Seed starting 2011 part 1 and blues speculation

12/31/10 Iona Clear Blue Pansy on display at Arboretum Trial gardenIt snowed today, first snow of 2011. Good thing I broke out the grow lights from the shed earlier this week. I am reusing the Burpee grow system, minus their grow pellets. The man bought me two bags of seed starting soil, which I packed in half of the plastic cells. This morning I got to sow some seeds:  6x Red Rubin Basil, 6x Thai Basil, 6x Jupiter Bell Pepper, 6x Calico Ornamental Pepper, 6x Purple Flash Ornamental Pepper, 2x unnamed Thai Chili, and 4x Pansy seeds which I “borrowed” from the Arboretum trial gardens…I believe the cultivar was Iona Heavenly Blue.

I also planted a rosemary cutting which had a single root after about a week sitting in water. I have another sprig of rosemary and a red dianthus chinensis sitting it water, waiting to see them root. I need to remember to take some cuttings of the verbena and the felicia daisy.

While my attention is on the blue flowers, I must express my affection for the felicia daisy which has bloomed sporadically up to this month. This Cape Town Blue daisy has displayed amazing tolerance for the heat and cold, enduring the summer in a planter, and now mulched int the blue bed. I have tried to capture seeds from it to no avail; so perhaps taking some cuttings may work.

I also have hopes to see the Diana Blueberry dianthus blooms, though I know it won’t come even close to a true blue. Even so, a pale lavender will be a rare sight to see on a dianthus. Speaking of dianthus, these are the only seedlings that I’m aware of that have made it to the garden. The Red Peppermint dianthus seedlings unfortunately perished–to the best of my knowledge–due to heat well before they made it into the ground. I believe the dianthuses in the purple garden were all store-bought this year, and there are some purple, picotees and parfaits that have endured.

As I am browsing my camera pics, I am reminded of the beauty of the annual phlox, however fleeting it was. It seems that growing them from seeds may be too challenging for the home gardener, since I have yet to find any outlets offering them. I believe the 4 specimens that I picked up at Covington’s this last year were of the Phoenix Sky variety, a lovely pale purple star surrounded by white-cream. I’ll keep hunting, though reading suggest that these phloxes are cool-weather annuals.

The angelonia have succumbed finally to the winter cold; the purple variety which seemed a bit sturdier has browned like the whites. It’s amazing how these angelonia have grown so tall and wide from modest specimens. They definitely need more room if we plan on using them again next year.