Tangled Branches: Cultivated
happenings in and around my zone 6b gardens in northern Virginia and in central Virginia
Monday, February 20, 2006
Thought I'd toss out a pretty picture before getting to the main topic. There were several plants in bloom (or close) on Friday before the fresh shipment of Arctic Air. I haven't been out to look closely at them since then, but there were: crocus (2 kinds), winter aconite, violets, snowdrops (no picture - photographer error), and this was just getting started. I could have uncovered it so you could see it better, but I knew the weather was about to go downhill so I left it alone. The first person who correctly identifies it (leave a comment) wins a packet of seeds (Achillea 'Cloth of Gold', Cosmos 'Candy Stripe', or Mesembryanthemum 'Apricot Tutu').
Most of the seed orders have arrived, but as I suspected, my seed starting trays are behind a pile of construction materials. So I found some old pressed fiber trays and bought some peat pellets preinstalled in some really cheapo trays for a ridiculous price (high, not low). I've never used peat pellets before, but they're similar to the peat sponges that I get (and like) from Park Seeds. We'll see how it goes.
What did I plant so far?
Last Thursday, I planted Alyssum 'Snowdrift', Alyssum 'Navy Blue', Coriander (Cilantro) 'Delfino', Coriander 'Sunmaster', and Melissa officinalis (Lemon Balm). All planted in fiber trays and all now in the cold frame. I'm expecting those will be just fine without a lot of fiddling, and if not, well, I've got a lot more of those seeds.
I ordered every Cuphea that Thompson & Morgan offers, and today I planted Cuphea ignea 'Matchless', Cuphea procumbens 'Purple Star', and Cuphea miniata 'Summer Medley'. Then I planted some teeny tiny seeds that will take a long time to make a plant - Petunia 'Giants of California', Nicotiana alata "Dwarf White Bedder", Nicotiana x 'Perfume Deep Purple', Mimulus 'Shade Loving Mixture', and Coleus 'Kong Mixed'. All these went into the peat pellets and are now on the heat mat in the basement. It's way too cold down there for those unless I use the heat mat.
Most of these are seeds/plants I've grown in the past (well, the species anyway, if not the variety), but new to me this year are Cuphea procumbens, Cuphea miniata, Mimulus, and Melissa officinalis.
This is the first year in a long time that I've started many seeds. It feels good to get back into it.
Friday, February 17, 2006
Great Backyard Bird Count starts today and finishes Monday. Usually, I submit checklists all four days, but didn't get to it this morning. Maybe later today, and definitely tomorrow and Sunday.
Wednesday, February 15, 2006
I've been meaning to post something for, oh, a couple of weeks, but just haven't been able to collect my thoughts long enough. Still haven't, so this is going to be short and choppy. I'm attributing the writers' block to the fact that our house is messy and dysfunctional. We should have a working kitchen again by the end of next week - we've been without one for nearly two months and it seems like longer.
So....what's going on in the garden. A few things blooming here and there - Rosemary, Crocus and Snowdrops. I think all survived the recent 10" snowfall. Quite a lot of it melted today.
I don't know what's gotten into me (other than lots of restaurant food), but I've been ordering seeds like crazy. I have no idea where I'm going to put the 50 million plants they're going to produce. I just got my indoor light setup working again and I'm ready to start some seeds. That is, if I can find my seed-starting supplies. I think they're in the garage behind some large and heavy construction materials.
I pruned my Kaffir Lime tree today. This plant has astonished me by sitting patiently in the garage all winter, covered with an old curtain panel, and mostly retaining its leaves in a green state. Since the dining room isn't slated for
demolition renovation just yet, I think I'll repot the lime and move it in there and see if I can get it growing again.