my indoor garden and medicine cabinet

I'm lucky enough to have a little balcony on the north side of my apartment. Through the summer months, I grew herbs and flowers there, mostly for the joy of having living things surrounding me, but also for cooking and making teas. But now that we're midway through fall, it's time to take down my little garden. Some prefer to live outside in the winter, and some have to come in. 

Some plants I bring inside because I like to have them around, others I bring in because they won't survive the frosts. In the picture above, the rosemary and geranium wouldn't make it through our western New York winter. Everything else would fall back, go dormant, and return in the spring. 

I left quite a few plants outside this year, because I know they really like a long winter’s nap. Chives, for instance, grow from a bulb. Anything that grows from a bulb tends to need dormant periods. The lavender also likes a nap, but the real issue is that it’s quite hard to keep alive and happy in my apartment. Plants that are allowed to flower and go to seed (like my columbines in the white pot) should be allowed to rest in the winter. Other perennials that didn't adjust well to balcony life (like the lemon balm) can be left outside over winter, and, if all goes well, start fresh in the spring. 

I know it's typical for people in the northern hemisphere to favor south-facing windows for plants, but mine never do well there. I'm not sure if it's too cold or what, but I'm trying a new location this year. A north-facing sliding glass door (lots of indirect light!) with blinds (to keep in the heat at night). When you're keeping plants indoors during the colder months, it's important to group them together to conserve moisture and heat. 

I'm keeping my herbs and supplies with my garden (it looks pretty cute). I have all my tinctures (in various stages) and dried herbs (in jars and bags) here. 

I also have several more plants in my house. During the winter, when your windows are all closed, it's a good idea to have lots of plants around to purify the air and add oxygen to your environment. And having living things around helps brighten your mood!

Spider plant (Chlorophytum comosum) and christmas cactus (Schlumbergera)

Air plant (Tillandsia)

false rose of Jericho (Selaginella lepidophylla)

Not sure what this is, but it's on the mend from an emergency re-pot

another mystery houseplant

aloe vera

hydroponic basil

philodendron above, golden pothos below

white moth orchid

This winter I intend to really be aware of the plants living in my apartment—I want them to thrive, and not just survive (like usual). And for good reason! A few of my house plants (e.g. aloe vera, false rose of jericho) can be used in herbal medicine, and I intend to explore them. 

More important, though, is to remember that health and wellness is not only a physical state, but a mental one. As we enter into a (seemingly endless) season of cold and lifelessness, it's appropriate we surround ourselves with life, and fresh oxygenated air (in lieu, of course, of kittens). 


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