Thursday, March 29, 2012

I'm Back with a Peek into the Greenhouse

The greenhouse is for hobby use, which up to now has meant flowers. Mama always wanted to put glass on the south end of her front porch so she could hold over numerous potted plants, including a huge Epiphyllum that spent the winter growing shoots that reached to the kitchen ceiling. I'm still growing Epiphyllums, formerly in the laundry room, now in the greenhouse.

Epiphyllum cuttings -- the big plants are already outside.

I always enjoy a peek into the greenhouses of others, so here are looks at mine.

Eggplants -- Little Prince, from Renee's seeds.

Little Prince is a compact grower. I would grow eggplant for the flowers alone; the fruit is a bonus. My plan is to have container grown veggies summer, fall and as far into the winter as I can coax them, under glass. The instructions say one eggplant to a 10 or 12 inch pot, or 8 inches apart in a container at least 16-18 inches across and deep.

Gomphrena and Coreopsis popped right up. Agastache, Salvia farinacea and Gaillardia are slower to appear, maybe the saved seed was not fresh. Baptisia in the center left tray has not shown up. Maybe I should have planted the seed when it was fresh from the dry pod.

At top in above pic: Super Bush Container Tomatoes and Jewel-Toned Bell Peppers in Crimson, Gold and Orange, also from Renee's Seeds have graduated into little pots already.

Parsley and Chives

The trays behind the Parsley have Tecoma stans, Pride of Barbados and purple Datura, all  saved seeds from last year. I don't know why that one Caesalpinia pulcherrima came up so quickly, they are usually slow germinating. I've another that I kept in a pot all winter and I dug a tiny one from last year the other day so I could plow where it was sited. It was just putting on tiny new shoots from the roots. On the shelf above are rooted alternanthera cuttings kept over in water through the winter.  

Parsley will go into flower beds for the nurturing of Black Swallowtail larvae. Dotting them about among nectar plants is convenient for the butterflies and decreases the chance of a single plot where birds can easily feast. Parsley usually takes at least two weeks, coming up. These were under 10 days.

Another look at the pepper plants, labeled by color:
red, orange, yellow. The seeds were color-coded.

It's almost too hot for lettuce here now, they've been moved out to shade. There are some individual pots of these Romaines; they're already looking floppy. These I thought to use for 'cut and come again' salad. So far we've just had lettuce on our hamburgers.  

Some Pentas are already planted out. I'm waiting for unlabeled plants to bloom so I can verify the colors. There is already a red Pentas bed in progress. Whites are in the yellow rose bed; rose pink and  Miss Julie's fav medium pink go in Upper garden beds where some from last summer have resprouted. Palest pink is out under a couple of crape myrtles in front. Every time another blooms, it goes to its color group. I've never had such an abundance of Pentas. I think the butterflies will be pleased. Each bed will have a clump or two of Parsley.

Seeds of tomatoes, peppers, eggplant and lettuce were from Renee's Seeds. Other seeds were purchased locally or saved from my garden. Cuttings of Pentas and Alternanthera were saved from the previous summer garden.

Come with me to Tootsie Time to Flaunt Your Flowers on Fertilizer Friday, a fun meme.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Imagine the Worst. Hope for the Best.

As the height of Azalea and Dogwood season begin to wane, I am taking a break from blogging.
Whenever a blog just stops, I always wonder what happened to the author. You will know that my blog is still viable and so am I. I'll just be away from the blog for a while.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Will the Real Dogwood Please Stand Up?

Real Dogwood depends on the location of your garden.

The Cornus group includes the following:

Red twig Dogwood is Cornus Stolonifera or C. sericea. Red Osier Dogwood is native to much of northern and western North America.
Cornus alba, Tatarian Dogwood with native habitat from Siberia and Manchuria to North Korea.
C. sanguinea, Bloodtwig Dogwood is native to Europe.
 Cornus mas Yellow Flowering Dogwood or Cornelian Cherry. There are others.

White Flowering Dogwood that blooms in the woods here as well as in home gardens is Cornus florida, native to the Eastern USA.

A small dogwood, bird-planted, deer-topped; determined.

Bird-planted dogwood in front of a gate.

Legend of the Dogwood:
Never shall the dogwood tree again grow large enough to make a cross. It will be slender and twisted. Its blossoms are in the form of a cross--two long and two short petals. In the center of the outer edge of each petal are nail prints with the stain of a rusty nail and blood, and in the center of the flower is a crown of thorns, so all who see it remembers.

Similar in appearance to dogwood is Philadelphus indoratus.

Phildelphus which we call English Dogwood has white petals and yellow stamens while Flowering Dogwood has white bracts and tiny flowers in the center. Veining of the leaves is similar. Mock Orange planted with Dogwoods extends the blooming season. P. inodorus is also native here.

Phildelphus inodorua and Cornus Florida

These are interplanted. I planted the English Dogwood. A bird planted the other. I left the Flowering Dogwood because it was determined to grow, coming up where I had given the young Philadelphus a generous dollop of lime. Dogwoods grow in acid soil and are usually very sensitive to lime.

You can't have too many Flowering Dogwoods, hardy in USDA zones 5-9, native to eastern USA. The birds and I keep planting more. If you plant some, stratifying the seed by soaking off the red part or running it through a bird's digestive sytem makes for quicker results. I just poke the red seeds into the ground with a stick and wait. I think the last count here was 19: two trees transplanted  from the woods by MIL more than 50 years ago, the rest a project of the birds and me. Sometimes I gather and scatter seeds in fall along woods' edge where Dogwoods are not plentiful.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Poppies Can't Wait

Last fall there was a little space where fill was brought when we removed a small concrete pad that was unused. Open spots are tempting when I'm scattering seeds, so I threw a few poppy seeds Papaver somniferum on the bare spot.

