FAREWELL SQUARES – Marilyn Armstrong


Happy trails to the squares. I’ve made so many that I thought since this is the end of this month of squaring, I’ll just find all the ones I never got around to posting or posted, but forgot I posted them — and give you a mishmash of life here in the cold, wet woods.

So there will be birds and squirrels. Flying squirrels and raccoons. And a few flowers, just for the pretty colors.



After a winter of spring, we are now having the springtime of winter. All winter it was warm and now that it is really spring, it’s cold, grey, and rainy. So here are whatever flowers we happen to have lying around the house and garden.

It’s still pretty much all orchids and Christmas cactus in here. I wish I had another flower to add to the mix!

THE INDOOR GARDEN – Marilyn Armstrong


Owen added four more hefty plants to my indoor garden. The table is fully loaded. He also bought a bale of high-quality potting soil, so I finally got to repotting my Christmas Cacti, putting them into one larger pot. I repotted my Jade plant which was so heavy, it just kept falling over. They have no roots, but very heavy branches.

Green, green, it’s green they say

I put fresh fertilizer in the orchids, realized I have new shoots on the other orchids and had to find a new home for my cameras. If the plantings get any bigger, I’ll have to open another part of the table … but those sections are not as sturdy as the main section.


For the first time, this morning I wondered if we are going to survive this plague. I really never thought about it. Of course, I knew it was possible, but considering they have no idea when it will be over, it bears some pondering. I thought it odd that I never thought about it before.

Sideways orchids

Now, I’m back to just getting through the day. Trying to figure out how I’m going to make a 6 am shopping time.

Red cactus

So many people are wondering how they will manage to keep their home since they have no work nor any idea when or if they will work again. The animal shelters are desperate for donations, not knowing how they will manage to feed the animals they protect.

Full open orchids

And I can’t help. It bothers me that I am unable to help. The longer this goes on, the more my inability to help bothers me.


The Changing Seasons, February 2020

It has been a dreary February. To be fair, February is usually dreary, though it normally gets more snow. We didn’t get any snow in either January or February which is a record for the past 100 years. We did, however, get a lot of rain, so at least we won’t run out of water anytime soon.

An indoor garden

I didn’t get out much. It was dreary, dull, gray, and wet. Inside, I could take pictures of birds and flowers and my brand new quilt cover. I’m pretty sure I took other pictures, too, but I’m not sure what they were.

Macro Orchid

So first, let’s get to the orchids which have been blooming very well and there is suddenly a second branch with a lot more buds. Maybe this will be a long blooming period. Hope so!

Moving along, let’s take a look at the birds. This has been the month of Goldfinches. Red Finches too and the periodic visit by Nuthatches, Chickadees, woodpeckers of three varieties, Doves, Flying Squirrels, regular non-flying squirrels.

Now, a few cactus blooms …

My exciting new bedroom:

The new bedroom

And of course the concert we went to see with Ron and Cherrie, conducted by Dr. Anton Armstrong, Garry’s baby brother. It was a brilliant concert — and Anton was amazing.

And then we were on the road, to and from Ellin and Tom’s place in Connecticut.

Meanwhile, guess what Garry is working on?

What does this mean?

About The Changing Seasons

The Changing Seasons is a monthly challenge where bloggers around the world share what’s been happening in their month.

If you would like to join in, here are the guidelines:

  • The Changing Seasons Version One (photographic):
  • Each month, post 5-20 photos in a gallery that you feel represent your month
  • Don’t use photos from your archive. Only new shots.
  • Tag your posts with #MonthlyPhotoChallenge and #TheChangingSeasons so that others can find them.

The Changing Seasons Version Two (you choose the format):

  • Each month, post a photo, recipe, painting, drawing, video, whatever that you feel says something about your month
  • Don’t use archive stuff. Only new material!
  • Tag your posts with #MonthlyPhotoChallenge and #TheChangingSeasons so others can find them.
  • If you do a ping-back to this post, Su-Leslie can update it with links to the other posts.


Feb 27, 2020 – The Suicidal Tendencies of Cacti & Orchids

I am embarrassed by the growth of my cacti and orchids. I have been growing plants forever. Indoor plants. I’m not much of an outdoor grower because my back has been in pretty bad shape most of my life. I had surgery on it when I was 19 and it has not improved with the years. The bending over needed for successful outdoor gardening has never worked for me.

I have grown enough indoor plants to make up two full-size nurseries. Not here in Massachusetts. I don’t have the right light here … or for that matter, a place to put them. As it is, I have more plants than I planned to have. People give me plants. All the plants I have were gifts. I didn’t buy any of them. The ones I had bought years ago got too big for this house.

My Dracaena Marginata was almost 10-feet tall before I finally rehomed it to someone with a tall green room. I grew another dracaena and when it got to about 9-feet tall, it too was rehomed.

That was “it” for boughten plants. Since then, I was given two Christmas cactuses — a pink one and a red one. A big philodendron. A small, but rapidly growing Jade tree. A Norfolk Island pine. And a pot of mixed plants that included orchids which regrew and flowered once, then died on round two. It turned out I was overwatering them and didn’t give them any fertilizer. Oops.

Until I moved to Massachusetts, I never convinced anything to flower. My plants grew huge and I had to move them to houses that had more space for them, but they never flowered. Then, finally, we settled here and I put my couple of plants which had survived my many moves into the only room with a big window and a place to put plants stands … and flowers grew. Suddenly, the Christmas cacti bloomed like mad and even the orchids grew. Orchids? I had been told orchids were impossible and needed special growing conditions.

I feel a little out of my league, florally speaking. The plants grow, but I don’t feel like I’m doing anything much to make that happen. I put them in the window. I water them when they are dry. I stick some 10-10-10 fertilizer in the soil, find a few ice cubes. Buds turn into flowers and everyone congratulates me like I did something special.

Trust me. I didn’t do anything special. Mostly, I didn’t do anything at all.

I put the plants in the window and every now and then, watered them. I know what conditions seem to work, but they aren’t necessarily easy to replicate. It’s a room where most of the light comes from the window and where the lights in the room are rarely turned on. I know that’s what helps the cactus to bloom. The room is cool, around 65 degrees in the winter, maybe 70 in the summer. It’s a northeast window. Sun in the early morning, bright light without sunlight the rest of the day. As little water as I can give them. And very little fussing with them.

Is there more to it? I don’t know. That more or less sums up my knowledge of my current plants, which are very different than the plants I used to have. I have never been able to grow a Norfolk pine before. They always died on me. I never got a Christmas cactus to flower or even considered the possibility of flowering my own orchids.

It’s probably why I’m so astonished that they are all flowering. It isn’t the pride of craft. More like amazement at my sheer good luck.


FOTD – 02-11-2020 – Christmas Cactus

I didn’t even realize it had started blooming because part of the table cloth on which the plants stand is red. But it’s blooming. Not with quite the verve it showed last November and December, but definitely blooming. And I gave it a shot of 10-10-10 fertilizer because it’s a cactus so I thought what worked for an orchid might reasonably work for a cactus. I hope I’m right. I guess we’ll find out soon enough.

Red blooms

Wider shot