Tangled Branches: Cultivated
happenings in and around my zone 6b gardens in northern Virginia and in central Virginia
Friday, March 28, 2008
Too Cute To Be a Weed
Just yesterday I planted some HUGE pansies, and then I find these blooming in the vegetable garden. I'm going to let them stay (for now) because I think they're adorable.
The flowers are tiny, smaller than my fingernails and I have small hands.
A couple of small patches of Bluets are now in bloom, but no sign of Spring Beauties yet.
|Bluets (Houstonia sp.)|
Yesterday turned out to be a good day for gardening, but we could use some rain. The basil post I had planned will have to wait, but here's a preview - I sowed seeds of a dozen or so different varieties this week.
Thursday, March 27, 2008
Late March Flowers and Mysteries
March is turning out to be a busy month here. I've written blog posts in my head, but as far as I know there's no way to upload those. Speech-to-text maybe? Until I get that figured out, how about some pictures?
It's the beginning of daffodil-and-little-blue-flower season here. I have mystery plants of both kinds - products of long ago planting and
sloppy no recordkeeping.
|Chionodoxa sardensis. Looks like a huge plant here, but really isn't.|
|Mystery Chionodoxa. Flowers are one to a stem.|
|Scilla siberica and Sedum rupestre 'Angelina'.|
This was a happy accident.
I forgot all about the Scillas when I planted the Sedum last summer.
|The violets seem especially floriferous this year.|
|Narcissus 'Lemon Glow'.|
Still don't know if I like this one.
The flowers are huge and the stems seem way too short for them.
One of my favorites.
It came from Costco in a bag of mixed bulbs, many years ago.
|Narcissus 'Ice Follies' and associates.|
They were all supposed to be Ice Follies.
|Mystery seed pod.|
Found while working in the vegetable garden a couple weeks ago.
It's large - about 1 1/2 to 2 inches long.
If it rains today, look for a post about basil and tomato soup tomorrow. If no rain, I'll be composing in my head again while in the garden. Which reminds me - does anybody else remember Herman's Head, the TV show? I always liked that show...
Saturday, March 22, 2008
Cooking from the Garden, Early March
I never expected to be cooking anything from the garden early in March, but that's exactly what I've been doing over the last couple of weeks. I've written up three spinach meals over on my food blog.
The overwintered spinach (Bloomsdale Long-Standing) is in very good condition - sweet and tender leaves, but with a good substance that's excellent sauteed. I pulled up one green garlic stalk to mix with the spinach for last night's frittata.
I can't decide whether the one radish (French Breakfast) was a garnish or a salad, but it was very mild in taste. They're still a bit too small to harvest.
I expect to get one more good harvest of spinach from my winter experiment and then I'll pull up those plants and replace them with some transplants currently in the cold frame.
Tuesday, March 18, 2008
Am I the last one to find out about this?
We were in a café in Richmond over the weekend, and said café is also something of a bookstore - just a few shelves of used books. BUT, they had some interesting garden titles, among them Bloom Book: Horti-culture for the 21st Century by Li Edelkoort. Had it not been for the price tag ($75) I would have bought it.
Anyhow, a little research this morning tells me that this is related to a similarly expensive magazine of the same name. Have you heard of it?
BTW, the poppyseed waffle at Café Gutenberg is DEElish.
Update: just found this blog post which is worth reading all by itself.
Monday, March 17, 2008
It's a beautiful clear St. Patrick's Day here in Virginia and I'm lucky enough to be able to spend it in the garden. And I don't know about you, but I can use all the help I can get in the garden. I recently learned that St. Fiacre is the patron saint of gardeners. But apparently not the only one. Today is also the feast day of St. Gertrude of Nivelles, another saintly garden helper. She's said to be good at keeping mice away, but maybe that has more to do with her association with cats?
Getting back to St. Patrick, is he really the patron saint of organic gardening, as claimed by this website? I find this a little hard to believe, but I like to think he'd be more pleased if somebody would build a compost pile in his honor rather than spend the day drinking green beer.
Some folks believe you should plant your potatoes and peas on St. Patrick's Day, but I'm not growing peas this year and I'm not ready to plant potatoes, so I'll be outside weeding and digging up some more ground in the vegetable garden.
Happy St. Patrick's Day!
Saturday, March 15, 2008
Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day
It's the 15th of March and you know what that means. Beware, because you're going to have lots of Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day posts to study.
|Hellebore hybrid Pine Knot Strain|
Here's my list from Tangled Branches North. I'm including a few photos with this post, but the links are to my photos on Picasaweb.
- Crocus chrysanthus 'Cream Beauty' (these are almost finished)
- Crocus tommasinianus 'Ruby Giant'
- Narcissus 'Tete-a-Tete'
- Narcissus 'Ice Follies'
- Narcissus 'Midget'
- Narcissus obvallaris
- Narcissus 'Rijnveld's Early Sensation' (almost finished)
- Narcissus unknown species/variety (but may be N. pseudonarcissus)
- Viola unknown species/variety (the good one that doesn't spread everywhere)
- Eranthis hyemalis (Winter Aconite)
- Galanthus nivalis (have seen better days)
- Vinca minor
- Helleborus hybrids Pine Knot Strain and Royal Heritage Strain
- Scilla siberica (just starting)
- Chionodoxa sardensis (just starting)
|Narcissus pseudonarcissus? and Crocus 'Ruby Giant'|
The list is pretty consistent with last year's list, except that last year the Pine Knot Hellebores bloomed very early, then froze by March 15. This year, they're all in bloom. The pale blue/purple crocus of last year has one flower and the clump is about to be swallowed by a young cedar tree. Now the rosemary has tight buds, but no open flowers. Muscari is only showing foliage. If Vinca minor was flowering last year, I didn't notice it. The winter aconite that's blooming this year is a different clump than the one I mentioned last year. One Chionodoxa has opened a few flowers and one more is about to emerge, but the rest are still underground.
