December 31, 2014

Brugmansia in Winter

The gorgeous ballerina skirts of summer are gone. The huge leaves that remain are black, tattered and hang limp.

I know that my PNW friends Alison and Peter cleverly took their Brugs under glass before frost. Hopeful of a return from roots, mine remain in the ground.

January 26, 2013: Brug cuttings in GH.

By end of March, 2013 there was a bud on one cutting. I tend to forget some thrills until I look at old posts.

Meanwhile, looking at this year's dead plants from a different perspective:

Among evergreens, they have an almost sculptural quality. Later I'll cut them to ground to wait for new growth.

Maybe next fall I'll find room for a cutting or two in a gallon nursery pot again.
Deciding between tomatoes and full sized brug plants is a no-brainer. Food wins.

Summer memories; anticipation for 2015.

December 30, 2014

End of Year Peek into the Greenhouse

Christmas Cactuses are mostly finished. I deadheaded a few. It is time to think, just think about what seeds to plant and when.

Cuttings of Kalanchoe at bottom left did not bloom in time for Christmas. These are white -- I should have bought a pink or a red last summer to start cuttings for Valentine's Day. On the stool are cuttings of pink Pentas and red and blue Porterweed for next summer. At least one of the Pentas is forming buds now to bloom in the greenhouse until warm weather.

Bromeliads take up a lot of room.

Bromeliads on a tree.

Persian Shield cuttings over behind the Bromeliad tree may bloom before winter is over. They seldom bloom outdoors but I had blossoms last year. Purple Heart tucked in there has some pink bloooms.

It was a struggle but one little greenhouse pest control helper 
made it it from a Shrimp plant leaf to a Ghost plant rosette.

Next year's plans include having 4 tomato plants for the winter instead of one. We ate ripe tomatoes on Christmas Day. We would like to have enough to give some away on Christmas next year.

Another plan is to repot Russelia alone and dump the Graptopetalum which is kind of naked now. Russelia and Graptopetalum made a great show when the Ghost plant was newly rooted. Russelia requires an ocean of water to bloom continually indoors.

In order to make room for  more tomatoes some plants are going to have to move outside permanently. Spider plants have increased to a point of too many indoors. I'll take some of the planks off the end of the shelves where the spider plant sits and underneath to make a sort of tomato cage in the northwest end of the GH.

More tomatoes can sit where there are many spider plants this winter:

 Spider plants are root hardy in the ground here so these may become edging in 2015. I brought in every pot when cool weather came.

Improvised planter with succulents.

It's hard to decide who goes and who stays when things get crowded. I can always give away a few Schlumbergeras. Epiphyllums are taking up a lot of room, too. Pots of Amaryllis that sit around and wait to get going could go in the house. I used to start Hyacinths in the laundry room and keep certain cuttings there, too. 

I may change my habits to accommodate more things to eat. Peppers and eggplants did well in containers before. We can grow cole crops, lettuce, onions and greens outdoors. 

What are your plant plans for 2015?

December 28, 2014

Calla Lilies, Will They Be in Bloom Again?

The Calla Lily hybrids that I bought last summer had glorious foliage but no blooms. Some time back I put the pots in the tool shed and let the tops die back.

I took them out today, put new soil in the bottom or the top of the pot according to how things were going -- one potful got totally redone. It had three round bulbs and a tiny extra corm.

It's about time I had Calla Lilies bloom again -- look how long it's been! The package label showed different colors. I'll settle for white again.

Meanwhile I keep searching Amaryllis bulbs for signs of a sprouting bud. The bulbs are firm, there are not signs of life otherwise.

December 26, 2014

Hits and Misses 2014 in the Greenhouse

I made a list of Hits and Misses last year in the greenhouse. Every year is different, so here's this year's list.

Early in the year I had a plethora of Hyacinths planted in 2013 with bits of succulents.

Hyacinths: I didn't order off for bulbs for fall of 2014. When I finally picked up a bag at a big box store, it was late. When I put the pots in a refrigerator I forgot we still had some pears from the summer. Oops. The bulbs have roots. I'll bring them out soon but I despair of seeing blossoms because gas from fruit probably caused the blooms to die in the bulb. We'll see. Probable Miss but the bulbs will recover for next year once they go in the ground in spring so all is not lost. Next winter I want purple or beet red Hyacinths.

Cycad seedling -- a Hit turned into a Miss. I grew a successful seedling only to be thwarted by a hateful squirrel when I put the plant outdoors in a pot. There are seeds again this year. Maybe I'll try again. It was a thrill when that tiny shoot first appeared.

Colorful Pots. I love colorful pots. They rotate around the greenhouse according to whims.
Success with Agapanthus seeds.

