Tuesday, March 25, 2014

In the Yard/Seedlings

It's snowing and a good evening to peak in the yard to see what's going on out there. The winter was hard on the plants and shrubs. I don't know if any of my coral bells made it. My peony is always the first after bulbs to send up shoots, not this year. The peony I put in a container from the front flower bed is coming up. My shrub by the fence looks beaten and will need pruning. I don't know how to prune it. The box woods that sat in their container all last season will need to be planted in the ground this season. By the time I finished this post the yard is covered in snow. Only one to three inches is expected.

I know this type of grass as crab grass, not wanted. The moss is loving the moisture.

Garlic- the squirrels had been digging in it and some were dug up. I had them planted in row. I stuck the dug up ones back into the soil.
Some bulbs have also been dug up here. Tulips and hyacinths. 
Crocus. They were open on Saturday when the weather was warm.
My planter survived 67.6 inches of snow in 14 snow storms and didn't crack. I will take it in this fall.

Begonias. I wish all my seedlings looked like this!
Having patience and still growing; six more.
Millet and  thunbergia black eye Susan vine.
More coleus seedlings.

Geraniums, struggling petunia one pot, black eyed Susan vine, and lambs ear.
Ivy leaf geraniums all growing at different rates. I'm disappointed in them. I want full sized plants. maybe in the fall.

Chocolate Mint Coleus
Chocolate covered cherry coleus.

Thunbergia Blue Sky Vine
Cut flowers from the produce market on last Saturday.

Mini orchids from mom.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

The Porch & First Plant Purchases of Spring

A visit to Home Depot on Saturday for peat pellets turned out to be a surprise. Spring flowers had arrived and the outdoor gardening area was open. 
Yes! I still have my Christmas wreath. Of course it wasn't hanging up just on the porch.  I guess winter is over and I have to let this go. I regret throwing it out. I wonder if it would have kept the color by next Christmas? I took off the ornaments to add to next years wreath.

The hyacinth bulbs are gifts from my mother. She knows I love their smell. She also bought me 2 mini orchids. For this season I bought sedum and Algerian ivy. The ivy will go in the window boxes. I will be adding shrubs and evergreen plants that will keep the boxes looking good in all season with less care required. Of course I will add annuals for color and blooms. The large pots are my bulbs I planted late of course, but they're coming up. I was worried after reading that bulbs in container if allowed to freeze would turn to mush. I guess I can't believe everything I read. My porch is unheated and with the temperatures we had this winter I would think that they froze and thawed out may times.

Time to start planting.

My sad looking pansies compared to the purchased ones. I will be experimenting with them this summer for the fall. I believe that growers use growth and root simulators to get their pansies looking the way they do. I will find out.
Spider Plant. I don't do well with these but I love them. I broke my rule because my mother has given me many over the years that were humongous and of course they died at my house while thriving at hers. How could I pass up a full sized plant for five dollars? Lets see how it does this summer.
Ivy. I never though I would buy an ivy plant since  I have so much unwanted ivy growing at my door step. I love blooms but buying plants just to see them die is getting old. Is this my ideal plant? Of course not, but I have to start making wiser choices and not waiting money. I know this will survive even in the winter. Last year I had a beautiful pale pink bougainvillea in this spot. Didn't last long. The porch gets lots of sun and heat but some plants just don't make it here.
Gifts and purchases.
Algerian Ivy. I thought it was pretty. For the window boxes.

Closer look at my pansies. Sad state aren't they? Practice makes perfect. June is another chance to try again and relish the variety of seeds to choose from soon, after I get the front and back yard in order. Looks like they could be thrown out to me, but I'm going to see how long they can survive and learn from them.
Just beautiful. Pansies and Swiss chard. There were so many colors to choose from. I will select different colors for the yard.  Waiting for the possible snow storm Monday night into Tuesday to pass before I plant these outside. This is our April fool's joke. The joke is on us. Of course
pansies don't mind the snow. 
Tomorrow is a work day. I shouldn't be blogging. I need my beauty sleep! Until tomorrow.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Almost Spring

Winter is continuing to try to hold on with a snow storm Sunday night into Monday morning. This should be the last snow until next winter. It really was a "real" winter, the first one with extremes in weather and temperatures in a while. It seems like I am always thinking of what's next. Thinking about next winter, and spring has not yet arrived. Only 2 more days. I looked out the window into the yard the other day and saw that bulbs had started to come up, daffodils and some tulips. Monday's snow which had blanketed the yard is now melted. Patches of grass and moss are growing. I wonder what the winter sown seeds and garlic are doing? Maybe I will get out back on Saturday when temperatures are expected to be in the 60's.