I haven't done much ornamental planting yet at Tangled Branches South, but there are 2 crocuses in bloom - C. sieberi 'Tricolor' and C. tommasinianus 'Ruby Giant'. The only wild plants blooming are the previously mentioned Red Maples and a lone Dandelion. The alders might be blooming, but I didn't look closely at the catkins.
It feels as if spring has settled in for good here in the Mid-Atlantic region, but I'm curious to see what's blooming (or not blooming) elsewhere in the global gardening community. Thanks Carol, for another Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day.
Labels: in bloom
Wednesday, March 12, 2008
How is a Maple Tree Like a British Soldier?
British Soldier Lichen, that is. Give up?
They both wear red hats in the spring.
I thought I had no wildflowers at all to show for Week 8 of Wildflowers in Winter, but how about if we broaden the definition a bit? This maple tree is 1) wild, and 2) flowering. So it's a wildflower.
Calling the British Soldier Lichen a wildflower is more of a stretch, but I think the bright red fruiting body is pretty. Just about a year ago - the first time I saw it - it took me by surprise, but now I know where and when to look for it. This one is growing next to the frog stream and I found it while looking for the source of the very loud frog songs. I never did find a frog, despite hearing them very close by.
Or could we count dandelions as wildflowers? I found the first one of the season yesterday.
Thanks to Elizabeth Joy of Wildflower Morning for this pleasant diversion from winter.
But stop by here in a few weeks and I should have some more-traditional wildflowers to show. I just saw an entire hillside covered with bluets this afternoon. Well, I think they were bluets - it was hard to tell at 65 MPH. I pointed them out to the spouse, but he didn't volunteer to stop.
A Good Day in the Garden
Yesterday was one of those days I wish I could save up for later. I had the whole day to myself in the country.
It was mostly sunny with just a few clouds. It was just warm enough to be pleasant, but not too warm for working in the garden. I basked in the sun. Really I was weeding, but it felt like basking.
The frogs were singing. So were the birds, but the frogs were louder and more insistent.
I saw two butterflies - first of the season. They were busy and so was I, so I didn't go chasing them to see who they were. One was orange on top like a Painted Lady and the other was white like a Cabbage White. Probably was a Cabbage White.
The garlic is up and growing despite being trodden upon by the deer. The shallots, which I had almost given up on, are sprouting. Spinach, and a few lettuce plants, survived the entire winter under a floating row cover.
I chopped fresh herbs - parsley, garlic leaves, lemon thyme, and radish sprouts - and sprinkled them with abandon on my lunchtime soup.
While digging up a bed to plant radishes and salad greens, I found two potatoes from last year. In perfect condition. Except for the one I cut in half with the spade.
The newly planted (last December) crocuses are blooming. The tulips made it through the winter without being eaten. I wonder if they'll make it through the spring.
I took a lot of pictures in the morning, but haven't uploaded yet. Maybe later today. If you're looking for me, I'll be in the garden.
Thursday, March 06, 2008
Wednesday, March 05, 2008
Best Crocus and a Cool Tool
I like all my crocuses, but I like 'Ruby Giant' the best.
A couple of warm days, a thundershower and voila! beautiful dark purple flowers magically appear. The color draws me to it - so vivid and bright after gray and brown winter.
With the warmer weather coming up, and having experienced some GRTH over the winter, my thoughts are turning to.....exercise. Not a lot of exercise, just a walk around the neighborhood. If I'm going to call it exercise, maybe I should measure it and record it in a spreadsheet and make charts of my weight vs. how far I walked and estimated number of calories burned and....oh, forget it - too complicated. But there's this really cool tool - RunningMap.com - for measuring the distance and elevation changes of your route. You give it an address or street name and it gives you a map. You can show just the map or a satellite photo or a map/satellite hybrid. Then start clicking away to draw your route. It measures the distance covered in a straight line between each click and gives you a cumulative total. Fun, especially for a map geek like me. I could sit here and draw walking routes all day...
Tuesday, March 04, 2008
More One Liners
I forgot a couple in the previous post.
1. Spring peepers are singing at Tangled Branches South.
2. The ground is disturbingly dry for this time of year.
Been kinda busy lately - no joke. I've even been in the garden instead of in front of a computer screen! Things happen, whether I have time to blog about them or not, so here is the briefest of summaries of things I've noticed or done recently.
Creeping Phlox was blooming Saturday in somebody's front yard in Richmond.
Red maples are blooming along I-64 west of Richmond.
Purple Finches are still at the bird feeder at Tangled Branches South.
A song sparrow was hanging around with the juncos and cardinals under the feeder at TBS on Friday and Sunday.
It was so warm yesterday I drove with the sun roof open.
Winter aconites are blooming at Tangled Branches North, but I haven't taken a picture.
Crocus chrysanthus 'Cream Beauty' has been blooming since at least February 21, but I haven't blogged about it.
The floating hellebores' petals are still in good shape after almost 2 weeks, but the stamens are withered.
Seed starting is starting in earnest, and that deserves a longer post.
I planted coriander seed outdoors yesterday.
I just finished planting my narcissus bulbs yesterday, but don't tell anybody that.