January 29, 2014

Winter Mix

The minor inconveniences of cold weather and 'Acretion' as the NWS called it are keeping us inside.

I went out to give the birds water -- the birdbath was frozen -- and check on the greenhouse.








It smells good in the greenhouse.



January 23, 2014

Peek into the Greenhouse at Mostly White Flowers

White flowers in the greenhouse, as close to thoughts of snow as I care to go. When I ordered Hyacinths, this year's choices are white and pink. I gave away most of the pink in single pots, a few are left. 

White hyacinths in the broken pot container with Graptopetalum.

To the right as you come in the door, Single pots of Hyacinths
have mostly cleared, White Pearl Hyacinths in pots of 4
remain. There's no particular reason that Burro's Tail Sedums
hand out with them except maybe for the light.


White Kalanchoes are blooming at left. I am not happy about 
their tall lanky look. Young cuttings in a pot look much better so 
plans for the summer are shorter cuttings later in the season.

Five White Pearl in a bonsai container with 
Sedum acre. One has a double bloom forming.

View from a stool where I stand to water plants on high shelves.

To the left as you come in the door are mostly bromeliads and other exotics.

Top shelf includes Alternanthera cuttings in both water and
soil, a couple of Begonias and the nearest of the Epiphyllums.

Pink Pearl at top of Broken Container Garden. 

Pots of White Pearl. 

Next year's plan is for Hyacinths in Purple shades. Claus Dalby featured Woodstock Hyacinths in his blog today. I hope I remember when it is time to order bulbs in late summer.

It's wonderful to have a greenhouse. I used to grow Hyacinths in the barely heated laundry room, kept the Epiphyllums there with rooted cuttings through the winter. I trundled early spring seeds in and out of the tool shed on an old kitchen trolley that I still use in the greenhouse. I'm growing orchids in an east window indoors -- one has buds . An Amaryllis hanging out with the orchids has two fat buds.

Tip for Greenhouse growers: I mentioned before that I use two small inexpensive electric heaters in a 10 x 12' greenhouse set on Low. I got the bright idea that setting five one-gallon milk jugs filled with water about 30 inches in front of the heaters might help mediate the heat process. I keep 10 gallons of water in there for hand watering and rarely use a hose. I can't say if it is my imagination or it really works, but I think the temperatures are staying up better since I started the water jugs idea.

Tonight is predicted 23ºF for the second time this year. 


Flaunting my Flowers at Tootsie Time.




January 19, 2014

Like Finding Homes for Puppies

My Hyacinths have grown buds and showing color, so it's time to give them away for others to enjoy the blooming process. I sent some home with visitors and here are some I was about to load in the car to take to church Sunday night.






All these are Pink Pearl, with companion Graptopetalum. I kept 3 pots.

White Pearl is not as far along. They are growing with Sedum acre in pots of 4. 

I'm already planning next year's hyacinths. Every year is different. I watch the Swedish and Danish blogs to see how they display their bulbs. They usually use a bit of sheet moss or even some regular moss like grows in shady places. Like here:
.   
That's an art metal armadillo by Bobby Varley, tiptoeing through the moss garden. 
All it takes for a moss garden is unenriched soil, shade, time and rare weeding and raking. 



January 15, 2014

Bloom Day in the January Greenhouse

Angel Wing Begonia

Wax Leaf Begonia

Another red begonia in front of budded Hyacinths.

White Pearl Hyacinths, promising.

Last of the Schlumbergeras.

Kalanchoes. I think I'll buy a red one.

Tall leggy Kalanchoes starting to bloom.

White Shrimp Plant, rooted and 
blooming in a jar of water.

To see what's blooming outside, go here.

Bloom Day is hosted by Carol at May Dreams Gardens.

Linked to Tootsie Time Flower Flaunt

January 14, 2014

Broken Pot Planter Revised

Broken pot planter when pot laid on its side.

Later when the succulents bloomed, outside.

Today I noticed that most people make their broken pot garden with the pot sitting upright. I took out the little pot of black pebbles that was just holding a place and the smaller broken pot that was holding the front in of the soil in place and turned it right side up.

In the greenhouse, I took the bulb that never made roots out of a 6" pot of white hyacinths and tucked that pot into the bottom of the broken pot. Near the top I removed a pink hyacinth that was pushing itself out of its pot and tucked it into the space there, filling in with soil. Some Graptopetalum that was in the pot with the pink hyacinth filled in other spaces and I broke a big Graptopetalum rosette off somewhere else to place beside the hyacinth. Any empty spaces got soil or pebbles to fill in, and pieces of succulents.




