Friday, December 30, 2011

Give More, Find Joy, Care for Yourself

Keeping New Year's Resolution are easier when they are broad and less restrictive. I found a list last year that I thought inspiring.

Finding joy is easy when there are flowers about.

Gerberas came inside to bring pleasure through cold months.

Caring for plants remind us to care for
ourselves as well. A caregiver cannot
do an excellent job without caring
for themselves first.

My rooster looks permanently toward
the East where the sun comes up.

Giving more is sometimes giving a gift.
Sometimes it is giving of ourselves.

How shall we grow in the coming year?

Secrets of a Seedscatterer         

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Forced Bulbs for Winter Pleasure

One of my greatest joys is forced bulbs when the weather is cold. My paperwhites did bloom for Christmas.

Paperwhites in tall glass amaryllis vases did not do as well as I'd hoped.
They grew as tall as these in a cache-pot lined with a plastic tub.
These got morning sun for a brief period every day.

I think the secret is light. These were in the greenhouse with
good light daily. The blooms are fatter and longer lasting.
These experienced hot days and cool nights.

It's my fault the hyacinths did not bloom for Christmas.
No real problem, they'll be a delight in the dreary cold
days of January. Next year I'll chill them earlier.

These hyacinths are planted in potting soil. The ones behind are in
stones and water in a square ceramic container.

Five hyacinths are in pinch-neck frosted hyacinth vases.
Placed in a north window, they're filling the vases with roots.

After the hyacinths are done, we'll have tulips to look forward
perhaps for Valentine's Day.  Queen of Night, the darkest purple.
Firecracker Fern and Alyssum hang over the pot; those are not weeds.

There are two pots of six tulips each, one in clay pot, one in plastic
pot as an experiment. They were chilled in the pots in an extra
refrigerator. The clay pot is first to show signs of growth.

I poked around in the plastic pot to make sure the bulbs are still firm.
There's a root coming out the bottom, too.

The bonus to paperwhites and hyacinths is fragrance.

Secrets of a Seedscatterer         

Monday, December 26, 2011

Joys Post Christmas

Christmas Cactus lasted through Christmas. Paperwhites opened nicely and these do not have overpowering fragrance. The last Amaryllis buds are fully open.

 Promises for the New Year are hyacinths which are beginning to show emerging buds in the center of the tips of green leaves. One pot of tulips has green leaves just starting to break through the soil. These will carry us through the dreary days of winter.

Outside, Camellia japnonicas have begun to open as 
white C. Sasanqua winds down.
The striped blooms at top left are a seedling, as are the small double pinks.

A freeze is expected on Wednesday night.
I may cut every open blossom to bring inside.
Tight buds are safe from the cold but open blooms will turn brown.
A Camellia blossom will float in a bowl of water for several days.

Secrets of a Seedscatterer         

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Camellias at Christmas

Last year it was cold at Christmas and Camellias didn't venture many blooms. This week has been warm and damp and they've shown their prettiest faces.

This is the first time I've seen this many blooms on this one.

A seedling that I've waited a long time to see bloom.

It isn't a very large bush yet.

Five blooms open. More buds to follow.

Formal double; petals so beautifully arranged.
The previous 6 pics are all the same cluster of blossoms
from different views.

These last two are Blood of China, here for many years.
As the weather gets colder, they become more scarlet.
This blossom newly open today.

This one was opening on Monday: you can see the stamens today.

Blood of China

Secrets of a Seedscatterer       

Monday, December 19, 2011

Christmas Trinkets

Bringing down the Christmas decors started two weeks ago. Somehow that task is still not finished and precious little decorating got done. I do enjoy the memories conjured up with Christmas ornaments, like the time Etter Katherine was bringing me glass candy canes and Cynthia sat on them in the car. I still have all of them, including the one I so carefully glued back together. Cynthia will turn 50 next year, so you can imagine how old some of these trinkets are.

Etter made this button wreath and some other lovely hand-mades
that haven't made it out of the box yet.

Betty Johnson made this Santa, some 15 years ago.
Betty painted Santas of all shapes sizes and designs on
everything from fence posts to okra pods.
She's not the same Betty Johnson who made china dolls.
I haven't found the china baby in a potato basket, yet.

St. Michael's Santas. They were old when Mike found them in a box and put
them on florist's sticks and tucked them into dish gardens 25 years ago.
I put mine in a forest of foxtail fern and alyssum.
I have two tiny boxes of fat little porcelain Santas that I bought in an
import store after that but never put them on sticks. 

Christmas trinkets are not just in boxes tucked away here.
Lots of treasures are outside, like these Camellias.

