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Inviting a Garden In for a Winter

Posted Feb 02 2013 10:05pm

ROXBURY, CONN. Tovah Martin can’t live though plants, so in a winter, she creates her garden indoors. Even when it falls to 0 outside, as it did final week, there is a timberland of dim immature elaborate kale flowering in a easterly window.

And a fern in her bedroom window upstairs has powerful immature fronds, installed with spores. Meet Polypodium formosanum, a muck fern.

“Look during a larva feet,” she said, interruption a fronds to exhibit a fat blue-green rhizomes during a bottom of a fern. “That’s how it creeps along a ground.”

Ms. Martin, 59, has clinging her life to houseplants not to discuss a hundreds of audacious ones outside, now in low solidify on this small seven-acre vestige of a dairy farm. The author of a dozen books, including “The New Terrarium,” published in 2009, and her many recent, “The Unexpected Houseplant,” out final year, Ms. Martin spent 25 years given a citrus, herbs, scented geraniums, begonias and a mind-boggling jungle of other proposal plants congested into Logee’s Greenhouses, in Danielson, Conn. The eminent growers hark behind to 1900, when William G. Logee fell in adore with a Ponderosa lemon tree that still grows in one of a potion houses. (Plant people go in and out of this place like squirrels in an ash woods; if we can’t find it during Logee’s, because worry to grow it?)

She brought a few favorites with her when she left in 1995, though a rest of her plants shortly found their approach here, like strays to a good home. Once, Ms. Martin attempted to count how many plants were multiplying in her house. “I gave adult during 200,” she said.

Most of them go out in a summer and come behind in before frost. Others, like Asplenium nidus, a bird’s nest fern that thrives with a plain aged philodendron (one of those plants nobody can kill) inside a terrarium done from a hulk apothecary jar, are permanent indoor residents.

What strikes a eye right divided is that these are not usually singular potted plants. Each one is multiplying inside something interesting: here, an industrial steel container; there, an ancient-looking clay pot with an surprising figure or patina; maybe some aged case portion as an indoor window box; and even a kitchen colander (great drainage!) for succulents.

And they are grouped, with an eye for interrelated shapes and textures, root patterns and colors, as good as their need for light. That flowering kale, for instance, whose trunks have taken on a demeanour of palm trees, is bright to nearby clarity in that easterly window.

“White Peacock is a variety,” she said. “I didn’t wish to let it go, so we potted it adult and brought it inside. Then we watched it flower, and now I’m dependant to it.”

These kale plants impetus in a line, in a weathered wooden window box. They share a window with a jasmine, a tendrils curving toward a light, aloft up, interjection to a position on a high Arts and Crafts plant mount in a dilemma of a vital room.

The room looked too dim for a jasmine to bloom. (West, not east, is a best bearing for houseplants in winter.) But this jasmine was a powerful dim immature and full of buds.

“It’s got a lot of windup time,” Ms. Martin said. “It substantially will freshness in March.”

So how come my jasmine plants never bloom, before they evaporate adult and die, inside a house?

The trick, she says, is to leave a plants outward by a fall, as prolonged as possible. They will form their buds in a cold weather; move them inside usually before frost.

Granted, Ms. Martin and her plants have an advantage. They live in a converted stable connected to a 1790s cobbler emporium by a potion mezzanine a greenhouse, where a hundred or so potted plants bask in a full light, on a three-tiered dais embellished sky blue.

The small 18th-century dairy stable was thankfully not deformed by a former owners, who incited a easterly side into a good room that has 30-foot ceilings and a strange two-foot-wide reddish-brown building boards. They also non-stop adult a easterly wall with vast paned windows that now demeanour out over Ms. Martin’s endless summer gardens (which embody a strew and pasture for her goats, Flora and Beatty). But a west side of a barn, that is now a kitchen, retains a strange cow-eye-level windows.

They are usually a right tallness for Ms. Martin. “I’m a usually one who doesn’t have to gaunt over to demeanour out,” she said. “I’m underneath 5 feet.” (Exactly how high she is, she won’t say.)

But a many conspicuous thing about this residence is a bone-chilling temperature.


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