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Good heavens, I think I forgot all about this blog for six months. It’s not been a good year for me so far: not only did I hurt my hand just after Christmas, but I spent February and March sick (first the cold, then bronchitis). I can blame the screwy winter weather we had, but only partially. I unfortunately lost a few houseplants while I was sick in bed.

Anyway, now the spring weather has started and my lungs have seemingly cleared up, I’ve finally been able to get outside and start the year’s gardening. Some cleanup’s been done, the bonsai have been root-pruned (with the help of a “student”), I’ve begun the process of moving the potted plants outside from the garage, and the rainbarrels have…not really been set up yet.

Right now one barrel is in place, but last summer two of the rainbarrels developed cracks. I really have no idea why. One crack formed on the side of the barrel that was facing the sun…and the other developed on the side facing away from the sun. Over winter I found that regular silicone sealant didn’t cut it (I didn’t think it would, but you always try the simplest fix first, right?).

A couple days ago I applied resin-impregnated rigid-setting fibreglass patches to the outsides of the barrels, and then applied aquarium-grade silicone to the cracks on the inside. I hope the fibreglass patches will be able to hold back the pressure of the water pushing against the cracks, because if not, I’m not sure what else I can try, other than putting in liners. The sealant takes 48 hours to cure completely, so tomorrow I’ll put the barrels in place and wait for rain (which at this time of the year won’t take long).

What else? The one rainbarrel did get full a few days ago, so I sent most of that water to the tub pond. The last barrel is still in the garage, holding a little of last year’s rainwater that I need for the carnivorous plants and aquarium. The honeysuckle (Lonicera tatarica) is pruned back and the tulips are sprouting well. Some seeds have been started indoors, but I really need to get a move on and sow the others outside.

I suppose the only really noteworthy thing, plant-wise, at the moment, is that back in February, the pineapple plant finally flowered! I started that plant four years ago, using the top cut off from a store-bought pineapple. In good conditions it should only take two years or so to flower, but let’s face it, here in the cold white North we only have half a growing season (from a tropical plant’s point of view). I have to admit that I often wondered if it would ever flower at all.

The picture below is a month old, and it was taken roughly a month after I first noticed the bud (sick, remember, and not really a camera enthusiast). Right now the actual flowers have poked out of the nascent pineapple, and when that’s done the real growth begins. What impressed me the most is how much the thing looked like a pineapple from the start.

Pineapple 2019 03 06 (1 month)