The pre-winter graveyard

It’s been a good two weeks since my last post. The climate has turned to rain to freezing temps back to chilly. Since we experienced a solid week of sub-freezing wind chills and temps, it’s natural that the annuals have succumbed to the frost. Where certain parts aren’t buried in leaves, my garden transformed into a graveyard in a matter of days. I hope to clear out the debris when the weather turns mild. Thankfully, the man started with pruning the Midnight Blue rose.

Goners: basils, vincas, marigolds, cosmos, ornamental peppers, salvia coccinea.

Dead top growth: caladiums, sweet potato ornamental vines (not sure if these Illusion potatoes will come back next year), callas, Sinaloa salvia, the purple oxalis in the blue bed, most of the asters.

Subject to change: foxtail ferns, Mexican heather.

Surprises: a few of the petunias are still green, all of the coreopsis have green foliage and appear to have grown, the larkspur seedlings appear unaffected by the freeze, one of the Autumn Embers azaleas actually had a (wilted) bloom on it, succulent planter looking pretty.

Annoyances: the yarrow continues to spread, weeds have invaded my lily bed!

Warning: images of dead plants ahead. On my Xmas wishlist: a compost bin from the city’s Park & Recreation dept.

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First week of June

6/6/2011 Yellow Durango MarigoldIt’s hot. Pushing 100s hot. I was crazy to work the garden this weekend in this weather. But I got a lot accomplished and made some observations. For example, my first petunia seedling to flower (which I failed to photograph) was an Easy Wave white bloom.

6/6/2011 Purple Star verbena cutting in bloomA couple more marigolds, yellow and scarlet–though the scarlet wasn’t being photogenic–also
made an appearance in the tree ring. Except that yellow marigold is the same one that first bloomed. ┬áThe tree ring’s first salvia also bloomed, but it is the coral nymph and not the Lady in Red that I’ve been waiting for.

6/6/2011 Cedar mulched lily bedBecause it’s been sweltering, the man decided to water everything today…including the freshly mowed lawn. Methinks he cut it too low this go-around. He’ll let it get an inch or two next time. But the dry conditions gave him incentive to plant my purple pastel and mulch the hostas. I didn’t see, but he said the hostas were having a bad time of it.

6/6/2011 Enjoying the last Navona lilies of the seasonThe half inch cutting of Lanai Purple Star verbena grew about an inch long in opposite directions and produced flowers! This was a throwaway piece of verbena and it decided to take root and bloom barely a month later. The heat also agrees with the lemon verbena that I almost killed with neglect. It’s coming back in leaves in its original pot. I’m still debating on where to plant it however.

6/6/2011 Lemon Verbena comebackAll my toiling yielded me my first and only bouquet of flowers from this year’s lily garden: 2 stems of Navona asiatic lilies which I had knocked down while working the lily bed (and running for my life from raging wasps). Nice to have home-grown floral arrangements for a change.

6/6/2011 Emerging caladium in planter bowlAnd it’s also nice to see the tiny nubs of the planter bowl caladium–White Delight–making a showing. I imagine the other caladiums in the shade bed should be popping out about now. Well, that is, if the cedar mulch hasn’t covered it back up again.

I coaxed more seeds out of the white nymph salvia I installed in a planter box. I’m hoping that as the weeks progress, I’ll have a nice size baggy of seeds to plant next year in the front flower bed, or perhaps the tree ring.

Another NHG run ends with Sunday plantings

5/16/2011 Half Pot of Ginger Mint I headed out to NHG today to pick up at least one coral bells and perhaps find my verbena. What I came home with were 1 Amber Waves heuchera, 1 Lemon verbena, 1 ginger mint, 2 jumbo White Dynasty caladium bulbs and 1 jumbo White Delight caladium bulb. Of the above, only the lemon verbena remains unplanted. The heuchera and the 2 White Dynasty caladiums found an immediate home in the shade bed. The White Delight went into a planter bowl along with the two Regatta lobelia and all of the Wave petunia seedlings. I split the ginger mint into half and planted it straight into the herb garden, along with the hot banana pepper and the habanero. I also decided to drop all 6 of the garlic chives pots into the herb garden as well, to see if they will fare better. During my efforts, I stumbled onto two lime basil seedlings, which I’ve repotted.

5/16/2011 Lanai Purple Star Verbena

Meanwhile, the man got busy with the tree ring and front flower beds. He added 4 of the vinca seedlings, and 4 of the Lanai Purple Star verbena as border plants. He also dropped another Hot Lips salvia into the vacant space next to the Autumn Twist azalea. Hopefully this salvia will fare better in this spot. ┬áTaking 12 of the marigold seedlings, he started them in the outer ring. I resolved to start paring down the lemon thyme plant to take more cuttings and hopefully create more plants. I’m convinced that this herb will make a remarkable border plant. It will take no more than a year to create a solid circle of variegated lemon thyme, if I do this right.

I still have basil planters to create, but I’m waiting on the cuttings to take hold. It seems I may have some success with the Pesto Basil since I took a cutting right off the top. I’m also waiting on the tricolor sage to take hold as well. I kept some cuttings under glass on the Burpee mat. I have great hopes that they will endure.

Now I am just waiting for some basil and salvia seedlings to mature so that I can get them out into the garden.

February’s starts

From icy weather to warm 70 degree temperatures, this year’s February is a study in extremes. Average temperatures this time of year tend to be around 30-40 degrees, but it’s been feeling like shorts weather all week long.

While the damage that the snow and ice can’t be ignored, there are signs that the garden is rebounding. I may have lost my felicia and verbena to the frost (top growth is looking very brown and ugly), but the lilies and one daylily have begun to sprout out of the ground. The Hot Lips salvia that I sheared back to 1/3rd its original mass looks like it might be hiding new leaves at the crown, but it’s too early to tell yet. The violas are starting to rebloom and the dianthus all need a good haircut.

My plant order from Accents for the Home and Garden arrived today, and the specimens I received appear to be in good shape. I’ve placed them under the growlights until I can be assured that the temperatures remain in the upper 60s from now through March.

I wish I had extra income to afford some of the outrageous prices that caladiums are demanding right now. I’ve got my eye on the strap leafs since they may be more within the budget–though not by much.

The seedlings are looking mighty healthy at this time.

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