October 20, 2012

Where Does the Time Go?

Where does the time go? I marvel at people who get so much done in a day.

It is hard to pull weeds while doing Constructive Staring, or pot up seedlings while dreaming of next spring's blossoms.

 Juanita in the Spring -- Daffodil bulbs to plant next month.
 In the North, you should be out planting now.

I spend too much time reading the blogs of others and trying out new ideas, like deciding which font looks like typewriter.

Viola seedlings

White Sweet William seedlings -- I think
every 3-year old seed sprouted.

Violas left and center; Sweet William right
I used two year old seeds, or maybe they were from 2009. In case they didn't germinate well I planted them very thickly. Fortunately I saved back some viola seeds because the dog chased the cat and my violas upended onto the greenhouse floor before the seeds sprouted. I replanted. Orange violas are slow to sprout. Blue violas are a little thicker and the mixed seeds which will probably revert to 'Johnny-jump-ups' are thick, thick.
Christmas cacti are forming buds, like tiny baby teeth.
These are cuttings in my grapevine ball experimental sphere.
They were the first to have noticeable buds.
I like to set containers on pebble trays to increase  humidity. These sit on dollar store baking pans. I'm going to try the little  trays made to resemble silverplate that are in the bridal section. 
Constant scrutiny is necessary for healthy plants.
Notice the dead leaf?

The dying leaf was harboring a little worm. Caterpillars are
desirable when they hatch out butterflies. Not so when it's a
destructive moth. Large greenhouses spray; I patrol and pick off.
I chased a Sphinx moth out of the greenhouse the other night, hovering over my Pentas
cuttings. There are plenty of Pentas outside for her to lay eggs.

Seedscatterers must be vigilant to catch seeds at just the right time. I found this Pride of Barbados
pod just as it was cracking open to reveal the seeds. Otherwise they twist open, the seeds fall to the
ground and in this climate never grow a plant. Seeds are not not picky about the containers for gathering: ice cream tub, paper cup, tin can, flower pot, paper bag, cardboard box.
Next month I'll be scattering seeds, mostly spring annuals like Larkspur and Poppies that lie on the ground through cold months and sprout in late winter. Farther north, spring annuals are scattered in September or early spring. Tropical seeds like Esperanza and Pride of Barbados  I will sow in a warm environment for transplant after frost is over. Tithonia, Datura and other summer bloomers usually reseed, but I gather seeds for scattering in new spots in early spring.
There are daylilies to divide and replant and many other tasks waiting. I spent much of this week creatively staring where the new paths go in the Upper Garden. The luxury of wide grass paths requires much time spent in edging and digging out where I let grass crawl into beds during the worst of  summer heat. 
When I was planning areas that will revert to grass, I pointed out to He-Who-Mows a large flowering Pomegranate that will be sacrificed. "Just dig around it and we'll lift it and I'll dig a new hole with machinery and reset it," he said. Sigh. No more rooted pieces and seedlings were brought to his attention. I can't keep up.  
Meanwhile, I'm reading Deborah Silver, Tara Dillard, Sandra Jonas, Martha Tate and Tim Martin, daily seeing where I could use a garden staff to execute all the lovely ideas I gather from them. Most of them are just a winter heat zone north of me. I skip over when they go on about peonies and such.
Okay, so Deborah is not in the South. She advocates Boxwood. I'm glad she likes them in a natural state as well as clipped. I have some that are seven feet tall, a virtual wall of Boxwood, near others that surround a huge mass of Wisteria that I hack at all summer.
When my Ship comes in, I'm going to call Tara to bring a crew.

October 15, 2012

Bloom Day in the Greenhouse

It isn't the time of the year for greenhouse blooms; there are only a few.

