Saturday, February 28, 2015

EOM Views and Projected Plans

It's hard to show End of Month Views when what I would really like to show you is close-up views of Daffodils. Sailboat is blooming.

Last month and up until last week this was abloom in Daffodils. All that is left now are a handful of Ice Follies and a little row of Hyacinths that were forced in the past two years. By late spring all foliage will ripen and there will be only grass under the Crape Myrtle tree.

Blue Hyacinths are scarce this year.

I cut back Muhly Grass this week. There's a stray Daffodil.

 Muhly Grass needs some pink companions in the fall. Usually to the right is a full bed of Tithonia for Butterflies and some Duranta front and back. I'm thinking Echinacea nearest the Muhly and divide the Muhly for two more clumps toward the back.

There are already some Larkspur and a poppy or two showing and a few big clumps of Ratibida growing. The early bloomers will give way to Tithonia which reseeds freely.

This bed has both Muhly and lavender Lantana and some Victoria Salvia farinacea. I am anxious to see if all Lantana survived the freezes. In the pic not shown of this bed, there are two large clumps of Echinacea at the front that can be divided. 

Among the plants that I want to use more of this year are Cannas. Kniphofia could be divided. I have not moved any of it in years. I am undecided about more White Crape Myrtles. 

 Yellow Daffodils have bloomed in this bed for more than a month. Suddenly appearing were Ice Follies, a really great white Large Cup that blooms a little later. They are everywhere, a strong grower. Dead stems and a bit of spent foliage are all that indicate there is a large planting of Lantana with Purple Heart at the end here in the summer, among others. Dead Lantana tops need clearing to reveal the stones before growth starts and covers them.

A task I do not relish is pulling out a lot of Crocosmia foliage in the foreground. Crocosmia is a thug. It almost crowded out the small Daffodils.
Magnolia 'Leonard Messel' in the background.

Little clumps of 'Tete a Tete' Daffodils do well on little slopes and at edges everywhere. No new Daffodils were planted here last fall.

I wrote this week about Boxwood. These were rooted cuttings some years back. I moved them a year or so ago. I intend to let them grow more upright and round rather than the globe shape of many of the others. There is a path between the first two. 

I keep noticing that it always seems much colder in the Upper Garden than in the Front. No wonder, when the North Wind comes rushing across the field, while the trees on the south side of the Upper Garden shield the Front Garden which is lower.  

This is the view from my kitchen windows looking north. I dug a whole row of Sweetness Jonquillas last summer and finally planted all of them late fall. They had ceased bloom in increasing shade. Here they will get sun from the east to ripen the foliage before the pecan trees put out new leaves. 

Sweetness -- note the lastest planted behind 
are slow to catch up.

Work on putting up my Mule Barn is scheduled for Monday. 
Driveway and Step are still curing. 

I am drawing little sketches in anticipation of what to plant here. It faces West, so full sun plants. Some kind of patched up walk leading up to the step where the door will open outward is my notion, an Organic Mechanics theme to use some of the treasure I have. One thing for sure, I want to plant something evergreen and some flowers that bloom in winter like Candytuft.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Boxwood in Bloom

Boxwood has commenced bloom here. On warm sunny days like Monday bees are buzzing around the blooms. I actually saw honeybees. I wonder how box honey tastes?

Remember when I hacked at all these boxwood in 2013 and then did away with them once wisteria bloom was over and everything started to grow? 
It had potential. I ran out of steam.

Alison said she did not like the smell of Boxwood. Japanese box like grows best here does not have the cat pee aroma of English Boxwood. When they bloom the blossoms smell like grape Kool aid.

I spent enough time this morning to gather a tarp full of box cuttings before rain started. New growth has already commenced so I am behind. Some new growth was nipped by the last freeze. All that growth is coming off anyhow.

Here's boxwood from 2011 and here's what I said about it:

Japanese boxwood, Buxus microphylla is hardy to USDA Zone 5. It has been grown in the United States since about 1890 and is the most adaptable of all boxwood. Leaves are glossy, 1/2 inch wide by 1 inch long, have medium green color when grown in shade. It is an open, quick-growing shrub which can reach 8 ft tall. Plant width is often difficult to determine because of naturally occurring layering. Japanese boxwood is heat tolerant. Pruning can be done to shape plants and increase density any time of the year except six weeks before the average date of the first frost in the fall.

This notion about pruning anytime does not apply here. Once wasps start nesting, I best be indoors out of the heat and away from the possibility of being stung.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Mistletoe Cactus in Bloom

Rhipsalis in Bloom

Any little pieces that break off are easily rooted.

Burro Tail Sedum care is the same as for Rhipsalis.  I've about corraled all the 
Donkey Tails that I need by saving leaves and little pieces that broke off.

... and a peek at the show in front of the Burro Tail Sedum.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Just a Peek at my Hyacinths

If  you want to see them over and over, I put the
rest of the pics on the Dotty Plants Greenhouse blog, posing with their best sides.

This is an example of how I amuse myself. I could have ordered off for 5 each of City of Haarlem, Carnegie, Woodstock, Pink Pearl and another pink and potted up similar effects. Instead I bought a random mixed bag, separated them into similar color bulbs and potted them.

I know I would get pretty blooms and they would smell good.

