February 28, 2014

Tulip Preview

This is 'Shirley'

Muscari has done very well this year. 

Not a Muscari River, but I do have Puddles.

The last time I had significant Tulips. 2007, I think. Iceland Poppies at right.

Flaunting my Flowers at Tootsie Time.

February 24, 2014

Hyacinths, Hyacinths, Hyacinths

One of the loveliest and most fragrant bulbs for forcing, Hyacinths bring color indoors during the worst part of winter. Once prepared by chilling, and they can be bought pre-chilled if you don't like bulbs in your refrigerator where they refuse to share space with apples (blast their buds). They just need a container, either a vase of water or a small pot of soil.

If brought to bloom in water, special vases are fun but any vase with a narrow neck and flare that will hold the bulb above water allowing the roots to reach water and stay hydrated with the bulb dry.

After years of water growth, I now prefer to place bulbs in little clay pots of soil with at least half the bulb exposed. This year I gave away single pots of Pink Pearl and had pots with 4 or 5 filled with White Pearl.

Pink Pearl in the Garden 2014, planted years back.

Yes, that's a butterfly. 2012. I want this color again.

Next year's plan is for Blue Jacket and more China Pink. I may put them straight into the ground and save greenhouse space for other projects.

By next fall, I may forget this plan and decide on 3 shades of purple, or some City of Haarlem yellows. Maybe some hot pink Jan Bos and pale lavender Top Hit. It's hard to settle on a favorite.

Which is your favorite?

February 23, 2014

End of the Grapevine Ball

Steve Asbell calls them 'Rainforest Drops' and makes them using cuttings tucked into purchased grapevine balls full of soil and moss.

I made my own grapevine ball and tucked rooted cuttings with a ball of root-filled soil into moss in the grapevine ball. I set it on a pot rather than suspending it.

I added Graptopetalum and a Bromeliad. It grew and bloomed.

At the end of it's second Christmas, The grapevine was brittle
and the Bromeliad just did not look happy.

I dis-assembled the whole thing, 
cutting the grapevine so as not to destroy the plants.

I ended up with a pot full of Schlumbergera cuttings and another pot full of Graptopetalum. I like my Christmas Cactuses in pots alone or in a group of like cuttings. Graptopetalum is good for a number of succulent projects.

The Neoregelia in the orange pot is the one from the grapevine ball. It looks happier already, potted up. It is smaller than the ones behind it, younger pups not showing much color yet because they're just been removed from the mother plant. 

February 22, 2014

Amaryllis Anticipation

I failed to label my bulbs. I know their names but not who is in which pot.

I am pretty sure this is Benefica. This is its second year.

One with the secondary bulb might be Appleblossom in its third year. So might be everybody around it be Appleblossom, I have 3 new bulbs of this favorite.

The very tall one could be Appleblossom, too.

Last's years blooms I labeled with Magic Marker on the pot. They faded in the sunshine in summer. New bulbs I thought I would know which were their pots. Shuffled them around a couple of times waiting for buds to appear and now I don't know.

There is one pot with huge leaves and no bud. I think it may be Nymph and I think that is its usual behavior, leaves first. There are several pots of seedling Amaryllis that I despair of ever bringing to bloom. 

My propensity for planting seeds sometimes causes me a kind of burden with all these little pots of things. There is a single Agapanthus seedling and a single Cycad. Today I scooped what I think is a volunteer Pentas plant out of the greenhouse floor where it was crowded under a pot of pebbles in the dry floor.

I resolve to label pots better in the future. I had that intention before. It seldom lasts. My garden is full of surprises. 

February 19, 2014

Is Terra Cotta Really Dead?

A famous young fellow in Switzerland who sets style has pronounced Terra Cotta in the garden as Dead.

Broken maybe, but DEAD?

Recycled terra cotta pot garden.

Unbelieving, I began to look. Danger Garden has a photo on today's post showing dove color pots at a nearby nursery, up front and prominent. Dove is one of the colors that the expert says will replace terra cotta.

I fled to Claus Dalby's site:

Photo from Claus Dalby.
See it at www.clausdalby.dk.

Claus sells fine Italian pots. Remember fine terra cotta pots from Italy?. Claus says "A saying that it is expensive to be poor. It pays to buy quality." -- I auto-translate his blog before I read it. Mr. Dalby features much grey color in his gardens and shop. I thought it was because he's Danish.

My birthday present last year included these terra cotta 
pots from Viet Nam. I read recently about Vietnamese 
potters and their ancient methods for quality ceramics.

Now I'm wondering if the price of Oil-Dri (mined not far from here) and Kitty Litter will go up as white clay is diverted to the flower pot industry?