After the next freeze is over, the pot goes back outside where it was before.

When the hyacinths finish blooming, maybe I'll put in a Burro tail Sedum at the top and buy some interesting succulent for the bottom 6" pot.
What interesting succulent would you suggest?

January 12, 2014

Notes on a Warm Day

The temperature outside today was 70º and sunny. Inside the greenhouse was perfect with the door open. Ladybugs lined the ceiling. I saw a fencepost lizard yesterday and the cachepots are full of peeper frogs.

The palm I repotted looks pretty good today. After I made a spot for 
it on the NW corner, the rest of that shelf needs reordering.

Hyacinth foliage is showing above its companion sedum.
The sedum took off ahead of white hyacinths.

White hyacinths and sedum acre. Pink hyacinths and Graptopetalum.

Some hyacinths are showing nice buds.

Angel Wing Begonia in bloom.
I rooted a pot full of new cuttings in the fall.
Begonias growing outside are dead.

Birds Nest Fern, Setcreasea and Persian Shield.


Anticipation. 
Note the second bud emerging.

The next freeze is expected Wednesday night with 28º as the low. 



January 11, 2014

LIghts, Camera, not much Action

Temperatures today returned to warm for January. It rained more than a half inch. I spent some time in the greenhouse checking plants for problems. My parlor palm had ugly brown spots on some leaves and stems. I pruned out the uglies and repotted the rootbound palm to see if it makes a new start. Otherwise to the dump.

I love the Mardi Gras look of the Christmas lights, so they are staying for now.


Most of the Christmas Cactuses have finished blooming. I pinched off dead blossoms.
Next to bloom will be Kalanchoes on the back of the potting bench.

Broad view from the door. Epiphyllums take up much of the whole north side.


Hyacinths for forcing are starting to show a few buds. 
They're planted with Graptopetalum and Sedum Acre.
Under the bench are white begonias, big begonia near right.

I rotated pots where hyacinths were stretching toward the light.

The repotted palm is on the left behind the Epi with some Bromeliads.
The little red blooms in the white pot are a begonia.

I set some seedlings out in the rain for a short time, and two ferns. 
There are a number of things I look forward to including an Amaryllis with a fat bud and more coming.

Heaters are unplugged for now. By midweek we'll expect another freeze but maybe a mild one.

There are two daffodils blooming outside!




January 07, 2014

Greenhouse Plants Survival in Record Lows

At the end of November I wrote about how I heat the greenhouse. We had a couple of nights back then where temps hovered around freezing. Heating a Greenhouse in a Coastal South Climate.

We had a real test last night. Predicted low was 18 or 20 degrees, depending on your source.

By 10pm we were looking at a 7 degree difference in temperatures outside and in the greenhouse. I went out and fine-tuned the little thermostats on the two heaters until there was a wider difference and rising.

During the night we got up and looked at the remote temps. At 2:40am it was 26 degrees outside and 38 in the greenhouse. The next time I got up I forgot to write down the time but I think it was around 5am. We were looking at 38 degrees in the greenhouse and 23.3 outside. The eventual low was 23 outside and the greenhouse held.

When the sun came up, the greenhouse commenced to rise. By 10am  I unplugged the heaters so the settings would be constant tonight. When the sun starts down in the west I will plug them back in.

Is there a contingency plan if the electricity fails? There's a kerosene heater. We have generators.

Many of the plants in the greenhouse, like hyacinth bulbs I'm forcing can take short bursts of freezing temperatures without permanent damage. Some things, like cuttings that have rooted in water are expendable if worst came to worst -- there are always more. I might have to choose which of the 5 Epiphyllums would get to come into the house so I would have a stock plant and the same with multiple Schlumbergeras. A plus for us is that freezing temperatures are short-lived here when the sun comes up.

A final note about the heaters. Why are there two? Why do we run them on low? There are two so they can run on low rather than running one on high. Our belief is that prolonged running on high can possibly burn out the wiring. In the event that one should fail for some other reason, there's one left that could run on high overnight.

January 06, 2014

Burro Tail Sedum

I can hardly wait until I have a full bushy-tailed basket of this pretty plant.


I started with a tiny hanging pot last year.

When the bean-like leaves break off, each roots easily when simply laid on some soil.

back in the fall, a butterfly visited.


Sedum morganianum -- another rooted piece

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