Exotic Gardening with Rare and Strange Plants

Whew! What a week!

The weather in Victoria seems to be declining steadily, shorts have been replaced with pants and a sweater seems almost essential to leave the house in the morning. The temperature has dropped down to 10 C and I fear a frost is right around the corner. Everyday after work is a mad dash to catch some sunlight and sort my plants into various groups of tenders, tropicals and succulents. With the sun now almost completely set at 7:00pm, the few hours I have after work are precious. It’s like cleaning up after a big party, the garden is slowly but surely dismantled and cleaned up. For the moment it’s a complete mess, no time to worry about day to day tidying, I have to find warm homes for my plants before it’s too late. My house is absolutely stuffed, and everyday I bring another load to the greenhouse.

“Oh hey (insert boss’s name here) mind if I overwinter some plants at the greenhouse?”
“Sure thing Nat, just put them in the corner”
(Evil laughter as a cube van pulls up with 1 million plants)

Passiflora caerulea loves the cool autumn weather.

Luckily I have excellent boss’s that encourage such plant madness or life would be much more depressing right now. While the first bay of the main house slowly fills with strange tropical specimens, a couple friend’s and I embark on building a greenhouse of our own at the back of the property. We got the A-OK from our fearless leaders and hope to get started pretty quick here. If everything works out it should be roughly 40ft long and 16ft wide, not bad for a couple of plant geeks.

I must admit at this time of plant dismantling I’m a bit overwelmed by it all. It’s only now that I get to see the sheer volume of my collection, and quite frankly it’s a bit out of control. A quick walk around the house counts a staggering 90+ potted plants, not including any cuttings or would be seed projects. Outside is a fully stocked garden 360 around the house, and now the greenhouse at work slowly fills up. I suppose my mission this year was to learn about plants, and what better way of doing it then to grow them. You’ve got to grow them to learn about them. I would say books barely scratch the surface with the idiosyncrasies of plants, watching them you seem to learn something new everyday.

With the cold chill in the air today I decided to take the matter of saving my tree echium into my own hands. I can”t wait for a truck any longer, I folded down my seats in my VW Golf and managed to get it in. The guy who car pools with me often makes a jokes when there isn’t any plants in my car, as if something’s amiss. You know when you’ve gone down the deep end when.

Quickie Fall Tour October 2011:

Autumn spiders are out in full force.

A valentines day Gerbera that I bought for my girlfriend, allowed to rest, is now in the midst of another impressive display of flowers. Excellent.

Some fall asters I bought from a gardener near Shawnigan Lake really brighten up the place.

A sumac bonsai has great autumn colors.

Autumn colchicum spring out of nowhere.

Flowering from May until frost works just fine for me, Abutilon megapotamicum is a must have. While some treat this as an annual, this one is definitely getting stored in the greenhouse this year.

Last but not least, the cyclamen. If there is any reason to love fall, it’s these amazing little showstoppers.


Thanks for stopping by!

4 Responses to The Great Plant Migration: Bringing in the tropical, tender and succulent

  • Tom says:

    I wish that I was just starting my plant migration… Those abutilon are so pretty! I’m also pretty sure I’m in love with that sumac bonsai.

  • Mark and Gaz says:

    Gorgeous flowers Nat! I guess every one in our hemisphere are in plant migration mode at the moment but the process can be enjoyable as you’ve demonstrated.

  • I just brought a bunch of plants inside a few weeks ago. No frost yet, but it’s already gotten down to about 5C here in Southern Ontario. I do the same thing! Can I bring a few plants in? 7ft foot banana, Ficus trees, Adenium, Colocasia, start 13 species of tropical plants… I might need an entire greenhouse.

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Mr Nat. Gardener, Plant Nerd
Tips and tales about gardening in one of the most mild climates in Canada. Specializing in rare and strange plants from far out destinations, this is the story of an obsessed young gardener in Victoria B.C. Let's create more tropical gardens in the garden city on the southern tip of Vancouver Island.