April 24, 2012

Planting Those Summer Projects

Various succulents await potting up into a large, rusty urn.

A few posts back, I listed some of my summer projects. The list is growing longer than I originally intended, which is typical with me - a little obsessive am I. There is always so much that I want to do, and yes, so little time. I find it so interesting that more often than not, the first thing people say to me when they meet me in person is " I have no idea how you make time to do all that you do!". The truth is, I don't make the time, and I often take on too many tasks, too many promises, and too many special projects. Seeing that my parents were always the same way, I think that it is genetic. Little sleep, lots of coffee, and early mornings are the key. Oh yeah, practicing a close to 100% whole food plant based diet,  and running every day helps! Here then, are some of those projects that I've started this weekend.

Succulents can be planted close together, but I did not have enough, so although this looks a little weak, I guarantee  that it will fill in by summer, once the heat arrives.

A little boring right now, but this will fill in by July. I never know what to do with these old urns, but this has always been my favorite pattern to set out, a dome of succulents in interesting colors and forms.
Many of the summer blooming bulbs have arrives, these Tuberoses must be planted in long tom pots early, and kept in the greenhouse warm, until they sprout. Be sure to get clumps from a reputable grower, these have small roots, and multiple noses. I am using my 1805 gardening book as a guide on how to grow these once very popular fragrant bulb plants. My source? Caladiums 4 Less.com. The finest, I think, as they grow them themselves.

Tuberose bulbs are planted mid depth into the pot, with enough root for their strong roots, and enough height to support their tall stems, which can reach 4 feet in height. The pot must be deep enough to hold a sturdy cane, which will be wired in the 1805 method. More on this project later.

A new variety of a classic topiary plant, Anisodontea, or Cape Mallow, has been allowed to grow vertically untended for a few months in the greenhouse. Untended, so that I can steal some cuttings from the side branches before I begin to train it. These adventitious branched must be allowed to mature a bit before striking for cutting material, so that they won't wilt once out on their own.

My friend Abbie Zabar, a garden writer and artist living in New York has re-inspired me to grow more ( and taller!) topiary. I am not sure that mine could ever be as fine as her terrace full of Rosemary and Olive trees, but it's something to strive for. Her fine book THE POTTED HERB, is worth searching out on rare book sites, or sometimes on Amazon, is a wonderful guide ( she wrote and illustrated it too!).

These Anisodontea cuttings are dipped in rooting hormone powder, and placed in a propagation tray, which will be placed on a heating mat. These cuttings will root in a couple of weeks, as this is an easy plant to propagate, and soon, I will have  a dozen plants.

A Giant Caladium bulb from ( wait, did I forget to tell you about my big caladium project too?) the site Caladium Bulb-4-Less (yeah, bad name, awesome nursery - trust me!). This is one of their colossal bulbs, and it is about ten times larger than any Caladium bulb I have ever seen. I bought 50 ( I know, I know).

These Caladium bulbs were so large, thatI would only plant one per 10 inch pot. These need warth in which to sprout, so the pots are kept in the greenhouse for a month.

Lastly, my Chrysanthemum order arrived from Kings Mums. About 50 varieties this year, ranging from miniature Bonsai Types, or gnomes, to the largest late blooming football types, and giant spider forms.  These arrive as rooted plugs, which must be potted up gradually. I am using 4 inch pots for the next few weeks, until they are pinched, and repotted into either the garden for the summer, again, using traditional 19th century cultural methods, or, into large clay pots for training.

Some of my Mums, waiting to get their first drink. I keep the tags that they were shipped with on the plants, until I can make my own tags up. With the upcoming Primula Exhibition in two weeks, my talk to the New England chapter of the North American Rock Garden Society this weekend, and then, travel to Cambridge for my work team-building off-site next week, my schedule is a little tight! Happy gardening folks!

1 comment :

  1. Can't wait to see how that succulent planter looks in a couple months.


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