I started planting spring flowers. It’s a bit late for some, if I followed the instructions strictly – but last year some of my plants have grown too feeble, because I kept them inside the house and they obviously did not have enough light. So I decided to plant them later this time – then, when the weather is warm enough, I could bring them outside while they are still small, which would hopefully help them grow stronger.

Last summer I found this colorful Indian basket in a local classifieds website, and I decided that it would be a great storage for bulbs. (Nick said that it looked like a vessel for snake charmers, and he often jokes that there must definitely be a cobra lurking inside). When a plant was overblown, I stored the bulbs in it (after leaving them to dry and cleaning them from the soil).

I thought that later I could simply tell them apart by size, shape and color – but in fact it is not so easy. Some are white or with purplish tint (gladioli), but generally there’s a pile of brownish bulbs, so I am not sure to which plants they belong, when should I plant them, etc.

I cleaned them from the old roots and the husks, and then I tried sorting them in my Indian enamel bowls.

I don’t mind having mixed plants in the pots – but they bloom at various times, so it would be better if I could recognize them before planting.

Well… may be next time.

At least I knew which were the new bulbs that I already planted – tulips (Texas Flame, Parrot Prince, etc.), ranunculus and several varieties of fritillaria.

I am especially excited about the fritillarias – another one of my Grandma’s favorite plants, which I recently discovered. In my childhood memories, there were beautiful clusters of orange bell-like blooms on tall stems in her garden. For some reason Grandma called these flowers “brides”, and I didn’t know what was their real name.

But I saw them accidentally online, and then I found some bulbs in the “men’s mall”, as Nick calls the home improvement stores. I sometimes join him when he visits one, because they sell plants too.
Last time when we were in one, I was looking for bromelias – we had beautiful ones last year.

They were overblown long ago. I planted the new shoots – I’ve read that it would take a year for them to reach maturity. Now I wanted some new blooming plants, so that I could alternate them with the others later.

But there were so many other beautiful plants in the store, that I skipped the bromelias this time.

I saw the primroses first – there were some in lovely bright shades.

Last week we had primroses blooming in the yard – very unusual for January. It was really warm for the season, and it looked more like spring than winter.

But then it got colder, and the snow killed the blooms. I am sure they will bloom again in March – but until then I’ll have these inside.

I planted them in my favorite colorful ceramic pots, after I moved the bromelia shoots elsewhere.

I also got siningias – plants that I’ve wished to have for a long time.

I had one years ago, while we still lived in the apartment, but unfortunately it did not last long.

I used to think that I was unable to keep plants alive – and this was often the case. After we moved in here three years ago, I thought I wouldn’t have the time and energy to grow anything again. But to my own surprise, after the exhausting months of moving and arranging our stuff, I suddenly wanted to try gardening again. I started researching more about each plant and the care they required, and I managed to grow a lot of plants, even from seeds. I really enjoy looking at the flowers and taking care of them, especially in spring and summer, when they can stay outside on the porch. They feel better there – and so do we.

Another wonderful find from the “men’s mall” – calathea crocata.

I never had such a plant before. I think the combination of the dark reddish leaves and the flame-like blooms is beautiful – the orange really stands out against this background.

I use flowers a lot in my work too. This is my new project – Magic Garden.

I was inspired by this ethnic Mola embroidery (found on eBay.)

Then I saw a black embroidered dress in a small online second hand shop, and I thought the embroidery would look just right in combination with my Mola piece.

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