December 29, 2015

New Year's Cactus

If a Schlumbergera doesn't bloom by Christmas, it magically becomes a New Year's Cactus. The peach color and the bright lavender pink are blooming now.

I brought in one of the peach color.

I thought an aqua cache pot would complement it. I see now that Navy blue would be a better choice.

This may call for a do over. I almost let these go unnoticed until I remembered they might need water.

December 22, 2015

The Last Poinsettia

  1. Last year's poinsettia refused to die. It's a pitiful thing with some tiny reddish leaves and a promising bud or two. 

  1. The black florist pot it was never transplanted from needed something to hold it.
  2. I found a big gold cache pot that was too deep. I tried a piece of fossil Limestone. 

     The limestone rock was too big. A handful of river stones supported the pot just fine.                               

  3.  Once I set it in a big gold pot and surrounded it with Schlumbergeras and a Pelargonium or two, it looks so much happier and festive.

  4. That's about as festive as it's going to be. In the spring I will take this determined plant out of the pot it was in for more than a year, examine the roots and replant it. It deserves a chance to bloom once more.
  5. Thanks to Peter Herpst, my pitiful poinsettia now has a theme song: Percy the Puny Poinsettia. 

December 13, 2015

Bloom Day Preview in the Greenhouse

Enthusiasm waned. Plants went on without me. Hyacinth bulbs are finally out of chill and in pots.


There are other blooming plants but these are the most startling. I gave away a rooted Persian Shield, a Gerbera seedling and something else I forget to a delightful visitor named Lillie, 20 years older than me, after we toured the garden in my Mule. And seeds! We gathered seeds of everything outside that had pods.

It was wonderful encouragement, her visit. 

November 02, 2015

It Isn't a Journal if There Are No Entries

Reg reminded me that he wasn't seeing flowers in his feed. That's because I think about posting and then fail to do so, sometimes.

It's pretty exciting to think your winter tomato plants are not going to produce
and then find a cluster of blooms and more buds forming.

Maybe there's hope after all.

My tin rooster overlooks a dreary day. Wind blew down our flag last evening.
The flagpole needs new rope, the old rope broke.

Pineapple Sage cuttings have rooted and started blooming. 

I look forward to Schlumbergera from Thanksgiving until after the New Year.
These are the ones typically sold as Christmas Cactus and called Thanksgiving
Cactus by those who know the difference and care. 

I'm parching peanuts. Boiled peanuts are Lane's favorite. We didn't boil peanuts in North Georgia, we parched them. I read how to soak them to have salted peanuts in the shell. We never did that. I expect they're better for you unsalted. 

When I made the last visit to the surgeon, I told him I was enjoying parched peanuts. He said that was a fine idea, very good for you. We didn't talk about salt.

Maybe we'll shell a few after they roast and pop some corn and make caramel Cracker Jack when the sun comes out again. Aunt Grace always said it didn't matter about the weather, just cook your sugar mixture a little longer. My latest notion is using maple syrup and brown sugar instead of white Karo and white sugar. 

I raked pine straw on Saturday and didn't haul and place it, just raked it over to the side of the drive. Now it's all wet and heavy. The paths all have a layer of straw which the mower will blow into flower beds.

This is a purely decorative stepping stone that I walk around rather than tread 
on it. It's made of a vintage vase, some rose rocks from Oklahoma and bits of
coral. All pieces of sentiment from years past.

We got an inch of rain yesterday, mostly during the time I went to the Nursing Home for our every 11th week Service. We take turns with other Churches in the County. When I got out of the car in the back parking lot there was a river of water running across, that came up over my ankles. We're just proud to get rain after a long dry spell.

October 29, 2015

Busy Work in the Greenhouse and Out

Potted up Kalanchoe cuttings, 7 of them in 4" pots. 
They'll bloom white probably after Christmas and look festive with red geraniums. 
Kalanchoe roots so easily. 

Potted up the Lemon Grass that I pulled up and almost let die. It has white roots and green stems. Hopeful. Also pulled up another 4 culms and potted in a single pot. It has a better chance because it did not have to sit around and decline. Lemon grass is wonderful for plantings, come warm weather next year. Pets love it.

Am I the only one who sets pots in out of the way spaces and discovers sometimes that something recovered and it growing? A moth-eaten Pentas that was nothing but stems has new growth at every joint. It will make a great winter pot with red blooms, given time and perhaps a larger pot. 

A Brugmansia cutting, likewise. Nothing like a little rain to bring things back from the dead. I put it in the greenhouse with the Pentas cutting and a Persian Shield back from the dead, too. 

Meanwhile outside Brugs are having another round of bloom.

Most Camelia seed pods opened without my finding them.
This one had just one fat seed. I will likely be 80 before it made a bloom,
but the promise in a Camellia seed is too much to pass up.

