Saturday, October 16, 2010


Once a month or so Tony gets together with a group of friends for a poker night. While the men are playing, the women gather separately.  We go out to dinner, then back to someone's house for socializing.  I found out a few days ago that tonight was my turn to host.  I started thinking about a place to eat and took a good look around the house.  Time for a bit of deferred maintenance!

I always use occasions like this as motivation to do bigger cleaning jobs around the house.  I washed the windows on the main level (inside and outside), dusted the light in the two-story foyer, and lifted up the edges of the area rug in the dining room to clean under them.

This morning I swept the front porch, dead headed a few flowers, and trimmed some wayward greenery.  As I was doing the outside chores, I noticed the planter on the edge of the front porch.  It was empty because I forgot to ask the cat sitter to water those plants while we were on vacation. Everything was dead when we returned, and I never got around to putting in something else.  The planter needed something in it, so I decided I'd go to the hardware store and buy something to make it look pretty.

The Big Box store has a Garden Center at one end, with a selection of plants on benches outside. At this time of year, there aren't a whole lot of options for color. I saw mums of different sizes, and a few sad-looking pansies.  I was ready to buy some small mum plants at two dollars each, but decided to look inside to see if there was anything else.  Much to my delight, there was a plant shelf across from the register holding Ornamental Kale plants.  The shelf had a sign indicating these plants were 75 cents each, but that amount had been crossed out-each plant was now only 25 cents.  What a deal!  At that price, many of the plants had seen better days, but I picked out eight decent looking ones. The plants had small green leaves with smooth wavy edges, and the interior rosette was a beautiful red-purple color.

I made my purchase, and hurried home to get my plants in the ground.  The tag said to space the plants 8 to 12 inches apart, but I crammed the eight small specimen into my planter, setting them only a couple of inches apart so I could have immediate fullness. I don't have to worry about crowding; based on my past experience, the plants in this planter die after the first hard frost, so these new ones won't have a whole lot of time to get bigger.


  1. I do the same's to have guests one in a while! You look at your house with a completely different eye!

  2. I love Kale plants, and I envy that you did some cleanup! You're right, no better incentive than to have people over!

  3. Is ornamental kale different from the edible kale?

  4. I always think my house looks okay . . . until someone is about to come over. When I look at it through a visitor's eyes, I start to panic!

    We used to grow and eat kale from our garden, when I was a kid. I haven't had it in years, though.