For my first post from Milwaukee, here's a tour of my conservatory...I mean apartment. I had to leave most of my bigger plants in Washington, under my parents' watchful eyes, but the vast majority of my indoor plants were carefully wrapped and boxed to come with my mother and me on a cross-country drive. I even sent 4 boxes of plants ahead of me to my friend and now co-worker/next door neighbor, Z and his fiance, R. They, being plant geeks themselves, were kind enough to take care of some of my plants before I arrived.
I now live in a 2-bedroom apartment, and the second bedroom was (of course) immediately marked as a dedicated plant room. The southwest corner has two windows, making it one of the brightest rooms in the apartment, which is pretty bright overall. Most of my plants are in this room, and some are loving the heat in this room while others may be showing stress from the move or from their new environment. It's a bit soon to tell. I was running out of shelf and window space for my plants, but luckily I had a windfall of free furniture, like the table in this picture, to tide me over until I can find something more to my liking. The table is serviceable, but severely warped (like me) with the entire surface convex. I'm not really sure how structurally sound it is, so I'll be replacing it with metal utility shelves or a thrift-store find if I discover something that I like.
Vireyas, bromeliads, tree ferns, begonias, agapetes, and my precious variegated clivia reside here.
My Blechnum gibbum seems to have suffered some stress from the move. It probably got too hot and dry in back of the car. Most of the fronds are browning a bit, and the new fronds were wilting slightly when I checked on them today. Poor thing was really enjoying its vacation outside on my parents' deck, with good airflow, frequent watering, and cool nights. In the last couple weeks, it hasn't received any of those. I'm going to do better on the watering, and I've moved the fern out of the hot room and over to my east-facing living room window, which is much cooler. Hopefully these help, though soon enough keeping things cool won't be a problem. Currently I'm using bottled water for all of my plants, until I can buy a small reverse osmosis system to make the tap water safer for my many sensitive plants.
In the same room, I have my lighted shelves, with many of my small orchids and a few "project" plants that I couldn't bring myself to leave behind.
My Amorphophallus are finally sprouting. I kept watching all summer, carefully digging into their containers to peek at the swelling buds. I was thinking they would be convenient tropical summer foliage that could be easily stored as tubers over winter. It seems they have the opposite in mind, but I'll be needing all the "tropical" I can get this winter. Pictured here are Amorphophallus atroviridis 'Red Sox' (left) and A. ankarana 'Fine Wine' (right), though I think two of the shoots on the right are actually A. albispathus 'Hi Ho Silver' that accidentally got mixed up with the 'Fine Wine'. I'll have fun watching these leaves unfurl, and the others emerge. I hope you will, too.
My east-facing window, of which only half is shown in this picture. The big bromeliad, my Guzmania musaica, has been relishing the heat and humidity since the move. It did suffer some leaf-burn because I was a bit lazy in packing it and didn't cover it completely in the car. The nice thing about bromeliads, though, is that the old plant dies after blooming, and you get a fresh start with the pups. I have three in this case, one almost big enough to separate from the parent plant and two very young ones that will take quite a while to grow to independence. The blechnum and guzmania have now switched places.
I have a couple more small windows with plants in them, but two of those plants actually have something interesting happening (which I meant to show you last week) so I'll save those for another post. I may do some retro-active posts about my parents' garden that I wasn't able to write before the move, so for those we can all pretend I'm vacationing back in Washington. While I am enjoying my new job, and I always look forward to learning a new plant pallet, I can't say I'm excited to experience a Wisconsin winter. My houseplants came with me to help keep me sane while I'm snowed in. I do have a couple small outdoor spaces for gardening, which I may utilize eventually, but for now I'm still settling in and adjusting to my new place, just as my plants are.
This weekend is the Milwaukee Orchid Show, held by the Wisconsin Orchid Society. One perk of moving to Wisconsin (There have to be some, right?) is proximity to three orchid shows in Milwaukee, Madison, and Chicago. I'm especially excited for the Chicago Orchid Show, held at the famous Chicago Botanic Garden from February 14th to March 15th.