Tuesday, February 28, 2012

A Seedling Camellia

It takes years to grow a Camellia from seed. There was a time when I had time, and did so. These days I'm enjoying seedlings that have reached good size.  This red one is one of my favs.

A last look.

I have some seeds. Maybe there's still time.

Secrets of a Seedscatterer       

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Outside the Hothouse

Not all my plants want to stay inside in the heat. Once my lettuces came up, they moved out onto Ike's little porch in the sunshine. If the weather gets really warm they may have to move around in a bit of afternoon shade on the north side. If we get an overnight freeze, I'll move them back inside. Lettuce can stand a short freeze but no need to set it back.

Lettuce seedlings, red Cimarron and green leafed Noga varieties from Renee's Seeds.
I'll pick baby leaves for salad until they're thinned, then let them grow into dense heads.

Gerberas like a cool greenhouse. Unless there
is a freeze, these remain outside looking in.

Pink species type Gerbera Daisy.

White muscari. I tucked a few bulbs in with violas back in December.

A second bud is just visible at bottom along with some viola seedlings from seed pods.
Violas and muscari prefer cooler temps outside to being in the hothouse.

Experimentation shows where plants are happiest. I don't put tenderest tropicals in the greenhouse. A Pothos inside my house is big-leaved and happy. A smaller rooted Pothos cutting has not thrived since it moved to the greenhouse where temps sometimes hover around 40F.

I have so many things I want to show you.
The cuttings I potted up yesterday in the greenhouse are Here. Some Like it Hothouse.

Secrets of a Seedscatterer      

Thursday, February 23, 2012

It Wouldn't Be Spring without Daffodils

Blooming today:
February Gold


Ice Wings or Sailboat, I forget.

Ice Follies, an old favorite.

Tete a Tete

Secrets of a Seedscatterer     

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Blowin' in the Wind

We knew severe thunderstorms were on the way Saturday night. We didn't expect to be without electricity for more than six hours. We certainly didn't expect to find panels blown out of the greenhouse this morning.

The single tulip left of two blooms was unscathed. 

After the lights went off and we were listening to a battery-operated scanner one dispatcher announced that the weather service had issued a warning that wind gusts up to 60 miles an hour and quarter-sized hail were possible. Oh, Oh.

If we had hail, we were not aware and see no signs of  hail damage today. Curiously, the greenhouse was the only real damage. Less litter on the driveway than we usually see, no limbs or trees down anywhere. During the night we heard of trees and limbs in the roadway and on power lines in three counties and the usual flooding that happens when a lot of rain falls quickly.

In the greenhouse, the smallest panel that blew out was a house-shaped one that goes into the gable end on the east side. It was nestled among pots and plants. Non-plant items like my tin butterfly and SEEDS sign fell down.

The vintage wood medicine cabinet that I put on the end of the potting bench and never secured blew over. One white pot blew off the back shelf of the potting bench.

An old thrifted paper mache' heart shaped box of pot-pourri I failed to photograph for Valentine's Day was soaked by rain that blew in. Everything is drying out.

When we got the doors open -- they were still secured by a bungee cord that holds them closed, but the header of the greenhouse on which they track was bent -- the fountain was still operating. I guess it kept its prime and restarted when the power came back one. The header is already straightened and the doors repaired where panels blew loose but did not blow out. A front wall panel beside the doors blew out as did another triangular upper panel.

The plants look to be in good shape.
The Bird of Paradise above has a new leaf forming.

Two rear corner panels behind the plants above blew out. All were still nearby, caught in shrubbery or lying on the ground except one that was across the yard caught against a fence. I didn't make pics of the damage, not pretty. The panels are back in place and secured.

Plants in pots outside were not harmed.
I had moved Gerbera daisies out because they prefer cooler temps in the daytime and can tolerate cool nights as long as it doesn't freeze. I trundle them back in if a freeze is predicted.

No freezes predicted for the next week but I keep saying, winter is not over. Winds are certainly not over, either.

Secrets of a Seedscatterer      

Friday, February 17, 2012

Hyacinths Rule, or Rules for Hyacinths

Forced Hyacinths have finished up in my greenhouse.

Today I planted out all that were left; some were planted out a week or more ago. Those in pots of soil were just eased from the pot. I teased the roots that had started to circle the bottom of the pot. Holding them upright in a hole, I poured dirt around and over the roots. Most of them will bloom again next year. Some take a year off. Some will split to have two bloom stalks.

Common Hyacinths Hyacinthus orientalis have contractile roots that pull the bulb deeper into the soil. Therefore I planted them near the top of the soil with the foliage outside. Potted tulips were growing with bulbs above soil level. They'll be safer covered with soil outside and can pull themselves deeper into sandy soil if needed.

