Every Saturday I have two regular features on GardenLine: I begin the program with I Love This Plant/I Hate This Plant, and I start the second hour with Green Thumbs Up/Green Thumbs Down. This morning, they came together nicely and even tied in with the Valentine’s Day holiday. I love it when things spontaneously mesh.
The plant I am loving today is Kalanchoe “Magic Bells.” Like other Kalanchoe, this one has succulent leaves, but instead of a compact crown of tiny, bright flowers, this plant has a tall spire that is topped with green bell-shaped blooms. I fell for it in the garden center and brought it home last week.
This plant has “impulse purchase” written all over it. My suspicion is that this Kalanchoe isn’t very long lasting… not that the red and orange flowering types are long-lived plants. If I want to keep one around I’ll have to take cuttings, and since it is triggered into bloom by a dry spell and short days, I’ll need to stop watering in the fall if I want those cuttings to flower.
Even if I end up tossing it in the compost I’m loving this plant. Like other flowering plants that are sold at this time of year, this purchase satisfies a longing for warmer weather. It is our way of anticipating the gardening season, or pushing spring, as Lou and Peter Berryman say.
Which brings me to my Green Thumbs Up/Green Thumbs Down for the week. My thumbs were solidly up for such a purchase. As the winter is, hopefully, winding down, we need seeds and flowering plants to remind us that the season of rebirth is at hand. I played Lou and Peter Berryman’s Pushing Spring Tango to illustrate, and pointed out that it contains tips on romancing out-of-control plant people, on Valentine’s Day and beyond.
Pushing Spring Tango
It isn’t forty four degrees
There is no green yet in the trees
It may be March but even so
There’s still a foot of snow
Tonight it’s gonna freeze
What green there is is in her thumb
As her seed catalogs have come
She can take those five below nights
As long as she has growlights
Her life is not so glum
Don’t try to tell her she has to wait for robins to sing
Don’t ever say she’s jumping the gun by pushing the spring
She’ll wave a dirty trowel and say so what if I do
If you had spent your life in Wisconsin, you’d push it too
You could try wooing her with wine
Although you’ll have to stand in line
Behind a tuber in a tub
An ornamental shrub
And cuttings off a vine
Don’t bring her poems of romance
But know the names of all her plants
Don’t buy a diamond to surprise her
But bring some fertilizer
And you may stand a chance
Now you are nothing in her eyes
If you don’t photosynthesize
If you have leaves instead of hair
Then you may get somewhere
I doubt it otherwise
Don’t bother opening your shirt
Unless you’re green she doesn’t flirt
She will ignore your conversation
Her mind’s on germination
Her heart is in the dirt…
Cute, isn’t it? Love the song and love the plant. Happy Valentine’s Day… now get out there and push the spring!