July 31, 2015

A Last Look at July

A greenhouse in July is not a show place. On the other hand, it is possible to easily root plants under the mist that helps with temperature control.

 When wind blew down a stalk of Angel Trumpet I took 6 cuttings. They have roots growing out the bottom of their pots as did the 4 pots of white Lantana montevidensis. Two of the Lantana are now filling the space where a large lavender Lantana failled to return after winter cold.

Back of the cuttings are two Bromeliads, one is a tiny pup that I doubted would ever grow. It is growing. Hanging down is some Pothos that more or less planted itself when a piece broke off.

A red Pentas that took all winter to root is now blooming. I decided to keep it as a potted plant. The poinsettia that I neglected and thought it would die was doing quite well since I decided it had a serious will to live -- and then I let it go dry and it dropped some leaves but it's still a good plant.

Two cuttings that I took from this plant 
are rooting, I think. For winter bloom.

I took a tiny cutting from the volunteer Shrimp plant over in the corner. It drooped for a day or two but is looking better, too.

I made a To Do List and put an icon in the corner of my desktop. It helps me focus on what must be done, what I would like to do and look back at what actually was done.  The items marked DONE are very satisfying, including that for the first time ever I ordered fall bulbs before the end of July.

I made a change to my blogs. I had a Labels list at the end. It got bigger and bigger. There's a search box on the sidebar. I think it is faster to type in a plant name than it is to scroll down and search for it. The index is gone; I search by archive date frequently. 

August is another long, hot month. Time to move back to the top of my To Do List and start a new month. When I was looking at it, I noticed that I typed the date as 2011 much of July. I am a little behind but not quite that far.

What's on your agenda for August?

July 23, 2015

Forced Bulb Decisions

When the daily 'feels like' is 110º one has to think cool thoughts. Nothing is as cooling as thinking about forced bulbs for the dead of winter.

After decades of forced bulbs in water, I've narrowed to a favorite: Hyacinths planted in pots of soil.

Mama always forced paperwhites in water. I was surprised to learn as an adult that not everybody's mother forced bulbs. It was as much a part of our Christmas as oranges and peppermint candy.

Mama never forced Amaryllis. I plan to skip a year of buying new Amaryllis bulbs and just see what reblooms this winter.

The hard part now is deciding which Hyacinths. I simplified that decision last year by buying locally a bag of mixed hyacinths. They ran mostly to pink shades despite the picture on the bag that showed blues and whites and yellows as well.

This is how they ended up after I picked out the dark bulbs and separated them from the tan bulbs so there was a better chance of all in a pot of 5 being in the same color family.

The previous year I planted pink, and white and the year before that, blue.


A single bulb makes a grand little gift.
Five in a pot is even better.

The pink colors seem to do best at persisting when they're put in ground after that forced bloom in pots. Bulbs planted in soil can just be slipped into the ground after bloom, pinching off the florets.

I have to hurry and place my order before I start looking back and reminiscing about how I have, too, brought tulips to successful bloom and my careful plans are out the window and I am ordering purple tulips again.

Gypsy Queen Hyacinths and purple tulips. 

More of my Hyacinths are HERE.

Do you force bulbs in winter? Do you have a favorite? Do you have a favorite vendor?

After note: I have decided on my bulbs and will place an order with Longfield Gardens very soon. I won a gorgeous Amaryllis bulb and some tulips before and think I owe them some allegiance on this order.

July 22, 2015

Blooms in the Night

Last night there were 6 Epiphyllum blossoms. I've had plants and divisions of those plants, since 2002. I gave away some pots of blooming size plants this summer just to make room.

They give a clue as to which night is the one by showing white as the tepals start to spread mid afternoon. The tight bud behind will bloom another day.

Anticipation in late afternoon

After dark they start to open.

Bedtime. Pistil appears at the partially open tip.
Reminds me of having a baby.

I went to bed before the whole flower opened up.

This morning the blooms hung limp and spent. 

Three buds remain for this cycle of bloom.
They will bloom again. Last bloom cycle is usually in October. The greenhouse will smell heavenly that night because they'll already be indoors for winter. 

