Six on Saturday – Rescue Operation – March 9, 2019

A couple of weeks ago I asked if any of my friends had orchid plants they were going to throw away. If so,  I would love to see if I could make them bloom again. The following week I came home from my 7 a.m. yoga class with a plant. This is what I got from Paulette, my yoga instructor.

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This phalaenopsis orchid had one purple bloom when I got it. There was no tag as to the original parentage so if I succeed in resurrecting this plant it will be called Paulette Purple.

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I could tell there was a new plant (a keiki — Hawaiian for baby) which had grown on a previous blooming stem. It had long aerial roots and Paulette told me it had two blooms this year.  Usually keikis are removed way before they get this big. I was uncertain about the two 18″ aerial roots. Fortunately there were a number of useful videos on Youtube. I ordered some orchid potting supplies. Special potting mix, plastic orchid pots with special drainage slots, and some New Zealand sphagnum moss.

The supplies arrived this week and on potting day the first thing I did was to soak some of the new potting mixture so it would be wet when I used it. (A tip from one of those helpful videos.)

I cleaned and sterilized my cutting tool with alcohol (another tip) and cut off the keiki. The photo shows it perched on a bowl in my kitchen sink but doesn’t really show the two long  roots. I sprayed the roots with warm water to hydrate them. You don’t want to break the roots and these needed to be bent around and around to go into the pot. When I am transpanting ordinary plants I often root prune. This was not recommended for orchids and after hydrating the roots they bent easily.

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Below is the potted keiki. If it lives it will be genetically identical to the mother.

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I also repotted the original plant with new potting mix. The three leaves look sad, but maybe it will send up some new growth from the crown.

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Behind the repotted orchid is the one with white flowers that I’ve been bragging about. As soon as it’s finished blooming I will repot it as well. It will take months before I know if my rescue operation has been successful, but I’m a patient gardener.

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This is what I hope for next year but with purple flowers.

That’s my Six on Saturday, photos this week of an orchid rescue operation. The SoS meme was started by The Propogator, a UK gardener.  This is the link to the rules if you’d like to join in.

 

 

 

Six on Saturday – Lean In – January 5, 2019

A statistic last week indicated we have had over 70″ of rain this year, double the usual amount. No wonder we feel inundated. Many local farmers have lost their winter wheat crop as seeds rotted in the ground. Last spring some planted corn three times.

For us home gardeners the rain is a big inconvenience. Lots of leaves still on ground that’s too wet to work on, and piles of tree trash that gets deposited on the lawn with every big blow. But although I have been a gardener for more years than I like to admit, it continues to amaze me that life in the garden goes on. You just have to put on your wading boots and lean in.

  1. Other SoS gardeners have been showing blooming hellebores. I thought I checked last week and didn’t see anything. Obviously I didn’t lean in far enough. I only saw buds on one plant this morning and I haven’t kept records in the past, but buds the size of Christmas tree lights (not the little ones) are impressive for January 5.

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2. Raindrops in the early morning decorated a small leafed maple.

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3. In one of my raised beds at home I had transplanted some beet seedlings from my Community garden bed last summer. They never did a thing but I didn’t pull them when fall clean-up was delayed by wet weather. They are showing growth among the fallen leaves. I wonder if I will actually get beet roots in the spring. img_8104

4. Fennel doesn’t surrender to the weather and tends to self seed which can be a problem. This is in a raised bed. I’ll keep it because the Black Swallowtail butterflies pupated on the stalks last year and the foliage is a tasty addition to winter salads. I can see some rabbit damage.

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5. Even the dried heads of hydrangea Limelight are beautiful in the early morning mist.

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6. In an effort to organize seeds this winter I purchased some half priced Christmas storage. The seeds won’t care that the boxes are red and green. With lidded containers I’ll be able to get the seed box off my work surface.

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That’s my Six on Saturday, a meme started by The Propogator, a UK gardener. There’s always something interesting in the garden if you just stop to look and lean in. This is the link to the rules if you’d like to join in.

Six on Saturday – Inside and Out – December 17, 2018

We’ve had hard freezes every night, but inside our little rancher it’s cozy at 68 degrees. We light a fire in the fireplace about five o’clock which keeps us toasty through the evening. Outside there are still things to be cut back. The ground is not quite frozen and more rain is expected this weekend with slightly warmer day time temperatures. The leaves that have blown around plants in the beds may just stay as a thermal blanket until spring. I don’t mind the messy look.

  1. Inside an anthurium is blooming.  The red/orange, heart-shaped flower of Anthuriums is really a spathe or a waxy, modified leaf flaring out from the base of a fleshy spike (spadix) where the tiny real flowers grow.  The spadix, a.k.a.: nose, tail or inflorescence is the actual anthurium flower; it is where the stamen (male part of the flower) and stigma (female part of the flower) are to be found. The stamen and stigma can only be seen with magnifying glasses and appear as tiny bumps on the spadix.