I've been looking for gardening classes. I find that I really enjoy them. I located a class on caring for orchids. It really would benefit me to to go. It's ashamed to buy them when they are in bloom and so beautiful and not be able to keep them living and see them bloom again. Many people are successful with them and say they are easy to grow. I purchased several in one years time and one by one they slowly died. I do still have three I bought this winter but who knows if they will continue to live. My mother bought me a small one last year when I was in Georgia and amazingly it's still alive and has new leaves. The kitchen window may be a good spot for them. It's facing south and gets morning sun. To keep the one orchid alive I water it in the morning and pour off any extra water. I added orchid food in the form of a stick. At the Philadelphia Flower Show I was tempted to buy one of the more unusual orchids but I didn't dare. I haven't been successful enough to risk an expensive purchase only to watch it die. Maybe by next spring I will have learned how to take better care of them.

As for my seedlings many are living and many have "bit the dust". Next year I'm starting early like I did last year and I had nice sized plants by now. They seem to be growing very slowly this year. This makes me nervous. If the geraniums/pelargoniums and coleus live I will have a lot of plants. My plans for what I wanted this year may need to be revised since the impatiens didn't do well or the vinca. I bought more vinca seeds but even if I start them it may be too late to have good sized plants by the last spring frost. I wanted these for color in the shaded areas of my yard. I will probably have to buy some begonias. The one planted out back last year did real well. The begonias I started from seed are doing good but I want them for containers not planted in the ground. Dichondra silver falls was growing beautifully and then one day it started to not look too good. I had 10 seedlings. I hope they survive. All of my petunias are tiny. The first set I sowed were 10 pelleted wave varieties. Only one seed germinated and is healthy but small. Two seeds purchased on line from India for blue sky vine germinated out of 10 and so far look healthy. They took over a month to germinate but were big seeds and I guess it took time for the seed coat to be broken. The flowers are so beautiful on this plant and I hope they survive. 

Vegetable seeds have not been sown yet. It's not too late, but I have enough to take care of already. I may end up doing what I have done every year and buy plants at the nursery when they are available. Haven't decided yet. There's still time to sow them.  The canna I ordered arrived. I also have caladium, helenium, and some other things I ordered. I plan to start these in pots on my porch in April to give them a good start until time to plant outside. 

Spring cleaning has started. Winter curtains have been replaced with lighter colored ones. I also like to change pillows on the sofa and chair with lighter colored ones. I usually remove the rug in the living room but I didn't get to this yet. I am actually reupholstering my love seat! I don't know what made me take apart the love seat but, can't turn back now. I already bought the fabric but I haven't made progress in several weeks because the staples have gotten the best of me. There are so many staples to remove and it takes time. Before I can completely remove the old fabric and use it to make new patterns I have to remove the staples. It's discouraging, but not compared to paying a small fortune for a love seat when I can recover it. I normally put slip covers on but I want to recover it now. I will eventually post pictures. I have so many interest but so little time. It would be wonderful to have more hours in a day. Time seems shorter when you start to grow older. I look at things a lot different. Work, home, family, spring cleaning, reading, blogging, gardening, helping to take care of my father; I need to simplify my life or my body will simplify it for me. I also have a list of home repair/projects to do like finish tiling the kitchen floor I started.These are the thoughts of a soon to be 51 year old.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Growing But Slow

Last season I started seedlings at the end of December. I regret not having done that this year. It was hard keeping plants alive until ready to plant outside but I felt better having fully grow plants by this time. The seedlings have a long way to go. With days now longer and Spring arriving next week maybe they will take off. Today was almost 70 degrees in Philly. I won't get too excited because tomorrow it will start raining, and Thursday it's not expected to get above freezing. On Friday, back to the 50's. 

The geraniums/pelargoniums are growing slowly but healthy. I still have to transplant many. Begonias look good but the leaf on one which was burned and is brown may not survive. I won't intervene and take it off.  Dicondra silver falls has it's first set of true silver leaves. Lambs ear and petunias are up. Some black Eyed Susan vine seeds have germinated but most still have to come up. The coleus are short but healthy. This may be a good thing and they may stay stocky and full. Time will tell. They are starting to show their coloration and I have more varieties than I thought. I want to sow more solid red ones and some versa this week. The vinca that lived are still alive, growing slowly. It's late but I have more vinca to plant. Hopefully these will be sowed this week. The few pansies I have in the kitchen window are hanging on. I mean, hanging on... Not to be dismayed, pansies are arriving in garden centers any day! I haven't been out into the yard to see what the winter sown seeds are doing.

I am anticipating all the trees in bloom; magnolias, dogwood, cherry blossoms. Seeing them has become my favorite part of spring. Walking under a tree with the wind blowing and their blossoms showering me like confetti is wonderful. Spring bulbs of course cannot be left out. I'm looking for the first crocus in my yard now that the snow has melted. It hasn't show it's face yet!


Pink Geraniums
Silver true leaves on dicondra silver falls have developed. All 10 seeds sown germinated.
This is what happens when you plant more than you need too. They have not yet been transplanted.


Geranium- they have a long way to go. 

Petunias. I won't buy seeds that are not pelleted again. It's too much work to sow all the seeds and have to separate them. 

 Black Eyed Susan Vine and Millet

Petunia and Lambs Ear 

Fusable of becopa and peutina. Looks like more petunia to me. Four of ten seeds survived.