|A SOUTH AFRICAN BULBS, MASSONIA JASMINIFLORA, SLOWLY EMERGES ITS TWO LONELY BUT QUITE BEAUTIFULLY PATTERNED AND TEXTURED LEAVES, AFTER BEING DORMANT ALL SUMMER UNDER GLASS.|
We have yet to have a frost threat here in central Massachusetts, but it is near, and we travel planned over the next few weeks, I have been trying to move plants back into the greenhouse earlier than I normally would. I had been thinking about the dreaded greenhouse heating bill this winter, even thinking about not heating it for one season, and seeing if I could keep some plants in the cellar or in an unheated room, but that decision has not yet been made, so for now, the greenhouse is still being populated.
When I was a child, I would help my parents move tubs of agapanthus and Angel's Trumpets into our stone cellar, and then help my mom pick every blossom in the yard - even the marigolds, which we would then place in tin buckets on the glassed-in porches, providing cut flowers for the house for at least a few more weeks. The scent is unforgettable - sharp marigold, that unique scent of chrysanthemums and even the scent of sticky nicotiana. A greenhouse adds a layer of magic to gardening, it transforms any task from being a laborious process, to one which is special, if only because it is being performed in the opposite season - snipping jasmine flowers while it is snowing outside, tending to mossy roots on a blooming camellia on a sunny, January day with 4 feet of snow outdoors. You, inside in short sleeves on warm with sunshine, bulbs in bloom, the air rich with the scent of lemon blossoms and honey bees sneaking in the open vents enjoying it with you.
|CAMELLIA POTS LINED UP ON A GARDEN BENCH FOR INSPECTION. SOME NEED TOP SOIL, OTHERS, A LITTLE TRIM. THEY WILL REMAIN OUTDOORS UNTIL HEAVY FROST THREATENS, BUT A GOOD EVALUATION ALLOWS ME TO EDIT THE COLLECTION, AND CHECK ON BUD FORMATION.|
Now that I have a greenhouse, scent also plays a role. During the hot summer, the greenhouse remains rather dry and dormant - it feels dead, even through there are some shrubs and tree planted into the ground, it seems that there is nothing special going on in the greenhouse - especially when it it 110 degree inside, but as soon as I begin bringing in the many ( far-too-many) pots of small shrubs tender tropicals and bulbs, the tubs of Camellia, agapanthus, the many large topiary etc, the space inside transforms from a dry desert into a moist, damp and fragrant proper greenhouse, and I just love it as a seasonal marker - not unlike the radiators coming on in the house for the first time, with their unique, comforting scent of warm dust bringing back memories of snowstorms and cozy winter, the unique scent of a greenhouse in Autumn does much the same thing.
|IN 1805, A PROPER NEW ENGLAND ESTATE GARDENER WOULD LIFT THE MANY TUBEROSES WHICH WERE PLANTED IN APRIL OUTSIDE, LIFTED FROM THE GARDEN, POTTED INTO LONGTOMS, AND BROUGHT INTO THE PROTECTION OF THE GREENHOUSE UNTIL THEY BLOOMED.|
|OSMANTHUS FRAGRANS, A SCENT OF FRESH ALMONDS, SO TRADITIONAL IN MANY OLD NEW ENGLAND GREENHOUSES DURING THE FALL AND WINTER|
In the greenhouse today, with a gentle, cold rain falling down, it is beginning to feel very fall like. It's the scent really, that annually bring s me back to that first visit to Logee's greenhouses in the mid- 1970's, or a garden in southern France in 1990 - scents which here in New England mean very little to native residents, unless they added some travel memories into their mind. I treasure my personal collection of scents-which-recall - those of Rosemary, the sweet almond smell of Osmanthus fragrans, geranium leaf, sweet violet flowers, lemon and rose scented geraniums and of course, the scent of chrysanthemum foliage. It all marks the beginning of an entirely new season for gardening just as everyone else is putting their garden to bed.
Ferns and tender cutting of succulents are moved in first since any temperature changes can affect the tropical ferns, and cuttings root better with some warmth.