January 22, 2022

Happy Observations: Overwintered Potted Plants

oxalis 2

It's about this time of year that I rely on the joy of the potted plants in the sunroom to lift my winter spirits and help me look forward to spring. Several developments have me optimistic for the growing season ahead.


This is the second year I've brought in a pot of Fuchsia 'Autumnale' for replanting next spring. It's doing well and branching out a bit with new growth. Over time, it has the most exquisite variegated foliage that changes with the seasons and the light.

purple shamrock

Purple Shamrock (Oxalis triangularis) has held up for many years of indoor/outdoor movement. Its foliage is always pleasing to the eye. No signs of buds or blooms yet, but they'll follow in the weeks ahead.


This is my first year successfully growing Purple Passionflower (Passiflora incarnata). I left some plants outdoors, heavily mulched, and I brought in the potted ones. The latter are sprouting new growth. This will be a fun comparison.


This is also the first time I've overwintered Lantanas. This one, L. camara 'Bandana Rose,' is a little brown around the edges, but showing signs of new growth.


My favorite Fuchsia, 'Marinka,' still has ripening fruits from the previous growing season. These potted plants prefer the humid, warm weather, but they're holding their own in the cool sunroom, after several years of this seasonal routine.


This Sedum hybrid was part of a gift arrangement, so I don't know the variety. But I notice it's budding, so blooms will soon follow. Yay.

oxalis 1

Finally, Oxalis vulcanicola 'Zinfandel' has been blooming continuously since I purchased it last spring. The flowers sparkle when backlit by the sunny winter landscape out the window (first photo). And the buds, blooms, and foliage are all cheery, colorful signs of hope.

January 11, 2022

Birding Highlights of the Past Year


This past year was full of birding surprises and pleasant visits from regulars, such as the cold-weather dark-eyed juncos, and the always-present cardinals and black-capped chickadees. The regulars are no less appreciated than the rare sightings and the warm-weather winged friends, and we encourage their presence and survival.

But it was fun to experience some unusual birding encounters in 2021.


In mid-spring, we witnessed the first venturings of some great-horned owlets at the nearby state park. I zoomed in on this one from a distance, to show how well they were camouflaged with their surroundings.

tree swallow

This tree swallow and its mate were preparing a nest in one the state park's nesting boxes. Tree swallows aren't uncommon to this part of the country, but we don't see them on our shaded home property.


Also at the state park, I was happy to see this handsome bluebird, another species we don't see at home because of too much shade.

carolina wren

However, back at home we were thrilled to have a Carolina wren (or a family?) living with us for a large portion of the summer. We're beyond the normal range for their limited migration, but perhaps with climate change they're more likely to visit in future summers? I heard the songs of this shy bird frequently, but only saw it a few times.

oriole & woodpecker

While red-bellied woodpeckers are common visitors in our garden, Baltimore orioles only stop by for a short stretch in late spring. We see them nearly every year in May, and the oranges help attract them for a closer view.

hummer 1

I admit the birds I miss the most during the colder seasons are the ruby-throated hummingbirds. They are very common residents, with numerous daily sightings from May through mid-October. Their arrival in spring is joyful, and I'm sad when I don't see them for a couple of days in the fall because I know their season here is ending.

hummer 3

hummer 2

I'm looking forward to your return in a few months, little buddies.