Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Would You Rather Have Amaryllis or Paperwhites?

I forgot to label them when I planted.
This might be Star of Holland. I thought Star of Holland would be redder.

The others I bought were labeled as pink. It could be a mislabeled pink.
I am happy with it, whatever its name.

Its companion Christmas cactus is pretty much the same color.

Paperwhites are coming into bud, but not all bulbs in the same container are growing at the same rate.

I used vases that were in Amaryllis kits last year.
I will not put Amaryllis in water and stones again.
Much better success planted in pots of soil with their shoulders out.

So far only one bud, in the container on the left.

I've noticed Hyacinths in the posts of bloggers in Sweden and Norway starting Advent.
My chilled Hyacinths will go into containers of stones and water in ten days.
Even if they don't bloom by Christmas, they will bring cheer on gloomy winter days.

Potted purple tulips come out of chill on the tenth also. I am eager to see them grow.

Poinsettias were looking good at the stores today. I didn't buy.

What are your flowers for the Holidays?

Secrets of a Seedscatterer         

Monday, November 28, 2011

A Peek into my Greenhouse

Come on in and see what's blooming. It's going to be cold tonight but a freeze is not expected. I chose plants that will stand a chill but not a freeze. There's back up heat but not enough to grow orchids or sensitive tropicals.
Violas bloom outside the doors.

I added an old bathroom cabinet to the end of
the potting bench for supplies.

I wasn't expecting Amaryllis before Christmas.

Christmas Cactus is impatient to bloom, too.

The other Amaryllis buds are sprinting toward opening.
You can see the closed cabinet in this pic. I almost let the Scrap Man take it
when he cleaned out the old barn. It just fits on the potting bench top.
Begonias are a good choice for a cool greenhouse. They bloom like crazy.
Duranta is another good choice, sensitive to freezing but happy
under the least amount of protection. These are cuttings.

Alyssum commenced bloom from seed sprinkled
around the ankles of leggy Foxtail Fern.

Pentas are a great choice to overwinter. They may or may not come back outside when
they die back to the roots. Cuttings will hold in water or soil and some bloom all winter.
Variegated plant in the center is Syngonium, a houseplant and of course more begonias.
Christmas red begonias were a good choice, too.

On the right, a florist's Gardenia. It goes in the ground next spring. I've repotted it twice since last February. On the left, pentas and begonias in front of a white Kalanchoe in bud. 

On the left, Pentas cuttings already in bloom, with a Gardenia cutting that rooted in water after I cut a bloom in early July. I can't let a rooted piece go. On the right, a Rose Campion that I dug from the garden Saturday because the grey-green foliage is so pretty. Can you see the Persian Shield under the basket? Persian Shield and Purple Heart and Alternanthera are all growing under the bench together.

It's hard to choose only a handful of pics. I wanted to show you Colocasias and Gingers and the Brugmansia that isn't blooming. Yet. Oh, and the Bromeliad pup that is growing. Week after next room must be made for tulips and hyacinths that will be coming out of the refrigerator.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Inside and Out: Camellia japonica Mathotiana

The first Camellia japonica to bloom is Mathotiana, planted here almost fifty years ago by Lane's late sister.

He pulled up the bush and moved it away from the house about 20 years ago, then went off to Texas and it died for lack of water. After a few years, a new plant arose from a piece of dormant root.

Violas continue bloom outside the greenhouse.
Plants where I suspect deer nibble have only a scattered blossom.

Gerbera Daisies remain outside, blooming.
Pots will go inside when frost threatens.

Inside, a new leaf unfurled on the
Bird of Paradise. I guess a bloom is
too much for which to hope.
I'm happy with a new leaf.

Every day there's a little better peek at how the Amaryllis Hippeastrum will look in bloom.
Blooms can last up to a month, I read today. It could last until Christmas?

Secrets of a Seedscatterer        

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Gingerbread Houses for Decoration or Gifts

A tradition for many years, Gingerbread Houses were one of the most pleasurable crafts I ever made. Baked of a stiff ginger cookie dough and assembled with hot melted sugar as the glue, the fun part was the decoration.

