September 30, 2013

Amaryllis and Begonias Come Inside

It's probably a month until danger of frost. Someone told me the other day that the dog fennels were in bloom and there will be frost in 2 weeks. Not true, I checked on dog fennels on the north side of the small woods today and they are in bud, not bloom, not nearly.

 I brought in Amaryllis pots anyway. There are four that are not getting water while they go dormant. The ones toward the front are seedlings which will not be forced into dormancy. They need to grow, grow, grow.

 The blue pot is my grapevine ball with Christmas Cactus and a Bromeliad.

Inside the Bromeliad a member of the Pest Control Crew awaits an insect. Isn't he cute?

White begonias found a place along the walkway. Then I tucked in 2 pots of Angel Wing Begonia. Another one waits out on the front. Maybe I'll dig a red wax Begonia or two.

Every little piece that breaks off gets stuck to root. This one took and is blooming, tiny as it is.

I dug the 3 Porterweed seedlings from the path. I repotted the 2 smallest Camellia seedlings. Their roots were already circling the pot, fatter than the parts above ground.

I still have to bring in the Firecracker Fern. I think it will go in the NE corner where it can be as big as it wants and get bright sun. I have to make decisions about the Spider Plants. There's an Arrowhead Vine that would like to be in a grapevine ball with some Spider Plant and a piece of rooted Pothos.

Waiting for bulbs to arrive. Pulled some Mexican Sunflower today and scattered seeds where I hope they'll bloom next year. Left a few Tithonia for the butterflies still hanging around, mostly Sulphurs and Gulf Fritillaries; Buckeyes are in the meadows with Agalinis. Starting to prepare beds for scattering Poppies and Larkspur come November.

September 28, 2013

Agapanthus Seeds and Alternanthera Cuttings

This is the first time I've planted Agapanthus seeds.

I gathered some from my garden and some from a parking lot in the city where the last seeds were obviously not being gathered by whomever maintains (!) the landscaping.

My improvised seed collection envelope, bottom of my shopping list.
You know that old ladies do this?

These will be species plants even if the seeds were collected from hybrids.
I have Storm Cloud and a species type, didn't mark them as to the seed.
I labeled the seed tray so I know which are mine and which were gathered elsewhere.

I planted in damp potting soil, covered the seeds with seed starting mix and misted until damp.
Then I tucked the tray into a plastic vegetable bag from the grocery store and set it in a shady spot.

Conflicting instructions online cause me to plant in my own methods in my own time. I know you are supposed to plant in spring. These will spend the winter in the greenhouse. Germination takes from 3 weeks to 3 months, depending on whose opinion you read. Three or four years to blooms. I can wait. I have Agapanthus, I just wanted to plant those seeds. 

Hydrating cuttings before sticking in soil.
Chartreuse Alternanthera is my fav. Purple will reseed in the greenhouse floor so there's plenty of that. The red is likely to return, if not all of it, at least enough to have starts and cuttings. I can't grow enough chartreuse. Something eats it, or grass takes it or there just isn't enough.

I double my chances by sticking cuttings in soil plus filling a mug with a mass of cuttings in water.
Next spring I'll tease the roots apart and plant the water-rooted cuttings. The cuttings in soil may get bumped up to larger pots during winter when they send roots out the tray bottom.

Alternanthera plant before I took cuttings.


September 27, 2013

Plant Babies

Back in March I wrote in Seedscatterer blog that my Cycad Had Seeds. At the time I planted the seeds, I wrote, "In the article I read, it said that the growing embryo will push a root out the star-shaped end of the seed, followed by a leaf. This is not a quick process. I will wait."

 I didn't write or make a pic when I noticed the first little green bit. Now there's a tiny frond.  None of the other seeds have a root or a sprout.

A pup has formed beside this Vriesea, which bloomed almost two years ago. I  had decided it was just going to die without reproducing. Suddenly there's a pup!

Vriesea bromeliad

New plant forming at the base of a Begonia cutting.

These last two are Camellia seedlings.
The seed of this one is atop the soil.

Camellia seedling.

For me, it's all about new plants from old, whether by seeds, cuttings or divisions. The joy is in the growing.

Do you find more pleasure in new plants from seeds or bought in a nursery? 

September 26, 2013

Epiphyllums Squeezed Inside

I started out with the smallest inside for most of the summer to see how they compared in the greenhouse with the two big Epis left outside in mostly shade. The 2 big pots,  plants here since 2002, came inside today.

They can't just sit in the middle on benches, they take up too much space.
I gave everybody a haircut, cutting away ugly parts.

 It was a struggle, but they're placed. The big blue pot at left and the terra cotta color pot at right are the biggest and oldest. Two 8-inch clay pots on the shelf at middle and a black pot on a shelf to the lower right of the rooster complete the array. It looks like more. Bits and pieces of small plants can be tucked all around among the jungle plants. I try to give the highest places objects rather than plants that need watering.

