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Back Inside

October 14, 2010

I’ve been checking the weather forecast daily since Karen715 at Life Among the Leaves posted about bringing in her succulents – I usually forget to check it, but didn’t want to risk leaving my plants out too long.

The coldest I saw was 2°C (35.6°F), forecast for tomorrow. Before that, the lowest temperatures were around 5°C (40°F), so I didn’t worry.

Until I left for work on Tuesday morning, and when I got outside, the grass was covered in frost. Luckily, it seems to have been only in exposed areas, on the open meadows and fields, that it got so cold, so my sheltered balcony was safe, but I still spent Tuesday evening frantically carrying in plants. They all went into the staircase for now, which is entirely not allowed (you’re not allowed to put anything in the staircase in case there’s a fire, and the staircase is filled with smoke, and people trip over something while feeling their way along the walls – though why anyone would want to feel their way along the walls, and go into all the corners, when you could just keep to the railing, I have no idea.)

I can’t care about whether it’s allowed or not, though. I have to do what’s necessary, which is bring them inside, and there just plain and simply isn’t space in my room right now.

With some serious plant-shuffling and going back to full double rows on the windowsill, I may be able to fit some of that into my room after all, and the Tradescantias will be used to underplant some larger plants – I can always take cuttings of those plants in spring to start new, nice-looking plants. But quite a lot will have to stay in the staircase, where it’s cooler than in the flat – the Lantana, Fuchsia, Pelargonium and Jasminum at the very least, possibly also the holiday cacti. And there is more still outside. All the Hippeastrums and Oxalises – I don’t care if their leaves get frost-damaged, they need to go dormant anyway, the lemon tree and oleander, which can take some cold, the rosemary and the bog sage, and the banana, which, as I said yesterday, I don’t care if it gets damaged by cold because it is too damn big.

I’ve also got two very ugly Tradescantias and a surplus Schlumbergera still outside, as an experiment to see how much cold they can take and still look good. I don’t have any qualms about killing the Tradescantias, of which I always have way too many, and which are so easy to propagate, but I’m feeling a bit bad about the poor Christmas cactus. It would still be perfectly good for giving away. But I want to know, and if it survives, I’ll hope it grows as nicely next year as it did this year, and then nobody will know it was ever tortured this way.

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