When I compared the results of bulbs in water and stones with those in soil, I've decided to plant in soil in the future, after years of planting in stones. The foliage is bigger and in most cases the bloom was larger and fuller.

A bulb in soil does not have to use all its energy producing a blossom, drawing from the soil. Of course this year's bloom was formed by last year's foliage but nutrients are available at all times for forming foliage when planted in soil.

Bulbs that I planted in ground in the fall when I put bulbs for forcing in to chill are just coming out of the ground with buds visible. Bulbs planted in previous years are blooming, have already bloomed or are showing buds, depending on cultivar.

Hyacinths have a long season of bloom because there are early and late species. Hyacinths bloomed in sequence in the greenhouse for a month. Earliest hyacinths outside started blooming at the end of January.

Not only Dutch hyacinths, which are the full, round bloom stalks but Roman-type hyacinths are available.  I like them for flower beds.

There really are no hard and fast rules for hyacinths except that they need some chill to properly bloom. The bulbs need support, whether in water and stones or in soil. You really can't have too many. Eight is a good number for a little clump in the garden.

I haven't shown white, nor pale yellow nor pale apricot Gypsy Queen because they haven't bloomed outside yet. I only forced pink, fuchsia and blue/purple indoors this year. The hardest part is choosing.

Secrets of a Seedscatterer       

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Bloom Day February Post Two Freezing Nights

Ten days ago gardeners in this part of the country were starting to wonder if maybe spring had come a little early. Two days before Bloom Day winter returned.

Worst hit were camellias. Blooms that were wide open turned brown. Partly open buds have brown edges now. Tight buds are opening up as if nothing happened. A few days of warm opens new blossoms.

Bloom Day Camellias

Bloom Day Daffodils

Daffodils were prettier last week than this, but more are coming on every day.

Bloom Day Hyacinths

Earliest Hyacinths are done, mid-season hyacinths are just opening,
Some are just coming out of the ground. Just like Daffodils, the season can be extended by planting cultivars that bloom at different times.

Loebner magnolias that were open were ruined by the freeze.
New blossoms have already started opening.
All the buds do not open at once, fortunately.

Tea Olive is more sensitive to heat than to cold. Smells so good!

My Rosemary is a shy bloomer. This is the only bloom seen so far.

Shrimp Plant is a tough tropical under cover of pine trees.

Bloom Day February 2012
Hosted by Carol of

Do go see the other gardens. What a treat!

Secrets of a Seedscatterer       

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

When I Kiss You

March, 2011

When I kiss you, lying on the grass
I feel the ancestors lifting through the loam
of their own bones, their ancient bodies,
into the sap of even the smallest branch, the nectar
of every flower--apple blossom, cherry,
wild plum, columbine, redwood orchid, wild radish,
and blue forget-me-nots.

When I kiss you, lying on the grass
women long married dream out their kitchen windows
the songs of their courtship.

When I kiss you, flowers in English gardens
explode into blossom, surprising
the ladies having tea, the gardeners
who pause in their labor and stand astonished
remembering the soft pastel dresses
and the sweet smell
of the girls they once danced with.
-- Elizabeth Herron

Secrets of a Seedscatterer      

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Another Spin on the Bottle Tree

Last month I posted about my newly fashioned bottle tree using a rusty pitchfork as the 'tree.'

A temporary tree at best, it was stuck in a pole where my portable clothesline goes. In the way of the mower when grass puts out again and just not really to my liking.

So I moved the bottles to an improvised trellis where Red Cascade Roses bloom in summer.

The cedar uprights had stobs left where some of the bottles could be
placed. Others hang from the wire cages that held them on the original
bottle tree.

An iron monkey hangs out here as well.
Rose buds are forming on the canes.

The bottles that hang free hold spirits that moan when the wind blows.
They were noisy this afternoon in the cool breeze.

Folk Art at its best.
Spread out, the bottles catch the light better.

What do you think?

Secrets of a Seedscatterer       

Saturday, February 4, 2012

I Worry about the next Hard Freeze

It looks as if Spring came early.

Everybody needs swaths of daffodils in the lawn.
He-who-mows will go around these until the foliage ripens.

Three different views of the big pink Camellia.

China Pink is the earliest and the prettiest. I have them in the
greenhouse, too.

Daffodils just can't wait in this warm spell. These come up through
dry lantana foliage in the front beds.

Multi-flowering hyacinths have a looser habit than the more
formal Dutch hyacinths. These look much like the old-
fashioned Roman hyacinths we had when I was a child but
do not smell quite as sweet.

It's weeks until Spring on the calendar and I expect freezing weather is yet to come just when we're all complacent about it. A hard freeze will be hard on these plants that have gotten accustomed to warm. Bits of foliage are peeking out from under things like Brugmansias and Pentas that were killed back earlier. Meanwhile we're enjoying balmy temps and occasional showers.

Secrets of a Seedscatterer