JUST PHYLLISOPHY – December 2013

Just Phyllisophy (150x67)By Phyllis Galowitz

It’s the middle of November and the temperature is in the 50s! Actually it has ranged from 17 degrees here in Palmer Hollow, cold enough to say final good-byes to anything still holding on to life in the garden, to this rare, warm day with gray sky accompanied by rain, washing the last of the snow away.

The plants that can be overwintered in the house are filling every room and fighting for a place near a sunny window. The Christmas cactus, wrongly named, since it never seems to bloom at Christmas, has just finished its magnificent bloom. I wish this photo were in color, but just imagine the salmon pink of that fresh Alaskan fish with tips of red and there you have it! That plant doesn’t need a sunny window. In fact, if I had kept it in a cool room, without much sun, such as the basement, in September and October, and reduced the watering so that only the top couple of inches were wet, I probably could have delayed the bloom time until Christmas, but I enjoyed having it in the living room where I could watch it bud and flower. I don’t really care if the flowers arrive in November.

This is the first winter for my tropical hibiscus tree that had enormous, yellow flowers on it during the summer and now, indoors, is not flowering at all and is losing much of its foliage. I’ve been warned not to overwater it, but to give it daily misting. It probably is in dormancy and hopefully will return to its summer beauty when the warm weather returns and it takes its place on the deck again. In the meantime, the dark green, glossy foliage is still beautiful.

Houseplant care is a welcome change for me after summer garden chores. I can no longer keep up with the garden as it was or should be and will be content with what I call “minimal gardening”. With that in mind, I will happily turn my “Garden Phyllisophy” column into just a “Phyllisophy” column, leaving it open to whatever fills my mind at the moment. It could be Lili, my dear cat, adopted last May at 8 weeks, who has become my constant home companion and love, or maybe about growing older in Andes.

Christmas CactusYesterday, the library held its “Silent Auction”. People were so generous in donating their art, beautiful gift items, lessons in their various talents, gift certificates for meals at restaurants and even those cooked in their homes. There were delicious refreshments, also generously provided by friends of the library and those friends and their friends all came to bid on the great array of offerings tempting us all. We enjoyed chatting with old friends and meeting new neighbors,  people who we hadn’t seen in a while. They bid, and others bid above theirs, until the loud clang of the bell, telling us, “Five more minutes!” when there was a mad dash to outbid the person who wanted just what you had your eye on. The final bell rang. It was all over but the picking up of treasures and counting the money that the library made to keep it our own wonderful community center. Everyone had fun and each was the proud owner of something wonderful and appreciated.

How I love this town and the people