Wednesday, December 11, 2013

My Florida room and newfound green thumb

Welcome to my favorite place in my home: my Florida room. "A Florida room" is a closed in porch on the front of the house. Just a fancy name for a porch I guess, and I had never heard of one until I moved here and had one. It gets maximum sunlight so it is perfect for my new hobby or gardening and growing herbs. This room is where I love to spend my down time.

Never in a million years did I even think I could grow things and keep them alive! In Georgia, I had a pothos plant for a few years, but only because it required little light and I watered it every Sunday, the same day I did laundry. It was an easy reminder. Then I went out of town for a week, forgot to water it, and then messed up the schedule, next thing I know it's dead and I never came back from the black thumb. I'd kill mint. Yes. Mint. It's supposed to be impossible to kill mint but I've killed a few. 

When we found this house, I told myself this room would be the perfect excuse and push to get me to try again, and really try. My sister, Rachael, has been a huge help in cultivating my newfound green thumb. We started with a trip to a local nursery in August. I bought rosemary, parsley, and thyme. She brought me lavender and hibiscus. I killed the parsley (not enough drainage), the thyme (too much water), and the lavender is now outside and huge, the hibiscus needs to go in the ground. And the rosemary is doing great, but the leaves always curl under. I think it's too humid for it, and needs to remain outside.

Rachael comes over on most Fridays, when she doesn't have class and helps me repot plants, and gave me advice and inspiration. She is such a natural with growing things! Rachael has an apartment across town with a balcony full of plants, all strategically placed to get optimal sunlight. She even gave me a lime/lemon from her hybrid tree last week, and it was so delicious.

Rachael and I negotiated a temporary trade for the chaise, and she got a vintage rolling cart for her apartment. While Matt and I were going to build a day bed out of pallet wood and cushions, this made for a much easier, and probably more comfortable option. I'm soooo in love with it, and so are the cats hehe. Matt also built me the pallet shelf, above, for the poinsettias (they have to be off the ground since they're poisonous to the animals) and a table by the window. I love having a handy boyfriend. Next, I want a small bookshelf behind the headrest of the chaise for my books (hint hint, Matt, if you're reading this).

While the room isn't climate controlled, it makes for an even better atmosphere. It's nice and hot in the summer (I love the heat of summer). With all the windows open, a nice breeze rolls through that makes it perfect to just relax. It's especially lovely at night. And in the winter, it's cold but not too cold, and I can't wait to stay curled under a blanket on the chaise and read a good book with hot spiced cider.

We've lived in our home for about six months now, and it's finally looking like we live here. With Matt and I merging our two households a few years ago, and then moving to a new city and state, we're still in that phase of getting the right decor and accent pieces to make our house a home. Pillows here, a wall hanging there. I have a list as long as my arm of things I want to change and fix and make. I'm trying to go out of my comfort zone and try new things that aren't in my instinct as far as decor.

Next step: more holiday decorations! We're saving the majority of our Christmas lights for Shelby this weekend, for Holidazzle, then we're decorating the rest of the house. I can't wait! 

My plants! It's a miracle! I'm growing things from seed! We're laying out the plans for a large outdoor garden, and we're getting the plants ready. Matt bought 2x4s for a large box raised above the yard, in the side yard, away from Zeus' normal running zone. Thankfully our yard is huge, more room than we can handle. I can't wait to have food that I've actually grown! We're planting peppers, tomatoes (roma and beefeater), mint, carrots, basil, rosemary, cucumbers, broccoli, and more. Matt did some research to find what plants can grow in Florida during the winer, and they just happen to be the veggies we eat most! Talk about living in the perfect place.

I'm so thankful for this little addition to our home. Sometimes working from home really bogs down my brain, making me a crazy manic workoholic. This room is my down time. My unwind time, "Sally-time". I don't take work into this room. I just sit, look at the plants, read, snuggle with cats. It's peaceful.  Now time to go check on my seedlings and water them all. 

I hope you enjoyed this little peek into my 'home'. Do you have any gardening tips you'd like to share? I'm so new to this, and can't wait to learn more. Propagating is next on my list. I'm trying to cultivate new lavender plants from my giant bush, so far with little luck. 

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