Every year is different. I love how these turned out and it smelled so good in there when I opened the greenhouse door this morning.

Maybe blue and purple next year.

Friday, February 20, 2015

A Concrete Floor for my Garden Shed

Hard freezes are behind us and the cement truck came with the first load. 

Each team member has specific jobs. 
It is obvious they're done this before.

Reinforcing rebar and bolts to secure the building

Each corner has four long bolts. This area is rough finished and the crew is waiting for another load of concrete.

The finished building will be roughly the size of a double garage but with only a single garage door. I am promised lots of shelving and storage.

Because there is nothing I can do to speed the process, I make little rough sketches planning where the shelves will go, where the edger, shredder and lawn mower will park and other obvious plans.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

We Are Still Growing Tomatoes

I picked these on February 16:

He-Who-Mows and likes to take part in the thrill of what I am growing picked these on Tuesday in anticipation of the coming freeze:

Tonight's predicted low is 22º and it is already 35º outside at 7 pm. The greenhouse soaked up heat in the sun during the day but the heaters will have to work hard to keep my target temp of high thirties when the coldest dip comes around 7 am.

Tonight should be the last hard freeze for a few days. When I went to the mailbox this afternoon, daffodils were bravely standing tall in the cold wind.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

It Might as Well Be Spring

We are looking at a hard freeze to come on Wednesday and Thursday nights, barring some respite if the wind should change.

Meanwhile, Hyacinths and Daffodils are on their own schedule. The outdoor Hyacinths are ahead of the forced bulbs in the greenhouse. Daffodils are blooming in faster sequence than usual.

Here are today's beauties, Hyacinths first:

I tend to forget which pinks are which: China Pink, Pink Pearl and Fondant are all varieties I've planted in previous years.

The blues are slow to emerge this year.

This little staggered bunch above were forced year before 
last and planted out following bloom.

On to the daffodils:
Sweet little jonquillas

This is my hands down favorite double. Tahiti.
It has a good form, does not flop like some and the
fragrance is incredibly spicy. 

You cannot have too many Sweetness jonquillas.

If all that yellow is too much for you, there are other colors in daffodils. I didn't even make pics of Ice Follies, if you are also not a fan of orange. Pink Charm has not yet broken through the ground.

Tete a Tete with some February Gold in the distance.

The exciting thing about daffodils is that there are cultivars 
that have not even sent up a leaf yet. Long season.

Daffodils can take some amount of freezes. Too much heat will cause blasting. I saw two buds that blasted in last week's warm spell.

What is the story on Daffodils at your place? I know that many places they're under snow. Only 35 days to Spring, they'll be along.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Iberis sempervirens, a Hardy Perennial

One blooming plant that I failed to include on Bloom Day is Iberis sempervirens. More than 40 years ago I rooted small cuttings of Candytuft from the garden of a neighbor, Martha Morrison. They grew in my yard in Metro Atlanta and I moved them south. These same plants have lived in 3 locations in my present garden. Right now they border a white bed on the south side of the greenhouse and are blooming heartily, mid-February.

Iberis sempervirens Candytuft

Hardy to zone 5, I don't know why we don't see more of these hardy perennials. Martha had a row of them across the front of her house in front of low-growing box hollies.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Camellias, Daffodils and Hyacinths for Bloom Day February

Fearful that cold would take out all blooms, I made pics before freezes on Thursday and Friday nights. There are still blooms today despite the cold.


Cold will brown edges if not the whole bloom. 2/12/15

On Saturday, there were still pretty blooms where leaves were thick overhead despite a low of 28º on Friday night.


 Hyacinths on Thursday above and on Saturday, below.
Hyacinths are opening quickly despite cold when days are sunny.

Osmanthus fragrans

 The tiny blooms of Tea Olive bloom despite the cold.


 Daffodils on Thursday above were opening wide on Saturday, below.
See the bumblebee? Today is cold but sunny.

Magnolia x loebneri

Leonard Messel Magnolia. 2/14/15.

Join Bloom Day at May Dreams Gardens.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

You Should Have Been Here on Wednesday

In anticipation of Bloom Day on Sunday, I went out to seek blossoms and potential blossoms. The gardens hold promise but a threat looms.

Blossom at upper right shows what a freeze does.
Fat buds will open in a warm spell after the next rain.

January and February here are a mixed bag of false springs and freezes. Yesterday was warm and sunny, 10º warmer than usual for this time of year. Tonight we expect a low of 27º F and not much warmer tomorrow night. Somebody left the door open again and wind is about to come whistling down the plains from the North. 

Daffodils and Hyacinths can stand a few hours of chill 
without damage, so we'll have those for Bloom Day.

Deciduous Magnolias bravely offer up a few blooms for
sacrifice, holding some back for a grander show later.

Leonard Messel magnolia

Tea Olive blooms, is bitten, blooms fragrant again all winter.

Yesterday I made changes in the Greenhouse, hopeful of open buds on Kalanchoe and Hyacinths for bloom day no matter what happens in the wee hours of the next two days. 

Sometimes I entertain myself by looking at old, old posts. Camille is one of my favorites from 2010 despite having lost one of the videos. 

I wonder if I could just stop going out and taking pics of the same flowers year to year and just recycle previous years' posts from the same date?