May 31, 2014

Glamour Shots and Baby Photos in the Greenhouse

Sometimes when I rescue a plant because it might be 'something' it turns out something better than a weed.

Such was the case with this white Pentas plant that I rescued from the greenhouse floor while it was too tiny to be sure if it was 'something.

I'm not sure how Pentas seed got on the greenhouse floor. I tend to save seeds that never get where they're going. These went to the floor, obviously.

This one was also a rescue. Its pot doesn't show but it is sitting among Alternanthera that grows wild in the floor and beside a Guzmania Bromeliad that is making up its mind whether and when to flower. Beside the Bromeliad are Rose cuttings that I failed to label.

This third one in still growing in the floor and needs potting up so it and its sibs can be transplanted into the white garden around the greenhouse.

I pulled up Ratibida there today. The only white Lantana to survive the winter in that bed is forming buds. I finally am able to determine which of the bigger Lantana plants in the front is the white one so I can take more cuttings. They root easily -- I kill them just as easily.

Dwarf Marigolds intended for the Herb Circle have true leaves. Thyme is still tiny and every seed looks to have germinated. Zinnias for yet another purpose have sprouted half-heartedly. Lots of interesting things are sprouting in the cracks of the greenhouse floor.

I love tiny plants that come from pieces of something. Every little burro's tail bean that breaks off gets a spot somewhere to make another plant. Almost every broken Christmas Cactus leaf gets the same treatment.

In the cup at bottom right, at 12 o'clock position is a teensy bit of mistletoe cactus growing from a single tiny broken piece. It has 3 new leaves.

I don't do this from necessity. I have whole plants and can divide them into more whole plants. It's just a pleasure to watch them grow from something that would otherwise be discarded.

I looked at some photos from Chelsea Flower Show 2014. White flowers were featured in many of the gardens. Another trend was lavender and pale yellow. There was LOTS of purple.

Last year many boxwoods featured were cut into squares and rectangles. This year they're back to meatballs and round forms. I'm glad I waited.

RHS Flower of the Year is a strangely colored double Hydrangea from outer space. The Iris, 'Domino Noir' with white standards and black falls won second place. Third place went to a bright orange Gerbera. My orange Gerberas look more like the species but they are wonderful.

Irises were big as show flowers. They have a short bloom life in my garden.

And Oh! Telegraph Garden had a LAWN. Do you think lawns coming back?

We are Flaunting our Flowers over at Tootsie's Blog.

 You can see End of Month Views of my Garden here.

May 27, 2014

Distracted by Calla Lilies

Yesterday when I read Claus Dalby's blog, he had Calla Lilies in pots. Oh, joy!
A notion was planted in my brain.

Today when we went to Florida City to the Big Box, they had calla lilies. Swoon.
I brought home a box of something I had no idea of the culture.

Pig Lilies -- I can too grow Calla Lilies.

The only Callas I've ever had were Zantedeschia aethiopica. I didn't know the difference. They never fared all that well here because of the climate but some have survived despite me with spare bloom. There are leaves on the one by the rock birdbath.

The Zantedeschia that I bought today are Hybrids. Unlike the hardy Z. aethiopica they come from the other side of Africa and have different needs. Here's what I determined:

  • I'm planting them late.
  • They want cooler weather than I can provide.
  • They need a dormant period. (I always thought Z. aethiopica went dormant. They do die back when the weather gets really hot here and again with frost.) This is a different dormant. Deciduous dormant with dry roots. 
  • Unlike Z. aethiopica, Zanthedeschia hybrids are not pig lilies and do not want to be in a bog.

Perhaps before summer is over, I'll have glorious blossoms of pink or yellow or mango or rose color, just like on the box.

My new bulbs are potted in 6" pots, watered and set outside in hopes we get a shower of rain tonight.

Have you grown Calla Lilies? Are they in bloom again?

May 24, 2014

Evolution of the Daylily

This is not a botanical thesis nor a detailed story of how daylilies evolved over the past century from a handful of cultivars to more than 70,000. That information is well-discussed on the web.

What I want to point out is how the common orange daylily from Asia evolved through the work of the late Arlo Stout and other pioneers of daylily hybridizing in the early decades of the last century.

On the left is Hemerocallis fulva, the common orange daylily that our mothers and grandmothers had in the yard 60 years ago with few 'modern' hybrids seen.
On the right is Salmon Sheen, registered by Ophelia Taylor in 1950. In 1959 Salmon Sheen won the Stout Award and the AHS Popularity Poll.

The following daylily I take to be one from the 1970s or early 80s. It was mislabeled, I moved it a couple of times and then I found this bloom:

It certainly looks as if it could be a descendant of 
Salmon Sheen, acquiring ruffles along the way

This is my unregistered seedling grown from seed
gathered in someone's yard. I did not see the parent plants 
as seed was already ripe and the daylilies were out of bloom.

