Keep summer going by bringing it indoors

You can dig up and move edible plants and annuals, or create a small alpine or desert garden

Home & Garden

November 06, 2005|By NANCY TAYLOR ROBSON | NANCY TAYLOR ROBSON,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

The garden is just about finished, but you're not ready to be finished with the garden. So bring it indoors.

Dig up peppers and herbs for a potted kitchen garden. (Choose younger, smaller plants and prune flowers of things like basil to keep them going longer). Haul in your potted annuals. Lots of summer annuals can survive - and when tended, thrive - for months indoors. Or, you can make a whole new inside garden.

"I make a composition inside a Wardian Box [decorative glass case] with things like maidenhair fern, an orchid and begonia, the fancy-leafed kind that doesn't go dormant," says Muffin Evander, owner of Cultivated Designs, a container design firm in Baltimore, who specializes in potted gardens. "And I have a client who rotates her potted gardens into the sun porch filled with new plants."

"You can get real creative," agrees Cindy King, horticulturist at Kingstown Farm Home and Garden Center in Chestertown. "Use a big shallow pot, put in some succulents like an agave, a jade plant, a low evergreen grass. If you want bloom, add some paperwhites off to one side, since you have to water those more than the succulents, which should be drier."

Although indoor conditions - usually dry heat and lower sunlight - don't suit many tropicals, they are great for alpines and desert natives. Several varieties of cactuses in a container or a Mediterranean herb like thyme tucked into a stone grinding wheel can make great accents in a sunny room.

Choose plants that need similar growing conditions. For example, hen-and-chicks, golden sedum `Angelina' and jade plant all need to dry out between waterings. Plants usually prefer cool rooms away from heating sources. Be sure there is good drainage. Add perlite, packing peanuts or pea gravel to offer air circulation to roots.

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