Octo𝘣𝘦𝘳 14, 2020

Melissa has been spending much of her free time researching her succulents.  She has already potted most of them.  Some are in pots by themselves and others are in potted arrangements.  All have small tags stuck in the soil next to the plant with both their common and scientific names.  While the pots and soil have been a major expense, she has found ways to innovatively cut corners.  After researching what is in the succulent potting soil, she now buys the various ingredients and makes her own.  The pots range from beautifully decorative, to simple terra cotta, to whatever can be found by friends in garage sales.  This has been a labor-intensive job, but it is a labor of love.

Part of Melissa’s research involved determining which of the succulents and cacti could survive in the ground in our Zone 7 summers and winters.  She had a “near death” experience with several of the large succulents this summer.  The Aeonium varieties go dormant in the summer and Melissa had planted them under a tree in our front bed.  Apparently while they can take the lower temperatures, they do not do well in the heat.  All the leaves turned brown and started to fall.  When they were brought inside, they began to recover, and are now coming out of dormancy and beginning to flourish.

Most of the potted plants are either on the shaded front step or the screened sunporch on the back.  These have been great incubators this summer but will not work for the winter.  We thought through several possibilities.  We explored installing double paned windows but that is cost prohibitive.  Then we tried to figure a way to put them in the shop.  We even found a heat pump for one of the windows.  There is no water and not much light so we moved on.  Finally, we hit on a 10-mil greenhouse plastic.  We found online videos about how to install it into the screen frames but came to a simpler solution.  We decided to attach the plastic with Velcro.  We put up all the tape and attached one of the panels to make sure it would work.  This is also easy to open on the warmer winter days to give the plants some air.   I think the plants are ready to face their first winter.

𝗧𝗛𝗢𝗨𝗚𝗛𝗧𝗦:  The planning, planting, and potting have taken a lot of Melissa’s free time.  Many weekend days were devoted to the task, along with at least some attention every evening.  The project came at a good time.  It not only provided a focus but diverted attention away from the lockdown.  My Blog has served the same purpose for me.  What I find interesting is how many others have stepped in to help (Thank You!).  Three of Melissa’s friends are on the lookout for pots and used shelves.  Many of my family have been feeding me ideas for what to Blog on.  I have found this to be true in other areas as well.  The BLM movement includes all ages and ethnicities.  Antiracism is being explored by whites and BIPOCs.  Food is being hand out and delivered even while masks and sanitizer is required.  Blood and antibody donations are beginning to rise.  This has been a labor-intensive job, but it is a labor of love.   Do the work.  Change is coming and it starts with you.

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