I sprayed with soap and olive oil today to try to
rid some leaves of uglies: scale and mealy bug.

Blood of China

Either a seedling or a cutting, I forget. I can hardly wait.

Knockout Rose
Pink KO has buds.

Dogwood leaves and tight buds.
Dogwoods have something to offer the gardener, year around.

Yesterday's cold north wind changed to the south today, bringing back moderate temperatures.
Newly mown rye grass looks more like springtime, belied by
bare limbs of crape myrtle, dogwood and pecan.

Secrets of a Seedscatterer         

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Bloom Day: When It Doesn't Feel like Winter

We had some really chilly days first of the week. By Tuesday it was warm again. Yesterday I even saw butterflies hovering over what is left of the Lantana.

Sunny Knockout

Lantana montevidensis

Red Shrimp Plant


Paperwhite Narcissus against
Oakleaf Hydrangea

Camellia 'Mathotiana'

White Petunias

Camellia sasanqua


Have a Happy Bloom Day.

See the links at May Dreams Gardens

Secrets of a Seedscatterer     

Monday, December 12, 2011

What You Do with a Broken Pot?

This big broken clay pot and some shards of smaller pots have been outside gathering patina for a while now. It was just right for filling a corner next to the water source. The broken-out side acts as a base to keep the bigger part of the pot from rolling and elevates the end.

I started with some pieces of Graptopetalum and some leaves that broke off that will root and grow a plant in place. Then I thought sedum acre, which will grow on most anything with good drainage. I stuck in a rooted piece of Brazilian ruellia that need a home.

I save every succulent leaf that falls. They are really
brittle and easily dislodged. I've been dropping them into
any nearby plant. Now rootlings have a place of their own.

It seemed a little sparse while we wait for sprouts.

A couple of rooted chlorophytums, more tiny Ghost
rootlings, and a hyacinth bulb in another patina'd pot.

Topped off with a rooted piece of Kalanchoe.
Ghost plants and sedum will survive outside, but the others are 
too tender in freezing temps which are bound to come.

Secrets of a Seedscatterer         

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Looking Out when the Day is Dreary: Mathotiana

Tara always reminds us to look out the window. Here's the view from where the dog sits on the window seat to watch for visitors.
'Mathotiana' Camellia Japonica
Mathotiana up close.

Mathotiana was released by Flowerwood Nursery of Alabama in 1951. Blooms are light crimson with  sometimes a purple cast when the weather is cold.
Tight buds ensure that replacements are available if a freeze browns open blossoms.

When I went to the mailbox I scouted to see what might be open for Bloom Day. Old fashioned white petunias south of the concrete carport ledge; tiny blossoms of Tea Olive Osmanthus fragrans, red Shrimp Plant in protected places and scattered fringes of loropetalum are all in bloom now.

Maybe I'll get out Peter Loewer's book on Planning and Planting for the Southeast. In the fall I had my sights on indoor flowers for Christmas and the dreary days of January to follow. Christmas is covered with Amaryllis, paperwhite Narcissus and Christmas Cactus. 

Paperwhites in the greenhouse are outdistanced by those in
the house, which have formed buds.

Tiny green tips are beginning to show on the hyacinths I potted
earlier this week. Those in pinch vases have green tips and
some long roots forming.

Today I brought tulips out of the chill where they spent 10 weeks in preparation for winter bloom. He-who-mows ordered me an electric kettle for preparing tea and hot cocoa mix. January and February may be cold and dreary but we'll be cheered by blossoms with our tea.

Secrets of a Seedscatterer         

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

A Fragrant Amaryllis? I Never...

My Hippeastrum that might be Appleblossom bloomed fully on Tuesday. When I looked closely, I caught a whiff of scent. I'd never known there were scented Amaryllis other than Jewel.  On the other hand, I'd never planted Appleblossom, either.

I bought kits with Amaryllis bulbs that included a plastic pot and coir medium for planting but I potted them in clay pots and regular potting soil. Last year I bought kits that included a tall glass vase for forcing in water and stones. Those didn't work out so well. I saved the vases and this year put paperwhite narcissus in the vases for support for long floppy stems. I happen to like tall amaryllis and I used to tie them up with raffia. When they get dry, they flop. A drink of water sometimes brings them up again. Once they have huge green tops they use a lot of water.

If planting hyacinths in soil works well this year, next year I will plant all my forcing bulbs in soil rather than water and stones. I'll trial paperwhites in soil. I haven't seen that recommended but I can see no reason why it will not work.

Here in the south, paperwhites have already begun to
bloom outside in this unseasonably warm December.
Inside, there is one bud so far.

Secrets of a Seedscatterer