If you wonder about the woolly gloves, they're cotton knit, just something to keep potting soil from under my nails and off my skin where it makes me itch.  I kept them on from habit when I wandered off.

October 27, 2015

When I Fail to Pay Attention

Sometimes I can walk right by plants and forget they're there. It happened to some jungle cacti after I moved most of them inside. I set some larger plants on the makeshift bench where Epiphyllums usually summer. In an out-of-way place, they were simply  overlooked.

While I wasn't looking, this Rhipsalidopsis made fruits after it bloomed for Mother's Day. Should I plant seeds when they are ripe?

These two Schlumbergera put on buds. 
Oh, see the wire basket? Inside it are cycad seeds. A second one has growth. 

 It's windy and rainy today. While we're out here you may as well have another peek.
I bought a single Perlargonium this summer. Next year I want more kinds.

Empty containers await whatever turns up in the next few days. There are Kalanchoes that need bumping up into larger pots. I found a discarded Epiphyllum leaf under the Epi bench. It had greened up, put on a new leaf and rooted. You know what that means....

Purple Alternanthera weaves it's way among pots near the floor. 
 Hippeastrum bulbs are in place to see who throws buds. I would like to see an Amaryllis bloom by Christmas. Red and Chartreuse Alternanthera cuttings are in place in mugs to root. A handful of cuttings will spend a whole winter forming a mass of roots, easily teased apart in spring. You can't see the dozen Pentas cuttings on the floor. I'll be taking cuttings from now to frost.

A panorama makes it look as if there is more space than there really is.  Far left is Amaryllis seedlings and offsets and mistletoe cactus. The Bromeliad tree is stuffed in between those and the shelves where the Geranium shows off has bromeliads that are not Neoregelias on the next shelf. Epiphyllums are back there behind the potting bench around the vintage plant stand the rooster stands on. I stuffed the parlor palm under at the end of the south bench -- there's a new palm start behind the Geranium from where I pulled out a culm by accident.

The step stool holding fertilizers is what I use to climb up to water the things I can't reach. It's a seat to perch on, too. I have not yet brought in the heaters. We are still balmy here with cloud cover holding in heat during the night as well. Rain was sparse; wind was plentiful. I was raking pine straw when a dead limb bigger than my arm fell to the ground. Scary.

October 11, 2015

On Second Thought...

Maybe I'll just go ahead and leave the blog open to visitors. The content will change to reflect more plans with details of what goes on.

More notes from last week:

Plan to put the Burro Tails up high with rhipsalis for contrast.
All Christmas cacti together, Easter Cactus toward the back because they won't bloom soon, can trade places later.
Hate the room that it takes for Epis, but I'm bringing in all three, haircuts for 2.
Two tomatoes. two tomatoes, repeat after me.

Too many Spiders, I know. Repot the Foxtail fern separately.
LIne up just six Kalanchoe in green pots, a couple of extra pots just in case, to keep them.
Geraniums in white pots on potting bench, one big one in a clay pot.

A popular blogger disparaged trinkets like my tin rooster this week while gushing about a California vendor who features ceramic gnomes. My rooster is a sentimental piece. 

The last time I saw my late brother the Colonel, he was at a posh nursing home in Florida which he believed to be a motel. The facility had a beautiful atrium garden with a tin chicken on a post near the center. My red rooster, one of yes an ark full of imports, reminds me of that visit.  I had no camera with me, but made from memory a detailed list of the plants when I got home.
Christmas Cactus in Aqua pots, Red Ch. Cactus in Green pots  
Amaryllis on north shelf, bring to a prominent spot as they bloom.
Agapanthus, dug and potted as suggested by Claus Dalby. It goes indoors after light frost.

Find a nice spot for the areca palm -- and the small one that grew when I pulled out a culm by accident.. 
May yet dig the bird of paradise, maybe an Alpinia
Repot Firecracker Fern. I really want to throw it away, but take out the Ghost plants and it might be a nice plant again. Think I'll just put the Ghosts along in front of the  pole cuts but Squirrels will probably eat them.
The list goes on and on, reminding myself.

October 09, 2015

Last Peek before Greenhouse Journal goes Private

Most plants are inside except for Agapanthus in pots that according to Claus need a bit of frost to render them dormant before they come inside.

Epiphyllums are in the left corner around the tin rooster and his perch. Most Schlumbergeras are in blue pots and green pots on the right and behind them as well. It's time to start watching them for baby teeth buds. Commonly called Thanksgiving Cactus, I tend to call mine Christmas Cactus because they start bloom at the end of November lasting into January. I do know the difference (see sidebar note). There are some 'Easter' cactuses at the back.

 Scandinavian blogs that I read have Pelargoniums in their winter greenhouses. I'm imitating that trend.

