Sunday, January 29, 2012


Seeds scattered in late November are coming up everywhere!


Larkspur seedlings with little fringed leaves.

Rudbeckia. There is a seed pod and a tiny flower.
Lots of chickweed abounds. Hot spring sun will take it out if
I don't get around to pulling it all.

3 kinds of poppies: corn, California and breadseed poppies

Native Corydalis and California poppy seedlings. 
Corydalis looks like parsley, except with blue leaves.
California poppy leaves look like blue fern.
The big leaves to the left are Verbena bonariensis, hanging on through the freezes.

These are Hardy annuals. Freezes will not faze them.

Secrets of a Seedscatterer       

Friday, January 27, 2012

Pruning Wisteria Winds up the Week

Battling a cold left me so tired of being inside. I put on a hoodie against the wind and went out in the sunshine with pruning shears and loppers. Daffodils are promising spring and the weatherman is promising a freeze this weekend. Cat brier vines grown up in the wisteria needed to be gotten out along with some pruning of boxwoods. Cat brier roots need grubbing out when I'm up to the task.

Rye grass has done well in this area. Daffodils keep putting out a
tentative bloom, as if to test whether it's spring yet. 
Wisteria ringed by boxwoods at far right.

I tried to keep the wisteria pruned in bounds all summer and fall.
The ancient boxwoods surrounding the wisteria were pruned in stages.
Boxwoods get another pruning before they're sheared, to ensure good
growth in the interior of the plants.

Light pruning of lantana stems allow daffodils easier growth.
There's an eager bud in every crowd, impatient to show off.

There is a tiny white spider at the left lower
edge of this daffodil cup.

White azaleas tried to bloom all month.
Freezes keep nipping them back.

Dogwood stems and buds are silhouetted against the sky behind the azaleas, promising spring.
We still have February to go through and part of March before the threat of frost is gone.
I have more than enough pruning to keep me busy on every warm day.

Wisteria buds promise a sight like the one below, in about 8 weeks.

Wisteria from a previous year, same site as above.

Secrets of a Seedscatterer      

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Back to the Fuchsia

Pantone anounced the colors for spring 2012. These are mostly intended as fashion and home decor colors, but I like to include them in garden planning where practical.

Listed in order of popularity, Spring 2012's It-Colors are (from top down) Tangerine Tango, Solar Power, Sodalite Blue, Cabaret, Starfish, Margarita, Sweet Lilac, Driftwood, Bellflower and Cockatoo.

The least favorite is my new favorite pot color in the greenhouse, Cockatoo -- I call it aqua. I recently bought aqua pots and similar ones in white. I like pots that are not colors that I'll have flowers in that color, except for white.

The color of the year, Tangerine Tango is the color of a number of flowers in the summer garden: daylilies, Kniphofia, Tithonia, Bengal Tiger Cannas, Zinnias, even Opium poppies in the spring garden.

Tangerine Tango does not have to be bright orange. It can be mixed with increasing doses of white to become a very pale luscious color.

Poppy, 2011

The second favorite, Solar Power, shows up as Black Eyed Susans, daylilies, Melampodium, Sternbergias and of course, Daffodils!

Daffodils, Spring 2011

Looking at some of the palettes from Pantone, I'm inspired to use some old favorites in new ways. My usual combo of Chartreuse alternanthera and purple Setcreasea might be made new with the greyish foliage of Rose Campion and some white flowers. Nicotiana or white petunias might be nice. The purples and chartreuse are usually are accompanied by Black Eyed Susans followed by Melampodium.

September, 2011

Meanwhile, here are the latest Camellias blooming. Can we call them Cabaret?

Cabaret and Sweet Lilac show up in late March as Azalea colors, joining fuchsia fringes of Loropetalum that will bloom from now to late April, with the biggest show in late February and March. White azaleas bloomed out of season here the past week. When hot weather comes, every shade of pink Pentas will bloom for the delight of butterflies.

Starfish will be showing up in the greenhouse to replace the bright blue skirt that hides the water barrels. I'll be telling you about that project soon. I'm waiting for hyacinths to finish blooming so I can move some pots out of the way.

Oh, and the seeds! It's time to start certain seeds. Are you ready? Will you plant Tangerine Tango and Solar Power, or old favorites?