Firecracker Fern and a few Lantana blooms.
White Lantana -- cuttings for a white garden in the spring.
Pentas cuttings brought in some moth caterpillars, so they are
a little chewed. They will recover.
Waiting in shade to go inside: pink Wax Begonia.
White begonia cuttings are inside, just starting.
I rescued a red begonia seedling that just came up at the
edge of the pavers. It was blooming in two months.
Potted Violas are  in a bit of shade, waiting to go up front outside the doors when it gets cooler.
Eggplants, peppers and tomatoes are
 waiting in sun until time to go inside.
New Amaryllis bulbs are here and await potting a little nearer Christmas. Hyacinth bulbs are in a refrigerator where no apples or other fruit will be stored, chilling for later potting. Last year's Amaryllis: one started to grow after I put it in the dark to rest so it is out again; another is still resting. Some Amaryllis seedlings are in the greenhouse to grow on. 
Camellia sasanquas are starting to bloom.
Come with me to Seedscatterer blog to see
what is still blooming outside here.
Let's go to May Dreams Gardens where Roses and Clematis and Sedums are still blooming and see what blossoms other gardeners have on this Bloom Day. 



October 10, 2012

Plants Coming in out of the Cold

Tender plants are migrating to the greenhouse, a few at a time. They need to acclimate before there's a sharp drop in temperatures. Our nighttime temps are still in the 50s but that can change at any time.

Today I brought in the Bromeliads, 5 Neoregelia pups from a single plant now dying and the same old Vriesea that the cat shredded some of the leaves. They've been in shade. Maybe brighter light will make the Neoregelias a brighter color.

I tucked my Heliconia that has taken on new life into the corner on an old metal stool with airplane plants in front ot it. The newly cleaned fountain came to life surrounded by gingers, ferns, calla lily plants and Persian Shield cuttings. Water adds a pleasant sound.

Room for tomatoes, eggplants and peppers is going to be at a premium. The broken pot with sedum acre and graptopetalum went out by Ike's porch with a flat of graptopetalum on the opposite side. All these plants are cold hardy here except the althernanthera.

Epiphyllums came in and are sharing space with Ike the Cat. One I shoved into one of the new shelf units, to see if it can spend the winter there. I'm learning that the worst old yellow leaves will take a new life in a pot of fresh soil. This one may turn into a mother plant, come spring.

Syngoniums are in, one tucked under a table. Angel-wing begonia joined them after it was repotted. The syngoniums may need more light but they seemed happy under the cedar tree with a little late evening sun.

I'm trying to plan for a spot for every hyacinth and three amaryllis to sit for best display. Might just set their pots around, label and wait. The only plant left to come inside for sure is my Christmas cactus. I'm trying to wait for it to put on buds before I bring it in.

The cuttings from my Christmas cactus are in a grapevine ball with one of the bromeliads on top. The cuttings from Miss Winnie are all in 3" pots for now and look good. There are 6 of them and four extra rooted pieces.

The Firecracker fern looks good. The main plant is still blooming. The broken pieces are rooted but dropped all the blooms -- looks as if there may be seeds on there.

I picked little green worms off the rooted Pentas cuttings. Yes, I know, caterpillars. Moths, actually. I am battling moth larvae and white fly. Soap solution for white fly works for me.

Mercifully so far white fly has skipped the 8 rooted gardenias. Anoles and toads are doing their best to keep up with pest control. Anoles have to keep an eye out for Ike, who is watching them.

I'll be Flaunting these Flowers on Fertilizer Friday up at Tootsie Time.

October 07, 2012

Dogface in the Greenhouse

When I first noticed Colias cesonia, the Dogface Sulphur, he kept going to a bag of potting soil. I thought maybe he was gleaning minerals off the dust.

When I went back with a camera, he was on the damp floor where moisture collected after I turned on the fogger to raise the humidity which was down to 30%.

I faced toward the sun to make the center pic so you can see the outline of the dark edges of the wing. The dog face is not clearly discernable through the folded wing. Getting a picture of a Sulphur with open wings is difficult, almost impossible for me.

Colias cesonia

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