2013 Photo -- they never vary.

July 16, 2015

How Did a Shrimp Grow in my Greenhouse?

It is unusual to find seedling plants in the floor of a greenhouse where careful housekeeping is done. Not so at my place, I've had begonia seedlings, Pentas seedlings and a few not-so-desirable plants. I was not expecting this one.

This was the first glimpse I had of anything growing over in the corner. I stand at an angle to water the pots of Amaryllis seedlings and paid little attention to the far corner. Today I looked beyond a clay pot and there it was, blooming.

This was its journey upward.

Never noticed it.

 I don't know if it is pale from lack of brighter light or if it might be a hybrid of some kind. Evening sun shines against the wall.

No blooms so far, just bracts. Blooms are tiny and white.

Wonder why the seeds I plant and nurture so carefully do not grow as readily as something that fell at least two years ago. There were no shrimps over there last winter. This will be one to take cuttings from and keep over winter.

July 13, 2015

It Is 100º in my Greenhouse; Take a Peek

One hundred degrees, and Humidity of 59% makes it seem hotter. Outside it is 99º in the shade. Were it not for good ventilation and a cooling mist the greenhouse would fry its contents.

 Part of my Amaryllis collection, gaining strength for this winter's bloom.

 Tomato plants are reaching for the ceiling. Nights are too warm to set much fruit but they keep blooming.

We still get the occasional brave tomato, set when there was a coolish night.

 Pelargoniums laugh at heat.

We've always called them Geraniums.
It is near time to take cuttings and find more room.

Most of the succulent plants and epiphyllums, Christmas and Easter Cactuses are taking a vacation under a tree nearby or in the Upper Garden perched on posts also in shade.

Outside, a tattered butterfly nectars on white Echinacea which does not mind being in direct sun most of the day.

We look forward to scattered rain showers in the afternoon, enough to cool the air rather than just turning to steam rising off pavement.

July 10, 2015

Butterflies are Here. Again.

They never really leave but as new broods hatch, the numbers increase.

We're starting to see more Gulf Fritillaries. I haven't been out looking to see how many Maypops there are but I'm sure Gulf Frits appear when Passionflower vines are plentiful enough for caterpillars to feast.

Gulf Fritillary nectaring on Lantana blossoms The grassy stuff is Gulf Muhly Grass which makes a nice scrim now.

Porterweeds are finally starting to bloom, just in time for nectaring. They bloomed when they first came out of the greenhouse and then rested a while.

Pipevine Swallowtails were the first to appear in large numbers lately. They nectared on Lantana and whatever else was blooming until their favorite, Tithonia, started blooming.

I'm seeing Dogface Sulfurs and lots of little skippers of one kind or another. Buckeyes show up for lunch, too.

I stopped trying to make Butterfly pics and videos because I hate standing out in the hot sun, waiting. And Waiting. I have dozens of pics from previous years. Once in a while they just will show up cute and want their picture taken when I have a camera in hand.

July 02, 2015

Tucking in Plants and Seeds when the Weather Is Hot

Yesterday I tucked variegated Spider Plants along the edge of a bed. The well rooted ones looked fine today, the ones without real roots looked pale and wan. Then the rains came and I think they'll be fine.

2007 or 2008? Purple Castor Bean leaves.

It's been years since I planted Castor Beans. I stopped when Buff was a puppy and somehow just never planted them again.

Today I stuck out old seeds into soft ground ahead of the rain. Maybe one or two will sprout.

You know how you research things? You can find any answer you want, if you read enough articles. Most current articles just dismiss old seed as being viable for 2-3 years. Some learned articles from years back found castor bean seed to sometimes be viable for  years. We'll see.  I only need one plant to sprout, to save enough seeds to plant several beds next year.

A seed vendor sent an email today saying it is time to start perennials. I need to do that. Some need starting in flats and I need to scatter seeds in new places. Echinacea can go along the field roads. I gathered some Verbena bonariensis seeds before the rain and cut back Verbena on a Stick for new growth.

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