In bloom: ajuga, dianthus, salvia

2/29/2012 Salvia, Ajuga, Dianthus in Bloom (1) 2/29/2012 Salvia, Ajuga, Dianthus in Bloom (2) 2/29/2012 Salvia, Ajuga, Dianthus in Bloom (3) 2/29/2012 Salvia, Ajuga, Dianthus in Bloom (4) 2/29/2012 Salvia, Ajuga, Dianthus in Bloom (5) 2/29/2012 Salvia, Ajuga, Dianthus in Bloom (6)

Salvia orders, Dutch irises and planting catgrass

I couldn’t help it: I purchased a couple of salvia plants at High Country Gardens yesterday. They were on sale! Salvia dorrii ‘Desert Purple Sage’ and Salvia jurisicii ‘Blue’ will soon be added to my growing salvia collection. Now I just have to find homes for them. Salvia dorrii squats closer to the ground than the salvia greggiis, about 18″ tall and up to 36″ wide. It would be a great foot companion to a taller perennial. Salvia jurisicii reminds me of tender herb-like sages; I’m thinking I might be able to site this 12″ salvia in the blue bed where an under-performing groundcover salvia (Sinaloa) currently resides. The problem associated with moving a new tenant into the blue bed: disturbing young larkspur and tiny flax seedlings. I had also planned on adding a bag of Dutch Iris bulbs purchased this weekend at Home Depot in this same bed.

2/29/2012 Dutch Iris Miss Saigon

I finally got around to planting the catgrass. Let’s see how fast they germinate! I put them in some soil using a takeout plastic container for a home. I still need to find a source for variegated catgrass.

2/29/2012 Pot of Catgrass Seed in Greenhouse

Laboring over divisions and stumpless in color

I had some extra time this morning prior to a doctor’s appointment to putter around in the garden. I took some cuttings of yellow salvia greggii, tricolor sage, and variegated oregano to foster indoors. Meanwhile I discovered it was time  to replant the lime thyme and the variegated oregano since there were clear signs of root congestion in their cinderblock homes.  It wasn’t too difficult trimming down the roots and dividing both plants; I had desired more clones of these plants and now I have at least 2 of them out in the herb garden, with baby cuttings currently fostered in my patio planter boxes.

2/27/2012 Stumpless in Color (3) 2/27/2012 Stumpless in Color (4) 2/27/2012 Stumpless in Color (15)

Still on my list for cuttings, divisions and replanting: coreopsis, catmint, dianthus, dusty miller, hakonechloa, gaura, white salvia greggii, Sierra San Antonio salvia greggii, basil, and possibly the variegated society garlic. Dividing the gauras will be tricky…the front yard gaura has grown into a monster, and the two flanking our rose look imposing.

Meanwhile, the ajuga cuttings I took recently have begun to bloom. The lily bed is afire with red/white dianthus and pansies. The Valentines look especially vigorous!

2/27/2012 Stumpless in Color (2) 2/27/2012 Stumpless in Color (6) 2/27/2012 Stumpless in Color (7) 2/27/2012 Stumpless in Color (8) 2/27/2012 Stumpless in Color (9) 2/27/2012 Stumpless in Color (10)

Purple flames arise from our purple loropetalum! Emerald Snow is blanketed in white fringes. Elsewhere, signs of life emerging from the tulips in the front bed. And those giant grape hyacinths are looking thick and healthy!

2/27/2012 Stumpless in Color (5) 2/27/2012 Stumpless in Color (11) 2/27/2012 Stumpless in Color (12) 2/27/2012 Stumpless in Color (13)

Taking a quick peek at the Jiffy seedlings, it appears most have already germinated. I expect to retain the dome for at least another week or two.

2/27/2012 Stumpless in Color (14)

And then back to the stump-sized hole in the ground! Stump has been removed! The man decided he just couldn’t handle another day of sawing and digging and hired some professionals to grind down the remains.

2/27/2012 Stumpless in Color (1)

Sorely stumped

Since we experienced lovely weather this weekend, the man and I undertook the task of tree stump removal. We hadn’t really touched the beast since the end of January, when we took a chainsaw to it and cut off most of the top growth.

