Blooms, Buds and Sprouts

4/11/2013 Blooms Buds and Sprouts (1) 4/11/2013 Blooms Buds and Sprouts (2) 4/11/2013 Blooms Buds and Sprouts (3) 4/11/2013 Blooms Buds and Sprouts (4) 4/11/2013 Blooms Buds and Sprouts (5) 4/11/2013 Blooms Buds and Sprouts (6) 4/11/2013 Blooms Buds and Sprouts (7) 4/11/2013 Blooms Buds and Sprouts (8) 4/11/2013 Blooms Buds and Sprouts (9) 4/11/2013 Blooms Buds and Sprouts (10) 4/11/2013 Blooms Buds and Sprouts (11) 4/11/2013 Blooms Buds and Sprouts (12) 4/11/2013 Blooms Buds and Sprouts (13) 4/11/2013 Blooms Buds and Sprouts (14) 4/11/2013 Blooms Buds and Sprouts (15) 4/11/2013 Blooms Buds and Sprouts (16) 4/11/2013 Blooms Buds and Sprouts (17)

March Blooms and New Plantings

A quick peek in the seed starting room shows first use of the new heat mat I recently purchased from Burpee. I’m hoping the additional bottom heat will help the heat-loving seedlings like peppers thrive. Of course, I can’t seem to have much success with starting oregano from cuttings. It seems I will have to continue to draw variegated oregano from root stock, at the risk of losing the original parent–because these herbs tend to be very sensitive to root disturbance.

3/4/2013 March Blooms and New Plantings (1) 3/4/2013 March Blooms and New Plantings (2) 3/4/2013 March Blooms and New Plantings (3) 3/4/2013 March Blooms and New Plantings (4)

However, despite the dual grow lights my hunny recently installed, I’m not having the miraculous response that I expected. The peppers are still having a difficult time thriving due to the moisture. I need to find my bottle of hydrogen peroxide and spray down the soil to kill any fungus. I’ve also had to re-sow some seeds due to some non-responsive seeds.

The loropetalums are bursting into bloom. First up is the purple fringeflower. We also took some time to flank our newly pruned Midnight Blue rose with 2 small lavender flowered lantana. Hopefully these are the dwarf kind and will form a nice carpet underneath the rose. We also planted our Home Depot petunias (blue, purple and pink) in the border. With any luck, these will thrive and spread, forming a nice lush colorful border during summer.

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The blue bed is also seeing action. This is one of the most floriferous years I’ve seen Mariposa Skies iris in bloom. By my account there were at least nine buds on one plant. The irises must love this site. I dropped a couple of the creeping phloxes (Emerald Blue?) into this bed. Hopefully these perennial types will last much longer than the annual types I tried last time.

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The diascia “Romeo Red” I picked up from North Haven Gardens will fill in the void in the lily bed (I should drop the name since the lilies really aren’t thriving in this bed) while my dianthus cuttings catch up. I find that it’s easier to propagate the red dianthus rather than the white, probably due to the particular cultivar. I’ve also transplanted one of last year’s Chocolate Chip ajuga cuttings I had in a planter back into this bed which will hopefully continue to spread and fill in the border.

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The Oriental Limelight artemisia are bursting back into good health. I found that this particular pot had rooted into the ground, which I immediately moved to another location. The artemisia wilted but I have no doubt it bounce back. I was disappointed with the performance of the Charmed Wine oxalis and the one green shamrock (oxalis triangularis?) in this bed. Both the purple shamrocks have remained woefully stunted (perhaps due to lack of water) while the green barely clung to life. It particularly got buried when I weeded out the bed, dusted the area with Preen and layered with cypress mulch. It remains to be seen if the green will bounce back. But I am happy to report that my Origami red columbine from seed are still hanging in there. Three specimens are still living in the bed, though I have to take particular care to see that do better this year. Maybe some fertilizer?

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Snapdragons are cool! Literally, they are cold-weather plants and love this chilly early spring air. I think I will have to remember to plant them in boxes again next year so that I can look forward to late winter color. I believe these are the Montego Sunset snaps that I purchased from Stokes last year. They sat unmolested and heavily mulched in the blue bed after I had given up on them late in the year, only to have dug them back up late fall early winter and placed into a box, thinking they were a salvia sport. Joke’s on me. It’s been a real joy to watch these colors progress from rose pink to sunset orange.

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Much work went into the new veggie garden. I planted spinach, eggplant (Bride), arugula, gai lan, cilantro. I also transplanted some of the silver lemon thyme (which had reverted back to solid green), dropped some catgrass, Alaska nasturtium and common chive seeds in the cinderblock holes. Did I mention the leek cuttings also went into their new home? Next week I plan on adding the asparagus to the bed, after I decide on where to place them!

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Wishlist plant: Emerald and gold mint or variegated mint.

August Gardening

It’s the August plant sale! Time to stock up on cheap perennials for $1-$2 a piece. Calloway’s and Lowe’s had plenty of specimens to choose from: salvias, verbenas, irises, coneflowers, lantanas, stonecrop. I also picked up a lisianthus (not pictured) and some kind of woolly or elfin thyme (?). The bag of Miracle-Gro will go toward planting a dark-leafed canna.

8/11/2012 August Gardening (1) 8/11/2012 August Gardening (2)

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

Pre-Thanksgiving look at the garden

It’s that time of the year. Almost every year that I cook for the holidays, I make sure to use ingredients in my garden, even if it is only one sprig of rosemary. But since it’s been 10 days since my last post, I thought it time to do a little inspection.

The Shu ornamental pepper continues to hang on for dear life. Peppers are perennial in zones 9 and beyond, but here in my garden, it’s going to be a challenge to keep them alive in the ground during winter. My potted peppers have been sitting outside since this past weekend when we saw temps reach the high 70s. We’re back down to the high 30s to mid-40s during the evenings, but we will continue to reach the 70s in the daytime for the Thanksgiving holiday.

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All the garlic have emerged and are looking tall.

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The sage seems to appreciate the cooler weather; I used some sage leaves from this specimen for my turkey brine last night.

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Those appear to be larkspur seedlings surrounding one of the irises. Unfortunately, the man sprinkled it heavily on one side not realizing I only had one pack of Shades of Blue Larkspur (Consolida ambigua). I may have to purchase another pack.

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Finally, a good macro picture of the Oertel’s Rose yarrow blooms!

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I love the white-mottled Snow-n-Summer asiatic jasmine foliage; emerging leaves are a beautiful shade of pastel pink.

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 The Autumn Monarch azalea is our only fall-blooming azalea this year. It received a fair amount of protection from the neighboring Hot Lips salvia this year, unlike the other azaleas on the opposite end of the bed.

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A lone vinca has grown in the lee of an azalea. I had already pulled out its neighbors, but kept this one to see how it would fare. The petunias also appear unstoppable. Even with this crazy weather, they are continuously putting on new growth.

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My eggplant doesn’t appear to put on much growth in the last 10 days; though the plant is leaning farther due to its weight. It still feels way to hard to the touch.

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Valentine dianthus…what a beauty. All the dianthus in the garden favor this cool climate; most are putting on several buds if not blooming.

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A surprise on the camellia: this bud has swelled to 5 times the size as other buds.

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Lemon thyme: I plan on cutting several sprigs of this to insert into my turkey. The other herbs of course are looking fabulous. The Thai basil looks amazing with its flowery spires; I just dread how many seedlings I’ll get out of it. The Red Rubin basil also loves this cool weather. I am curious to see if they will endure into next year.

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