March 30, 2013

White Flowers

The plan for the Greenhouse area is to have mostly white flowers. Color always slips into my garden.

I planted seeds from a Gerbera Daisy with a white bloom that came from seed from a pink Gerbera Daisy. The first seedling bloomed white. This is the second. It will stay. You know the story of Mendel and the peas? There are Sweet Williams in this bed, also from seeds of a white plant. They may be pink, or auricular eyed, or white as planned. I'll enjoy any and all.
 Phildelphus inodorus
At each corner of the Greenhouse is a Mock Orange. I am certain they will be white. I am also certain that they won't be fragrant, they are suckers from the one above.
Mama called her Philadelphus 'English Dogwood' and hers was double and fragrant. This is native Dogwood, Cornus florida. Many of my Dogwoods had sparse blooms this year.
Sweet alyssum, easy from seed and Bath's Pinks, easily divided.

Iberis, or Candytuft. Cuttings for this Candytuft came from a neighbor's garden in 1973.
Two of the original plants survived her. I am rooting more now.
Native Azalea 'Alabamense'
I posted the yellow Native Azalea recently that preceded this one. I don't
know the name, several people asked but I suspect the yellow may be
'Varnadoe's Lemon Drop' or a hybrid of it..
This is just plain 'Alabamense' native, not hybrid. 

March 28, 2013

Indoor Plants Prepare for the Out of Doors

TThe first bud on Brugmansia cuttings appeared this week. Those who made it over the winter outside  had foliage emerge early only to be bitten back to the ground by frost; more foliage is visible now.

These inside seem to know it is time. I read that they have to have a side shoot before they bloom. This is one of the few without a second shoot. Maybe cuttings are different.

Kalanchoe cuttings are in bigger pots. Looking forward to next Christmas, I expect to have pots of white Kalanchoe and Schlumbergera in five colors. Christmas Cactus cuttings had filled their little six-pack, so now there's a good-sized pot and a little pot. There is another six-pack of small cuttings of each color that I plan to use in filling grapevine balls. I might be getting carried away with Christmas Cactus.

These and Epiphyllums will summer under shade outside.

Easter Cactus has a few buds but I don't think they'll open for Easter. Rhipsalidopsis species is a natural forest cactus, unlike the Schlumbergeras which are tropical forest cacti. The primary difference between the various 'Easter, Christmas, and Thanksgiving' cactuses is their time of bloom. The leaf shape varies as well.

Ike thinks everything in the greenhouse belongs to him. He supervised sorting/soaking Cycad seeds.
We hope that failure to float means the bigger seeds are viable. When the seed coat that inhibits growth softens and is scraped away, we'll plant seeds.

This is the last bloom on 'Nymph' amaryllis. Amaryllis outside have buds.

March 25, 2013

Everybody Back Inside! 3 more Cold Nights Ahead

Just when I thought the worst was over -- and of course my worst weather is nothing compared to yours -- all the tropicals are back inside until the temperatures stop hovering around freezing in the early morning hours.

Persian Shield can tolerate some cold, but not a freeze. Purple Heart left in the ground has already put out new growth. These have never left the greenhouse.

Pentas in all colors have enjoyed some days in the sun, only to com back inside.

Grapevine balls with succulents, epis and graptopetalum must wait for near-tropical nights to go out under shade.

Just this afternoon I discovered a bud on one of the Angel Trumpet cuttings! I've covered new growth that had put out on those Brugmansias that spent the winter killed back to the roots.

Every spring we teeter between warmth and freezes. Two days ago we were deciding what to do about the new crop of mosquitos.

I brought the electric heaters back to the greenhouse and plugged them in.

March 23, 2013

We Are in that Time when Plants Want to Go Outside

Late yesterday I planted all but one of the Gerbera Daisies That you see
lined up along the timber to the back of this bed behind Sweet Williams.
Pentas on the ground are ready for planting as some in the garden return from
roots. I can never be positive they will return, so I always have cuttings.

Some things moved out, some wait. Bird's nest fern will go in the house.

Datura seed in yogurt cups. Only Purple have a set of true leaves.
Datura likes hot weather.
Kalancoe cuttings needing a spot outside or pots.
Persian Shield cuttings, ready for a shady location. 

White Shrimp Plant putting on blooms, finally.
Red Shrimp plant outside is blooming like crazy. 
Chartreuse alternanthera cuttings.
Alternanthera in the garden is emerging from its roots in spots, some failed.
Alternanthera blooms in winter, insignificant white blossoms.
It is the time of year when I am fearful of putting plants into cool soil, fearful of a late frost, sure that Spring has sprung because I see new growth, overwhelmed at all the tasks ahead knowing that hot weather will be here soon when I'll need to stay inside where it's cool and the permanent greenhouse tropical plants will spend the summer out under trees in partial shade.
Are you ready for Spring?

March 20, 2013

Amaryllis from Seeds

Amayllis Seedlings photo 0713AmaryllisSeedlings.jpg

Frequently a seed pod forms after an Amaryllis blooms. Inside the pod are thin, papery seeds. The viable ones have a small dark lump inside.

The seeds can be planted directly into soil. I like to float them on a bowl of water. When roots are more than a half inch long and green sprouts have formed, they then go into pots of soil.