On the left, Inner View, registered 1982, a Munson daylily.
On the right, Silver Veil registered 1977, also a Munson.
Silver Veil and Zinfandel are the parents of Inner View.

All pictures shown are from my garden in late May.

May 21, 2014

A Peek into the Hot and Humid Greenhouse

It's 87 degrees outside and 97º in the greenhouse with exhaust fan on and water mist. Some things will seek shade soon or at least a cooler sunny spot.

Gerbera Daisy and Alyssum in a rusty well bucket outside the door.

No plants in the NE corner, just pots and some little crates I wanted to keep out of the mist water.

More pots in the SE corner and my little red trolley.

The sensor changed from temp to humidity before the shutter clicked.
67% humidity, and 94 degrees earlier today, 97º now.

Looking toward the SW corner,  burro's tails, a small mistletoe cactus cutting, a tomato plant rooted from a cutting from the axil of a larger plant, graptopetalum and a seedling Pentas.

Pentas plant came up in the floor, 
then a second and now I found another.
I failed to take cuttings last summer. Somebody is looking out for butterflies.

Rose campion in the floor.
I think these seeds fell out of the trash.

Deliberate seeds are harder to coax into growth. 
I plant in regular potting soil and sprinkle a seed mix over the top.
I put seedling trays and plants I am trying to root on the floor 
where it is cooler and the mist drips on them. 

The blue flower is a Hydrangea serrata that 
got broken when we were working around it.

The tiniest pieces get to try to grow into a plant.

Things like twine, sulfur, rooting powder and other
things I want to keep dry are in ice cream buckets.

NW corner has a number of things that wanted to stay in
a little longer, shaded with a plastic party tablecloth.
Purple Heart can be planted out, begonias are optional to stay in pots.

Mistletoe cactus may move out with the other jungle cacti,
tillandsia can join bromeliads already outside. 
I don't know what I'll do with the birds' nest fern and the staghorn opposite.

Items sold as 'greenhouse' notions are
pricey. Paper clips hold as tightly as
something labeled for GH use.

Near dark, I plugged in the lights to see if they still work.

May 19, 2014

Goodbye, Lygodium japonicum

Last year a tiny fern appeared in a pot with another plant in the greenhouse. I let it grow, given my penchant for seeing if a seedling is indeed 'something' or just another weed.

Here it is, the end of June, 2013. The fern came up in the pot with a cutting of Persian Shield that I rooted. Can't imagine where the spore came from, perhaps it rode along with something that I bought. I planted them out together.

Persian Shield died back to roots. The fern just kind of hung on. I never noticed any spores.

Here it is today. The fern is growing like crazy, Persian Shield has just emerged from its roots. I looked up the fern: Lygodium japonicum. Invasive in southern Deep South states. It tends to grow in pine forests and make 'fire ladders' to the tops of trees that cause damage to trees than can stand controlled burns if treetops are not involved.

Plant Delights sells it. He suggests cutting it to the ground in November before spores form and letting it come back. You KNOW that I will forget that tiny task.

Goodbye, invasive plant.

May 16, 2014

Follage Follow Up in the Greenhouse

Let's start outside the door with a broken pot container full of Graptopetalum and Sedum acre. The sedum is blooming vigorously, the Ghost Plant bloomed earlier.

Inside, despite some warm temperatures on sunny days, some foliage plants remain.

From top left, an Agapanthus seedling, far from ready to bloom. Agapanthus outdoors is putting on buds. At the rear are some rose cuttings and a red pot with green dotted garden gloves somebody asked about the other day. Center front are two Mistletoe Cactuses grown for their foliage. They had tiny white blossoms about a month ago. At bottom, Persian Shield and a Bird's Nest Fern.

Burro's Tail sedum
Purple foliage behind is alternanthera growing in the 
greenhouse floor and vining up and over everything.

Staghorn Fern that I suspect would like to go outside
for the summer.

Join Foliage Followup at Pam Peniick's Digging blog

May 13, 2014

Appleblossom, Again

Last year when I repotted, I took an offset off my big Appleblossom Amaryllis and potted it separately. It spent the winter in the greenhouse, went outside with the others when the weather warmed and bloomed last week.

I put it in the house for Mother's Day and returned it to the greenhouse for watering. I like walking into the greenhouse and catching the fragrance -- unusual for an Amaryllis to smell so good.

Strobilanthes is still blooming in the greenhouse. I like the combination with the chartreuse of Bird's Nest Fern. Persian Shield in the garden has commenced new growth. We rarely see blooms outside.

