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Ye Olde Garden

Seedlings April 2020

It’s amazing what stay-in-place means for my gardening hobby. I actually get to garden!

Of course, strange days also brings strange weather. I can’t recall the last time I saw April temps dip down into the 30s, but here we are mid-April with overnight temps reminiscent of winter.

It’s a much welcome change from the 100 degree plus Aprils I’ve seen in years past.

But back to the topic of seedlings. I started some seed on 3/31 and here we are about 2 weeks later. Thanks to IG gardenspo, I had to have me some Fish Pepper seeds, which led me to Baker Creek Heirloom Seed, where I bought more than I planned. I never imagined myself growing tomatillos, but I read somewhere that it (along with radishes) would make great pest-attractors and ward pests from companion crops. So into the basket went Purple Tomatillos and Japanese Wasabi Radishes, along with Thai Long Green (Green Elephant Tusk) Eggplant, Jigsaw Pepper, Lemon Bee Balm, Korean Hyssop, and Sirius Blue Sage. Baker Creek also dropped a couple of free seed packets, which I’m still debating on planting.

Wasabi radish seedlings
Wasabi radish seedlings
Free Seeds from Baker Creek Heirloom seeds
Free Seeds from Baker Creek Heirloom seeds

I was also able to source Strawberry Fields gomphrena…which I’m happy to report, have germinated as well. In fact, all of the seed I sourced from Baker Creek have germinated successfully under grow lights, compared to some older seed that either struggled or haven’t come up at all. The radish germinated in as little as 3 days, which provided near-instant gratification.

Seedling flat
Seedling flat

I direct sowed the Baker Creek lemon bee balm into the garden bed, along with some Outside Pride Mexican Sunflower seeds (sourced from Amazon in 2017) earlier in the month. Nothing has come up as of yet, but I made sure to mark the spot with a pot of wild bee balm purchased from Painted Flower Farm on 4/7.

Anywho, with this cold snap, I’d better go water the plants! More field notes coming soon!

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Ye Olde Garden

First week of March 2012

Catgrass grew fast and tall after a few days under the grow lights. It’s the fastest germination I’ve ever seen in something sown from seed. Now I wish I had sourced some variegated catgrass.

3/6/2012 First of March (1)

I picked up a new plant during my trip to Home Depot yesterday. I was shopping for more Jiffy 7 pellets and came across a Proven Winners sedum rupestre dubbed Lemon Coral. It’s brightly colored foliage will make a great accent in my starter succulent collection. One of these days, I’ll get around to identifying my mixed pot of succulents which, incidentally weathered the winter just fine, with very little dieback. (See one of the survivors layer itself into the rosemary bed.)

3/6/2012 First of March (2) 3/6/2012 First of March (3) 3/6/2012 First of March (4)

My first columbine blooms! The 2nd year Origami Red and White columbines that successfully survived 2011 are displaying the first 2 buds. So exciting to finally add a new source of color in the predominantly red-themed lily bed. Never mind that there are 2 ajuga specimens in the same bed currently blooming budding blue.

3/6/2012 First of March (7) 3/6/2012 First of March (8) 3/6/2012 First of March (9) 3/6/2012 First of March (10) 3/6/2012 First of March (11) 3/6/2012 First of March (12)

The leek roots I planted have sprouted new foliage…here they are peeking through the soil in the herb bed.

3/6/2012 First of March (13) 3/6/2012 First of March (14)

Larkspur are growing tall!

3/6/2012 First of March (15)

Front yard shade bed looks perfect in shades of yellow, white and orange (with the occasional splash of lavender and purple). I pinched back the ornamental kale which have begun to bud and bloom, in an effort to get them to put on more foliage. The daffodils, if they decide to bloom this year, will supply some height to the bed. However there appear to be a few surprises lurking in the bed. The hakonechloa is making an early start this year. The transplanted yarrows appear to be thriving in the dry shade. The japanese painted fern is irrepressible; 2011 tried to kill it but it is coming back again. Is that clump of spindly leaves actually the tiger lilies we planted early last year? I don’t recall it being sited directly behind the crape myrtle. I found another bulb spike just about a few feet away which is probably a more accurate position of the lilies.

3/6/2012 First of March (16) 3/6/2012 First of March (17) 3/6/2012 First of March (18) 3/6/2012 First of March (19) 3/6/2012 First of March (20) 3/6/2012 First of March (21) 3/6/2012 First of March (22) 3/6/2012 First of March (23)

I snapped another picture of the future bed, with the first course of cinder blocks moved into place. I also snapped a shot of the potted plants taking advantage of this warm weather.

3/6/2012 First of March (24) 3/6/2012 First of March (25)

Salvias, salvias. Soon your numbers will increase by two.

3/6/2012 First of March (5) 3/6/2012 First of March (6) 3/6/2012 First of March (26)

Front yard bed pictures: I transplanted 3 Valentine dianthus to the front bed this morning and divided the two Cherry Pie coreopsis. I hope the coreopsis make it through; I’m not sure how well they take to division, but they looked ready to be halved. The tulips are slow to sprout, but it appears that all the bulbs I planted last year are finally emerging.