Second-year Amaryllis from seed.  Bulbs are about the size of a
ping-pong ball. These still have some growing to do.
Silly me, I forgot to label these with the name of the parent, which they likely will not resemble.
I didn't date them either but it was early 2012. It really doesn't matter, they're just for fun.
We are quickly moving into the season when Gardeners in the Deep South console themselves about not being able to successfully grow tulips well by enjoying what Brent and Becky call 'Tulips for the South' -- amaryllis growing outdoors. I had an early bud that froze. The plant quickly replaced it with a new bud, now about 6 inches out of the ground.  As best I remember, it will be apricot-colored.
The bud in the front garden might be this one, mislabeled on the box, so I don't know its name.
I tend to sometimes plant out things willy-nilly so I get garden surprises in the spring.
Do you carefully label everything and know what to expect, come Spring?

March 18, 2013

Amaryllis, Graptopetaum and Firecracker Fern

Nymph and Appleblossom; glimpses of white kalanchoe and red begonia.

Graptopetalum and Rusellia, Firecracker Fern. I planted a small piece of Rusellia and some Ghost Plant outside in a sunken planter improvised in an Azalea bed.
I brought back inside the Brugmansias I set outside because of the possibility of high winds tonight. I may be sorry for leaving Pentas and other pretties on the ground.
Finishing up this post so I can prepare for bad weather, winds and thunder have started.

March 16, 2013

Butterflies in the Greenhouse

Ike jiggled the butterfly mobile hanging by his wicker perch and I remembered it was there. Perfect for the back of the potting bench~

Twice this week I rescued a butterfly who wandered in. The best blossoms were outside; I'm hardening the Pentas so they can go into the garden. I have an old dip net that I found on the road. I tore off the heavier netting and made a tulle net secured with Duck brand tape. I pull the net into a deep shape, capture the insect and then turn him upside down outside and gently push up. It only takes a moment and he's free!
I can't get enough of the Amaryllis, prettier every day as more blooms open.
Nymph today.

Nymph today.

The current plan is to keep most of the Amaryllis in containers, even the second year seedlings.

Appleblossom today.

I was able to bring Appleblossom to bloom again this year but my timing was off. I had aimed for December bloom which I missed by more than two months. I'm happy to see blooms at any time during the winter.

March 14, 2013

Bloom Day in the March Greenhouse

In the house so you can see the orchid that came into bloom after years of sitting in a glass cyclinder once its first flush was over. It is surrounded by orchids I took courage to buy this winter when I realized the first one had buds forming.

You can see He-who-mows working on the greenhouse doors outside.
Let's join him outside and peek into the greenhouse.
Appleblossom has a sweet fragrance, noticeable when you walk inside. This is the second year of bloom for Appleblossom. I was hoping for Christmas bloom. My timing was a little off.

 'Nymph' Hippeastrum is new this season. It bloomed for Christmas and again, and now a third time.

Kalanchoe, a great winter houseplant. The next year, I take new cuttings.
Photo from earlier in the week before 'Nymph' opened.
Happy Bloom Day!

March 11, 2013

Another Look at 'Appleblossom' Amaryllis

Two of the three blooms are now fully open. The fragrance is sweet, one of the few Hippeastrums I've seen with a scent.

I bought this bulb in 2011; it bloomed in 2012.
I was delighted to be able to bring it back to bloom in 2013.

The buds on the right belong to Nymph, new this year, this its third bloom.
The white flowers are Kalanchoe, a good succulent winter houseplant.


March 09, 2013

Amaryllis Appleblossom

The mystery Hippeastrum that I brought to bloom again this year turned out to be Appleblossom. I should have guessed. It is so pretty.

The bud behind is Nymph, blooming for the third time.
When I called He-who-Mows to the door to see the blooms, he said,
"You need a bigger greenhouse," going on to say that heating would
be expensive but we could put in LP gas, at which point I said I
thought I just need to beter utilize the space that I have.
This Amaryllis is fragrant. Anything this pretty should smell good, and this one does.
Sweet perfume for the greenhouse.
Before long most everything can go outside except those
few that will spend the summer in a hot, humid environment
under mist with an exhaust fan.
Some plants like these Persian Shield look as if they'll be glad to get out of
 small pots and into the ground where they can stretch.

March 07, 2013

Staghorn Fern and Friends

Staghorn ferns belong to the genus Platycerium. I bought this plant in a tiny plastic pot for $2.00 last winter at a big box store.

The plant produces two distinctly different fronds, basal and foliar.

Basal fronds, often called “sterile fronds,'' are rounded thickened fronds which grow in overlapping layers and clasp onto a growing surface. Shield shaped, they protect the roots, collect nutrients and
take up water.

Antler shaped foliar fronds also called fertile fronds, grow spores on the underside for reproduction.

This plant spent last summer in this same spot, seemingly loving the heat and humidity and sun.

This winter I brought my Bird's Nest Fern Asplenium nidus from the house where it was not particularly happy to the greenhouse.

I didn't start out to be a Rainforest gardener but between the Epiphyllums, Schlumbergera, Ferns and Bromeliads I'm getting there.

Epiphyllum oxypetalum.

Flauntin' my Flowers with Tootsie on Fertlizer Friday

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