2. Before we had a frost, I cut some pieces of a bright neon green coleus and stuck it in a vase. It has developed excellent roots. I plan to pot them so I don’t have to repurchase in the spring.

3. Outside there is cutting back and cleaning up to be done. I’ll leave the heads of the miscanthus for later, but will cut back the soldago in the foreground.

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4. This fall I was able to get three Osmanthus ‘Goshiki’ half price and planted them in the revised bed where the avocado sculpture now resides in place of the river birch. I like the pop of pale yellow/white against the green. Once they get bigger, I can use some cuttings in holiday decorations.

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5. And I planted three white groundcover roses (Blossom Blanket) in the same area. They are small but I’m going to leave the leaves as insulation over the winter.

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6. The herb window box hasn’t frozen yet. I am still cooking with fresh chives, thyme. parsley, tarragon and sage.

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That’s my six for this week, a meme started by The Propogator, a UK gardener. I learn something every week from the participating gardeners and from verifying information about my photos. This week it was about the true flowers on anthuriums. This is the link to the rules if you’d like to join in.

Six on Saturday – Surprising Color – December 8, 2018

I wandered in my garden on Wednesday to see what I could find for Saturday’s post. I’m going to be out of town so needed to get something written. I was surprised at the color I found.

  1. The little maple I grew from a seedling finally put on a show.

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2. Several azaleas showed color, but some stay green. I have lost a number of azaleas due to all the rain and wet areas in some garden beds.

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3. Despite the killing frosts, I was surprised to see a few Sheffield mum blooms.

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4. The red twig dogwood (Arctic Fire) is now on full view. If we get a little snow to cover up the mess in that bed, it will be dramatic.

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5.  I noticed that impatient daffodils are coming up. This is a variety that proliferates like crazy. I started with one clump and now have them all over the yard in the spring.

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6. The Sunpatiens in the front window boxes succumbed to a frost. I pulled them out several weeks ago. This week I stuck pieces of everygreen cuttings into the potting soil. That anchors them and only a few end up in my neighbors lawn when we get a strong wind. It’s such a fast and easy solution to dressing the boxes for winter.

I have some red bows to add to the boxes, but that involves wiring them to something I can stick in the soil. I might get that done. ..or maybe not. If I had an electrical outlet on the front of the house, I’d add some twinkle lights. If you are wondering what the white piping is, it’s the drip irrigation llines to those beds. I put it in white pvc as the drip lines are black.

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That’s my six for this week, a meme started by The Propogator, a UK gardener. I learn something every week from the participating gardeners. This is the link to the rules if you’d like to join in.

Six on Saturday – Cold on the Cusp – November 17, 2018

It’s colder, but we still haven’t had a killing frost. A lot more rain last week so the yard is too wet for the guy who runs the big mower that will mulch and collect the leaves for me. There are a few outdoor tasks remaining but we did get the Avocado sculpture wrapped for the winter and the drip irrigation system shut down and the timers removed. The hose has been rolled and the sprayer removed. I don’t bring it inside. The water that’s left inside can freeze and expand without rupturing the hose. There are a few pots to be moved closer to the house. They will survive the winter — or not.

  1. I got a flat of yellow pansies and planted them in some pots. They’ll give me a pop of color on these drab days.

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2. The potted dwarf Alberta Spruce is on the deck ready to be wrapped in fairy lights. I leave the lights on it until spring because it’s so pretty at night. I’ve had Alberta Spruce in the garden before. Lost one to red spider mites and then planted two on the other side of the garden flanking steps leading to the deck. One succumbed to mites and the other looked healthy, but my sense of symmetry was bothered so I dug it up and gave it to Laura Ambler, my writing partner, for her garden.

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3. A month ago a sunken area in the garden was filled with bags of top soil and seeded with grass. I bought a seed mixture that was incorporated in mulched newspaper last spring because a guy in the check out line at Lowe’s told me he used it. I had it in the garage and hoped the seed was still viable and it seemed to be. After I put the mixture down it rained and rained. I thought the seed might rot, but it germinated.

 

4. I remembered to harvest seed pods from the thread leaf amsonia hubrictii this morning. Now I just have to get them into a container and label them before I forget what they are. The good news is they are now in the garage, not still in the garden. These thread leaf amsonia don’t self-seed like the other variety I had. I want more of the golden fall color.

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5.  Hairy Balls Milkweed aka Family Jewels Milkweed

A friend brought me some flowers that contained a stalk of these. I dried them out and will see if I can raise some from seed. Apparently the Monarch butterflies like them.

