August 01, 2011

Familiarity in the Garden Does not Breed Contempt

While I'm trying to stay inside instead of being out too long in the heat and sun I'm making plans for cold weather. Determined to have fragrance and blossoms year 'round, there are a few short weeks that have to be supplemented with forced bulbs. I brought out my copy of Wilson and Bell's The Fragrant Year(1967), older than many of my readers.

Amaryllis 'Exotica' 2009

Flowers have not changed; some of the names are different. Acidanthera Murieliae is now known as Gladiolus callianthus or Abyssian Gladiolus. I bought some bulbs in the spring and failed to plant them timely. They're coming up and need water. I hope to see their fragrant blooms this fall.

What I am after is to review which hyacinths, tulips and amaryllis I want to force. I am distracted by descriptions of fragrant plants, some familiar, some not. Tea olive is described as a winter window plant. Here it blooms from fall to spring outdoors except in the very harshest cold. I read of other fragrant night blooming cacti besides Epiphyllum oxypetalum which is again laden with buds here: Trichocereus candicans, Peniocereus Greggii, Nyctocereus serpintinas, Arthrocereus microsphaericus. I make a note to look at nurseries online.

I reach the chapter on indoor plants. Mid-October for hyacinths and mid-November for paperwhite narcissus to bloom in time for Christmas. I'm not in a rush for Christmas, there are Poinsettias for the Season. Bleak January needs blooms and fragrance, so any failure of blooms for Christmas will brighten January's chill.

I hurry past passages about plants I know I won't seek out. I stop when I see Asparagus species. Fragrant blooms? I didn't know that. I resolve to dig my Foxtail Ferns from the front bed and pot up before fall. I read that my potted Gardenia may bloom from January to June if I'm lucky.
Calla Lily 2009
I read on through the text, then the list of 'other plants to try' adding Zantedeschia aethiopica to my list. I've brought them to flower inside, other years.

I decide to order white, yellow and Gypsy Queen Hyacinths to force. Now the choice for Amaryllis will be between an apricot like the one I grew in 2009 or white. Maybe I'll pot up some tiny 'Canaliculatus' daffodils and some 'Princess Irene' tulips or 'De Wet' -- all of these should have been ordered last month. The last time I tried to grow tulips they were eaten by Baby Buffy just before they bloomed. Buffy is older now and better behaved. I'll put them on a high shelf just in case.

Princess Irene 2006 when I believed I could grow tulips.

Gardening should be Easy as Life.

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