I consulted Pinterest, surely where the style setters gather. Hard to tell, the DIY folks may be painting their pots gray. There are still hundreds of users who pin photos of stacks of crusty vintage pots in a potting shed.  

How do you feel about replacing years and years of terra cotta pots fired locally or imported from Italy with something new and trendy? I'm still crazy for red clay and pots fired with bright glazes. Maybe there's room for all.

February 17, 2014

Cycad Seedling and Sad Specimens

Please look at the Cycad Seedling first and then you can leave before you look at the frostbitten Sagos if you don't like ugly.

Can you see the tiny beginning of more fronds between the 
two green stems? The round part is the seed it came from.

I wrote about this last year when my big Cycad had a nest full of seeds.
I didn't think it would work, but one actually sprouted and is growing.

You can read about the seed starting process HERE.

Another view with one of my new pots with 
Purple Heart cuttings.

This is my first Cycad. It's about 15 years old, came as a pup from Nurse Gwen's mother-in-law. On the right is the beginning of this year's fronds, a tiny lump in the center. The fronds around it are cold damaged. I read to leave the damaged fronds until they die completely.

I won't have to leave fronds on the smaller Cycads that I grew from pups from my late neighbor, Mrs. Cotele. Cold turned them mostly tan and dead.

This little Cycad has 11 fronds and a few have green stems but the rest is dead. It looks as if it may have a bunch emerge in the spring. I am hopeful that everybody puts out new growth and we have a glorious Spring. Did I read that it's hardly more than a month away, Spring?

February 14, 2014

Best of February's Bloom Day

Blessed to have flowers for Valentine's of my own growing, and blooms for Bloom Day.

White Shrimp Plant -- really these are 
bracts, the tiny pink blooms come later.

Begonia semperflorens and some Alternanthera.
The Chartreuse Slternanthers has tiny blooms.

Begonias are about the easiest to grow and bloom.

White Kalanchoes got leggy. There's an Amaryllis
in bud. I will know its name when it blooms.

A wider peek at the greenhouse interior.

Purple Heart with Persian Shield behind it in the planter.
Amaryllis bud at upper left is Appleblossom. 
Bottom left is Birds Nest Fern

Persian Shield and its bloom. 
The blooms are on cuttings rooted in water.

Bromeliads above with Alyssum seedlings below.

Purple Alternanthera growing in the 
greenhouse floor is blooming behind a fern.

Last of White Pearl Hyacinths in a nest of Sedum.

Angel Wing Begonia

February 11, 2014

Sliced Pineapple

When cold weather was on the way, I took cuttings of Pineapple Sage Salvia elegans. They formed roots.

Recently I was opening a can of sliced pineapple and thought, 'Why not plant Pineapple Sage in these cans?' I rinsed them out, punched holes in the bottom and was careful to save the labels.

You can see a glass jar full of rooted cuttings behind the cans. I'll put them in regular pots if we don't eat more pineapple soon.

Pineapple Sage 2012 ready to plant.

All the plants will go into the garden when spring comes, so I didn't try to preserve the labels. They'll last long enough. When the sun gets hot they'll fade.

February 06, 2014

Spartacus to the Gladiators at Capua

I must show off Spartacus again in full bloom with
an unopened bud showing for a later treat.

Ye stand her now like giants, as ye are! The strength of brass is in your toughened sinews, but to-morrow some Roman Adonis, breathing sweet perfume from his curly locks, shall with his lily fingers pat your red brawn, and bet his sesterces upon your blood.
Read more at http://www.monologuearchive.com/k/kellogg_001.html#kvJEvj3pXuyWywj6.99 -- this a monologue frequently used by elocution students.

Joining Tootsie Time for Fertilizer Friday. Guess what? Amaryllis bulbs need no fertilizer when they are first planted in a container until after they bloom. The bloom is totally contained in the bulb. They just need water until time for the leaves to start growing and form buds for the next cycle. 

Again a thank  you to Longfield Gardens for sending this bulb that I won in one of their drawings for a free bulb back in December. 

Amaryllis are perfect gifts for Christmas, both in bloom and as a bulb to pot up and watch through the whole bud/bloom process, a thrill for a gardener. 

Great in bloom for Valentines, too. I think Amaryllis are wonderful for everyday joy. In climates like mine, they can be grown in the outdoor garden. Brent and Becky call Amaryllis 'Tulips for South.' 

Speaking of tulips, the tulips I chilled for weeks and planted at the end of December are putting up foliage. I think they like the cold we had in January and last week. Buds are already showing on the accompanying Muscari. I always wanted a river of Muscari. I will definitely have puddles, I think.

I Blog Here & Here too