Saturday, 31 October 2015

Chinese Lanterns

When we lived in the house before this one, somebody gave us armfuls of beautiful Chinese Lanterns she'd grown and dried. I kept them for several years, until they got too brittle and dusty to bring here when we moved.

In recent years I've been trying to grow my own. They are supposed to be easy - but can also be invasive in moist soil.

Year one: I planted them in a dry spot. They died.

Year two: Planted them in a large pot, but didn't water enough. They died.

Year three: Planted more in the same pot, but they got overshadowed by other things around them. I had only one or two lanterns among all the foliage.

This year: Was more conscientious with the watering, but realised too late that I should have staked them. All my stems grew crooked, instead of nice and straight.
Then I had the quandary of how to dry. Some websites said hang them upside down, others said the right way up. I dried mine upside down, but now my little lanterns mostly poke upwards instead of having that pretty droppy down effect! In addition, I managed to put my foot through the green garden chair, visible in the photo above, and cut the back of my leg! Don't worry though. It has already become a story.

Next year's mission will be to grow perfect Chinese Lanterns. All advice appreciated. Every year the prospect of winter seems worse, and I need the lanterns' vibrant colours against the enervating darkness.

In other news, I am delighted to have a story close to my heart in the latest People's Friend Special, number 114. Also a poem in issue 5 of the online magazine Kishboo. The former was inspired by my fascination with sewing; the latter, my fascination with the moon.

Kishboo publishes rhyming, light-hearted poetry, runs a quarterly short story competition, and includes various articles on writing. Do take a look.

Have a happy Halloween. May your pumpkins glow bright, and all your ghosts be friendly.


Nicola said...

You have obviously conquered the art of perseverence, Joanne. I'm sure you will perfect your lanterns. It's quite rememiscent of writing, isn't it? A lovely post. Thoroughly enjoyed reading it. Have a lovely weekend.

joanne fox said...

Perseverance is easier with some things than others! Thanks for visiting, Nicola. Have a lovely weekend yourself. x

Teresa Ashby said...

I love that you haven't given up on the Chinese Lanterns.
Congratulations on the story and poem.
Happy Halloween :-) xx

joanne fox said...

Thanks Teresa. I hope to do better with my lanterns next year! Have a lovely weekend. x

Wendy's Writing said...

How lovely - We are magazine sisters, Joanne :)

joanne fox said...

Yes, I noticed your name too, Wendy!

Pat Posner said...

Hi, Joanne
Loved "Making a Difference" in the Friend Special.
Also love Chinese lanterns but have given up trying to grow them. I'm clinging to the rather faded ones I've got in a vase along with some Honesty and a couple of artificial (silk I think) lanterns.
Wishing you loads of success with next year's try.

Starting Over, Accepting Changes - Maybe said...

If at first, you don't succeed, try, try try and maybe one more try again.

joanne fox said...

Pat - glad you enjoyed the story! We have honesty that comes up by itself in the garden. I hadn't thought of combining it with the lanterns. Thanks for the idea!

Arleen - yes, that's the only way to do it! Thanks for visiting.

Keith Havers said...

Congratulations on the PF story, Joanne. Hope your leg is o.k.

Jenny Woolf said...

I never thought they'd be so hard to. Grow. In my mums garden the problem was keeping them down. Admittedly it was by a river which ties in with your point about water.

joanne fox said...

Hi Keith. A lot better, thank you!

Jenny - I wouldn't risk them in a damp spot. I have enough invasive things already!

Rosemary Gemmell said...

Almost missed this post, Joanne! I haven't seen those Chines lanterns grown before and assumed you were talking about the large ones that float! Well done on the success.

joanne fox said...

Thanks Rosemary.