 Snow was a mixture of confectioners' sugar, egg white and vinegar in a combination that hardened.
Candy raindeer waited below for the Santa on the roof . The chimney was made of nougat.

Each house sat on a foil covered cardboard.
Sometimes I spread a thin layer of frosting and sprinkled it with powdered sugar.

This batch had a peppermint stick as the roof ridgepole.

  These from the year I got brave and made twenty.

Notice the red candy bell above the door.

Necco wafers sided this house.
The doorknobs were redhots as were the berries on the wreaths.

Every year I tried some different candies but always looked for candy Santas.
Green gumdrops make good shrubbery for a gingerbread house.

One year I decided to build a really big house.
As I assembled it the roof caved in. I wailed.
My husband said, "Well, it was a learning experience."

Eventually I was too busy to build houses at Christmas.
Now that I have time, maybe I should start again.
I wonder if candy Santas are still available?

Secrets of a Seedscatterer      

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Succulents, Pebble Trays and Butterflies

Graptopetalum paraguayense or Ghost Plant,
a native of Mexico,succulent plant with rosettes of gray leaves.

Tatyana asked about my succulent plants in the greenhouse after I posted this photo with Ghost Plant peeking from the left:

She wanted to know about growing them indoors.
I bring Graptopetalum in because squirrels or birds tend to nibble
the succulent leaves in a dry winter.

I spent time today making pebble trays to increase
humidity around some of the plants. I oiled
the tins with some olive oil to help prevent rust.

When I started making pics to show the pebble trays,
succulents and butterflies got into the picture.
A Gulf Fritillary nectars on newly potted Pentas posed in front of a Kalanchoe.

It was warm today and butterflies flew in and out easily.
There were two kinds of skippers too and the usual bees.
The Kalanchoe is forming buds. Two rooted cuttings are closer
to bloom than the big plant. Kalanchoe is cold tender.

At the next tray a Cloudless Sulphur was nectaring on a newly blooming Duranta cutting.
This tray also holds amaryllis bulbs coming on for Christmas.

Leaves of Graptopetalum are brittle and
many get knocked off. I save every one.

A tiny root forms at the broken end.
Soon a tiny rosette of leaves appear.

   Drop the leaves into any pot with a spot of bare
soil. Later I'll gather them into a pot of their own.

The last tray has a rooted Gardenia and some Pentas.
Rooted Pentas commence blooming, no matter how tiny.
Chlorophytum babies are all over. I save them the same
as Graptopetalum leaves.

Secrets of a Seedscatterer        

Friday, November 18, 2011

Oh, Dear. Deer Nibbled my Violas

I noticed that the terra cotta pot of violas that looked so good for bloom day looked as if it had a haircut.  Some of the others looked 'pinched' too. I wondered who had been nibbling? Rabbits?

Then I noticed bits of viola petals floating in the birdbath and that there is a path...

I do not believe the wind blew viola petals all the way over here.
I think they fell from deer lips.

Water drips into a depression in a rock for a natural birdbath.
I used bamboo when I had some. It eventually rots.
A length of PVC pipe attached to a rebar post stays in place much better, if not aesthetically pleasing.
One day I might paint it as faux bamboo.

Deer have followed this path for years. They come from the woods, go to the fields and cross the dirt road, eventually crossing another highway and going to a creek a mile away. When the creek dries up sometimes this is the only water for a long way.

The viola pots are now in the back beside Ike the Cat's greenhouse 'porch' where they're less a temptation to ranging deer because the path to them would pass where Buffy the Dog sleeps. No harm done, they'll fill out again quickly.

This pot was in the back and flowers were not eaten.

If you can't read it in this light, it says 'THYME'

One last thing: I flattened some spoons from the dollar store in a vise and pounded herb names onto them with letter stamps from a tool store. Old silverplate might make nicer markers than stainless. Rubbing the names with ink or paint to darken them is a good idea, I forgot. Deer do not bother herbs.

Secrets of a Seedscatterer