Six on Saturday – Spots of Color – April 6, 2019

We’ve had some dry days. More rain predicted for this weekend so yesterday I got out to do some garden chores — cutting back the grasses and red twig dogwood. I managed to get the grass debris into bags with the husband’s help on Friday, but the dogwood cuttings are waiting to be picked up.

  1. The camellia is in bloom. The blossoms don’t last long, but by the time the show is over, other things are in bloom. I try to keep this one from getting too big. Anyone have suggestions for trimming camellias?

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2. The daffodils are open. Still lots of cleaning up to do in the beds but there is something to enjoy while I’m on my knees. I don’t know where the bulbs of the daffodils on the right came from but the clumps increase quickly and I now have them many places in the yard.

3. Clematis are leafing out and I think I see a bud on the Montana clematis on the right. The one on the left is Jackmani. I took a slip from one my father planted when I married and have brought it with me to every house (and husband) since.

4. Garden clean-up has begun. The ground has dried out enough that I was able to get the red twig dogwoods cut back. The bed still looks a mess because I haven’t raked it. Dead leaves sat in water all winter in that area. I’ll root some of the cuttings and plant more in this area. I was late getting the grasses but back but couldn’t get into the beds before now.

5. I need to plant new hyacinth bulbs next fall. The ones I have no longer produce many flowers, but they are a welcome surprise in the garden this time of year.

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6. I need suggestions about how to care for these yuccas. I see the one in the front could be divided. All I’ve done with the others is try to get out the dead leaves that are on the bottom. They all bloom. Thus far they have been afforded benign neglect.

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That’s my Six on Saturday, photos of my garden as it comes alive after what seemed like a longer and certainly a wetter winter than usual.This 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 – 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 – Squelching in the Garden – March 2, 1019

I am not a shoe fashionista. I have almost as many pairs of boots as I do shoes. Last night it rained. Again! So this morning I was either going to squelch through my yard in search of pictures for my Six on Saturday, or abandon the effort. I put on a warm coat and hat and picked up my camera. In the garage the decision was about which boots to wear. Clearly the Sloggers were too low. My chicken boots might have done, but I didn’t want mud splashed on my pants. The choice was the bright orange boots that come almost to my knees. They are the tallest I own. If it keeps raining I may have to invest in waders.

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2. We have standing water in places where we’ve never had it before.

3. I found these little puff balls (the size of golf balls) growing on mulch by the raised beds. A poke with my finger released a cloud of spores.

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4.  The invasive Japanese honeysuckle (Lonicera japonica) along the lot line in the back of the property is beginning to leaf out. If I won the lottery I would take them all out and replace them with something else, but they do provide a green barrier between us and the neighbors in the back. I suspect these specimens are fifty years old. They have large trunks.

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5. Finally I see some daffodils with bloom buds. There are other clumps with leaves but no evidence yet of blooms.

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6. In the garage I found an amarylis bulb that needs to be planted. I can’t be bothered to try and force them inside in the winter, but I plant them outside late spring and they usually bloom. This one will have to go in a pot. It’s too wet to plant it in the ground. A friend gave it to me in January. It had been coated in red wax. I peeled the wax off and threw it in a box  under a table in the garage where it has remained. I only spotted it when I was pulling off my orange boots.

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That’s my Six on Saturday, photos in my garden once a week, a meme started by The Propogator, a UK gardener.  This is the link to the rules if you’d like to join in.

Six on Saturday – A Retrospective – February 23, 2019

Much of my garden is still under water. We have lived in this house for twelve years now and there is standing water where I have never seen it before. I don’t like to think about summer mosquitoes if this continues. I suggested to my husband that we might build more decking over the worst of it…a suggestion that was not greeted with enthusiasm.

So I am began looking through past photos around this date. That resulted in some surprises.

  1. 2018. Last year I had blooming crocuses on February 20. This year no buds yet.

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2. No garden photos this time in 2017 but I did find these spectacular sunset clouds. I actually remember where I was when I took this. I had arrived at Easton Airport for my Working Writers Forum meeting. It would have been about 5:30 in the evening.

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3. In 2016 around this date Bartlett Tree came to trim all the maples in our yard. The River Birch with the exfoliating bark in the foreground was removed last year. The grass is green and no standing water.

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4. In 2015 we had significant snow around this time in February.

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5. In 2014 the agapanthas I had brought inside were blooming. I have since put them in the ground outside in an effort to reduce the number of pots I carry in for the winter. They survived in the ground last year but no blooms last summer.

