February 15, 2014

Garden Blogger's Bloom Day, February 2014

Potted Camellia's are the star of the February greenhouse. Inside, a somewhat toasty 60º F, outside, a blizzard blows fierce, once again. At least the propane delivery man was able to make a delivery today. I am stuck indoors, sipping Jasmine tea, making soup stock, and ordering seeds. Things could be worse.

I almost forgot about today being Garden Blogger's Bloom Day, a themed special post that is shared with many other blogs - but thanks to my friend  Kathy Purdy, I was reminded by her post, before it was too late to take any photos out in the greenhouse. Here are some shots from inside the greenhouse on this very snowy day in central Massachusetts, and a few from inside the house.

Snow slips off of the greenhouse, and piles up on the alpine bed. Something I need to monitor, incase the snow reaches the curved glass. I frequently need to shovel out the snow along the foundation, so that it does not drift.

For more photos from today's snowstorm and flowers, click below:

A Cyrtanthus cross, still a mystery cross, yet who really cares, as  it blooms for me every year.
Known in South Africa as the 'Fire Lily'. it's coral color warms even the coldest
heart on this day after Valentines Day. 

Primula malacoides seedlings, or the Fairy Primrose -  just beginning to bloom. An old florist plant which is not that common in the market anymore, but I like to grow it as it for nostalgic reasons. I am hoping that these young plants grow larger, and they may, since they are making great strides in growth, even during this dark, cold, winter.

I positioned a few flowering plants onto one of the back benches, just to photograph them. The light quality is pretty poor today, with heavy snow sliding off of the glass, but you can still appreciate the two orange flower spikes in the back. On the left, A Cyrtanthus x elatus and on the right, a Clivia x Cyrtanthiflora Group, which means that it is an interspecific Clivia with blossoms that are similar to a Cyrtanthus species. Clearly, so.

A single spike of the Australian native Dendrobium specioum. My specimen has about 8 spikes this year ( I have not counted yet. This species can grow very large, and even though I am growing it in a 24" orchid basket, I may need to have a basket custom made soon, as it is outgrowing this container. 

Another view of this enormous Dendrobium specioum.The foliage is a little damaged from sunburn, so there will be no hauling this beast to an orchid society judging weekend any time soon! I think I may move this plant next week, to a more central location in the greenhouse, where I can enjoy it at eye level. This is an orchid species that can handle cool greenhouse conditions, so it does very well in my greenhouse.

 I had to climb up onto the potting bench to take the photo of the Dendrobium specioum so I thought that I would share this view looking down onto the back of the greenhouse.

February is Camellia season under glass in New England. Here are a few varieties that are in bloom on this snowy day. Maybe I will pick a few to bring across the street to Elenore who is 89. It can be her Valentine's gift.

Here are some rarities for the serious plant collectors who might be reading this post. On the left, a deeply rooted summer dormant plant from the Caucasus, Asphodelus caulks. Its pink lily-like blooms are closed on this overcast, snowy day. On the right, is a pot of a rare Scilla from Greece, Scilla aristides, which makes a nice alpine house subject.

In my kitchen, I arranged a few pots of begonias and potted bulbs, along with a Clivia x cyrtanthiflora Group
plant on the gravel. Feels like spring, even though it doesn't look like it outside.

The Magnolia stellata branches that I picked to force for my fathers birthday party, finally bloomed this week. I really didn't expect them to open on time, and their grey, fuzzy buds looks nice in the larger arrangements of forced branches, but now that they are opening, they are fragrant and so nice, brightening up the house on this snow day.
Chicken Stock, Lentil Soup and Corned Beef - it's a day for cooking! On the shelf, seed trays enjoy the heat.

My home town of Worcester, MA is, well, let's just say that I wish I lived in Vermont and not in a struggling mid-sized city sometime. But one of the best things about living in this city is the rising ethnic diversity, in particular, the new Asian community, which comes with some incredible Asian restaurants and markets. Today, Joe wanted some Asian greens with chicken stock, since he was fighting off a cold he caught while on his trip to Westminster Dog Show earlier this week, so sent him off to our favorite Asian market in the city.

