With bitter cold temperatures, snowy gray skies, and a light cover of snow, the outdoor view today is not very much different from the one I showed you the last time I wrote a Tuesday’s View post, four weeks ago:781To relieve the outside monotony, today I open my doors and invite you inside for an Epiphany visit to my living and dining rooms.

The two rooms are really one rather long, somewhat narrow room, divided into living and dining areas by the furniture.  Here, taken from the dining room, is the view of the living room, with its northeast facing window:009The cyclamen in the bottom left corner is new to me this year, a gift from one of my violin students.  Near the window on the left-hand wall, you can see my Crown of Thorns with its tiny red blossoms.  The big, furry, gray lump on the love seat is Bad Kitty (aka Schroedinger; aka Dingbat).

I love so much about our Christmas tree–the pretty ornaments, the sparkling lights, the feeling of warmth and coziness it brings to the room–that I may err on the side of leaving it up on the cusp of too long.  I do like to leave it up until at least Epiphany, and I also like to make a family party out of taking it down, serving up the last of the Christmas cookies and playing Christmas music one last time until next Thanksgiving.  With two over-scheduled high school children, it’s too hard to do this on a week night, so we usually say good-bye to the Christmas trimmings on the weekend following January 6. It was a beauty this year, for sure!011

OK, back to today!  Here is a shot of the electric fireplace and mantel.  This window here faces north.  It’s a great place for plants that want a lot of light but not direct sun.  Sometimes the a shoot of the heartleaf Philodendron on the left corner of the mantel grows its way right through the lace curtain, or even attaches itself to the wall behind it!005Moving left, we enter the dining room, with its north-facing window.  During the rest of the year, my African violets live on the table at this window.  Right now they are taking a sabbatical upstairs in the master bathroom, consorting with the orchids!
037A good deal of plant shuffling happens in this house every Christmas-time, to make room for the tree and all the extra decorations.  I tucked a small table against the wall between the pink armchair and the sofa so a Tri-color Peperomia and a a basket of different Philodendrons that came to me as a gift when my now fourteen year old daughter was born would have a place to live:015Turning ninety degrees to the left, here is the opposite end of these rooms, with a west-facing window. Four jars full of rooting plants sit on the windowsill.  Two are Coleus.  Another is the Pineapple Sage I liked so well on my side porch this summer.  Even in water, the two shoots have actually bloomed for me a couple of times!  The smallest jar contains two shoots of Salvia greggi, Texas Sage, from the lasagna garden.  Since it is not hardy in my zone, I decided to take some cuttings in hopes of having it again next year.  They did take root nicely, but are now beginning to look a bit anemic.  I think I better pot them up soon and perhaps keep them under the lights in the basement, or I may lose them.  029A fifteen year old Schefflera stands in the corner.  It sulks every year when I bring it inside after its summer vacation on the front porch.  Just look at the leaves it has dropped in just the past two days since I last swept under it!022I just don’t love this poor plant as it is, but I cannot bring myself to just get rid of it.  I am considering taking cuttings from it and starting over, giving it a fresh start for a new year.

Thanks for stopping by to visit!  I hope you’ve enjoyed your time here today.  Best wishes to everyone for a bright and happy New Year!046