Where I’m At

What to do about the world’s longest winter? Get out! And come talk gardening with me. Just wanted to give you an update on some upcoming lectures and whatnot. Hope to see you in the audience!

February 6, 2014 ~ 1:00 PM
West Hartford Garden Club ~ West Hartford, CT
Lecture topic ~ Infusing the Garden with Personality

February 12, 2014 ~ 7:00 PM
Town & Country Garden Club of Newtown ~ Sandy Hook, CT
Lecture topic ~ The Unexpected Houseplant

February 20, 2014 ~ 3:30 PM
Connecticut Flower & Garden Show ~ Hartford, CT
Lecture topic ~ The Unexpected Houseplant
For more info: ctflowershow.com

February 21, 2014 ~ 11:00-12:30 Central time
Wisconsin Public Radio (WPR) The Larry Meiller Show
Talk Show topic: Getting Houseplants Ready for Spring
Tune in!

February 22, 2014 ~ 4:15 AM
Robin Hood Radio: WBSL 91.7 FM/WHDD 91.9 FM
Radio Show: Hammertown’s Love Where you Live
Talking about houseplants
For more info: www.robinhoodradio.com

February 25, 2014 ~ 1:00 PM
Talbot Garden Club ~ Easton, Maryland
Lecture topic ~ Terrariums & You

March 1, 2014 ~ 5:00 PM
Philadelphia Flower Show ~ Philadelphia, PA
Lecture topic ~ Houseplant demonstration
For more info: theflowershow.com

March 2, 2014 ~ 12:00 noon
Philadelphia Flower Show ~ Philadelphia, PA
Gardener’s Studio Competition ~ Container Garden Challenge
(I’ll be on stage creating an impromptu container competing against 2 other designers)
For more info: theflowershow.com

March 15, 2014 ~ 3:00 PM
New Hampshire Old House & Barn Expo ~ Manchester, NH
Lecture topic ~ Garden Stewardship: Trowels & Tomorrow
For more info: nhpreservation.org

March 22, 2014 ~ 11:00 AM
March 23, 2014 ~ 11:00 AM
Chicago Flower & Garden Show ~ Chicago, IL
Lecture topic ~ March 22, 11:00 AM: The Unexpected Houseplant
March 23, 11:00 AM: The New Terrarium
Book signing
For more info: www.chicagoflower.com

April 8, 2014 ~ 7:00 PM
Connecticut Horticultural Society ~ Glastonbury, CT
Lecture topic ~ The Unexpected Houseplant
Book signing
For more info: www.cthort.org

April 10, 2014 ~ 1:00 PM
Garden Club of Dobbs Ferry ~ Dobbs Ferry, NY
Lecture topic ~ The Unexpected Houseplant

April 15, 2014 ~ 11:00 AM
Greenfield Hill Garden Club ~ Fairfield, CT
Lecture topic ~ The Unexpected Houseplant
Book signing

June 20, 2014 ~ 1:00 PM
Wolfeboro Garden Club ~ Wolfeboro, NH
Lecture topic ~ to be arranged
Book signing

August 23, 2014 ~ 7:00 PM
in conjunction with Garden Conservancy Open Days ~ Peterborough, NH
Lecture topic ~ Garden Stewardship
Book signing

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Winter Lecture Schedule

Got the winter blahs? I’ve got the cure. Come to a lecture and we can commiserate together. Not only that–but we can lay plans for future gardens, indoors and out. Here’s where we can meet in the next few months:

December 5, 2013 ~ 1:00 PM
Goshen Garden Club ~ Torrington Country Club, Torrington, CT
Annual Holiday Luncheon
Lecture topic ~ Terrariums & You “Small Worlds”

December 6, 2013 ~ 1:00 PM
Stonington Historical Society~Capt. Palmer House, Stonington, CT
Lecture topic ~ Terrariums & Wardian Cases
Wardian case planting demonstration and book signing
For more information: www.stoningtonhistorical.org

January 15, 2014 ~ 9:00 AM
New Canaan Garden Club ~ New Canaan, CT
Lecture topic ~ Houseplants and Begonias

January 25, 2014 ~ 4:00 PM
Salisbury Library ~ Salisbury, CT
Lecture topic ~ The Unexpected Houseplant