Secrets of a Seedscatterer    

Monday, January 23, 2012

Speak to Me in Plain English, Madam, and Do Not Talk Southern

I've found a new source of ideas for garden styling. There is a string of Swedish blogs in my feed reader. Reading them is a 3-step process: open the reader, go to the site, translate in Google Translate which doesn't work in the reader.

Since there is a language barrier that complicates getting permissions, I am illustrating this post with my own photos that suggest ideas I've seen in Swedish blogs.

Among my favorite themes are the use of forced bulb flowers in winter: hyacinths, amaryllis and paperwhites; twine and raffia, dried moss and burlap to decorate pots; zinc containers, lots of white to reflect light, candles; creative use of brown paper and book pages; cookies.

I'm learning a few Swedish words. My favorite is Vaxthus -- the greenhouse. I'm wild about the way they decorate their greenhouses. A little table for tea, folding chairs, charming shelves, wicker, clay pots.
My wood roll-up path is actually imported from Russia.

The Stockholm design show, Formex, is featured on a number of blogs. Lots of decor ideas there.

Come summer, when the Swedish bloggers use their greenhouses most I expect many new ideas.

Sheet moss covers the soil in my hyacinth pots.
They need a twine bow around the pot before giving away.

I started a Scandinavian bloglist on the sidebar of Dotty Plants blog, which I am using for Greenhouse posts now.

Now to learn how to say, "I visited and think your blog is wonderful," without losing in the translation.

Where have you found inspiration?

Friday, January 20, 2012

I Never Met a Geophyte I Didn't Like

I'm a big fan of fragrance in the garden and year-round flowers. No group of plants better fits this need than bulbs. We include those with an underground storage organ: corms, rhizomes and tubers along with bulbs.
My hyacinths have commenced bloom.

Daffoldils from last March.

String lily Crinum Americanum with
Elephant Ears, Colocasia species.
Rhodophiala, late summer.

Amaryllis 'Exotica' for Christmas bloom

Regale lilies

Kniphofia in the summer.

I could go on and on reviewing previous years' blossoms and singing the praises of Geophytes. I was prompted to take a look back to tell you about the book, Bulbs for Garden Habitats by Judy Glattstein.

I got acquainted with Judy on a web site with a common theme: gardening, specifically bulbs. She asked if I'd be interviewed for a book she was working on, which is how I came to be featured in Bulbs for Garden Habitats. I am one of a number of persons across America that she interviewed. She uses personal experiences from her own garden as well.

It is usually my practice to use books that are intended for the climate in which I garden. This book has something for most gardeners who plant bulbs anywhere, with headings for various situations.

Crinums and Cannas in the summer garden

Secrets of a Seedscatterer    

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Pieces of Old -- Sorting the Garden Shed

Our garden shed has three rooms. One was once the washhouse. The open windows to the south wereclosed and the wash room is now garden tool storage.

The center room was the smokehouse, now storage including some rough cedar planks cut off this place some fifty years ago. They were intended to make cedar chests. It never happened.

Included in the treasures in this area are two ancient trunks.

The north room was called the 'fruit room' and has two deep shelves where canned goods and jars were stored. They are now full of junk. On the walls are two home-built cabinets that were placed willy-nilly.

These areas have too many cans of old paint, long dried out; pieces of pipe and wire saved for some vague purpose; items that moved from the garage, a portable clothesline, an old door,

 a shoe last, treasures for long-forgotten mosaic projects, old windows,

vintage chairs, seashells, vases, baby furniture from the 40s, meat hooks from the smokehouse days. 

On pleasant days before time to start outdoor projects, I'm in the building, sorting and moving, sweeping out years of dust and cobwebs.

I'm not sure where I'm going with this project, but I'll get the trunks ready.

Secrets of a Seedscatterer       

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Sometimes I Just Sits

I rearranged so there's more than one seat.

That pot of foliage just beyond the little white pot with
pinkish stripes? Those are tulips!

Walmart had cut tulips in a bunch today for $5.24.
I was on the way out the door with ice cream and other perishables,
or I'd have gone back for some. As it was, I just asked the greeter
if she would call maintenance to mop up the drool I left.

I put the cart by the door, leaving
 a place for the cat to jump up
on the potting bench and a free path for
the dog to circle through.


Kalanchoe. The last narcissus, on the floor
get planted outside as soon as this next
little freeze is over.  

The stool with the cushion to the
left of the chair is for climbing up to
water, but it's an extra perch as well

A last look upward as we go out the door.

Secrets of a Seedscatterer