It didn’t look too inviting when I went outside on this soggy Saturday morn. The gray day and dull-looking sky sure didn’t beckon me to leave the confines of the cozy house. I really didn’t go far as it threatened to pour down at any minute, though it never did, probably because the great rain barrel in the sky was finally empty after the early morning downpour. Unlike my last post which praised the primary colors and the beautiful day, this gray day reminded me of the flower known as dusty miller … boring-looking, blah and rather nondescript. Several of the larger homes I pass on my daily trek have dusty miller plants lined up along their front gardens. The homeowners don’t yank them out when the growing season is over, and instead treat them as a perennial. I have seen these same dusty miller plants three years in a row rising phoenix-like from garden beds that are still saturated with decayed leaves and what not that has blown there during the course of the Winter. It seems the homeowners merely nip them down in the Spring and they, in turn, spring back to life. This morning I noticed all these dusty millers are still looking very sickly and bedraggled … but after all, I guess you’d look bedraggled too if you were weighted down by 94.8 inches of snow and then saturated with this incessant rain! If we ever get a little more sunshine and some warmth plus a few doses of Miracle-Gro, that will bring those dusty millers back and breathe new life into them. I wonder if recycling your dusty millers from year to year makes them become a hardier plant? They are one of the cheapest annuals available and even if you don’t have a green thumb, you simply cannot kill this plant. I use them to accent other flowers sometimes, as you see in the above picture from my garden. As to recycling your favorite annuals, many years ago I rode the bus with a woman who overwintered her bright red geraniums in a seldom-used hall closet. They didn’t look so hot when she replanted them come Spring, but she claimed they grew bigger and better than any geraniums you could buy from the finest nursery. For many years my neighbor Marge let me overwinter several hibiscuses and an ornamental mandevilla tree at her house in a sunny spot near her door wall. This trio of tropicals would drop most of their leaves and look rather pitiful over the course of the Winter. In the Spring, I pruned them back making them look really ugly, but once they got a dose or two of Miracle-Gro and the strong Summer sun to help them along, they were restored to their former beauty. When Marge got a dog and needed to use the door wall for Cody, I overwintered my plants in my basement and they were dead by Christmas. I guess Marge had the gardener’s magic touch as I sure didn’t. I can remember as a young girl, my father would dig up his canna bulbs every Fall and store them in our fruit cellar where they were safe from those bitter cold climes that we endured in Oakville, Ontario. Come Spring, he’d bury them in the soil in raised beds. They would grow huge by mid-Summer and their colorful flowers attracted alot of hummingbirds to our house. I’ve never bothered with bulbs except for my amaryllis that I mentioned in a post a few weeks ago and it never survived after the first year. I’ve got no indoor plants now, and likewise, each year my outside landscaping, like my life, gets less and less complicated.