IT’S ONCE AGAIN time to contemplate bringing your tender plants indoors. Or letting them die in peace, or place: With Halloween coming, the sometimes grotesquely charming withering of the fruits of your summer labor is an option to consider.
But first a note about tags.
Some months ago I rhapsodized about the surprising return of the ginger plants, which I couldn’t recall planting in the first place as they emerged in a rather odd location in the front garden.
Baby, adopting a superior attitude that one would not expect from one’s only child—for whom I forfeited my 21-inch waistline, not to mention the labor pains—wrote in the web comments on that piece that they weren’t gingers, but cannas that we had purchased last summer, on a trip to visit her and her Personal Prince Pete in Raleigh, North Carolina, Land of the Fried HoHos. She took three, I took three, and that’s how they came to be (that rhymes).
At the time, I also assumed that the stalks arising from another large pot were bananas, and I spent the rest of the summer fretting over their mingy growth.
How I can write a garden column and be such a lousy gardener escapes me. If I had put a tag somewhere in the vicinity of either I would have remembered that I was wrong about both.
So, Baby was in town this past weekend for the Women’s March—which she attended with My Prince while I was busily atoning for the family sins, being as it was Yom Kippur (an obnoxious and insensitive date to elect for any march relating to inclusivity, I might add). Baby excused herself, saying this was the way she chose to honor the day (or some such). Okay then. Trot your Irish half on down and take a knee for me in front of the Trump Hotel.
I’m getting to the point here, hold your horseradish.
As we were stepping out on Saturday night to break the holiday fast with friends, she said something like, “Whoa, Mama! Your ginger is blooming.”
And I said, “What ginger?” Since I assumed the ginger had expired. (See Paragraph 3).
But there, nestled in the pot that I thought was filled with recalcitrant bananas were three brilliant pink flowers nestled among the stiff green stalks.
This was very exciting and I pointed with my cane (which I claim is in use because of a trapeze accident) and said, “Move the ginger to the front corner, and the pot of bird of paradise to the back”—I’m positive that they are bird of paradise even though they have no tags and have done precisely nothing all summer but sit in their pot and ask for water.
And she said, “Stop pointing with your cane, it’s obnoxious,” as she waddled across the yard with one pot and waddled back with the other.
The ginger certainly looks perky next to the front walk, a cunning complement to the pink geraniums in the window boxes.
Getting back to the subject of this piece, it is time to contemplate moving your tender plants indoors for the winter. May I suggest a nice merlot and a perch on the back porch steps while you do so. That always works well for me.
With a little luck, someone will show up and do it for you.
LittleBird Stephanie “Gardens” writes every week about gardening in the city.