2/28/2011 Potted 1 year old Ballerina GauraSome industrious critter thieved one of my hippeastrum bulbs. The telltale mound of dirt it had dug up was the only evidence left of the missing bulb. I am hoping it wasn’t one of my pups…’coz I’d be really upset.

After discovering the theft I began the laborious work of transplanting the gaura, dianthus and white salvia. Who knew gaura could get so huge? I have them currently residing in what I believe are 5 gallon pots. I am not sure how well these will respond to transplanting, but I am hoping that given the sprightly spring growth that they will survive. Can gaura be divided? That mass of huge roots suggests otherwise; I am going to have to do a little research.

Two dianthus specimens that had languished in the purple bed have been moved into the lily bed under the myrtle, which will hopefully be a happier home for them. I also transplanted a third into a pot, the tiniest surviving dianthus from the purple bed. The remainder will stay put until I’ve determined how to reorganize the bed.

White salvia moved. I am now deciding if a weed mat should go down on the salvia wall. The ground is uneven and could use some leveling, but I’m also thinking that it could benefit from some additional specimens of sage. A cultivar of the Mealy Cup Sage, salvia farinacea, Henry Duelberg, recently caught my eye. What surprises me is that it’s supposed to be perennial, being a relative of the Victoria Blues that we used to dress our front yard bed. Methinks with the harsh icy weather we had in February that these Victoria Blues have been killed off. They had begun sending up shoots when the blizzard came around. Even the potted specimens that I took have shown no signs of reviving…and this mild weather has been causing all the salvias to leaf out. I have another farinacea cultivar, Strata Sea Breeze, in seed form ready to be sown.

Salvia dreaming

Here is my salvia wishlist for 2011:

Salvia clevelandii Pozo Blue

Salvia chamaedryoides
Salvia coahuilensis
Salvia dorrii ssp. incana
Salvia greggii ‘Yellow Cloud’
Salvia pachyphylla ‘Blue Flame’

I’ve found the following sites invaluable in researching salvia in the nursery trade:
High Country Gardens
Lazy S’S Farm
California Gardens
Las Pilitas


Hippeastrum and blue garden update

2/25/2011 Dallas Star Daylily end of winter shootsThe red garden amaryllis bulbs are planted! Yesterday morning, during a break in the late winter showers, the bulbs went into the lily bed in front of the Delaware White azalea. In the course of digging I hit a neighboring lily bulb, which I hope won’t be too badly damaged by the disturbance. In the process of cleaning up the bed this past weekend I’ve noticed that the Dallas Star daylilies have sent up green shoots. The Hyperion daylily only came to my notice about mid-week, so it is definitely slower to bolt than the Dallas Stars.

2/25/2011 Oxalis End of Winter LeavesMeanwhile, early this week I discovered a couple of interesting sights in the blue bed. First, I noticed that the yarrows had apparently spread underground and had begun sending up shoots about 6-8 inches from the mother plants. I had not known that yarrows were aggressive spreaders so these two specimens bear watching in the coming year.  Second, the oxalis have begun to leaf out. I have been thinking of relocating them in the lily bed to provide additional color throughout the year once the lilies have died back. Finally the violas in this bed have begun to ramp up flower production…though not as vigorously as the red and white violas in the lily bed.

Seed starting 2011 part 4

Here is a tally of the 2nd wave of seedling starts:
phlox: 7 out of 12 starts
blue knoll: 3 out of 12
dianthus valentine: 6 out of 6
delosperma: 4 out of 6

Due to the low germination rates on the blue knoll chrysanthemum, I immediately used up any remaining seed that I had left. I also emptied the remainder of phlox seeds in the tray, in hopes of getting the maximum 12 starts.

Of the first wave of seedlings, I recorded the heights from tallest to shortest:

  1. sweet basil
  2. bell pepper
  3. calico
  4. purple flash
  5. red rubin
  6. pansy

What is disappointing from the list above is the performance of the red rubin basil. I had hoped to use a few specimens as accent color in the purple garden, but they have barely increased in size in almost a week.

Today’s starts:
4 dahlberg daisies: super fine, eyelash-shaped seeds!
8 vinca: using jiffy pellets and stored in the laundry room in complete darkness
4 garlic chives: don’t know why I’m having difficulty with these this year

In a green quart pot I placed a root cutting from the foxtail fern…not sure it will do anything, but I’d be interested in seeing the outcome.

