April 1, 2012

April Seedlings, Sowings and Showers

The sweet peas that I started last month are getting large. They have just been pinched back to two sets of leaves, in prep for being transplanted into the garden next weekend.  ( I know - I may have over done the sweet pea thing!).

Last night the temperatures dropped to 31 degrees F. which may be the last nip of frost for the next week here outside of Boston, so I have moved some containers back outside from the greenhouse to make room for my annual spring cleaning inside. We host a garden party the first week of May for the American Primrose Society, when they have their show near us at Tower Hill Botanic Garden, and I never seem to make enough time to clean the greenhouse during this horticulturally busy time of year - this year I hope to get the greenhouse looking spiffy.  Today I was able to clean under two benches, stack some clay pots and sweep out half of the greenhouse.  I filled a dumpster with junk, even though I try to not use plastic, it just seems to grow when you have a greenhouse. Empty bags of sand, old flats, potting soil bags, labels.... enough plastic to fill a landfill - it's disgusting.

No...really, this is clean now! I just need to re-gravel the floor with pea stone. Not very exciting for a photo, but notice the neatly stacked clay pots under the cyclamen plunge bench in the back! Nnnnnniiicceee...

Difficult to grow annuals, such as Mathiola ( Stock) are thinned by hand, plucking out the extra seedlings to leave only one plant per cell ( no transplanting, for these tap-rooted annuals will fail if transplanted. If kept outside, ( and moved indoors if heavy frost threatens, they grow best, preferring cold, fresh air thus avoiding fungus diseases like 'damping off' which can destroy these fussy annuals in a day. 

Stock are fragrant annuals rarely seen grown to perfection, since they hate being transplanted. These are young enough that they can be carefully slipped out of their cells into prepared holes this week. Once outdoors, they grow sturdy and tight, and with a 10-30-20 liquid feed, they will bloom by mid May.

The Dog's Tooth Violet, Erythronium dens-canis white ( I think, because E. albidum has yellow anthers, right?) blooms early in the ephemeral garden. Ironically, this part of the garden was essentially destroyed over the past two weeks by a puppy that we were fostering ( don't ask! - I lost hundreds of dollars worth of plants - but not the Dog's Tooth Violets....why is that? (Canis buddies sticking together, I guess.).

Heirloom garlic grows quickly in the springtime, these were planted last October.

Viola 'Tiger Eye's in the alpine bed. I added a few to add to my 'Californian Coastal garden motif' Thank you Home Depot for getting a few of these mixed into to the regular yellow pansies!

Corydalis solida, one of the many color forms I have, blooming in a tangle of bamboo ( Sasa vietchii) that has spread throughout the Corydalis bed. In the next few weeks, I will need to carefully remove these Corydalis, which grow from bulbs, so that I can dig out the nasty bamboo - which I love, but, one can only have so much Sasa.

Many tender shrubs which are marginal here, ( but not in Oregon or northern California) are moved out from the greenhouse as soon as the coldest weather is gone. These can handle light frosts, but not a hard freeze. If the weather shifts, I will just need to haul them back into the greenhouse ( it's like my gym).


  1. I don't know. Your greenhouse looks clean enough for me.
    What on earth are you going to do with all those sweet peas? I'm imagining you have some sort of wonderful Victorian contraption for them to climb over (don't disappoint me!).

  2. LOL. Kaveh, this was AFTER I cleaned it! You don't think that I would show if before! Thanks for the note!

  3. Anonymous8:18 PM

    I smiled when I read your comment about hauling the plants in and out being you 'going to the gym'. I have used that idea so many times when justifying the time I spend doing the same here in the Washington D.C. area. Why do we always love the plants in the next zone so much?

  4. nice garden, I do really want to have greenshouse too. but unfortunately I don't have enough space to build it :(


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