January 30, 2013

Camellia Seedlings in Bloom

A member on the Camellia Group to which I belong on Facebook asked that members post not just a beautiful Camellia blossom but the bush on which it grows to give a better idea of the structure of that plant when out of bloom.

This is one of my seedlings.

The blossom above grows on this plant.
Yellow leaves are not abnormal, old leaves are shed as new growth starts.
The same plant again on the left.
On the right  is the shrub on which the bloom below grows.
Compare the color of the two plants. They are the same age.

This seedling is unlike either of the pod parents.

January 28, 2013

Blooming Inside and Out

An updated version of this post is on Secrets of a Seedscatterer so you can see what a difference two days made in bloom.

Outside, Hyacinths in pink and blue, white Iberis and yellow Daffodils. Could it be better?

Hyacinths in the greenhouse, showing color.
Blue Jacket

January 26, 2013

Come Look for a Blossom

We are having mild days here while much of the country suffers ice and snow. February freezes are inevitable. Cold wind will blow in from the North soon while we are enjoying what feels like spring.

During the day, a ventilating fan keeps the temperature tolerable for plants.
Cool season veggies just hang out on Ike's porch.

Tomatoes are growing toward the back. We need to look more closely.
I love my patchwork pattern in the center floor. Found it in the New
York Times; it was a driveway there. Urban stone, sideways brick and
river stones in the seams. I've started dropping blue glass gems in the cracks.

Forced hyacinths. The pots with three bulbs hold 'Gypsy Queen'

'Blue Jacket' almost ready to bloom for Chinese New Year.

Almost ready to eat! I wasn't sure I could pull this off without blossom rot.

The second tomato plant has a single fruit and some blooms.
We need a few nights at 55º F to set fruit.
White pots behind have Gerbera Daisy seedlings and a
daylily seedling extra. Two in one takes less space.

Thyme cuttings. I almost let all my Thyme die, so we're starting over.

 Brugmansia cuttings think Spring is at hand. I have shoots at the base of those outside. The
next freeze will take those away, I believe.

Second bloom stalk on 'Nymph' Amaryllis; Begonias behind.
I hope you enjoyed this little peek at my plants.

January 24, 2013

My Garden Becomes a Photo Studio, sort of

Steve Asbell suggested using a piece of black poster board as background for houseplant shots. Now,  I don't just run to the Dollar Store like it was around the corner -- it's fifteen miles one way. I did have a little pack of cardstock and a piece of cardboard so I improvised.

I want to make a post on winter weeds, the good and the bad. Weeds show up in photos as a blob of green and more green. What do you think of the Henbit above with its nice neutral background rather than weeds and dry grass? I think you could identify Henbit from it.

Henbit is one of those weeds that get to stay because beneficials seek it and the little flowers are kind of cute.  It goes away when the weather gets hot.

Dianthus 'Bath's Pink.'
Cardstock backdrop in hand, I was all over the garden.
Hyacinth. Pink when it opens.

Dogwood seeds and buds.


Early White Azaleas.
I kind of experimented with letting the background show. Yes.

Lantana, a favorite of American Painted Ladies when it's warm.

Oxalis blooms and Parsley

 Orchid, inside the house. I had a terrible time with these before because they're in front of a window.

Many of the plants pictured above are here on Secrets of a Seedscatterer.wordpress. Yesterday there was no backdrop so you can see how they look with their normal background. I thought it an improvement, what say you?

Joining Tootsie Time for Fertilizer Friday. Come join the fun!

January 20, 2013

A Haircut and New Shoes Make Happy Plants

You know how potted plants get that sinkhole around the stem and the soil packs down so they're sitting well down in the pot a couple inches?

You know too how lanky some plants get?
I gave all the Schlumbergera cuttings some pinches now that bloom is over.
I collected the pinched pieces to root, all with at least three leaf segments. If a piece fell off, I saved it too. Sometimes a single will root and grow; I try not to waste a precious bit.
Every pot within the cache pots had soil that had packed down an inch or better. I pulled out the whole plant and put new soil in the bottom of the pot, enough to bring the soil level almost to the top. Of course when you lift a plant, it no longer fits at the top because of the slanted sides. I carefully sifted more potting soil into the spaces around the edges.
There were enough cuttings to have a half-dozen of each color: pink, peach, yellow, white and scarlet. Six cuttings are perfect for making a Rainforest Sphere in the manner of Steve Asbell's Rainforest Drops. He hangs his, I set mine on an empty pot. 
Steve puts unrooted cuttings into purchased  grapevine balls filled with moss, I root first and then tuck rooted pieces into a moss-filled grapevine sphere made from collected wild grapevines.
Do what works, use what you have.
I left the Easter Cactuses for later after they bloom. They'll enjoy a haircut and some new soil sometime after Easter. Anybody that's rootbound gets a bigger pot but epi's are not wild about getting big pots, just a bit of a lift.

