January 9, 2011

Forcing Spring and Dog Napping

Even though the days are getting longer, at 4:00 PM the sun is nearly gone.

We've only had a few inches of snow, but last night, 3 more inches fell. At least the alpine garden as some protection. I focused today, on working in the greenhouse since the sun was out and it was warm in there.

A pot of Crocus, which were potted up in October and buried in a dark coldframe, show signs of growth. I am bringing some in to force early, which won't take long at this stage. One must use plastic pots since clay will freeze and crack, even in the coldframe, but once brought into the greenhouse, I repot them into old, unwashed clay pots, for a more attractive display in the plant window.

Surprisingly, the sun came out today, which made the greenhouse warm enough to work in comfortably in short sleeves. This means that the dogs, Margaret, Lydia and Fergus will have to have their winter baths postponed, since a sunny warm day in the greenhouse is a better option for me. Besides, I have lots to do since we are having many plant people over next weekend for a greenhouse tour, a luncheon and a meeting for the New England Primula Society. It would be nice if the greenhouse looks a little organized.
The cheat is easy, since there are many strong roots that have formed, the rootball remains solid enough to allow me to simple slide out the entire pot of crocus in one tap, and place it into a clay pot.
The final pot, ready for the windowsill or the bench in the greenhouse.

 All winter long, I will bring in potted bulbs, starting with crocus which require a shorter dormant period in which to root, and in a few weeks, Hyacinths, Fritillaria, Dutch Tulips and finally, the species tulips. This method also allows me to create pots with multiple varieties of bulbs, and sometimes I use troughs, wooden boxes or large clay pots where I combine crocus, narcissus, tulips and other small bulbs.
I picked the first branches for forcing today also. Here, some Witchhazel, Hamamellis X Intermedia 'Arnold's Promise' are placed in warm water. Maybe they will be in bloom for next weekend's luncheon, but this is very early to be forcing any woody shrub. This is one that I know will force in time, since pick some every January. The golden yellow threads will smell like spring, and that will force me to put away the Christmas decorations!
Margaret is happy that there will be no bath for her today. She naps, in a sunbeam.
Margaret is getting older, so we don't groom her anymore, so she is experiencing the luxurious life of faux fur and no hand stripping. She hardly looks like a national chamption here, but we don't care. I think she looks sad because her mother passed away yesterday. RIP Emma.

Little Lydia catches some 'Z's on the other sofa. She learned to be lazy, so quickly, and she only ate 3 pairs of glasses this weekend, so she has time to spare.
Lydia even is getting a bit of a sunbeam for herself.
Fergus prefers his little bed, he likes tight, cozy spaces.

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