3/6/2012 First of March (27) 3/6/2012 First of March (28) 3/6/2012 First of March (29) 3/6/2012 First of March (30) 3/6/2012 First of March (31)

Petunias took an abortive attempt at blooming…the buds are drying on the plant. The potted Chocolate Chip ajuga are still blooming however.

3/6/2012 First of March (32) 3/6/2012 First of March (33)

I applied the shears to the rosemary shrub this morning. It was beginning to look poofy; I trimmed it back as close as I could approximate its original conical shape.

3/6/2012 First of March (34) 3/6/2012 First of March (35) 3/6/2012 First of March (36)

A lantana bud and a pepper fruit. Both early reminders of the summer heat to come.

3/6/2012 First of March (37) 3/6/2012 First of March (38)

Wishlist plant: variegated catgrass.

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Ye Olde Garden

It’s starting to look a lot like…

…well, it looks like fall, but feels a little bit like winter. Today is the first day that rain and cold collided to form a prologue to winter, with highs in the 50s and lows in the 40s. I dispensed with tank tops and flip-flops today, working the garden in sneakers, sweatpants and long-sleeved thermal top. Most of the work involved finishing the man’s mulching job. He had added another layer to the front flower bed, the shade bed, purple bed, and began the camellia bed. He happened to leave nearly half a bag of cedar mulch left…so I covered up the rest of the camellia bed.

I also ripped out some of the scraggly vinca in the front flower bed. As much as I dislike removing still-blooming plants, the vinca grew into an unattractive shade of yellow and flopped around due to the lack of support. A stand of vinca still remains; I’ll be ripping that out soon. Hopefully, we’ll have a good amount of re-seedlings next year.

I got around to repotting my new Dallas (?) red lantana–not sure if this specimen is winter-hardy. No freezes yet, but I’m slowly transplanting the tender perennials and tropicals into their winter pots. I’m fairly confident I have all the pepper plants and basils I’ll need to carry me through winter, but I wouldn’t mind some color and variety either. (Remind self to bring sedum planter indoors during first freeze.)

I did get to observe a new bloom on the Midnight Blue rose, but it was yet too early in the morning to take a proper picture of it. If the weather permits, I’ll try to post it tomorrow. This may be the last flush of rose blooms before we prune it back.

Tomorrow’s forecast: highs in the 60s, lows in the 40s. Good-bye, flip-flop weather, for now.

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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

Seed starting 2011 part 1 and blues speculation

12/31/10 Iona Clear Blue Pansy on display at Arboretum Trial gardenIt snowed today, first snow of 2011. Good thing I broke out the grow lights from the shed earlier this week. I am reusing the Burpee grow system, minus their grow pellets. The man bought me two bags of seed starting soil, which I packed in half of the plastic cells. This morning I got to sow some seeds:  6x Red Rubin Basil, 6x Thai Basil, 6x Jupiter Bell Pepper, 6x Calico Ornamental Pepper, 6x Purple Flash Ornamental Pepper, 2x unnamed Thai Chili, and 4x Pansy seeds which I “borrowed” from the Arboretum trial gardens…I believe the cultivar was Iona Heavenly Blue.

I also planted a rosemary cutting which had a single root after about a week sitting in water. I have another sprig of rosemary and a red dianthus chinensis sitting it water, waiting to see them root. I need to remember to take some cuttings of the verbena and the felicia daisy.

While my attention is on the blue flowers, I must express my affection for the felicia daisy which has bloomed sporadically up to this month. This Cape Town Blue daisy has displayed amazing tolerance for the heat and cold, enduring the summer in a planter, and now mulched int the blue bed. I have tried to capture seeds from it to no avail; so perhaps taking some cuttings may work.

I also have hopes to see the Diana Blueberry dianthus blooms, though I know it won’t come even close to a true blue. Even so, a pale lavender will be a rare sight to see on a dianthus. Speaking of dianthus, these are the only seedlings that I’m aware of that have made it to the garden. The Red Peppermint dianthus seedlings unfortunately perished–to the best of my knowledge–due to heat well before they made it into the ground. I believe the dianthuses in the purple garden were all store-bought this year, and there are some purple, picotees and parfaits that have endured.

As I am browsing my camera pics, I am reminded of the beauty of the annual phlox, however fleeting it was. It seems that growing them from seeds may be too challenging for the home gardener, since I have yet to find any outlets offering them. I believe the 4 specimens that I picked up at Covington’s this last year were of the Phoenix Sky variety, a lovely pale purple star surrounded by white-cream. I’ll keep hunting, though reading suggest that these phloxes are cool-weather annuals.

The angelonia have succumbed finally to the winter cold; the purple variety which seemed a bit sturdier has browned like the whites. It’s amazing how these angelonia have grown so tall and wide from modest specimens. They definitely need more room if we plan on using them again next year.