It was sore, sweaty work. The weed tree flanking the photinia came out easily after some digging and chopping. The man had started digging around it last week and I completed the job on Saturday.

The photinia presented an enormous challenge. Barely 30 minutes into the digging, we hit a hidden sprinkler line, which suspended our work. We made an emergency run to Home Depot for a repair kit and to buy new tools: another shovel and a 1.5lb hand axe. With most of the daylight gone, we resumed on Sunday and labored to excavate most of its rootball. We found many roots that had grown into the sidewalk and under the fence and concrete divider. We also encountered more hidden cables which was deeply entangled in the roots. About 3.5 hours of hard digging and hatcheting later, it was clear that the photinia stump was not coming out. A mass of roots held the stump suspended over the hole we dug around and underneath it, and those arterial roots grew horizontally behind the chain link fence into parts unknown. It had also deeply entangled another weed tree in its roots, right next to the fence.

Thoroughly exhausted, we wait on tomorrow to ultimately decide its fate: industrial chainsaw or professional stump removal.

2/25/2012 Stumped in February (1) 2/25/2012 Stumped in February (2) 2/25/2012 Stumped in February (3) 2/25/2012 Stumped in February (4) 2/25/2012 Stumped in February (5) 2/25/2012 Stumped in February (6) 2/25/2012 Stumped in February (7) 2/25/2012 Stumped in February (8) 2/25/2012 Stumped in February (9) 2/25/2012 Stumped in February (10) 2/25/2012 Stumped in February (11)

Meanwhile, behold the come-again yellow pansy and white fringeflower (Emerald Snow loropetalum) blooms.

2/25/2012 February Bloomers (1) 2/25/2012 February Bloomers (2)

Don’t sneeze–tiny seeds ahead

On Monday, I got around to sowing some seeds in Jiffy 7 pellets. It was just my luck that I started with the super-tiny seeds while I had a cold from the morning jog. It took all my resolve not to sneeze while I was planting these near-microscopic seeds: Angelonia  Serena Blue, Snapdragon Bronze Dragon, Snapdragon Montego Sunset, Wizard Mix Coleus and last year’s Origami Red & White Columbine.

Some time last week, I also took some cuttings of the Chocolate Chip ajuga which have been merrily putting out new growth in their temporary pots; as well as cuttings of lime thyme and variegated lemon thyme. The original parent lime thyme was especially vigorous and overflowing in its cinderblock space. Amazing fragrance this little herb has. I was using it to give the pups a lime thyme herb brushing.

This morning I planted 3 leek roots (from this weekend’s Spring Soup recipe that called for spinach, asparagus, and leeks) in the herb garden. Even while it was sitting in the fridge all weekend long, new roots began to appear. From what I read, leeks are vigorous perennials, so I am looking forward to watching them grow.

No pictures today; the red and white pansies are blooming, as well as the purple loropetalum and the various dianthus in the lily and blue beds. The Valentine dianthuses are especially pretty now that they’ve had a full year to grow into their new spots. The remaining three Valentines sitting in the blue bed will have to be moved, perhaps in the front yard bed to complement the coreopsis. I do need to find out if I can divide those winter coreopsis.

Flax and marigold seeds to be popping up here and there (blue bed and tree ring). I have yet to see if the viola I sowed last month are coming up–so far no evidence of them doing so. I’ve got three Sorbet viola seed packets that I’m still deciding on–most likely I will attempt to sow them indoors. The sweet alyssum Pastel Carpet will be sown outdoors–another attempt at trying this–while it’s still cool which will hopefully give them a better start.

Still have zinnias, gomphrenas, and eggplant to plant. I will wait on planting them mid-March since they are typically warm weather plants. However I should get around to planting the Chinese broccoli and baby bok choy as soon as our new veggie bed is laid out. Problem is: when? Two tree stumps are undermining our efforts to prep a new bed.

Wishlist plant of the day: variegated azalea Girard’s Variegated Gem and Silver Sword. More reading on variegated azaleas.