May 12, 2014

Another Look in Greenhouse and Out

Last week I mentioned that Bromeliads outside might have to move to shade.

 Evidence of too much sun is the light spot on the left. Evidence of enough water is the little critter in the cup. Tiny frogs inside and out of the greenhouse love those little cool spots to camp. Broms are behind the greenhouse for now.

Inside, the seed-grown cycad has a new frond. It unfurled yesterday. One of the outdoor cycads has new growth. The others are waiting.

The stacked red pots hold my single Agapanthus seedling, now about 4 inches tall. To its left is a repotted Tillandsia, actually 3 plants that grew around the old plant from last year. I think they make a better show in a single pot and saves so much space. I checked with experts -- they're happy enough to hang out together.

I shoved the bird's nest fern under the shelf months ago because it wasn't really happy in the house. I kind of forgot about it, except for occasional water directed under there. Imagine how surprised I was to pull it out and it had all this lush growth I hadn't realized. I gave it a little haircut to remove old, ratty fronds which were all I'd really been noticing under there.

I may leave it there if it can tolerate the light, or put it on the other side under a higher shelf. New, bigger fronds were beginning to curl back on themselves. It needs to stretch.

The west end of the greenhouse is shaded with plastic tablecloths secured with fancy paper clips from the stationery department. Last year I used thin polyester that came wrapped around new chairs. It disintegrated, as will the plastic but 2 one-dollar tablecloths are cheap enough shade. Plants remaining are grouped under the mist system for best cooling during the day.

We're seeing 90+ degree days in the greenhouse on 80+ degree days outside. When it gets really hot, more plants may have to summer outside.

Some of them might prefer to come inside to summer with me where it's cooler.

May 10, 2014

Knowing When to Water

The only house plants I have indoors are a Spathephyllum, a Pothos and 3 Orchids. When the Peace Lily starts to droop I water them all. I take them outside and let water run through the pots and drain before bringing them in again.

The only Orchid that I don't water outside is the one in a tall glass cylinder. Once in a while I take it outside, flood the pebbles in the bottom with water and then turn it on its side and let the water run out.

Last year's bloom.

I keep thinking about taking it out of the glass container and repotting in a regular orchid pot in orchid medium. I wonder if after all these years of confinement it might die of shock? Or would it take hold and start to grow?

May 06, 2014


Yesterday I posted this mug with my greenhouse pots. Curious, I searched for it today on Google. They're selling for from $10 to $15 dollars -- well, they're OFFERED for those prices. Mine came from a thrift store, probably for pennies, prior to 2004. Don't let the dust on it fool you, it's unused. Still had the sticker on the bottom with the price scratched from a store in Tallahassee that closed in 2001, the same year on the price tag. 

Maybe I should move it out of the sun.

May 05, 2014

Busy Work: Pots and Pups

Hot weather has arrived. It's a hundred degrees in the greenhouse in late afternoon despite an exhaust fan and a  mister. Most things are outside with more to follow. I know that alternanthera can survive these temps, the purple lives in the ground year round, climbing to the rafters.

Pots were rearranged by color. Some yellow pots with purple heart seem not to mind the heat and are directly under a mist valve.

 Nothing growing is up high. If you notice empty mugs, they are for rooting cuttings in winter. I used to use them for forcing a single hyacinth bulb before I gave up bulbs in water.

The elephant mug turned up when I was looking for something else. The greenhouse becomes a place to display empty containers and seek shelter on a rainy day.

Blues and greens are summering where jungle cacti spend the winter. A couple of blooming Rhipsalidopsis cuttings moved to the shade quickly after I took this pic. When I moved them I accidentally broke off another little piece on a bigger pot which now has its own little rooting pot. 

The more plants I root, the more turn up This container of Purple Heart and Persian Shield could be put in the ground, or not. I may just pull out the Strobilanthes and let the Purple Heart grow long hanging stems for winter display. Persian Shield can always find a good spot with something brighter. I planted a rooted one this afternoon, and some pineapple sage and 6 White Shrimp cuttings that were spectacular bloomers indoors, now looking leggy and sad but they'll put out new growth and I hope they bloom again in fall. Frost will take them out. Some Shrimps outdoors have put out new growth. A few choice clumps did not return. I think all the red Shrimps have new growth. 

Remember when I told the Outlaw Gardener that he was wise not to buy a Bromeliad on sale cheap that looked like this? These have new pups. I thought they die after one set of pups -- not so. 

Neoregelia pups around a sad looking Mother plant.

This half-dozen were all pups once. They may be relegated to the infamous back side of the greenhouse because this spot gets late afternoon hot sun.

It's the time of year when the greenhouse becomes mostly a storage spot for empty pots and a refuge on a rainy day. Maybe I can find a suitable chair or two.

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