 Sacrificing space for the Bromel tree was a hard decision. I could have a table and chairs. Burro tails and Mistletoe Cactus are everywhere. Some of the Burros lost beads to squirrels while they summered outside.

 There are some overripe pears behind these Bromels to encourage bloom.

Some white Shrimp Plant cuttings need to be brought in soon. This red Shrimp volunteered in the greenhouse floor, surviving panel scrubbing and furniture moving. Back in summer it was very pale but has color now.

Recently I started keeping a little file on my desktop with thoughts at the end of the day: what I did, what I meant to do, what I might do another day. It would not make for interesting reading except for myself.

My plan right now is to make Dotty Plants a private blog and put everything that I hope visitors find interesting on Seed Scatterer blog. Transferring my file to a blog will allow photos so I know what I'm talking about when my words grow cold after a day or so.

 Here's a sample of my recent notes:

Made succulent pots and stepping stones from what was left over when we poured cement to make a triangle landing in front of the mule barn entry door. Didn't think to get everything ready the night before, so I was grabbing any container and improvising on the spot with some random broken tiles and tessarae from another time. Dog prints showed up on fresh concrete, smoothed out as best we could on the landing. 
___Pot up Ricinus. 
Took 9 white and 9 pale pink Pentas cuttings. Hope I'm not doing it too late. 
As Pots come into the greenhouse, if they're too far down in the pot, I pull out the plant and put a scoop or two of potting soil in the bottom of the pot and fill in around the newly elevated plant. Sometimes they cry out for a top dressing of fresh soil instead.
Epiphyllums cried out for repotting but it will wait until spring.\
Chartreuse and Red Joseph's Coat in mugs, newly scrubbed
__ Pentas -- make bouquets that can root or not. Red, close to Christmas.
White Shrimp. Don't need red, there's a sprout in the greenhouse floor.
Think about taking Porterweed cuttings?

A great part of this might not be necessary for any eyes but mine.

September 21, 2015

Hyacinths for Christmas Bloom

Dutch bulbs were on display in the Big Box store when we were in Alabama today. If bulbs are out in Lower Alabama, they're surely everywhere.

I bought a bag of 15 mixed color bulbs for about ten dollars. I separated them by color, 6 light color and 9 purplish. The dark bulbs may be blue, or they may be dark pink. The white will likely be white or yellow.

Last year, I planted my bulbs before I chilled them. I don't think it matters. It is terribly inconvenient to have pots of bulbs in a refrigerator, even one you don't use every day. I tucked this years' bulbs into paper bags and labeled them including a projected date 10 weeks hence for taking them out to plant.

Pre-potted bulbs come out of the refrigerator with roots growing. Those that were just bagged and chilled might have a few tentative roots, but they catch up quickly once they're potted and watered.

A month after they were brought into a warm environment, last year's Hyacinths were showing promise.

In three months from starting chill, I expect buds showing color.

I hope my timing is such that we'll see color if not open blossoms by Christmas. Last year I almost forgot and I had hyacinths blooming indoors and outdoors in February. I hope this year's lot will be more timely for indoor bloom.

This is how I forced bulbs before we built the greenhouse, in an unheated laundry room in containers of water and stones. I stopped forcing bulbs in water, which works just fine but renders the bulbs almost useless for rebloom. Potted Hyacinths are easily slipped into garden soil outdoors after blooms are spent and will bloom the next year in late winter or early spring.

White Pearl, early 2014.

Now's your chance to have hyacinths blooming this winter, if you start soon.

September 15, 2015

Ignoring Bloom Day

Skipping Bloom Day in the greenhouse while I get ready for winter blooms.

Trying to clean the greenhouse. The top  is scrubbed of black mold. The inside must be washed to remove green mold. The sides and ends are partly cleaned.

Couldn't find the extension pole. Made do with taking a scrub brush off a handle and putting it on the light bulb changing pole. Car wash brushes do not have long enough handles to reach the very top.

Started moving out pots yesterday. All blooming size Amaryllis are outdoors.
Amaryllis needs to dry off and be cut back in hopes of winter bloom.

Guess Amaryllis seedlings will just keep in growing. Wonder what would result from crowding several seedlings in a single pot?

Need to take empty cache pots and other accoutrements outside and clean, then replace.
Think I'll rip down the grapevine swag and lights. Old lights need tossing; replace with some I bought after Christmas last.

Ambitious project. Outside GH landscaping is full of Bermuda grass on the south side and front.

The north side is in pretty good shape; Gardenias have done very well. Calla lilies are dying back.

There was a problem with a credit card yesterday and it was cancelled because, they said, a merchant was trying to charge the card with bogus charges. They're sending a new one. A bulb vendor was to use that card when they get ready to ship my bulbs in a few days. Sigh.

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