Azaleas, lilies, and germinating seeds

Saturday, I brought home some $1.88 azaleas that were on special at Lowes. For the price, I couldn’t resist picking up 8 of them, even though they weren’t the Encore types. I picked up two each of the Gumpo Pinks and Whites, 1 Hot Shot, 1 Macrantha Orange, 1 Crimson and a Delaware Valley White. On Sunday, I then installed them into the courtyard bed next to the fence along with the Navona, Lollypop and Red Alert lilies. I also got around to putting the Hyperion daylily as well as the Snowdrift Astilbe. I’m hoping that with the onset of summer the azaleas will receive enough shade under the myrtles to survive the Texas heat.

Prior to that, we finally got finished laying out the stone for the last front bed, next to the fence under the crape myrtle. Currently, a very small patch of the bed receives 2 hours of noon sun, but I suspect that will disappear once the myrtle leafs out. We went ahead and planted 3 hostas, Gold Standard on each corner of the bed. I also felt that after seeing the dessicated remains of Minuteman that I’d try to revive them by potting them up first. So 2 Minuteman and 2 remaining Gold Standards are sitting in pots under the full shade of Photinias, along with some salvia cuttings that I took earlier in the week.

Late Sunday night, I finally got around to testing our new seed starting venture. We had earlier in the week finished construction on a grow light in our second, unused bathroom. We invested about $85 in PVC, workshop lights and “plant” bulbs, which we used to make our DIY light plant stand. We invested about $15 in a seedling starter kit from Burpees. Then our basil, dianthus and impatiens seeds arrived from Stokes. I’m not entirely convinced that we’ll be successful growing impatiens under the light conditions, having read that these flowers absolutely require a heat mat. But we shall see. I’m also not exactly thrilled with the starter kit; the plastic warped from the hot tap water with poured in, and the plug medium was extremely messy. Those impatiens/dianthus seeds are so incredibly tiny, they need forceps to sow–I’m sure I must have lost 5-7 seeds per plug. If I don’t get roughly 200 out of the 250 seeds I supposedly planted, then I’m fairly certain this seed starting venture will be a bust. (FYI the starter kit has room for only 75 plugs.)

I forgot to mention that 1 of the dianthus that I carried with me from the patio garden and transplanted into the courtyard bed has bloomed. It was a white dianthus. I can’t wait to see the other 3 transplants to put out color…these plants are a testament to the hardiness of the species–long-lived even under harsh, transitory conditions. I have one more dianthus that I have yet to place into the landscape…and after seeing the successful bloom on the white, I’m ready to put it in. Maybe I will have some luck with the Red Peppermint seeds that I’ve started…