Late spring blooms

Despite all the excitement that 2 new furbabies introduces to the household, I did still get to witness some really cool blooms decorating our new front yard landscape. The tall red cypress, red columbine, Crimson Pirate daylilies, and Picasso callas are just some of the vivid sights now showing their colors. Even the waterlogged gardenia managed to push out some blooms…

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The highly anticipated Pumpkin Pie Coreopsis in bud and bloom was slightly disappointing for appearing mostly like a typical tickseed, just with a little more orange in color:

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May Dreamers

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End of May Flowers

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New plants, growing seeds under lights fail

Let this be a reminder for the fall and 2013 spring planting season: forgetting to lower the grow lights at the lowest possible distance results in very weedy, weak seedlings. I had to throw out a batch of snapdragon seedlings due to spindly and frail stems that made them unsustainable during transplant. This wasted hours of my time, electricity and a batch of Jiffy 7 pellets. Never mind that it was probably too late to plant the snapdragons this late into the year, I must remember to lower the lights next time. I will most likely write an article reminder to self on what to plant for fall, including snaps, violas (which I have not planted), alyssum, and all manner of spring annuals.

Also resulting in fail: 2 out of 3 dusty miller cuttings rotted at the stems. They may perhaps need a drier, sandy medium; or it may just behoove to start them from seed. These Silver Dust dusty millers seem to thrive in cool shade; since the doorway strip plants have tripled in size since I moved them there. They show a lot of vigor in cooler temps.

The zinnias I started in pellets are also thin and reedy, but I suspect that once I move them into pots into the warm weather, they will thrive. I have already transplanted the coleus seedlings this past weekend, kept them under lights to encourage them to root out. The alyssum I started are sitting outside, hardening off, but I suspect they are too frail to keep out in full sun despite the near-80s temps (mild IMO). My man has been attempting to keep them watered in hopes that they will thrive.

Not thriving: my salvia purchases from High Country Gardens. I’m really disappointed with these starts. They had weak stems, and the one sign of green from the Salvia jurisicii ‘Blue’ fell off; and the leaves of the Salvia dorrii ‘Desert Purple Sage’ have dried off one by one. I am giving them one more week under lights before I request a refund from HCG.

This past Saturday I sated my lust for new plant life by heading off to Strong’s Nursery to pick out some new and interesting specimens. They had a new batch of salvia greggii Nuevo Leon, boasting some of the most neon purple-blue flowers I’ve ever seen. These are more vibrant than the standard salvia greggii violet and purple pastel specimens I currently have in the garden. However, with Nuevo Leon, the leaves are more lanceolate, have a milder scent, and the flowers are much smaller. I hope that it will at least be just as floriferous.

3/27/2012 March New Plants (2)

Cuban Gold duranta and 2 pots of Tequila Sunrise Variegated coreopsis also went into our cart. I was attracted to the bright yellow foliage of the duranta which grows to about 2 feet high. This may be a good plant to position in the sunnier end of the front shade bed; though I worry that it might blend in too much with the hakonechloa and the coleus I intend to plant in that bed. The variegated coreopsis was a surprise; this was the first time we found a coreopsis with variegated leaves. We’re excited to have this plant join our gardens and are now searching for a spot to plant them in.

3/27/2012 March New Plants (3)

We also picked up two Texas Gold columbines for the front yard shade bed. After the spectacular flower show our Origami Red and White gave us, we can’t wait to see this columbine produce its own show. I must remember to give it plenty of water for this first year planting. We also add two red verbenas to the front yard flower bed to compliment our red/white tulip and azalea show going strong right now. Must water, must water, must water!

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Sunday afterwards, we dropped by North Haven Gardens in search of new plants. However, all we came away with were herbs: golden sage, mexican marigold, dwarf curry mini, and lavender Kew Red.

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The first Midnight Blue bloom for this year appeared this week, followed by what I am sure will be a cascade of rose blooms. The first thing to observe is how large and vibrant these cool weather blooms will be.

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March seedlings and the last winter heave

We’ve dipped back down into the 50s this weekend, after a short 2 weeks of pleasant spring weather. I suspect this is winter’s last gasp and we are headed into the 70s-90s for the next 3-6 weeks. We’re also seeing some rain for this weekend, which means work is suspended on the new garden bed. But at least we’ll know the seal is tight on the newly-repaired sprinkler pipes.

I sowed some Coreopsis tinctoria Roulette seeds today, brought in the Pesto Perpetuo basil and snapped up some pix of the bathroom greenhouse. The dusty miller cuttings are having a hard time, so I have covered 2 of them to see if a more controlled environment will help them thrive. The thyme and oregano cuttings are certainly doing well, putting out new growth. I’m still wary of the salvia cuttings, not sure if they are developing new roots under the surface. The alyssum have begun to sprout; I will be monitoring their progress in the coming weeks to see how well they grow. I’m anxious to get some of their pastel colors out into the gardens in time for Easter. We shall see!

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