January 30, 2014 ~ 7:00 PM
Massachusetts Horticultural Society ~ Wellesley, MA
Lecture topic ~ Trowels & Tomorrow: Garden Stewardship
For more info ~ www.masshort.org

February 6, 2014 ~ 1:00 PM
West Hartford Garden Club ~ West Hartford, CT
Lecture topic ~ Infusing the Garden with Personality

February 12, 2014 ~ 7:00 PM
Town & Country Garden Club of Newtown ~ Sandy Hook, CT
Lecture topic ~ The Unexpected Houseplant

February 20, 2014 ~ 3:30 PM
Connecticut Flower & Garden Show ~ Hartford, CT
Lecture topic ~ The Unexpected Houseplant
For more info: ctflowershow.com

February 25, 2014 ~ time to be arranged
Talbot Garden Club ~ Easton, Maryland
Lecture topic ~ Terrariums & You

March 1, 2014 ~ 5:00 PM
Philadelphia Flower Show ~ Philadelphia, PA
Lecture topic ~ Houseplant demonstration
For more info: theflowershow.com

March 15, 2014 ~ 3:00 PM
New Hampshire Old House & Barn Expo ~ Manchester, NH
Lecture topic ~ Garden Stewardship: Trowels & Tomorrow
For more info: nhpreservation.org

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Autumn Lecture Update

The outdoor gardening season is winding to an end and I’m hitting the road again to lecture about my favorite subject — gardening. And while traveling around, I’m hoping to see all my favorite friends — you! Here’s where we can touch antennae in the next few months:

September 9, 2013 ~ 1:30 PM
House & Garden Club at Oronoque Village ~ Stratford, CT
Lecture topic ~ The Unexpected Houseplant

September 11, 2013 ~ 1:00 PM
Kingston Hill Gardeners fundraiser ~ South Kingston, RI
Lecture topic ~ The Unexpected Houseplant

September 19, 2013 ~ 11:45 AM
Wollaston Garden Club ~ Quincy, MA
Lecture topic ~ The New Terrarium

September 20, 2013 ~ 10:00 AM
Danbury Garden Club ~ Danbury, CT
Lecture topic ~ Gardening for the 5 Senses

October 5, 2013 ~ 11:00 AM
Fairchild-Nichols Library ~ Trumbull, CT
Lecture topic ~ Terrariums & You

October 17, 2013 ~ 10:30 AM
The Garden Club of Buzzards Bay ~ Dartmouth, MA
Lecture topic ~ Houseplants and Terrariums

November 12, 2013 ~ 10:00 AM
Noanett Garden Club ~ Dedham/Dover MA
Lecture topic ~ The Unexpected Houseplant

November 19, 2013 ~ 10:00 AM
Landscape Design Council ~ Wellesley, MA
Lecture topic ~ Putting Perennials through their Paces

November 20, 2013 ~ 9:30 AM
North Shore Garden Club ~ Beverly Farms, MA
Lecture topic ~ to be arranged

December 5, 2013 ~ 1:00 PM
Goshen Garden Club ~ Torrington Country Club, Torrington, CT
Annual Holiday Luncheon
Lecture topic ~ Terrariums & You “Small Worlds”

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Coming to a Town Near You

Copyright Kindra Clineff from The Unexpected Houseplant

I’m packing my bags and heading out on the lecture circuit and bringing my little Houseplant & Einstein Show to a lecture hall close to you. Just so we don’t miss each other when I’m in your town, here’s a rundown. Hope to see you!

Northwest Flower & Garden Show ~ Seattle, WA
February 23, 2013 ~ 4:30 PM Rediscover Houseplants
February 24, 2013 ~ 10:00 AM Terrarium Tips & Tricks

Pennsylvania Garden Show of York ~ York, PA
March 1, 2013 ~ 6:00 PM Infusing the Garden with Personality
March 2, 2013 ~ 11:00 AM Terrarium Workshop
March 2, 2013 ~ 2:00 PM The Unexpected Houseplant

Philadelphia Flower Show ~ Philadelphia, PA
March 3, 2013 ~ 11:30 AM Houseplants through the Seasons

Davidson Horticultural Symposium ~ Davidson, NC
March 5, 2013 ~ 1:00 PM The Unexpected Houseplant
March 5, 2013 ~ 3:15 PM Terrariums and You