It was successful except that the weather is unsuitable for poppies. They came up nicely. Nights near 60 degrees and days in the upper 80s cause them to bloom too soon with blooms shattering the same day. I caught these as they opened, one with the sepals still attached.

By this evenng, they were already shedding petals, which I did not photograph.

California poppies Eschscholzia californica have no buds that I've seen in my garden. They seem to tolerate our heat a little better. Corn poppies Papaver rhoeas made huge bases of leaves but have no stalks of buds so far. I've seen one Larkspur bloom. Blue Toadflax  Linaria canadensis is blooming in rough lawn to the delight of butterflies and benficials.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

More Bloom Day Glimpses

The official Bloom Day post could not hold all that is blooming here without being much too long. Here's more. Darla wondered when I posted the preview what I could possibly have left out.

Smaller, younger azaleas under the Oaks on the north side of
the Upper Garden.

A glimpse of the Upper Garden from the east end
with the above azaleas just a spec in the distance.
Loropetalums are not yet in full flower.

Buffy's fav, white Loropetalum just coming into bloom.

Blueberries in bloom and tiny fruit. Pears and peaches are
also blooming. Grapes have tiny buds.

The daffodil show which started in February isn't
over: Hawera and Sailboat here. There are
still some daffodils in bud yet to bloom.

Philadelphus is coming into bloom.
P. inodorata takes up where dogwoods leave off.
Mama called them 'English dogwood.'

Dogwoods and Azaleas carry the spring show.

Four of my favorites clockwise from upper left:
Pink Pearl, George Tabor, Formosa and Pink Ruffles.

Monday, March 12, 2012

March Bloom Day Preview

It feels like Spring here. I can hardly wait for Bloom Day, so here's a little preview:


 Broad view of Upper Garden, azaleas and dogwood.

We are seeing Spicebush & Tiger Swallowtails and Sulphurs,
attracted to Azaleas and other delights.

Some Daffodils are done, others in bud.

Happy Viola faces

Boxwood and Loropetalum

Big poppy bud; the pink is a flag so He-who-
mows doesn't take out this little poppy patch.

Pentas are almost ready to transplant outside.

Please come back on Bloom Day to see what
blossoms lie up the steps and through the
little path besides azaleas.

Secrets of a Seedscatterer         

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

'Blood of China' Camellia

My MIL called it 'Bloody China' and it is as red as blood.

It goes by other names of 'Victor Emmanuel' and
'Alice Slack,' neither as descriptive as
Blood of China. Fully open blooms are 4" across.

Described in the literature as 'semi-double to loose
opening to peony flowered.'
The older blossoms show the stamens mixed
among the petals.

Described by some sites as reddish orange,
in my garden it is pure red with abundant petals.

Nearing the time that old leaves shed and new growth starts as bloom season ends,
this specimen is nearly fifty years old. Once accidentally set on fire when the
neighbors burned their woods, it came back in full beauty.

Blood of China is listed in some descriptions as
slightly fragrant. I can't discern any scent.

Secrets of a Seedscatterer       

Sunday, March 4, 2012

The Most Fragrant Daffodil I've Grown

I don't know why I never noticed the
fragrance in previous years.

One fell over from the rain. When I bent to
see if I could prop it, I caught the
incredible spicy fragrance.

It's name? Tahiti.
Exotic with a scent to match.

Tahiti's only down side is the tendency
of the buds to blast if we have many warm
days before they open.

Blasting is true of any double, many of my
Erlicheer blasted in mild winter.

Tahiti is one I'll want to plant again.
That rich spicy fragrance is such that I cut
one to bring into the house to enjoy.

Secrets of a Seedscatterer       

Thursday, March 1, 2012

First March Views As March Comes in like a Lamb, sort of.

We were under a severe thunderstorm warning but it passed by along the county line and all we heard was a single clap of thunder.

Promise of Azalea blossoms is already attracting butterflies.
Here, a mislabled white tumbling down the slope, and Pink Pearl.

I counted Town Mousie's photos and posted the same number.
You can click on each to see them nice and big. 

I showed this Camellia before; it overlooks Boxwood,Wisteria with buds.

Daffodils are everywhere. poppies, and larkspur are growing.
Purple Heart is starting to sprout. I have new plans for companions.

Looking across the front yard toward the southeast.

Buffy and I burned the Muhly grass last week.
I dug and divided on clump, which needs a haircut where it didn't burn.
The field to the north burned today so Farmer Danny can start
spring plowing.  Here, looking over Sailboat daffodils to the north.

Looking northeast, what looks like 3 twigs are pear trees. Blueberries to the left are blooming.

Looking northwest over Tete a Tete and Jetfire daffodils.
Azaleas are ready to burst into bloom. Grape arbor in distance.

Paths in the Upper Garden.
I've pointed out pretties where I could.
My rule is to not explain about tasks left
undone or why some plants are out of place.

Hydrangea querciflora has new growth and
exfoliating bark. View across the oval garden
toward the northeast.

The pumphouse has a mirror instead of a window. The frame is mosaic, with bits of treaures.
From left to right, white Loropetalum, Gardenia hedge and Dogwood on the west side.

Visit Town Mouse to see other First Views.

Secrets of a Seedscatterer