Friday, February 27, 2009

What would be missing

In my previous post bemoaning the poor showing of hyacinths this year, I overlooked what would be missed if I stopped forcing bulbs.

Overlooked, literally. Because the roots are really just as lush, yet delicate, as what's flowering at the other end of the bulb. Gloriously graceful. Especially when viewed through a glass, greenly.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

"Ruby Meyer" mystery

Branching out from those beloved big-blooming Dutch hybrids, I thought that I'd try a different kind of amaryllis: cybister "Ruby Meyer." The red flowers look like narrow tongues of flame.

But there's a mystery. Where are the plant's leaves? I've read that cybister types don't throw out many leaves. But none? How will this bulb rebuild its strength during the spring and summer? I've also learned that I didn't need to chill the bulb prior to planting. Could that enforced dormancy dampened the bulb's vigor?

Clearly, this is more than just an amaryllis with skinny petals.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Hyacinths: diminished returns

Because I set out all my hyacinth bulbs within a span of two weeks, they are flowering in unison. It's a colorful chorus! There is candy-sweet "Pink Pearl" . . .

. . . angelic "L'Innocence" . . .

and slightly spicy "Gypsy Queen" . . .

You might think that this explosion would result in rows of forcing vases jockeying for space on the window sills but, sadly, not very many bulbs were successful this year. The ratios ran from 3:5 (Gypsy Queen) to 1:5 (L'Innocence). Some bulbs softened in the refrigerator. Others never broke dormancy. A couple tenuously extended a root or two and then went moldy. I'd like to say that the blooms made it all worthwhile but I'm thinking that . . . oh well . . . maybe next spring I'll just pick up a few potted bulbs.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Spring's spring thaw

Here's the first part of the yard to thaw: the spring that rises on the back slope and flows into the rain garden (and forms icy puddles beyond). Snow cover doesn't last long over this spot. Every year the configuration of damp ground changes in this general area. This year, there seems to be more dampness and more ground involved.

Despite the snow and ice, the blue flag irises seem to love this cold muck. Who knew you could be so happy standing outside all winter with your feet in icy water?

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Peach on peach

The forced bulbs of hyacinth "Gypsy Queen" are just coming into bloom. Their color is a slightly strange mix of pink, orange, and yellow: but it looks great against the peach walls here. The waxy blossoms are intoxicating. And the scent? Intoxicatingly intoxicating.

The only drawback: just three of the five bulbs could be forced into flower. Those that didn't have little green leaves nosing up when they came out from chilling in the refrigerator never broke growth. But, oh, for those that did! More! I want more!