Categories
Ye Olde Garden

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!

3/27/2012 March New Plants (4) 3/27/2012 March New Plants (5) 3/27/2012 March New Plants (6) 3/27/2012 March New Plants (7)

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.

3/27/2012 March New Plants (1)

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.

3/27/2012 March New Plants (8)

Categories
Ye Olde Garden

Fall shrooms and blooms

I love to take a morning walk with the pups and check out the landscapes in my neighborhood. This season especially with the onset of autumn, I get to see the color changes. On today’s walk, I noted the lawns dotted with mushrooms, likely a result from the early week rains we received and the characteristic cool nights/warm days pattern of weather we’ve been experiencing.

Anyway, it’s another look at the garden to see what’s changing. As to be expected this time of year, many of the fall bloomers are sharing the joy: dianthus, mums, asters, salvias especially the greggiis, petunias, marigolds, vinca, verbena and gaura. I mentioned last time that the Pesto Perpetuo basil was budding; now I discover that another specimen of it is blooming. The yarrow is also putting out another bloom head, and the society garlic are happily following suit.

10/14/11 Fall Shrooms and Blooms (1) 10/14/11 Fall Shrooms and Blooms (2) 10/14/11 Fall Shrooms and Blooms (3) 10/14/11 Fall Shrooms and Blooms (4) 10/14/11 Fall Shrooms and Blooms (5) 10/14/11 Fall Shrooms and Blooms (6) 10/14/11 Fall Shrooms and Blooms (7) 10/14/11 Fall Shrooms and Blooms (8) 10/14/11 Fall Shrooms and Blooms (9)

As evidenced by the photos below, I’ve spotted some strap-like leaves emerging from the spider lily bulbs planted earlier in the year. I believe it is too late for them to bloom (?) but with Texas weather…who knows. I’ll have to consult with the Bulb Hunter’s blog again to be sure.

10/14/11 Fall Shrooms and Blooms (10) 10/14/11 Fall Shrooms and Blooms (11) 10/14/11 Fall Shrooms and Blooms (12)

The irises I planted in the blue bed will probably get another layer of dirt on top of them; the bed itself still needs more height and leveling before I mulch it. I would love to just get rid of the Oertel’s Rose yarrow we planted in there, but the man would prolly have something to say about that. I’ve already relocated 3 of its offspring in the lily bed and shade bed. Isn’t that Valentine Dianthus gorgeous? That bloom is quarter-sized if not bigger! The crazy, dried up Day’s aster in the corner is still blooming its head off. I  am debating on when I cut it back down so that it can dress up next year.

10/14/11 Fall Shrooms and Blooms (13) 10/14/11 Fall Shrooms and Blooms (14)

I really love how the tree ring bed turned out. For a couple of years, we thought it an eyesore and unworkable. But 2011 proved different: cosmos, salvia and marigolds turned out to be a powerhouse combo. The only thing I would change would be to raise the bed near the tree trunk to give the cosmos and salvia better visibility. Of course, the front flower bed is also just as spectacular with a new flush of blooms coloring it this month. Those silly Dahlberg daisies are still blooming strong…but I am wishing for a sturdier yellow flower for next year.

10/14/11 Fall Shrooms and Blooms (15) 10/14/11 Fall Shrooms and Blooms (16) 10/14/11 Fall Shrooms and Blooms (17) 10/14/11 Fall Shrooms and Blooms (18) 10/14/11 Fall Shrooms and Blooms (19) 10/14/11 Fall Shrooms and Blooms (20) 10/14/11 Fall Shrooms and Blooms (21) 10/14/11 Fall Shrooms and Blooms (22) 10/14/11 Fall Shrooms and Blooms (23)

The Dixie Chip ajuga is also undergoing a color change; I love the rose leaves contrasting with the dark. The Chocolate Chip ajuga (huge) is undergoing something similar, this time with espresso-colored leaves against piney green leaves. I plan on dividing the Chocolate Chip ajuga in spring, though I wish I hadn’t lost one of the Dixie Chips to an overzealous ant colony.

10/14/11 Fall Shrooms and Blooms (26)

So what are those buds on the camellia all about? I guess we’ll find out in a few more months.