Kalanchoe and Amaryllis -- both late this year. I had one early Hippeastrum that was really pretty out of season. Everything else is on its own schedule. One of the great-grands chose my biggest Kalanchoe as his plant to take home. It had buds. Small rosettes of Kalanchoe may bloom in January, a welcome sight.

Tomatoes are a big Hit. Imagine a fresh tomato sandwich on Christmas Eve. I think I really got lucky with a little sucker from a Better Boy plant. I will try again next year. Indeterminate plants are best if you want plants to the ceiling and continuous growth.

Dwarf marigolds, Thyme and Zinnia Seedlings were a hit. I have seed to do these again.

Bird's Nest Fern Spores -- were a Miss, totally. I'll do better to buy tiny Bird's Nest Ferns and grow them to large size.

Succulents: Sedum morganianum, Rhipsalis, Kalanchoe, Graptopetalum. All are easy to grow and make new plants from tiny bits.

Succulent balls ended up a miss after two years. Based on the 'Rainforest Drops' idea, I made grapevine balls and planted them with Schlumbergera with a Neoregelia in the top. Pretty for about a year, they lived but they did not thrive the way the same plants in pots of their own did. Once I removed the Neoreglia to a pot, it began to grow and so did the Christmas Cactuses when they went into pots of soil.

Bromeliad tree: a success. Neoregelias and Spanish moss with bits of lichen on a preserved pine stump, upside down.

I would make more Bromeliad trees if there was more space in the greenhouse. Next year's plans include more tomatoes -- real space hogs. Maybe I could find a long piece of heart pine for a really vertical tree. Neoregelias in pots take up much space and pups grow fast.

If I had to name a favorite I choose Schlumbergera. They are easy to grow, bloom like crazy during the season from Thanksgiving into the New Year and make popular gifts.

A sample of some of my favorite Hits and most disliked Misses.

December 21, 2014

If It Blooms in late December, Is It a Christmas Cactus?

... and I haven't made pictures of the 'yellow' one which is really more of a cream color.

Last Year about this time it looked like this.

Some of the reds are still in bud and bloom, and white Schlumbergeras, too.

I am glad there is a revival of popularity of Christmas Cactuses.

One of my orchids in the house has a bloom stalk with that distinctive little 'mitten' at the end that signifies that blossoms are on the way.

December 17, 2014

Seed Collection Trays from Almost Nothing, and some Pots.

I found patterned duct tape at Dollar Tree to try the simple trays I pinned on Pinterest.

The animal prints are cute but the tape is flimsy and there is only 10 feet on a roll. Patterned Duck Brand tape has 10 YARDS to a roll, 15 yards in solid colors. Duck Brand tape has not offered me any tape to say that, just an observation.

I used shoe box lids and a bigger cardboard box bottom. When I get more tape of the sturdier kind, I'll make more. They look nicer than the styrofoam meat or vegetable trays I usually use.

There is always something that needs a flat surface with edges to contain it: drying seeds, collections of sticks with lichens, seashells for a project, succulent cuttings that need to harden -- there is an endless list.

Santa Mugs from the Dollar Tree can hold a rooted 
cutting for giving away. Breyer's yogurt cups just fit inside.

My new pot -- perfectly holds a gallon nursery pot.

Two sizes of the pot on the left. I was limited by how many pots I could carry half a block to the car. The little pots in the near ground are from -- you 
guessed -- Dollar Tree. I passed them up last spring in favor of the bright colored pots that hold the 3.5 plastic pots. Now I needed the earthy colors, or so I thought. 

We have to change yogurt brands when I find a plastic container that fits the smaller pots, or maybe buy smaller sizes of something else.


December 15, 2014

Blooms that Failed to Make the Cut

Every Bloom Day I want to show every blossom but try to restrain myself to a baker's dozen or fewer. These were left behind when choices were made for the official Bloom Day post on Seedscatterer.

Christmas Cactus and my bark planter. 
Oh, look! Purple heart has tiny pink blooms!

Another view of Laura Bush petunia.

Another peek at red Shrimp Plant.

Silk Grass and Lantana in mulch.

Loropetalum blooms and red leaves.

Begonias are faithful bloomers in winter indoors.

Newly potted rooted Pineapple Sage.

A peek at a white Christmas Cactus.

Alternananthera cuttings with tiny clover-like blooms.

Schlumbergera, can't have too many.

December 09, 2014

Ripe Tomatoes in December

Two days ago I was showing off green tomatoes on my Seedscatterer Blog.

December 6, 2014

Today I noticed a different hue.

December 9, 2014. 

And up above where I had not looked carefully before, a ripe tomato!

Definitely its best side!

He-Who-Mows and eats tomatoes
spotted another from the outside.

He-Who is already asking whether I can plant enough next year to share with neighbors and wondering just where I could put them? I am thinking they could climb up behind south shelf and the electrical panel board. 

Some Chlorophytum comosums may have to take their chances outside next year or come live as house plants.   

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