Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Welcome February

The featured picture on my February calendar. It's actually February tomorrow. Can't beat geraniums in clay pots in summer. That looks like a plastic pot though. How are my geranium seedlings doing? Yesterday disappointed with 2 varieties not germinating, I dug up the seeds that didn't to see what they were doing and replanted them. Last year I had problems with geranium seeds from another company and got replacement seeds that germinated without problems. Sometimes it is the seed that may be a problem, not the sower. Digging them up, replanting, and watering helped  some and a few emerged today but I did get a chance to call Swallowtail Garden to speak with them about my concerns with the nano and maverick seed that didn't germinate. The customer service representative was nice. I opted for replacement seeds but didn't force the issue with dichondra silver falls. I told  the rep that only 7 of 10 seeds germinated and she stated that was normally the germination rate. But, if  I pay for 10 seeds, I expect them all to germinate. 

It's actually my forced hyacinth. Almost full sized. Next season, perfection. I put them back on the porch in the hope that more chill time would result in larger ones and it worked for this one. 

Heat mat is out of space. Twelve trays and one on the radiator and I haven't finished. tonight I sowed a tray with 30 cells of coleus and not recommended, some delphinium which may germinate at a different time and have different requirements for heat, light, and humidity. Some things work and some don't. I hope not wanting to prepare another tray will result in no delphinium seedlings. I know the coleus will germinate. If the others don't I've only lost a dollar pack of seeds and will try again. Wouldn't it be wonderful to have lots of delphinium for the cost of one dollar? I broke down and payed full price for only one last summer. It was worth the money, just beautiful. They're hardy in my region and I hope it returns in the spring.
New to the family and a plant that has done well for me and I don't think I'll kill. Believe they're dracenas. There's also a small fern which I have little success with but it was only$2.50. So far, it's actually still alive. I love them but they don't love my house except for the foxtail fern that does well for me. But I love other varieties that don't thrive in my house.

Seeds still to sow including some to winter sow outside. I sprinkle them on the soil and hope some germinate in the spring. The African daisies are my favorites and germinate easily but so far I haven't been successful getting them to planting out size. This season I'm going to try placing them in a cool location once they germinate and see if this helps. I'll have to do some reading again about their growing requirements.

Orchids from Christmas have done well just siting on the dining room table. The ones in my bathroom are also doing well.

Last but not least, my beautiful girl. We'll have a play session before my bedtime. Have a restful sleep tonight. Tomorrow is another chance to garden but first, work.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

A Little Springtime

I love stock. This type is slightly scented.Haven't had fresh cut flowers for a while. Looks like delphinium or larkspur but I believe it's stock because the leaves aren't like delphinium.

I had some of this for Christmas but I don't know if it's an ornamental cabbage or the new big leaf dusty miller. Looks like dusty miller to me from the pictures I looked at on a nursery website. I'll now soon enough. The ones I sowed have started to germinate.

Had enough for 3 vases, some for each room.

Dichondra Silver Falls, six of 10 seeds germinated.

Sown in larger pots till they have to be separated.


Geraniums/Pelargoniums. Have to call Swallowtail next week about the geranium seeds. The other's hardly germinated and those that did looked deformed. I want more seeds or a refund. White swan echinacea also didn't do well. The seedlings aren't healthy appearing. The other 2 types sown did well. To my amazement bergenia seedlings have started to germinate. I thought they'd take longer. Hosta seedlings were moved to the porch for a period of cold, then I'll return them to the heat mat. Chocolate covered cherry coleus has germinated but most of the other coleus seeds have to still be sown. Hope your seed starting is going well.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Sowing Seeds

Another 5 weeks and our region can sow broccoli rabe starts outdoors. Having it  with olive oil and garlic for dinner along with chicken breast. Hope you're having a beautiful Sunday and you got some rest this weekend .

Bergenia seeds appear a good size but they're tiny and dark as the seed starting mix. No you won't see them on the soil and if you mist them with water like I did they may be now covered, not recommended.

Next planting day hopefully I'll get to foxglove and herbs.


It's a beautiful day when your daughter asks you what you want to do today because she's going to spend time with you. I planned walking at Valley Green but in the morning, envisioned shoes covered in mud from last night's rain and changed our plans. We passed the hiking trail during our drive and the mud didn't appear to have stopped anyone and I regretted not walking because the scenery in the wooded area was breathtaking and what I needed today. I enjoyed reading this information on plants and wildlife in the park.

The day was not wasted. We visited the pet shop for kitties food and to see what pets were there for adoption, always part of our visit. It's not Saturday without looking at what's at the nursery as spring approaches. My excuse to go to Primex Garden Center in Glenside. I behaved and only bought 2 packs of seeds, something to hopefully support my amaryllis when I pot it up to start growing, and some more seed trays. I wasn't thinking because I didn't get an actual amaryllis support which I know they had in stock although they usually sell out fast. Too late for that now. It's always seed heaven there during this time and an excuse to look at everything in the store and plan a wish list. After all, Mother's Day is in May. 

