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October 27, 2008 - Janet DelTurco
There is a pink rosebud peeking into my bedroom window. Although the day is dark and gloomy with a miserable wind and drizzly rain, this bud is looking like summer! Two stories up, the New Dawn climbing rose is still doing just that. It was up to the roof two years ago, but the main branch broke in a strong wind while it was frozen hard, and I had to cut the whole thing back. Now it has made up for lost time, and is looking better than ever. In spite of at least three frosty mornings, the impatiens around the tree out in front is still in bloom. I reluctantly pulled the geraniums a few days ago and brought them into the house. A number of people have called, emailed and spoken to me in person about the way I save them. I have written columns about this several times, so will not repeat the details in that space, but here they are for anyone still curious about it. Before the roots freeze, pull the whole plant out of the ground, shake all the soil off the roots and cut back the flowers and most of the leaves. (This year the cut flowers filled a large vase, and are still looking good.) Then just store the plants in a cool place, but don't let them freeze. Mine go under the basement workbench on a shelf, and I have heard from some people that they hang them upside down. Then forget all about them. Around late February, like magic, new green leaves start to pop out. At that time I put them in a bucket of water for about a week, and then pot them up in potting soil. Placed in a sunny window, they will take root quickly, and by the time the weather is fit to plant outside they will probably be blooming again. This is a yearly miracle, and I have had most of my geraniums for five years. I am grateful to former neighbor Kathy for this method. The climbing roses have big and beautiful rose hips this year, and I am planning to use them on two outdoor Christmas trees. More on that later! I have a horrible habit of striking the wrong key when I have finished a blog or a column on the computer. Twice I have lost an entire blog by typing "add blog" instead of "insert blog", and this morning I went to write a closing paragraph for a column on earthworms, and found I had lost the entire thing. That is rather a mystery, as my word processing program always politly asks me if I wish to save it when closing out, but somehow that must not have happened this time. Or maybe great-grands Noah and Owen, playing their favorite Noggin games on the computer yesterday, read the title and decided worms were not suitable material for a column?
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