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6. In 2013 I had early doffodils blooming. I don’t see buds yet this year.

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That’s my Six on Saturday, a meme started by The Propogator, a UK gardener. This retrospective shows me that crocus and daffodil are late this year. I wonder why. This is the link to the rules if you’d like to join in.

 

Six on Saturday – Spring Is Coming -February 9

It’s just the first week of February but we are having a warm spell and the birds are excited. This cardinal was on my front walk this morning. Nearby a robin was digging for breakfast and a bluejay was calling out. The birds seem to know something is afoot.

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2. I noticed some new growth on the Knockout roses. I think it’s too early to prune, but I’m putting March 1 on my calendar as the date to start this annual chore. The new foliage is spectacular.

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3. I checked the helebores. Not open yet, but lots of buds on this particular plant. Others may be hiding under the leaves, but it’s still very squelchy in the beds and I don’t like to walk in them more than I must as it compacts the soil.

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4. When my mother was 75 my brothers and I gave her this teak bench for her birthday. When she moved into a retirement community and couldn’t take it with her, I was gifted with it. Now it is a reminder of a place she sat to rest when she worked in her acre of azaleas in a beech woods. She is always with me in my garden. The lichens on the bench need to be scrubbed when it warms up, but for now they make a lovely patchwork. The squirrels have gnawed on the front leg. Little buggers have no respect for heirlooms!

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5.  Daffodils are Goliaths in my garden — resilient and strong. In the upper right corner of the photograph, they are pushing up a large chunk of mulch. Nothing says “Spring is Coming” more than the the daffodils.IMG_8270

6. And just because I can’t believe I didn’t kill an orchid here is another picture of my  phalaenopsis orchid which is continuing to open. To my local friends…if you have an orchid you are going to put in the trash, give me a call. I’d like to try and resurrect it.

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And I couldn’t resist adding this photo of the beautiful markings on the throat. They look like an insect from a distance and a Georgia O’Keefe painting close up.

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That’s my Six on Saturday, a meme started by The Propogator, a UK gardener. It’s the beginning of February and as spring approaches there will be new things to share. This is the link to the rules if you’d like to join in.

Six on Saturday – Stuff is Happening – January 19, 2019

We had a Goldilocks snow last weekend.  Not too big, not too little, just about right at six inches. It was pretty. The big storm heading our way this weekend will bring us rain rather than snow. Just what we need! But despite the wet weather, stuff is happening in the garden.

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2. My little spruce in a pot on my deck was festive at night.

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3. I tried for a photo of the red twig dogwood in the snow, but couldn’t get one that showed the color. It is so pretty on these dreary days. Since this does well in this wet area I am going to continue the colony. I layered several stems in the fall and will have to wait to see if they took.

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4. In the same “pond” as the red twig dogwood shoots of Stella d’oro day lilies are emerging. They don’t seem to mind being under water either.

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5. This parsley hasn’t succumbed to the freezing temperatures…yet. On Sunday it’s supposed to go from 48 daytime down to 12 degrees Farenheit that night. Yikes. Makes me think of the movie The Day After Tomorrow. I need to go out and turn a pot over that parsley.

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6.  A columbine has self seeded in one of my containers where I grew eggplants last summer. I’ll transplant it in the spring. The color of the flowers of the self-seeders is always a surprise.

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That’s my Six on Saturday, a meme started by The Propogator, a UK gardener. It’s getting harder to find new things to share, but stuff is happening in my garden. This is the link to the rules if you’d like to join in.

Six on Saturday – In and Out – January 12 2019

We may get some snow tomorrow. Perhaps 1 – 3″. I am hoping to get a photo of my red twig dogwood (Arctic Fire) against a white background. If I do, I’ll post it next week. It’s been cold enough that the ground is frozen along with the remaining puddles.

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2. I checked the lenten roses but the buds are still furled. However, in one of my raised beds a  lone hyacinth is emerging. A squirrel must have planted it.

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3. Fred the French Gardener posted a photo of moss and I could see some outside my office window. I put on my chicken boots and went out for a closer look.

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4. The slender Hinoki cypress in the front of the house has lovely foliage.

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5. Inside I was thrilled to see an open bloom on the first orchid I have ever managed not to kill. The blooming stalk is very long so I’ve propped it on the clivia (which shows no evidence of flowering yet).

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6. I need to cut back my the geraniums in the inside big pots, but that will be a job for tomorrow when there is snow on the ground. This morning I enjoyed a spot of color.

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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 — even on these dark, cold winter days. 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.