 

6.  We emptied out the water in the avocado sculpture, put a beach ball in it to keep the tarp raised and fastened the tarp with bungee cords.  Last we had some fall color from the small maple on the left, but nothing this year. The leaves are holding on. The random pieces of paving were thrown there and never got properly placed. A job for spring.

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That’s my six for this week, a meme started by The Propogator, a UK gardener. I learn something every week from the participating gardeners. This is the link to the rules if you’d like to join in.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Six on Saturday – Color at Last – November 10, 2018

We’ve had rain off and on for the last couple of days which is bringing the leaves down. Dark, dreary days but no frost yet. Many leaves are brown and crisp but there are spots of color among the fallen. I think the show will be brief, but I am enjoying every saturated hue.

Here are my Six on Saturday.

  1. The crepe myrtles are beginning to turn.

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2. The red twig dogwood “Arctic Fire” has finally combusted. Once the leaves fall the red stems will provide winter color until they are cut back in the spring.

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3. Amsonia hubrecti (fernleaf) “Arkansas Bluestar”  has turned yellow.  I had another variety  which stayed green and kept its leaves through the winter. It was quite invasive so I dug them out. This clump has grown from a single plant given to me five years ago. I am saving seeds this year and will try to propogate more. I’ve seen it in other gardens where there are large swaths and it’s spectacular.

The small waterfall maple (Acer palmatum, commonly called Japanese Maple), to the right of the amsonia was bought as a rooted twig at the Philadelphia Flower Show at least twenty years ago. I brought it with us when we moved to this house twelve years ago. This photo reminds me I’ve got to get out and put the hose away before we get a hard freeze.

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5. In the spring I planted cornflower (Centaurea scabiosa) seeds – “Perennial Butterfly.” The plants came up but the foliage didn’t stand upright, it just flopped in the raised bed. I almost pulled them out. No flowers until now — and just one! I’ll be interested to see what happens next summer. There are lots of plants with healthy looking leaves. I’ll divide them and put them in different areas to see how they do. If they flop again and don’t flower they’ll go into the compost bin.

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6. I’ve brought my tender plants inside to a corner of the living room for winter color. The red geranium in the big pot was given to me ten years ago by a friend as a hostess gift. That friend has since moved away, but Betsy’s geranium is a long living reminder of our friendship. It goes out to the deck in the summer but really is happier inside. The big pots are on dollys and the other plants are on a repurposed kitchen island also on wheels.

There is an orchid on the top shelf that is alive and sending up a blooming stalk. It’s a miracle! I have killed every other orchid I’ve ever brought into the house. The clivia didn’t bloom last winter but I had repotted it so am hopeful for blooms this year.

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That’s my six for this week, a meme started by The Propogator, a UK gardener. I learn something every week from the participating gardeners. This is the link to the rules if you’d like to join in.

 

 

 

Six on Saturday – Making Progress – November 3, 2018

Our neighborhood is finally getting some color on the trees. A sugar maple on the other side of the fence is orange. If I hadn’t been out taking photos I wouldn’t have noticed how the sugar maple complements the brick on my house. Out of my office window I see a yellow leafed maple, and beyond that some reds. The crepe myrtles usually have lots of color but so far mine are still green.  I’ll stop complaining and enjoy what we get this year.

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2. The seed heads of the native milkweed are open. I’ll push some seeds in the ground here and there and hopefully get babies. The butterflies, especially the Monarchs, love the milkweed flowers.

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3.  I have seen more bees on the Sheffield mums this week than I have seen all summer. At least I think this is a honey bee athough it doesn’t have the orange stripes with which I’m familiar.

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4. Following a suggestion from another SoS gardener, I stapled bird netting to my wooden fence. The clematis seems to appreciate having something other than the trellis to climb on. And the yellow jasmine is finally happy. When I put it in this spot in the spring the ground was so wet for so long, I thought I might lose it. It should be spectacular next spring.

5.  The rainbarrels have been emptied. They were made from food grade 50 gallon plastic drums used by a local wine maker and were free for the taking. Porch furniture has been stored behind the shed. Potted geraniums have been brought inside along with a couple of other tender things. They fill a corner of the living room and get light through a sliding door. Leaves are coming down and that will be the next clean-up job.

6.  This is one of the crepe myrles in the area where I took out the river birch. It grew lopsided as it reached for the sun although I rather like the wonkiness of the trunks.  I am hopeful with the birch gone I can coax it to fill out on the empty side. The husband will get those birch logs moved eventually. They won’t be fire ready for a year.

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That’s my six for this week, a meme started by The Propogator, a UK gardener. I learn something every week from the participating gardeners. This is the link to the rules if you’d like to join in.