10/14/11 Fall Shrooms and Blooms (24) 10/14/11 Fall Shrooms and Blooms (25)

Ah petunias! You were the surprise hit of 2011, weathering the heat wave despite being potted and neglected. I’ll be sure to add you the landscape next year. (If only you weren’t so darned delicate to start.)

10/14/11 Fall Shrooms and Blooms (27)

To do list: re-pot all of the pepper plants into larger pots for them to overwinter indoors. Capture some Snow Nymph salvia seeds for next year. Start some Shu ornamental peppers. Dig up the Wide Brim hostas if I can find them to replant in the strip. Plant the daffodils, crocuses and giant hyacinths (ordered last week). Find the pansy flat a new home. Order some flower seeds (violas and snapdragons would be nice). Reseed, weed and feed the lawn.

Categories
Ye Olde Garden

6 more bulbs to go, more seeds, and the search for more flowers

I counted 9 lily bulbs out of the 15 asiatics have sprouted. Only the lollypops are not in evidence. The flower bed is almost in full shade now. The tallest of the lilies (almost a foot tall) has begun its lean toward the sun. Of the azaleas in the same bed, only Hot Shot and Delaware Valley White have bloomed. Note: overhead watering should be avoided for these plants. I’m just not convinced that it is the preferred method. I always had better results using a soaker hose.

The lone astilbe in this bed continues to leaf out, but I don’t think it will bloom this year. We will have to see. The pansies are rapidly declining as the heat ramps up, but the dianthus are taking over, putting out masses of red and white blooms. Speaking of dianthus, my seedlings are raking the top of the starter tray. I plan to transfer them to pots soon to finish their growth outdoors. I love these vigorous little plants so much that I’m considering investing in another packet of seeds.

The 200 impatiens are crowding their tray pockets, but I’m a little leery of transplanting them. They seem to be more delicate than the dianthus. However I’ve popped the tray off to see how well they do with better circulation. Of this tray system, only 7 cells remain empty. It appears that the seeds in these perished due to mold or contamination. I am uncertain that I will purchase cell replacements since they are only available online. I imagine this system is beneficial for the types of seeds that require more starting maintenance than others.

I’ve noticed that with the daylilies receiving more sun they have put on a few inches and new strap leaves. It appears that they have settled into their new homes and have begun their journey to summer blooms. The free Hyperion that I received with the Dallas Stars has shown the most progress. Also, regarding fast starts, it only took a little more than 48 hours for the basil I sowed to germinate. I almost missed seeing the Red Rubin basil germinate (because of their rich dark leaves against the soil) but apparently basil are fast-growing. All of the seedlings have their cotyledons, whereas the catmint did not make an entrance until the 3rd-4th day, of which I’ve seen only 2-3 starts so far. I’m not sure if this is typical of catmint or if they dislike the starter soil I’m using. It’s also taking some time to convince the salvia cuttings to enjoy their controlled environment, but I think the secret is water, water, water…until they take root.

With so many plants under our grow lights, I’m hooked into starting more plants from seed. Right now I’m pondering snapdragons, more dianthus and felicia, and maybe even petunias. I also would like to get a hold of some ornamental pepper plants too. And more natural bug repelling plants, such as catmints, lavenders, and marigolds.

4/10/2010 Flowers and flower beds (19) 4/10/2010 Flowers and flower beds (18) 4/10/2010 Flowers and flower beds (17) 4/10/2010 Flowers and flower beds (16) 4/10/2010 Flowers and flower beds (15) 4/10/2010 Flowers and flower beds (14) 4/10/2010 Flowers and flower beds (13) 4/10/2010 Flowers and flower beds (12) 4/10/2010 Flowers and flower beds (11) 4/10/2010 Flowers and flower beds (10) 4/10/2010 Flowers and flower beds (9) 4/10/2010 Flowers and flower beds (8) 4/10/2010 Flowers and flower beds (7) 4/10/2010 Flowers and flower beds (6) 4/10/2010 Flowers and flower beds (5) 4/10/2010 Flowers and flower beds (4) 4/10/2010 Flowers and flower beds (3) 4/10/2010 Flowers and flower beds (2) 4/10/2010 Flowers and flower beds (1)