the winter. πŸ™‚

  22. How did you know I love “In My Room?” Debbie Bennett and I sang it all the time when we were thirteen. How funny. About the orchids, you know way more than I. I’ve just started really growing these plants. I’ll try the repotting to see if it works, but not today.~~Dee

    Hi Dee, how wonderful that this was a favorite song of yours. It is haunting, it likes to hang around in our brains, but that is a good thing. Good luck with the orchids. I am going on fourteen years with them, and still don’t feel confident. But the repotting did seem to spur on the bloom this year. πŸ™‚

  23. Dreamybee says:

    Maybe my orchids are in need of repotting. For the first time in a long time I don’t have any buds or blooms. Thanks for sharing yours!

    Hi Dreamybee, thanks for visiting. When I could not get the Paphs to rebloom, I called the nursery where most of them were purchased, Carter and Holmes in South Carolina. They suggested repotting, it stimulates new growth. I was scared to do it then, but am now a believer! πŸ™‚

  24. I now know what it’s like to have a room to go to like this! In the dead of winter, it’s like a dream, for a gardener. Your orchids are wonderful! I had a Paph once, for a few years, and then something happened to it and it was gone. 😦

    Love that salvia!

    Hi Kylee, thanks for dropping by. How lucky we both are to have these rooms where plants and gardeners can thrive. Even in a very small house such as mine, the space is being well used. I am sorry for your Paph loss, orchids can be mysterious. πŸ™‚

  25. Love the paphs! Congrats on getting to bloom so nicely. You’re obviously doing lots of things right. In my rabid orchid growing days these richly wine-colored hybrids were just starting to make a splash, but they were ridiculously priced. It’s nice to finally see them more attainable.

    Hi James, thanks. The Paphs are higher priced than the Phals, and harder to find. That is a benefit to me, or we would have a riduculous number of them instead of eight. Might I suggest mail order from Carter And Holmes in South Carolina. They have several on offer for $10 that will bloom in a couple of years. There is still shipping, but several of mine have come from there and I will vouch for them. πŸ™‚

  26. sequoiagardens says:

    Well done. This is all a good blogger should be – entertaining, revealing and informative. It makes me realise how thin most of my bloggng has been of late. *sigh* But for more than the foreseeable future my energies are needed elsewhere. Before I started wholesale dumping yesterday, there were over 200 unopened emails on my laptop. But the 20 odd from Frances shall not be dumped, rather kept for vicarious viewing and as a reminder of where we want to get to… Thanks!

    Hi Jack, your kind words always humble me, thank you. Life can take away time for blogging, that is for sure, and the inbox can explode with so many unopened emails. I appreciate your saving my posts for later reading. That is such a high honor, I don’t know how to thank you. πŸ™‚

  27. A gardener will always garden no matter the season. We just move indoors! Your room is a wonderful substitute during the Winter months.

    Hi Meredehuit, thanks for stopping by. The urge to garden is strong here, the room allows that to happen on a very small scale during the time we cannot go outside. But, we would still rather bundle up and brave the elements! πŸ™‚

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