April 30, 2015

End of the Month sans Views

There are no end of month views for the greenhouse.

Bromeliads have moved outside except for one or two. Bromeliad tree tipped over for a near disaster but it's back together and in place in the shade.

Planted in the past two days include a red and white Crape Myrtle that Miss Winnie rooted for me. Alyssum planted itself in the pot, so it's a bouquet in the ground now even before the Crape blooms.

Two good plants of Cymbopogon went in the oval lawn bed on the north side. Not all the Lemon Grass outdoors survived the cold winter.

Lemon Grass from 2013.

Emptying the greenhouse is not a one-day task. Meanwhile, tomatoes are growing like crazy and requiring more support. 

I repotted the Bromeliad that I bought last year that had two pups. I left it in the tiny pot all this time and it thrived despite tight shoes, Vriesea splendens Red overcame its humble beginnings and is a nice plant now, the two pups still with the original plant. It's a bright pale green, red being the color of the quill. I hope to see blooms by this fall. 

There's another Amaryllis about to bloom. 

The greenhouse needs a good scrubbing outside and all pots of a color gathered together. Ike the Cat likes the new arrangement that gives him a better place to lounge. 


April 26, 2015

Tomato Update and a Peek into the Mule Barn

Late entry: We ate that big tomato on a hamburger on Monday night. 
The newer plants have tiny tomatoes. I'm hopeful of continuing on with this project. 

It's hot in the hothouse now.

Last summer's tomato is still producing.

Climbing ever upward, the lower branches die off.
I don't know how long it can continue.

The 4 "new" tomato plants are 4 feet tall and full of blossoms. I saw at least one tiny tomato so I am not making changes. The 3 newly rooted plants are growing roots out the bottoms of their pots so they have to have new pots next week.

I'm still undecided about whether Bromeliads should go outside and whether an Epiphyllum should could back inside just to see how it fares.

Mule Barn

Suddenly the big, spacious Mule Barn floor is FULL. Not really full, there is room to walk around but the center floor space is taken up by the Mule, 
Riding Mower, Chopper/Shredder, wheeled weed whacker, push Mower, 
Yard Machine tiller and other garden accoutrements and I'm not finished.

I made temporary signs to remember what goes where.
So far the greenhouse area just has the winter heaters and a sign.
I thought of bringing the potting bench in, but it just won't fit.
He who Mows said dirt would not be a problem, just sweep it out.

The only hose, so far.

There's not going to be a lot of room
for tables and chairs. I did bring in my 
favorite garden lamp and my retirement clock.

Right off, a little sparrow thought this would be a fine place to raise a family. I yelled at her and she perched on the overhead cable, dropped the nest material in her beak, listened to shouts of reason and flew away. I know that sounds cruel, but much less cruel to redirect her to permanent, accessible quarters away from where the doors are closed all night and when there is rain. Better she starts over than unable to get in when her babies are starving.

April 19, 2015

Last Hippeastrums Indoors

I don't know if there will be Amaryllis blooming in the garden later -- some foliage showed up here and there.


Spartacus and Apple Blossom

I love Apple Blossom because of the fragrance. There's one left to bloom, an offset that I potted up. Still waiting for seedlings; it may take a long time.

Another view of Spartacus

Broader views take in two plants in the Great Tomato Plan.

I haven't decided whether I'll haul that big heavy pot of 
Bromeliad tree outdoors.

The Plan is to grow tomatoes up through places where
they have support.

So far they're reaching for the sun.

Speaking of sun, it peeked out of the clouds just briefly.
NOAA warns of heavy thunderstorms headed this way.

April 14, 2015

Peek into the Greenhouse on the day before Bloom Day

I am slow about removing plants this year except for Schlumbergera and other jungle cacti which have moved to their summer home.


Rhipsalidopsis is blooming on the summer patio.

A last Hippeastrum: Apple Blossom

This Amaryllis is in bud behind tomato blooms may be orange. 

This is the year of the great Tomato Trial to see if
tomatoes will produce in high heat. I picked a ripe tomato today from the plant that spent the winter indoors. That plant, brought indoors last August still has tomatoes and occasional blooms. 
Four new container plants are in place and blooming. 

Begonia cutting.

Begonias do well in heat
I want to get some Geraniums -- Pelargoniums if you're not from the South.

White Kalanchoe

It's time to hang some shade on the west end. Already using mist when the sun shines. We had a black snake last week. Ike the cat did not welcome the snake.

Happy Bloom Day.

April 11, 2015


According to Barbara Damrosch writing in the Washington Post, "Next to a knack for creating great soil, the most important skill in gardening is timing."
My timing is rarely on the money. I was able this afternoon to get some rooted cuttings planted ahead of a soaking rain.

Purple Porterweed went in the front garden.
Red, which you can't see here, went in the upper garden.

All but one of the Pentas cuttings that spent the winter in water are still making roots in the greenhouse before they plant out. 

Pineapple Sage and Persian Shield went in earlier in 
the week with copious watering.
One pot of chartreuse Alternanthera is planted.

Oh, that I had neatly delineated raised garden beds without a weed showing that I see in the blog, Daphne's Dandelions. It is a joy for me to look at her blog and see a neat row of raised beds. She showed where she pulled sweet Alyssum. I lack the grit to pull a single one that has a tiny blossom.

The little red and white Crape Myrtle that Miss Winnie rooted for me got Alyssum seeds in the pot after it arrived here. Now that little Crape has a frill of white blossoms around its ankles. I don't know if it will try to bloom. If it does a frill of Alyssum will make a pretty container. If it doesn't white blooms will still be pretty.

