This Week's Podcast: In From Vacation: Saving Tender Plants with Kathy Tracey
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Like every year, I haven’t gotten all of the houseplants back inside after their summer vacation outdoors. They’ve been basking in bright light under a tree, enjoying the rain that filters through to wash their leaves and gentle breezes that toughen their stems and leaves. Each year, I swear I am going to get them in by September 15th, and for sure, before the heat goes on. And each year, there are stragglers as the danger of a frost looms.
Kathy Tracey, co-owner of Avant Gardens, a mail order nursery and garden design/build firm in Dartmouth, Massachusetts was trained as a painter and textile designer. She has become well known for her experimental, unexpected mixes of tender plants – mostly succulents – in seasonal containers. You can see some of her designs here. Colorful fleshy rosettes of Echeveria star in these plantings. Keeping those succulents for next year presents some challenges.
We talk about saving some of these plants. Sometimes, she takes cuttings when she cannot bring the entire plants in. Other plants are cut back and cuttings are taken in late winter from the new growth before the original plant is relegated to the compost pile. Other plants are simply houseplants.
We want to bring the houseplants in, but leave any hitchhikers outside. We talk about that, too, repotting and other things to do when your indoor plants prepare for winter.