Sunday, April 29, 2012

A Last Look in the Greenhouse before Plants Move Outside

Things look so good in the greenhouse. It's time to move them before the heat gets unbearable for them.

Most plants are on the floor where it's marginally cooler than up higher except for a few eggplants and peppers. I took out the center shelves and put down more bricks. Despite the fogger which wets the brick and stones it is hotter in here than outside. Right now, 88 outside, 93-95 degrees F inside, depending on where the sensor is placed.

Bell pepper bloom. Orange was
first to bloom.

Tomatoes are near the max temperature for good performance.

Seedling chives, ready to plant out.
I have oregano hunting a home, and
rosemary promised to someone. Parsley
is in the garden for butterflies, except
for one plant that I accidentaly pulled
up and put in a pot.

Coreopsis at bottom goes in the ground as soon as I make the bed ready. The broken pot with
succulents goes outside. The purple Alternanthera will remain -- it's a seedling that summered over
last year with almost no water in unbearable heat. It filled the entire south wall during the winter. 
I cut it back recently. All the pots that were in here have alternanthera seedlings now. I'll plant out some to weave among the Roses. I still have to place the red and chartreuse Alternantheras. Hot weather is about to catch me running behind. I planted out Gomphrena last night at dark.

All else that is left is mostly tropicals.
I paid two dollars for a tiny staghorn fern in late winter.
Growing like a weed, it has to find a summer place soon along with
some Bromeliads still in here, Tecoma stans,Pride of Barbados and
Daturas over on the left ready to plant or pot.

Oh! I almost forgot. The Baptisia seedlings. After two months, two came up. Now I'm waiting for the seedlings AND I'm waiting for the fresh seeds so I can plant more. There is no END to it!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

One Potato, Two Potato, Three Potato, Four

How many members of family Solanancea, the Potato family, does your Garden boast?

I posted about Daturas and Brugmansias on Dotty Plants Journal, one blooming and one in bud. Additional flowers in this family are Petunias and Nicotiana, also blooming now.

I knew the larger nickel-sized tomato had formed.
The tiny one at bottom was a surprise
I found when i looked at the photo.

More tiny tomatoes 

Eggplants are forming buds. The lavender flowers are
attractive as are the aubergine fruits -- can hardly wait.

Vegetables in the Solanum -- nightshade group -- include Potatoes, Tomatoes and Eggplant. Peppers are Capsicums, also in the Solanum group. My peppers  have tiny buds not yet in bloom.

They've come this far in two months from seed. I've hovered like a mother hen, hefting pots to see if the weight is light, indicating a need for water; moving them outside to catch some rain or bright sunlight; rotating and rearranging them.

I didn't plant potatoes. One of the neighbors who plants 'taters named all the different kinds he has, ready to dig in a few more days. 'Yukon Gold' sounds as if it would be terrific roasted with some Rosemary snipped over it. The other veggie neighbor is bringing me Basil plants in trade for some rooted Rosemary cuttings.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Quercifolia, Leaf of an Oak.

Does an Oakleaf Hydrangea really look like an Oak leaf?

Hydrangea quercifolia is a native here. So are Oaks.

The Hydrangeas are almost in full bloom. The Oaks are in full leaf.

The weather has turned cool and it's a glorious Spring.

Friday, April 20, 2012

A Pearl in the Greenhouse

I noticed it last night, hardly the size of a pearl, but definitely a tiny tomato.

Tiny tomato just to the left of the main stem.

Broad view of the veggies.

These four tomatoes in gallon pots may go into the ground.
Behind is red and chartreuse alternanthera cuttings wintered in
 water that will go out when I get around to it.

Perennials from seed: Coreopsis, Gomphrena
and Salvia farinacea. Baptisia failed to germinate.
New pods have formed on Baptisia outside.
I'll try fresh seed as soon as they mature.

Seedling Chives left and Parsley right.
I planted out all the parsley except one for the nourishment of caterpillars in the Butterfly Garden.
I have oregano and rosemary cuttings growing for the delight of it.

White Pentas
I failed to label the Pentas cuttings and have to wait until they bloom to place them.
Most that bloomed are in the Butterfly Garden. Many outside came back from the roots.
Butterflies will have plenty of nectar this summer.

I'm joining the Greenhouse Year meme at The Patient Gardener's Weblog.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

What Shall I Do with 4 Dozen Graptopetalum?

