}

November 28, 2009

Thanksgiving Weekend Flowers


Fergus sleeps off a turkey hangover, behind the shaving brush blossoms of a large pot of Haemanthus albiflos.

The South African evergreen geophyte, Haemanthus albiflos blooms for me in December. This year it has bloomed a few weeks early, so I brought one large one in to the house for Thanksgiving.The name Haemanthus is derived from the Greek "haima" meaning blood and "anthos" meaning flower - a reference to the red flowers of most species. Albiflos refers to the white flowers of this particular species.

An Alpine tough, full of high elevation alpine plants, is as ready as is can be for the winter months ahead, requiring no protection, these sturdy plants will relish the deep snow cover soon to arrive in our garden, just west of Boston.
As the seasons shift, here in New England, the greenhouse becomes a daily treat, with many plants blooming with the short day lengths, and long nights. Many of these plants in my collection are from the Southern Hemisphere, so naturally, they believe that this is their summer, or winter, depending on how I water them. For those plants which are more sensitive to day length, and temperature, from the Northern Hemisphere, this season marks the end of autumn, and the start of winter. So woodland plants and high elevation plants from the Mediterranean, or North Africa, or Greece, where perhaps it doesn't freeze, but becomes cool, wet and rainy, this is now the peak season. Cyclamen species from Crete, or Cyprus are blooming, Hellebore's from moderate temperate areas of Italy are starting to open, and officially, the greenhouse now has more activity each day, than out side.

This unknown ( to us) Pelargonium, was purchased by Joe a few years back on eBay. In the summer it has massive leaves, and makes a large, if not too large, potted plant. But it never has bloomed. SO this year, I demanded that it be terminated, and we cut the caudex stems off, tossed the plant away ( it was in a 14 inch pot) and these broken stems, that fell of in the drama, are suddenly blooming ( of course). Right on the bench. Maybe I will root them, and see what happens. Gotta love plants, some time!


The fruit on the Meyer Lemon, which is kept in a large terra cotta tub in the greenhouse, is starting to become ripe. This treat is carefully harvested for each fruit is precious, and so delicious. Tasting a bit like a tangerine crossed with a Lemon, it is fresh and amazing in tea during the winter months, or as long as we can extend the harvest. Each year the tree is getting larger, so although this year we have about 18 lemons, next year, we should have more. The zest makes awesome lemon curd, and pies.
Not good for anything but for impressing visitors, the giant ornamental lemon called Ponderosa, still impresses us with it fruit, seen here, as green melon like orbs basking in the late November sun high on a warm bench in the greenhouse.

Thanks to new efforts in micro culture, some Hellebore varieties may appear this Christmas at your local store. This one, which I ordered from White Flower Farm, arrived the day before Thanksgiving, and is rather impressive, with a dozen flowers, lots of buds, and a nice cache pot. I wanted it because the most traditional of Christmas flowers may be the Poinsettia today, but before 1920, it was the Hellebore, or, Helleborus niger, or the 'Christmas Rose', which grows in European woodlands. Today, these are being tissue-cultured and introduced world-wide under a variety of cultivar names. I will try p lanting it outdoors in the spring, since true Helleborus niger is hardy to Zone 4, but I am not sure how these tissue cultured forms will survive. Long forgotten in America along with the equally popular violet, Lily of the Valley, the white Anemone coronaria and Camellia, the Hellebore at Christmas may be due for a comeback. More on this on a post closer to the Holidays. But I know many of you feel that White Flower Farm is over priced and too commercial, I do prefer and recommend them for Amaryllis and, for two plants that you would be hard pressed to find, forcing pips of Lily of the Valley, and now, the Christmas Rose. Looks just like the photo in the catalog, which rarely happens! I am very pleased, even for a horticulturist!

The greenhouse benches are becoming more interesting each week. Many succulents look completely different to me when viewed up close, in the winter months. I get a completely different perspective from the same plant, than when I look at them outside in the summer.


A Cyclamen cyprium, or so I think, since the label is lost, blooming in a home made pot that I made in the studio. These tiny species cyclamen and more delicate than the supermarket forms that will be available soon. It may look like a miniature, but this is the full size of this wild species which is tender, and requires a cool greenhouse here in New England.

4 comments :

  1. So many lovely thing in your greenhouse, hope you guys had a great Thanksgiving! Brian

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  2. Hi Matt,

    Big fan of your blog here. Last year I purchased 6" pots of the same Hellebore hybrid at WholeFoods about this time of year. Plants were about $10 a piece. Bloomed on my stoop for two months, often freezing and thawing, sometimes covered w/ snow here in the Philadelphia area. Gave one to a friend last spring, plant is in full bloom now in his garden. Mine was grown in a pot all year and is just starting to bloom outdoors. Can't wait to pick up more next week.

    Gary

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  3. Nice blog. All your potted plants looks great. Expecting some more pictures from your garden on your upcoming blogs. Iflorist.co.uk

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  4. Ernie9:28 PM

    The pelargonium is probably P. transvaalense, it flowers in fall,the vegetative stems resemble a rhizotamous begonia, but the inflorescence appears on an elongating much thinner stem. Nice pics, as always.

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