January 19, 2013

Today In and Out of the Greenhouse

There at bottom right, see that tray of fine foliage? Sweet Williams.

Twenty-three Sweet Williams planted out after I brought in a wheel-
barrow load of compost. Oh! I forgot to make a picture of the compost in
the old galvanized cattle trough, a real oddity.
One the plants were in and watered, I hauled pine straw to cover the bed.
The little Wms. are tucked under pine straw since I made the pic.
We're expecting some freezing weather Tuesday night.
Back inside, some random views:
The final layout with the shelving on the left at right angles to
the north wall shelf.

Every picture has at least one bromeliad.
This one tops the sphere of Schlumbergera.

Up close.

A big Noregelia. I started out with one.
Now there are six and the mother plant is dead.

Tomatoes? In January?

More Noregelias and some Brugmansia cuttings.
Christmas cactus babies up close. I need to take more cuttings.

Spinach and Lettuce

Carrots and more Spinach
Need to thin.

Benfica's second bloom. The old bloom stalk is just visible.
Next year I plan to have 3 Amaryllis plants, all alike.
Haven't decided on the cultivar yet. Will be a single.
Will not be scarlet nor persimmon color.
Maybe Appleblossom, an old but favorite Hippeastrum.
Maybe white and white hyacinths. Or Benfica again.
I'm thinking of Christmas when we've not reached Spring yet.
I should be planting seeds.

January 17, 2013

Some of What I Know about Forcing Hyacinths

For one thing, you can't force a bulb. You can sometimes trick it into thinking it's time to bloom.

Delft Blue, chilled and potted to bloom for Christmas, 2011.

When I compared the results of bulbs in water and stones with those in soil, I decided to plant in soil in the future, after years of planting in stones. The foliage is bigger and in most cases the bloom was larger and fuller.  The pinks seemed not to mind being in water and stones and all had good results.

China Pink is my fav pink for forcing and Pink Pearl is my fav to plant directly in the garden.

A bulb in soil does not have to use all its energy producing a blossom, drawing from the soil. Of course this year's bloom was formed by last year's foliage but nutrients are available at all times for forming foliage when planted in soil.

It takes care, but bulbs forced in water can be carefully pulled from the stones and planted out to bloom again. Sometimes they skip a year's bloom. Those in soil are easily planted out. Successful garden bloom depends on having some winter chill.

I must admit, hyacinth vases full of roots in the bottom part are
interesting in winter when everything is bare outside.

China Pink

I used to put plants and bulbs I was forcing in the utility room
before I had a greenhouse. This particular year I used several
ceramic vases with narrow necks  instead of hyacinth vases.

Bulbs may be purchased already prepared or given a cold period, which is what I do. I prechill my bulbs for up to 12 weeks and then plant or place in stones and water.

Here are instructions from Royal Horticultural Society for forcing hyacinths (and Hippeastrum) for Christmas bloom.

North Carolina State Hort site not only tells how to prepare and force bulbs but gives a chart with cultivars they trialed.

Cultivars that I've planted that are not included on NCSU's list are Gypsy Queen -- an orangy pink, City of Haarlem -- a pale yellow, and Top Hit -- a lavender.

Blue Jacket in single pots; bigger pots have mutiple Gypsy Queen bulbs.

My hyacinths this year are very late. As a matter of fact, there are hyacinths starting to bloom in the garden while the 'forced' hyacinths are just showing buds on a few. Blue Jacket has some buds. Gypsy Queen has not yet brought forth buds and was later putting up little green tips.

Maybe next fall I'll just buy Amaryllis bulbs.

January 15, 2013

Bloom Day in the Greenhouse January 2013

There are too many blooms to show outside to mix them with the indoor plants, so Greenhouse blossoms are here. Outdoor blooms are on Seedscatterer blogs on Wordpress and on Blogspot.

Begonias in red and white
Benfica's second bloom, just in time.

Pineapple sage on the left, Rusellia on the right.

Ike inspects Salvia elegans.
Christmas Cacctuses are fading fast.
Just outside the greenhouse are violas
... and Pansies.
Happy Bloom Day!
Bloom Day is hosted by Carol of May Dreams Gardens. Visit there for links to other gardens around the world celebrating Bloom Day.
My other outside Blooms are Here.

I Blog Here & Here too