Ghost Plant Graptopetalum paraguayense is very hardy. I kept mine inside during the winter because I like it. Sometimes squirrels will chew the leaves when the weather is dry and other tasty morsels are scarce.

Every time a leaf got knocked off I dropped it into a flower pot. There were some strange companions but nobody seemed to mind. As the weather warmed I collected all the little rosettes that had formed that I hadn't already put into a broken pot collection with sedums and things.

I put 18 into a seedling flat. The little plants were so cute, I broke off all the big rosettes that had gotten leggy in pots and rooted them as well. What was I thinking?

Graptopetalum paraguayense

Now I have 2 flats of 18, three pots and all those in the broken pot.
What do I do now?

This isn't the only plant I've multiples. Last fall I started out with a two Bromeliads purchased in bloom. When the blooms faded, Vriesea splendens put out a single pup. As the original plant's leaves fade, I trim them off. Nice plant. Neoregelia carolinae also put out a single pup, or so I thought. One day I discovered the baby I'd been admiring had two brothers underneath the leaves on the other side.

Neoregelia carolinae

I've separated two from the main plant and left one that did not want to turn loose easily. They need homes out of reach of the cat, who likes to shred the ends of the leaves -- notice the one bottom right.

Fortunately the Graptopetalum can find homes outside freeing up next fall's greenhouse space. The Bromeliads can stay, or come back inside after summering in a cooler spot than the greenhouse. Everything in the mixed broken pot can winter outside except for the Kalanchoe. It's a winter fav, blooming inside in January and February when everything else is kind of dormant.

Every day I'm planting out a handful of plants into the ground and hoping for rain soon. Like everybody else, we've had a mild winter, early spring and hot weather is moving in here quickly. Daylilies and true lilies are starting to bloom. Roses are blooming. One of the Brugmansias has buds. There has been an early Gardenia blossom. Every year is different.

Monday, April 16, 2012

The Day after the Bloom Day Before

Flowers in my garden are never as spectacular on Bloom Day as they are the next.  Yesterday held pretties but today there are more roses. A Longiflorum/Asiatic lily and a southern Magnolia have bloomed. Everything looks brighter.

LA Lily and Hydrangea putting on buds.

Spiraea bumalda

Corn and California poppies and Larkspur

Oakleaf Hydrangea coming into bloom.

'LIttle Gem' Magnolia, first bloom of season.

Julia Child, my fav floribunda.

Brocaded Gown, my fav yellow hemerocallis.

Watering helped; we're hoping for rain tomorrow.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Pride of Barbados, Caesalpinia pulcherrima (Fabaceae).

A member of the pea family and native to tropical America and the West Indies, Pride of Barbados  Caesalpinia pulcherrima dies to the ground here and comes back in late spring just when we despair of ever seeing it again.
From last June

Almost every year I save some seed and plant a few. Some germinate, some don't. Of 6, three have sprouted this year. It is suggested to soak the seeds and prick, soak again and plant. I just stick them in the soil.

Here are two seedlings. I put the first to sprout into a pot.
The empty cell is where the seedling below grew.

This year's seedling is in the rear.
Up front is a seedling from last year that
I dug this spring when it first sprouted and
brought inside in hopes of earlier bloom.

This is a seedling from two years back that
I dug when frost killed the top last fall.
It spent the winter with a bit of foliage at the bottom. As the days lengthened in late winter the seeming dead top began to put on growth. On the coldest nights, a lamp with a small bulb beside it kept the worst chill from it, as the greenhouse is not heated above survival for the hardiest.

The Caesalpinias outside have all begun to put on growth. When our cool nights warm to more tropical temps, these in the greenhouse will go outside. They are spectacular when planted with Tecoma stans (Esperanza).

Pride of Barbados from last June

Eventually I want a tropical hedge of Pride of Barbados and Tecoma stans.
It will need the help of some evergreen shrubs like Loropetalum and variegated Euonymous to carry the winter, backed against a field to the north and bare fruit trees.

July, 2011 

Did I mention that these shrubs attract butterflies and hummingbirds?

Saturday, April 7, 2012

What Do You Really Want to Know about Me?

HolleyGarden tagged me for the Sunshine Award, an honor bestowed on her by Kevin of Nitty Gritty Dirt Blog. We're supposed to answer some really probing questions here. Is there anything else you've wondered about besides what kind of potting soil I use for my seedlings?