There was a near disaster when I knocked the rooster from his perch but he survived. I had to put the cat out. He tried to help every time I started to pick up a heavy pot.

This ancient cabinet had to move.
Its best site was the best Epi site. It will take shelf
space for the door to open, so it may have to go.

 Buds, we have buds! Last blooms are usually in October after they move in, so they're right on time.

Epis are inside, Christmas Cactuses are inside. Yet to move in are Begonias, Amaryllis, Firecracker Fern, Spider Plants and cuttings. I still haven't taken cuttings. Seedlings and sprouts and surprises abound.

September 25, 2013

Greeenhouse Considerations for October

We're having rain again. The humidity stays high, the temperatures are somewhat moderated but not cool. I have to think about what goes inside and what gets tossed and what takes a chance on a mild winter.

 I moved in the Christmas Cactuses. Their shelf will hold them all except two big pots that are on the floor.

Bromeliads will likely go over here. Mistletoe cactus has claimed a spot. The narrow gap on the left is for one Epiphyllum pot still outside and another goes on a table below. Empty pots and baskets mark claimed spaces. The butterfly net is for shooing critters back outside. I helped a huge dragonfly out yesterday.

I brought in my red cart for extra storage and space for pots. The long shelf is for forcing bulbs.
Outside are 6 potted Kalanchoe at upper right. I think Camellia seedlings at bottom right are ready for planting in the ground. I put down a timber and planted rooted gardenias for the north side. 

Need cuttings of white Shrimp Plant.

Chartreuse Alternanthera cuttings can spend the winter in water.

There are 3 pups in this bromeliad pot. They need to stay together for the winter.
The original plant started out last year in the knobby green pot, bloomed and made pups.

Looking from outside in. A squirrel is causing a problem that we must deal with very soon.

September 21, 2013

Fairy Piano

I watched a You Tube video tonight of Rosa Nell Speer playing the piano for five minutes at her Birthday Celebration last year. She was 90. It was wonderful.

After I posted on the other blog about my stumpery and said I was going to put ferns in the Stumpery, I remembered the fairy piano.

September 15, 2013

White Echinacea for my White Garden

I am so excited to have this Echinacea. A friend planted seed from a white coneflower and promised me one IF any turned out white -- you know the Mendel and peas model. She surprised me today by bringing this one to Church.

Even Ike the Cat showed pleasure in the new acquisition, he rubs to show he's happy, here approving of some little eggplants in a white container.

Eventually I hope the area around the greenhouse will be a white garden for most of the year. Pots of white Lantana awaiting planting, too.

Things have a way of planting themselves about, like the spider plant squeezed in behing the broken pot garden with a self-planted purple Alternanthera. The Echinacea and Lantana will be deliberate plantings.

It's a real treat to get a seedling that somebody else planted. Susie is a dear.

September 11, 2013

Blooms in the Night

Joining Tootsie Time for Fertilizer Friday, even though I do well to water, much less fertilize. Big show of Epiphyllum oxypetalum on the night before 9/11/2013. I missed 3 blooms in the greenhouse the night prior. These are outside on an improvised bench with pots of Amaryllis bulbs on their sides drying off.

The word for flowers that bloom in the night is Vespertine.

Some people plan parties around the opening of Epiphyllum blooms.
Blossoms open by about 10 pm and are limp and spent next morning.

I tried to give them a jungle setting for summer. They are among
Gardenias and Mock Orange under a Red Cedar and Sassafras.
That's as near to a jungle as I could provide.

The heavy stems use an old iron headboard as support.

Before frost comes, these 2 plants will need pruning and I have to figure a way to stuff them into the greenhouse with 3 others. It doesn't seem to matter where they grow, they will bloom. 

There is one last bud in the greenhouse and one outside yet to bloom. 
The last blooms usually come in October.

I couldn't get all the blooms into one picture. You can count 8 here,
some are hidden among the shrubbery. Epis put out long canes and
blooms grow off the big flat 'leaves.' The plants are as awkward as
the blossoms are beautiful.

A small Brug plant with two trunks. I rooted several last winter, gave
away some. All but one in too much shade have bloomed.

There's a young plant in the near view in front of the big plant which is more
than six feet tall. They die back to roots here at frost but come back to 
full size the next year.

During the day, the blooms droop but open their skirts wide when night comes. 

Unlike the Epiphyllums, Brugmansia blooms last 
for more than one night, depending on weather conditions.

Brugmansias do grow from seeds and there are growers who hybridize.
I've never seen seeds because I cut off spent blooms to keep more coming.
I spread rooted cuttings around the upper garden like marmalade.
They begin opening in late afternoon .

I wish you could experience the fragrance of both. 
Brugs are light and sweet, Epis are spicy sweet to attract pollinators. 

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