Bringing the garden indoors |

Bringing the garden indoors

by JoAnne Skelly

I’m not a fan of toiling in the heat. I do very little yard work when it’s hot. Sure, I could get up at dawn and garden for a couple of hours or stay up late and work in the yard at sunset, but I rarely do. After our COVID-19 spring where I put in long hours doing yard maintenance, I have succumbed to the heat and taken my gardening, such as it is, indoors.

Last week I divided African violets, getting five new ones out of one old one. I had carefully removed them from the old pot and after initially trying to gently tease apart the individual plants that had developed, I ended up using a knife to slice through the roots. Although African violets are quite forgiving, I did wonder when they wilted for days if they would make it. Today they are looking better so I trimmed off some limp lower leaves and watered them thoroughly. One is for my dear friend Marie so I do hope they thrive.

My celery plant I wrote about a month ago is thriving in its pot. One stalk of celery is ready to eat. I use the leaves in salads and various hot dishes. I also started an avocado plant from a pit. Remember when you were a kid and put three toothpicks into the pit to hold it in a jar of water? That’s exactly what I did – oh shades of childhood! After three weeks a lovely white root came out. After a few more days I can see the green developing inside the cracked pit. I planted that today in a fairly deep pot in order that the long root will have plenty of room. I don’t really expect an avocado tree. This is more of an entertaining experiment.

I have two citronella geraniums. One is the offspring of the sprig I got at a friend’s house three years ago. My original plant is four feet tall and two feet wide. Because it is such a hardy grower, I do a heavy prune a couple of times a year. I could start any number of plants with the cuttings just by placing them in water and waiting for roots. One year I started 12 plants and donated them to The Greenhouse Project for their annual plant sale. I use their crushed leaves as a mosquito repellent.

As I wait for the weather to cool a bit, I’m enjoying my indoor “garden.”

JoAnne Skelly is Associate Professor & Extension Educator, Emerita, University of Nevada Cooperative Extension. She can be reached at