He returned with all the ingredients which at one time we could only get by heading out back to one of the coops, and slaughtering a few ducks and hens. In the large pot stews cut chicken backs, fresh chicken and duck feet ( yes, I  know, but they will add the collagen so necessary for an unctuous, gelatinous soup stock) and a pickled turnip.  Oh - notice the seed trays on the shelf? I started some Gloxinia ( Sinningia speciosa hybrids) and some Lisianthus. Both requiring 75º F temps for germination. They will go under lights set to 15 hours of daylight once germinated. Any shorter, and the Glozinia will form tubers too early.


  1. I love that Cyrtanthus, and the Cliva. Oh, since you liked my little vireya, check out this tender rhody, Rhododendron dalhousiae var. rhabdotum: https://www.google.com/search?q=rhododendron+dalhousiae+rhabdotum&espv=210&es_sm=93&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ei=k-__Uo6fCej70gGumIH4Aw&sqi=2&ved=0CDYQsAQ&biw=1366&bih=643

    1. I can share the Cyrtanthus if you write me personally. I divided it this year, and I may be selling some or doing a give away soon.

  2. I just found your blog and I am speechless. It is one of most beautiful gardening blogs I have ever visited. I am amazed that you have the time to have a greenhouse, which s a dream of mine.

    1. Thank you so very much! Everyone tells me that they don't know how I have he time, but somehow, I guess I find it! Although, I am ALWLAYS complaining about not having and time! Thank again, and welcome!

    2. Thank you for taking the time to blog. Your blog inspired me to take out my camera and take photos of cardinals in the snow. I had been wanting to do this, but decided to just get to it with my telephoto lense which I had not used in ages. Your photos belong in a gallery. Very European like in many ways and yet they have your signature all over them. Perhaps you should do a book of your photos.

  3. How do you heat and to what temperatures, your greehouse? I know camellias like it cold.

    1. Hi Ellen, I heat with LP gas, not the most efficient, but it is what it is. Passive solar during the day helps after mid Feb., as there are many large tubs of plants, and open soil on the floor which begins to augment the gas around this time of year. I also have a little electric heater for use during January and early February, since the greenhouse is so high, and low, that it can freeze near the foundation, especially when temps drop at night to well below zero F. I keep most of my camellia's outside until temps become very cold, below 25ºF, in late Nov. I then relocate them into the greenhouse, where the tubs sit in the coldest areas until buds open up. I want to try some on our front port starting this year, as it is just a simple, if not ugly glassed- in porch on a 1920's house, so it might provide some inspiration to others in New England/New York who might want to try Camellias and who do not own a greenhouse.

  4. Thanks for leaving a message, I am so impressed with your beautiful greenhouse and all its contents! You have so much colour there, if you didn't see your snow outside you would think it was almost summer! The little primulas are so pretty, we have something similar, Primula sieboldiana (I think!) which are hardy here and grow in woodland situations.

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  6. hopflower10:44 AM

    I don't care that I live in California. I still want a similar greenhouse.

    It is just too beautiful.

  7. Wow! A beautiful greenhouse!

  8. You have so much snow! We've had snow all winter which is most unusual for my state. However, it melted, and we now have mild temperatures. The wind is fierce and cold, but it's nice anyway compared to this winter. Seeing your greenhouse is a breath of spring. I can only imagine it must smell good in there. I bought a simple climbing Jasmine topiary yesterday, repotted it and put it in the greenhouse mostly for scent. I'm enjoying mine so much.~~Dee

  9. Hi, I'd like to know the name and location of that favorite Asian market you mentioned, would you please share that info?

  10. Alex R.12:27 PM

    I just found your blog and I'm so excited to read and learn more. I love, love, LOVE your Greenhouse! I consider myself a gardening novice still but I hope to one day be a master! I'm down in Dartmouth, MA and noticed you (and Margret Roach) will be at Sakonnet in July. I hope I can go!

  11. Your greenhouse is full of beautiful treasures. I, of course, was drawn immediately to the stunning native Aussie Dendrobium. They are magnificent looking Orchids when they're in full bloom and yours is a perfect example of that. Loved those two rather special plants, the Scilla and the Asphodelus. Not plants I've ever seen, but the exquisite blooms on both are beautiful.


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