Intentionally avoided the greenhouse where the plants are. Garden classes were being held today, seed starting. I've been to several given by the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society with the same instructor and won't attend but they do have others coming up that I may register for. Composting and I think caring for houseplants is coming up. Click the link and you can view upcoming classes. 

I'll miss the pink hyacinth when it's finished blooming and plan to be searching all spring and summer for a discounted dorm sized refrigerator for fall for my bulbs. Although my porch is cool enough to chill them starting in November, not giving them the 40 degree temperature they need starting in September or October when bulbs arrive in stores or via mail doesn't allow them enough chill time for earlier forcing and results in stunted growth. 

I've read that all the parts of the plant are inside the bulb including all the nutrients it needs to reach full size when planted and it's true. The hyacinths I forced so far did not reach anywhere near normal size but I pulled the green stems back and could see that other blooms were tucked inside the stem. That's amazing. I opened the stem some to let some of the blooms emerge. Next year I'm hopeful for normal sized hyacinths. I'm more enamored with them indoors now than paper whites. Amaryllis forced this winter so far have also been beautiful.

Maverick Salmon Pelargoniums

Dichondra Silver Falls starting to germinate. I really want them to do well. Tried to overwinter a pot without success.

Only 1 White Swan Cone flower germinated so far. I'm surprised since it's recommended that the tray receive a few weeks in the refrigerator to mimic outdoor weather and break the dormancy. I have 2 other types to start. Hopefully tomorrow I make time to start more seeds, coleus, bergenia, foxglove, the nicotiana I bought today, and a few others. Can't start too much because there's only so much room on the heat mat. I want to winter sow some seed on the soil in the yard also. Did good with a lupines one winter but they didn't do well when I transplanted them.

How she looked today before the blooms end.

If I could bottle the smell.

Don't know how this will do in my small flower bed but since the information on the packet says it can tolerate some shade maybe I'll get a few blooms. If not, my sister will love them for her garden.

One of my favorite perennials and if sown early enough it'll bloom the first year. Going to try to have patience and pay attention to them so I can get a few to adult sized. They aren't cheap in the store to be buying enough to fill a garden but by seed...

Starting to receive the books I ordered with my Christmas gift card. A classic that I hope I like. I'm upset because Barnes and Noble electronically delivered my Monty Don book to a Nook. I don't even own a Nook but a Kindle. Didn't order it electronically I wanted to actually feel the pages and read the book. There's nothing like feeling the pages of a book. I do love my Kindle, but not for everything. They'll have to refund me or send the printed book,

Good book. I started reading it tonight and gave me some things to think about that I learned this winter as to how to choose which plants to over winter or not. I've found that all plants don 't want to sit under a plant light but prefer what degree of winter light there is during the day in a cool window. The plants I overwintered,  pelargoniums, citrus trees, and calibrachoa have done better on the window seal than under lights. Also I don't think I'll overwinter pelargoniums again since I'm very successful growing them from seeds and they look healthier and bloom better when freshly grown. Actually I'm not overwintering the citrus.They have to come inside in my region. I've been enjoying reading your garden blogs this winter as always year round.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

First to Germinate

And a girl's thoughts turn to spring.

Eight trays of seeds started on Sunday.

Pelargonium Maverick. Seeds from Swallowtail. It  was the first to germinate in 2 days followed by Nano. All are salmon colored blooming.

Pelargonium Nano

Pelargonium Maverick

I'll show a better picture tomorrow when they raise above the soil.

Glue stick, toothpick, and spray bottle. Glue stick to attach labels. Normally I use tape but couldn't find it but the glue works better. Spray bottle to wet the top of the pellets after I sow each seed especially for pelleted seeds. Toothpick to open pellets once I expand and hydrate them with hot water. I boil my water first. It's also good to pick up seeds and insert them in the trays.

First time trying hosta. It would save money if they do well. Thought I'd start trying to build my garden with more perennials that I start from seed to save money.

These are beautiful I had some in Christmas arrangements and thought I could root them but, not. I hope I have success with them. 

Sorry for the repeat picture. Having trouble removing it without deleting other pictures. 

Put on heat mat. Lights kept on in the evening and all night for a total of 15 hours.

The dining room table will be the seed starting station for a while. Can't wait to start herbs but today was time to repot the amaryllis that have bloomed.

I saw a few fungus gnats. Don't know if dish detergent will harm them but I washed off the roots before potting into smaller pots.

Their place on the window seal till next fall. 

Still waiting for paperwhites to bloom. Next fall I'll buy the boxed ones from Homedepot instead of the nursery. This is the second year I'v e had trouble with them. Some were planted in soil and I'll see if this means these types do better in potting mix not forced in water.

Last years amaryllis waiting to be planted. No rush with seed starting going on. There are three left to plant.

After buying African violets a couple of weeks ago and having to throw them out due to possible spider mites you'd think I wouldn't buy any more plants but I had to have a primrose and  the bridal veil plant below. The delicate white flowers are beautiful. They close at night. I hung her in the kitchen window. It's labeled as needing low light so it should do well with filtered light.

I bought her also, mainly for the forcing container and the smell of my little ones wooed me into a larger one. Amaryllis are in the store this time of year but this is the first time I've seen forced hyacinths.