1. What is your favorite color?
    Yellow, it's the color of sunshine. This winter there was not a yellow flower in the greenhouse. Yellow flowers are roses, daylilies and lilies and reseeders like Black-eyed Susans. Maybe next winter I'll force 'City of Haarlem' hyacinths.

2. What is your favorite animal?
    If I say Dog, you won't tell the Cat, will you?

3. What is your favorite number?
    You know how the garden experts always say to plant in groups of three? I plant in groups of  9, 11 or 13 unless I'm planting shrubs. A flat of 18 annuals will make 2 groups of 9 to really show up in a bed. Three daylilies are a start; 13 is a good show. Eleven can be divided into two groups of 3 and a larger group of 5 among other plants.

4. What is your favorite non-alcoholic drink?
     Ruby Tea. Strong iced tea with barely enough sugar to take away the bitterness. We drink a half-gallon a day when it's hot. Tetley used to be the brand of choice, now changed to the store brand.

5. Which is your favorite - Facebook or Twitter?
    Facebook; I don't Twit. I think it's better to join groups on Facebook. I belong to groups from where I went to elementary and high school, garden groups and groups devoted to one type of plant like Epiphyllums.

My favorite poster on Facebook is my grandson Billy. He never passes along those app pictures with the quotes on them that pass for communication, He writes original sentences. He makes going for a bike ride interesting reading with pictures of the baby for good measure. Sometimes I have no idea what he's talking about, so I know that wasn't meant for me and I just wait for another baby picture.

I'm Jean Jones Campbell on Facebook so my friends who knew me when can recognize me, Nell Jean here.

 6. What is your passion?
     My greenhouse. Actually it is just a vehicle for seeing things grow, which is my real passion. 

7. Do you prefer giving or receiving presents?
    The kind of presents I love getting are those that require only thought and effort, no money: a blue beer bottle found on the roadside, sawing an old telephone pole into lengths, found metal objects, volunteer seedlings.

I have trouble deciding on presents for others. Will they like it?

8. What is your favorite pattern?
     Paisley. Geometric. Snakeskin. Polka dots. I can't decide.   

9. What is your favorite day of the week?
     Every day's a holiday, every meal's a picnic. We are retired.

10. What is your favorite flower?
    Which is your favorite child? Usually it is the one currently blooming.

If I knew you liked memes, I would tag you. I don't want to annoy anyone. If you want to answer these questions I'd be delighted to know more about you. Every garden blog I read is worthy of an award for getting out there, digging and planting and taking time to make photos to share. You are all winners.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

First Views in April: You Should Have Been Here Tomorrow

Like Town Mousie, I want views of the garden in all its glory. The big show of azaleas and dogwoods left as quickly as it came. The next wave is slower but every day there are surprises and new blooms.

When He-who mows comes out of his workshop,
he gets a view of Knockout roses with Belinda's
Dream and Reine des Violettes on the ends.
The fragrance is the best part. Only Reine des Violettes
has noticeable scent, but it carries on the wind.

You can just see the new tractor behind the roses along the wall of the tractor shed.

Out front, there's more color daily as California Poppies,
Salvia farinacea and Echinacea come into bloom.

Maroon breadseed poppies are blooming with Larkspur and
Violas. Purple Heart has put out new growth.

 Violas along the front edge will soon wither in the hot sun. Chartreuse alternanthera from last year is putting on fresh growth between the violas. I have more cuttings to set out to make the edging uniform.
 There is a new Cycad on either side of the entrance to the Oval Lawn, rooted pups from my neighbor's big Cycad. Not a photographer nor a professional yard-keeper, I have no qualms about showing you whatever is there. I left the post hole diggers and a spading fork where I have pentas to set out on the far side of the Oval Lawn. In the distance are blueberry bushes. Oh, you have to see them! I have a picture from Monday.

Blueberries! Grape Arbor and Stick House in the distance.

The second rooted Cycad, in front of Belinda's
Dream rose and a better look at my spading fork.

"Old Gardeners never die... they just spade away."
Thanks, Lenorah, for the new sign. I hope when my
time comes, I just fall over into the compost.

Since I started this post, I've been out and brought the spading fork and posthole diggers to shelter. Thunder in the distance indicates we might get a rain shower.