Sunday, January 5, 2014

Can't go much lower!

The sun is out; the sky is clear; the thermometer shows something pretty scary: -33ºC!  This thermometer is quite helpful as the left side shows the degrees in Celsius and the right side shows them in Fahrenheit.  This is the lowest we've seen since we arrived in Alberta on December 18.  I think it's a day to stay inside, sew, cook something warm and nourishing, maybe read a bit beside the fireplace.

Knitting would be on the list if it were not for my "trigger" finger, which is improving greatly following a cortisone shot last Monday, but still needs time off from repetitive actions such as knitting.

Our friend and helper S. took care of the cat and the house while we were away.  It seems she took much better care of the potted plants than I do because they
have responded by sprouting flower stalks.  This diffenbachia has flowered three times before this.  The first time it was an amazement to me.  I didn't know these plant could even do that.  It's still in the early stages, but as soon as these little blooms open I will have to either put it in the computer/sewing room or chop off the flower stalk as these tiny flowers send out a powerful scent at night.  It's much like the smell of daffodils, which I find also annoying.

The next photo is a close up of the flower stalk with the almost open tiny flowers in each head.

I've had two or three of these diffenbachia for several
years now.  They're a good houseplant for me because I'm not very attuned to plants.  Sometimes they become very dry before I notice that they need to be watered.  These plants, which we used to call "corn" plants seem pretty blasé about bad treatment.  They just keep growing and putting out new leaves.  Sometimes the stalk will almost reach the ceiling.

At that point I take the plant outside, take a butcher knife to it and slice the top part off from the stem and simply replant it (the top part) in some fresh dirt.  It's as if the plant never even blinks.  It just picks right up from where it is and puts out more leaves.

But there was one more surprise for me when we returned: that was not the only plant getting ready to bloom.  The other diffenbachia at the head of the stairway was also putting out a flower stalk.

This plant has more than one stalk in the pot and it's the shorter stalk that is blooming here.  This all strikes me as interesting and makes me wonder if S. gave them more water or more fertilizer during the weeks we were away.

Well, they are not the sort of the houseplant you keep for its blooms, as you would an African violet.  It's the glossy foliage that counts here.  So it doesn't really matter how these flower stalks got started, other than to give evidence that the plants were very happy with the care given them while we were away.

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