I hoped to finish pruning Boxwood this week. That didn't happen, either.

It looks as if Bloom Day will be Orange: flowering Pomegranate, Gerbera Daisies  and California Poppies.

April 09, 2015

Narcissus Seeds

There is an ancient Daffodil that blooms early here of the 'King Alfred' type planted here about 50 years ago and of great sentiment.

It was the only Daffodil I brought inside this winter and spring.

The other day I found seed pods, some still with seeds about 2 mm. smaller than a daylily seed. I gathered what was left and brought inside.

These were the pods. I planted the seeds. 
I'll let you know next spring if there are any tiny seedlings. 

I always picked off seed pods. Now I read it doesn't matter.

Depending on whose advice you read, I could have Daffodils in 2 years or 5. 
I'll wait. 

April 06, 2015

The Great Big Tomato Experience

At the end of January I rooted 4 suckers off my famous winter tomato plant. Sometime later I bumped them up from the little pots to bigger pots that hold maybe 2 quarts of soil. They grew and grew.

Yesterday I bought the biggest bale of potting soil and He-Who-Mows dumped it off the back of the truck per my instructions, so nobody had to lift such a heavy thing. I put the tomato plants on my little green wagon and improvised a potting table right there.

They were getting near pot-bound. Circling roots were easily teased out.

These pots are 4 gallon, I think. The biggest I have, anyway. I clipped off lower leaves and planted plants deeper than they were growing before.

I can't pass up a potential new plant -- sucker -- sucker for a sucker, 3 of them.

I'll show you later how they will be supported in the greenhouse. I think I can grow tomatoes indoors through the summer. Last year purple Alternanthera grew to the top of the walls, why not tomatoes? Alison did it.

I moved the single plant that produced all winter into the greenhouse in August, still about as hot as it gets here. I can shade these from the evening sun from the west if necessary. 

The original single plant has green tomatoes still. We ate one last Friday. Actually it isn't an original plant. It was a sucker off one of last summer's outdoor plants. Wonder how long I could keep clones of this tomato going?

The new plants are blooming and nighttime temperatures are just right for forming fruit. I can hardly wait. 

April 04, 2015

Colors of Easter in the Greenhouse

On my hunt for Easter Egg colors in the garden, I found a variety of flowers.
This first one from the greenhouse is technically already outside. There are more still inside, this large one is the only one with open blooms.


Commonly called Easter Cactus.
I expect it will still be blooming at Mother's Day.

Still blooming: Amaryllis are usually thought of as Christmas flowers. Mine kind of bloom when they're ready.



This last one bloomed before Thanksgiving. Now it has a notion to bloom again. There is one more pot with a good sized bulb that I think might be Spartacus.

None of the Broms are blooming.
This one has the best color of any.


Begonias bloom year around. This one is a tiny cutting in a yogurt cup.
On the right is a rooted Pentas cutting, kept in water all winter and now getting ready to go out to the garden soon.


More rooted cuttings; these spent the winter in soil. A single early purple bloom on the Porterweed, I expect red blooms soon. Persian Shield got too dry but revived well. There are Purple Heart Cuttings and some other odds and ends to plant when I can. I think warm weather is here to stay.

Greenhouse plants kept in the house: 2 orchids in bloom and one has buds.

April 03, 2015

Do Snakes Have Elbows and other Garden Observations

Where did March go? Suddenly it was warm and blossoms were everywhere and I almost let it slip by without observations.

This fellow startled me when I was weeding. At first glance I thought, "Snake!" Then I noticed his cute little elbows. He has knees, too. I bet he eats lots of bugs.

The part of the Mule Barn wiring that requires a ladder is done.

Roses are budded and coming into bloom, starting with the Knockouts.
Julia Child produced an early yellow bloom that I brought indoors.

Not every Azalea blooms at the same time; 
they were spectacular with Dogwoods.


Spiderwort planted itself everywhere. When its big show is over, it can be cut to the ground to start over. Judge Solomon Azaleas shown
; many of the Formosa type bloomed poorly after the freezes. Kurumes' double blooms made up for it.

Graptopetalum has blooms. It is outside for the summer, at the mercy of Squirrels.
Epiphyllums and Schlumbergeras moved outdoors for the summer, too.
Still lots of plants in the greenhouse clamoring for tending.

After looking at dozens of greenhouse landscapes on Claus Dalby's site, I decided last year that the greenhouse should have white plants around and near it. I put Philadelphus on each side of the door. It's growing nicely. To say that Philadelphus has a tendency to sucker does not describe how this shrub spreads. In another year it should make a grand green screen to shade the west end of the greenhouse all summer and bare limbs will let in the winter sun.

On the north side, Gardenias, 6 of them, have reached a good size in just two years. On the south side is a mix of Candytuft, old-fashioned Iris at the end, and Gerbera daisies, some of which are pink. Sedum acre is making a good groundcover and it looks as if white Lantana is coming back.

Around the pumphouse nearby are a number of white shrubs including more Phildelphus, Spiraea, more Gardenias and a white Loropetalum that needs pruning as badly as the Loropetalums that I limbed into trees yesterday.  The only shrub with color is a mauve Althea (Hibiscus syriacus) that has sentimental value. I need to take cuttings. 

Philadelphus with all its suckers and wayward limbs. 

Ah, Spring! Happy Easter.

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