All three of the Hot Lips salvia cuttings that I brought in are displaying tender leaves, just like the parent plant in the courtyard lily bed. Alas I have not been able to see any sign of the purple pastel that I sowed some time ago. And one of the 3″ pots is hosting a salvia seedling, the likes of which I haven’t seen before in any of the greggii cultivars. Is it a white? Red? Purple? Or some other hybrid? Only time will tell.

The pineapple mint (2) and hot and spicy oregano (1) cuttings have taken to their new home with vigor. They appear to be putting out new growth–a testament to their light-loving nature. The catmint has remained tall and floppy, surprising me every day with new growth. It’s still a tender thing, disliking heavy watering.

I’m not sure how I will be thinning the impatiens and alyssum seedlings; it seems too much work at this time to separate them. They still look too fragile, about 6 weeks into their lives, to be transplanted or removed from the dome protection they currently enjoy. Well, there is still another 4 weeks of March to go…no telling what growth spurts I will witness.

Other statuses: asters growing tall and gangly with new shoots, rosemary cuttings looking pale and deathly, no telling what’s growing in one of the Mexican heather pots, oriental limelights perking up, felicia seem contemplative, and the columbine are starting very slowly.

Now I have these two hippeastrums sitting in a bag, begging to be planted. I can’t be sure what cultivar they are, but reading suggests that these garden amaryllis may be part of a group of Sonatini hybrids. On the bag label is the distributor name Van Zyverden but their site is non-existent. Further research revealed that these hippeastrums were developed by a South African company known as Hadeco. However their site info is woefully inadequate and gave me no clue as to what to expect from the mystery bulbs. This should teach me from impulse buying flower bulbs. Anywho, they’re slated for burial in the courtyard lily bed.

One perennial on my wishlist that has proven elusive is the Ajuga Dixie Chip. Perhaps in the coming months, I’ll be finding them at the local home improvement nursery.

2/22/2011 Seedlings (1) 2/22/2011 Seedlings (2) 2/22/2011 Seedlings (3) 2/22/2011 Seedlings (4) 2/22/2011 Seedlings (5) 2/22/2011 Seedlings (6) 2/22/2011 Seedlings (7) 2/22/2011 Seedlings (8)

End of winter review

2/21/2011 Lily Bulbs Sprouting in FebruaryFrom Walton’s, I purchased a 3-foot rosemary topiary and 4 Ice Follies daffodil bulbs. From Home Depot, 2 red amaryllis bulbs. I would have purchased some caladium bulbs, but Calloway’s offered only some small bulbs of the kind a desired. I was tempted to pick up some other flower bulbs, but was unsure that they would produce this year.

As part of this weekend’s activities, I raked and cleared some debris from the courtyard and front flower beds. I also took some time to cut back the salvia wall, taking care to mulch where necessary. The weeds had rampaged much of the fall and I hoped the mulch would suppress some of it. I still need to move the white salvia over one foot, and add another.

In the flower bed, I sheared back all of the dianthus, trimming off much of the frost-bitten tops. I also cleared some debris, revealing some more early lily/daylily starts. I’ve had to cut down the dead gumpo azaleas and have been contemplating fertilizing and mulching the remaining specimens.

In the front beds, I’ve had to clear many leaves, though the gardenia bed proved extremely labor-intensive. Even today, another blanket of leaves has settled in the bed. I’ve decided to hold off on any more clearing until we are well into March.

I am concerned however that the Foxtail ferns may have succumbed to the frost, though some digging in the area unearthed some live root stock (which I took to make a planting out of). Unlike the other ferns in the bed, there is a distinct mound where each foxtail lay buried. I had hoped to find some new growth after I trimmed off the tops, but had no such luck. I await the warmer weather to stimulate the ferns back into green. Meanwhile, I planted the 4 daffodils in a row behind the planting astilbe. They were showing some live growth, and I am hoping that they will take off in a few weeks.

Next on the list to be planted are the red amaryllis and the rosemary. Meanwhile, I am thinking of expanding our grow light room to include bulbs and more seeds.