Saturday, March 29, 2008

Snow, sleet, spring

An overnight spray of sleet and snow on the tulips--and an occasional daytime snowflake--serve to remind that winter is still with us.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Keeping me waiting

Let's talk anticipation, the waiting for what-is-not-yet. Yes, I know that gardening is all about process but sometimes that process unwinds so, so slowly. On close inspection of the back quarter acre, a few twists of spring promise can be discerned.

Rows of "Black Parrot" and "Apricot Impression" tulips, fronted by minor dasystemon tulips and grape hyacinths, are emerging next to the back of the house.

Wine red shoots of peonies are cracking through the soil.

Forthysia--a shrub consisting of only a few branches at present--is budded up.

Inspired by Carleton Gardener's oculus photographs of her winter-sowing, I peeked inside my own milk jug cloche. I thought that I saw a tender sprouting mallow seed . . . but where did it go?

At least snowdrops are out along the pebbly berm of the back hill.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Hippeastrum hubris

Even if I can claim only a few accomplishments this season, I will be able to pat myself on the back for taking amaryllis bulbs from here . . .

. . . to here. So that I don't appear overly self-satisfied and thereby draw her retribution for my prideful ways, however, I guess that I should acknowledge some help here from Mother Nature. Okay, done.

Formalities aside, I'd like to introduce two plants that have attained their second year of bloom. The bright red one, above, threw up two stalks carrying loads of blossoms. Judging from its streaky peppermint candy colored flowers, the plant below most likely is "Minerva." My late aunt, EMS, who tended her own amaryllises with devotion--or perhaps slight compulsion--if that's how a gardener who moved her potted plants throughout the day to best catch the sun can be characterized--sent "Minerva" to me during her final winter. My solicitations have been less conscientious, but still yielded a little legacy.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Hyacinths indoors

This is my first year forcing hyacinths indoors. "L'Innocence" flowers creamy white with a dense sweet scent. Smells like spring!

The individual flowers are distinctly different in shape and scent, but this deep pink plume of "Jan Bos" is reminiscent of a wild orchid.

Many lessons to be learned for next year:

1. Bulbs can indeed be chilled in a paper bag in the refrigerator crisper drawer. (Thank you, May Dreams Gardens!) There's no need to set the bulbs on their water-filled vases inside the refrigerator, unless you enjoy playing with the risk of frozen water cracking the glass vase. Which leads me to my next point . . .

2. You can never have too many vases. Guess that's why Ebay and yard sales were invented.

3. The bulbs will come into flower in their own sweet time. Don't plan for a lovely row blooming in unison on your window sill. At least I matched the vase color . . .

Embrace individuality! Admire the solitary splendor of single bulb!

About one third of the bulbs lingered in an extended state of suspended animation: hovering between water and air, between living and dying. Sometimes a single white thread of a root would suffice to jolt the bulb to life; other times, the fringe of incipient roots on the base of the bulb would mold green. What the heck, those bulbs will be planted in soil-filled clay pots. Plan B for a Class A flower!

Monday, March 03, 2008

Raingarden revisions revised

Showers are forecast for four of the next five days, which leads me to think about plans for my raingarden. Here is a revision that incorporates my first plant order of the season.

Can't wait for the weather to warm, skies to clear, snow to melt, and winter to be gone!