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Ye Olde Garden

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.

12/9/2011 Pre-winter Graveyard (1) 12/9/2011 Pre-winter Graveyard (2) 12/9/2011 Pre-winter Graveyard (3) 12/9/2011 Pre-winter Graveyard (4) 12/9/2011 Pre-winter Graveyard (5) 12/9/2011 Pre-winter Graveyard (6) 12/9/2011 Pre-winter Graveyard (7) 12/9/2011 Pre-winter Graveyard (8) 12/9/2011 Pre-winter Graveyard (9) 12/9/2011 Pre-winter Graveyard (10) 12/9/2011 Pre-winter Graveyard (11) 12/9/2011 Pre-winter Graveyard (12) 12/9/2011 Pre-winter Graveyard (13) 12/9/2011 Pre-winter Graveyard (14) 12/9/2011 Pre-winter Graveyard (15) 12/9/2011 Pre-winter Graveyard (16)

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Ye Olde Garden

Weed weeder weedest!

All week I’ve been tidying up in the garden. Weeding here (cleaning out the gravel strip), pulling dead or dying plants out elsewhere (dead rosemary, salvia, dianthus, herb garden). I’ve pruned back on a few plants (such as the gaura) and transplanted a few (ginger mint into the cinderblock wall). I’ve observed some unusual sights, like the brown-burnt asters in the blue bed that are still blooming, the flowering Mexican heather in the purple bed, and the Autumn Monarch azalea that put out a few more flowers this week. I am in awe of the salvia/marigold tree ring in the front yard, though I have also noticed a ton of ant condos springing up everywhere lately. Time to get out the ant killer!

‘Tis the time to be fertilizing and weed-killin’. I hope to have some funds to invest in a good pre-emergent and lawn food this weekend. With the summer drawing to a close, and the weather amenable, it’s easy to get out in the yard to do some work. I spent this morning killing some crabgrass in the courtyard. But of course, I saw some more patches in the front yard.

I also turned out the last of the bathroom tenants. The pepper plants are getting some quality sun time on the patio. I hope to transfer them into bigger pots and get a chance at some fruit before the winter frost. And speaking of fruit, what about some eggplant? Should I sink my Chinese eggplant into the herb garden bed, or bring it indoors over the winter? It keeps flowering but not producing any fruit. It seems to prefer more room to spread its roots.

This is also the time to ponder the fall-winter flower display, not to mention purchase the spring flower bulbs. I’m writing up a list!

Perhaps on this list, we’ll be adding a new Japanese maple. My JM unfortunately has been confirmed dead. And I discovered some alien fungus residing in the pot. Scawy!

9/28/2011 End of Summer Blooms (1) 9/28/2011 End of Summer Blooms (2) 9/28/2011 End of Summer Blooms (3) 9/28/2011 End of Summer Blooms (4) 9/28/2011 End of Summer Blooms (5) 9/28/2011 End of Summer Blooms (6) 9/28/2011 End of Summer Blooms (7)

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Ye Olde Garden

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)

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Ye Olde Garden

A patient named Cuphea

1/20/11 Cuphea SeedlingsI bought a couple of hard-luck cases at Home Depot in early December: two Mexican heathers, Cuphea hyssopifolia, for a buck apiece. I noticed them primarily for their yellow green foliage at the time, which was striking, though I was unsure if this was a seasonal change or typical coloring. The quart sized bushes were dressed in tiny purple flowers and showed no signs of stopping well into winter. However, as the temperatures plummeted, I saw that they struggled to stay green, and when we finally experienced some snow, I brought them in under the grow lights to defrost. My man is of the opinion that they might survive since he saw evidence of new growth. I’m more inclined to believe that they have reseeded since most of the top growth has all but died off. I am hoping that a good shearing and being indoors will resuscitate these specimens after their heroic efforts to stay bright and cheery in early winter weeks.