Longwood Gardens ~ Kennett Square, PA
March 10, 2013 ~ 11:00 AM The Unexpected Houseplant
March 10, 2013 ~ 2:30 PM The Unexpected Houseplant
Members Lectures

Boston Flower Show ~ Boston, MA
March 16, 2013 ~ 1:30 PM The Unexpected Houseplant

Minor Memorial Library ~ Roxbury, CT
March 17, 2013 ~ The Unexpected Houseplant with LIVE PLANTS

Bowerbird ~ Peterborough, NH
March 23, 2013 ~ 2:00 PM Terrarium Workshop

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Conoclinium coelestinum

If you want to scream right now, I’m alongside you. Not so long ago, this was Eupatorium coelestinum. And that’s how it will remain in my tired mind. But, whateveryoucallit, you can’t beat it for a surge of very late season color.

And what a color. It’s difficult to capture this hue with a camera, you’ll just have to trust me that it’s a dreamy purple along the exact same lines as ageratum. But I abhor most of the modern ageratums — there’s something about a stiff wad of blossoms that strikes me with the same cold horror as a bouffant starched in hairspray. But this little eupatorium is wonderfully thready. It weaves itself thinly through your garden, biding its time until September when nothing else is in blossom. And then it forms a purple haze. However, fair warning: If you don’t do proper vigilance, it will be too much of a good thing. Much too much.

Some perennials totter on the precipice of polite society, and this little number straddles on the verge of brattiness. You can’t really trust it. Every year, I rip out a big wad of runners that sneak into other plants’ turf. But memories of this little native perennial’s late season performance keep me from totally eradicating it. So far, I’ve maintained the upper hand. If anyone wants to warn otherwise, speak now.

And isn’t this what gardening is all about? If every plant was a model citizen, how boring would that be? We need more Conocliniums (or whatever) in our midst. And even if you are a stern disciplinarian, you need this autumn color. Loosen up!

Posted in Perennials | 6 Comments

Listen Up Again!

photo copyrighted by Kindra Clineff from The Unexpected Houseplant

We had so much fun (and callers) the last time, Wisconsin Public Radio asked me back for an encore. Tune in to the Larry Meiller Show on Friday, January 4 at 11:00-12:30 Central Time. This time around, we’ll be helping you host your gift plants after the holidays are over. And answering all your other indoor gardening questions also. Talk to you then!

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Move the Forest Indoors

Photo copyrighted by Kindra Clineff from The Unexpected Houseplant

Now, my little muffins, I want you all to pour yourselves a nice warm cup of tea (or your beverage of choice) and sink into someplace comfy. Pull that wooly throw blanket up to your chin, and let all those visions of sugarplums (or whatever tingles your tastebuds) dance through your head. Dose off. Dream of world peace. And do it all with a little tree by your side.

No, really–Why not? Now that you’ve grown accustomed to having the Christmas tree in your home, how about holding that thought through the winter? You laugh, but stranger things have happened.

Photo copyrighted by Kindra Clineff from The Unexpected Houseplant

I do it. I bring a conifer in every winter. It isn’t always the same tree (although it all started with a Cupressus arizonica ‘Blue Ice’ that went in and out for several years until it outgrew its container). I purchase a conifer during the autumn sales, I pot it in a deep container (note here: I fill the entire container with potting soil rather than “cheating it” with styrofoam noodles are some such filler). The deep container is key, by the way. I remember to water it (just a suggestion). And then I commune with my little tree indoors until spring arrives when it goes outdoors (and so do I). Sometimes I plant it in the ground, sometimes I leave it in the pot and use it as a sentinel by the front door. Point is: it has legs–this is a good investment.

Photo copyrighted by Kindra Clineff from The Unexpected Houseplant

Confession here: I’ve got tall French doors facing east with sufficient light to do this deed. Another confession: I’ve got a fairly chilly home. But it’s worth a try, right? What’s the worst that can happen?

Probably, it will flourish. And when you wake from that warm winter’s snooze, your tea will be cold. But you’ll open your eyes to your own little forest by your side indoors in the middle of the winter. How cool is that?

Thank you for a year full of beauty and friendship. I love you all. And so does Einstein (my kitten and research assistant).

Posted in Houseplants | 4 Comments

Terrarium Workshops

Just an idea for that someone on your list who has everything–give them a Terrarium Workshop for the holidays. Talk about presenting them with peace, tranquility, and green therapy. Here’s a partial list of locations where I’ll be giving workshops and terrarium demonstrations as well as houseplant demonstrations in the coming year:

January 30, 2013 ~ 6:30 PM
Elizabeth Park ~ West Hartford, CT
Terrarium workshop
elizabethpark.org

February 3, 2013 ~ 1:00 PM
Campo de’ Fiori ~ Sheffield, MA
Terrarium demonstration and Houseplant Repotathon
campodefiori.com

February 24, 2013 ~ 10:00 AM
Northwest Flower & Garden Show ~ Seattle, WA
Terrarium lecture & Houseplant lecture
gardenshow.com

March 2, 2013 ~ 11:00 AM
Pennsylvania Garden Show of York ~ York, PA
Terrarium workshop & Houseplant lecture
pagsy.com

March 5, 2013 ~ 1:00 PM & 3:15 PM
Davidson Horticultural Symposium ~ Davidson, NC
Terrarium Lecture & Houseplant Lecture
davidsonsymposium.org

May 5, 2013 ~ 3:00 PM
Lori Warner Studio ~ Chester, CT
Terrarium Workshop
loriwarner.com

And who is that in the picture? That’s Jerry Fritz at my Terrarium Workshop for Linden Hill in Ottsville, PA. Bet I’ll be doing my annual workshop there next year. Stay tuned.

Posted in Where I'm At | 5 Comments

Primula kisoana

Fast forward because already I need a little springtime. Here it is only late November and I’m clawing at the windows chafing for some semblance of growth in the garden. Not that the houseplants aren’t entertaining — but still, November doesn’t deliver color, indoors or outside. (Granted, the Senecio ‘Blazin’ Glory’ is still happening, but that’s about it for blossoms on the windowsill.) So dreams of primroses are dancing before my eyes.

If you’ve tried and failed with primroses, then you haven’t met Primula kisoana yet. These photos were taken on April 17th and that’s just when you need a dollop of scarlet in your life. And that’s exactly what P. kisoana delivers. And we’re talking reliable — despite last year’s floods, nothing could dissuade these fuzzy-leaved little primroses from sending up their courageously colorful flowers. Outspoken, that’s how I’d classify the shade. But it’s the kind of color you spy from a distance. We like that in a flower, right? The performance continues for several weeks until the flowers slowly fade into pink. Then, by midsummer, this Japanese species goes underground. Completely dormant until the next spring. No worries about whether it will brave summer droughts — this little primrose sleeps through it all.

Of course it likes shade. But here’s the clincher — most of my primroses are living happily ever after under a black walnut tree! Besides the epimediums, not many perennials survive the walnut toxins without a whimper.

If you know of a source, pass it along to me. Mine came from Sydney Eddison. Nobody leaves Sydney’s garden empty handed. And primroses are one of her favorite gifts to bestow.

There’s an ‘Alba’ form. Explain to me = what’s the point? When you’ve got something that’s radiant, brilliant, and wonderful — why strip it of its glory?

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Senecio cephalophorus ‘Blazin’ Glory’

Well, the name’s a little melodramatic. But if you can get over that (what’s in a name?), what’s not to love in this little cutie? I’m always game to try anything that might work indoors. For example, this little number wasn’t really being sold as a houseplant. But why not give it a spin?

When I picked Senecio cephalophorus ‘Blazin’ Glory’ up from Avant Gardens, it was love at first sight, even before the first bud opened. And by the way, there’s nothing wilted in this photo. The buds are naturally nodding, which you find irresistibly endearing, don’t you? And then they straighten up and jut out at odd angles to burst into a paintbrush of tiny orange bristles — each one a flower.

But even if this show didn’t go on for months (which it does) — there’s that foliage to die for. Plump, oval leaves tucked together in a nest. Each leaf chalky bluish-silver. Whole shebang stands no larger than a foot. Are you sold yet?

What if I told you that it’s virtually maintenance-free? Needs no tidying whatsoever because it’s invariably picture perfect. Never pouts. But I’m stingy with the water — it might not like being drowned. So water it sparingly, like you do all succulents. And those orange flowers — they don’t have the typical “old gym socks” senecio smell (thank goodness). In fact, their scent is mildly (very mildly = use your imagination) pleasant.

So go for it. Yes, this little number will need a bright, south window. But can you think of a better way to invest your sunbeams?

Posted in Houseplants | 11 Comments