March 22, 2014


Although winter prevails outdoors, under glass, there seems to be no holding back spring. This Primula x Kewensis selection is a very nice one - I can't believe how many flowers it has open at the same time.

I can't believe that I haven't posted in a week, that's just not like me, but I've been busy preparing for a new position at work, which I am pretty excited about. I can't really say much about it, as it's just one of those more secret positions again, but it involves futuring, and my new title will be imbedded innovator.  It does mean that I will have a new office in downtown Providence at Hasbro's new building, with lots of windows and light, which means that I can have plants, so that part is very exciting!

I thought I would share some images from inside the greenhouse today, as even though the official first day of spring happened this week, as many of you know, much of the country is still deep in the clutches of winter, at least, we are here in the North East, with another snowstorm predicted for this week. This is the first year that I can remember, where our Witch Hazels have not bloomed yet, nor crocus, or even snowdrops - the ground is still frozen solid. I suppose that it is good for the plants, since often here in New England, it's our early thaws and then sudden cold, that kills many plants. Hopefully, once it melts, things will remain that way.

Lachenalia species and some hybrid selections are the current show stoppers in the greenhouse at the moment. This bright yellow one in the center is one which is easier to find in fall bulb catalogs - it's one of the Lachenalia 'African Beauty' series. As easy to grow as paperwhite narcissus, I believe. 
Click below for more:

This Lachenalia, or Cape Primrose is a selection of Lachenalia aloides v quadricolor with more colorful flowers, and mottled leaves.

Some Lachenalia aloides have very little red or orange in the blossoms.

I am deep in the middle of seed sowing and repotting in the greenhouse, and the potting bench must be cleaned off daily, so that I will have enough room for seed trays. 
The sand plunge beds with alpine bulbs are still blooming, even this late in the season. Typically, most of these small bulbs from South Africa, Turkey and South America are finishing up their season by now, yet this year, many are just showing flower spikes.

Here is a view you rarely see, as I just cleaned out the back upstairs bedroom where we were storing my 100 year old fathers clothes, furniture and bedding. It now serves as a guest bedroom, and my seed starting room, as well as offering a new view of the greenhouse. Yes - that pane of glass is still broken and missing. Curved glass sucks.

Many seeds are still under lights upstairs in this bedroom, such as Celosia, Asters, Peppers and Eggplant - everything that needs warmth and bright light in which to germinate. Some individual germination chambers house more interesting subjects, such as these florist Gloxinia seedlings, Sinningia speciosa.

Back in the greenhouse, this specimen proves why many cool-growing annuals thrive in the conditions provided by a winter greenhouse vs. being grown in the garden outdoors in the summer. A self sown Salpiglossis shows robust and lush growth, something that never happens around here with our summer heat and humidity. Next year, I will just sow new Salpiglossis in August for winter greenhouse pots and display, they way they used to raise them in the 1800's.

A stiking Kalanchoe flower, which has been in bloom since January, when it was gifted to my by some horticulturist friends from Blythewold Mansion and Gardens in Rhode Island. I sort of like it, for a Kalanchoe!

I know, I am jumping all over the place here, but there is much to catch up on. These Vireya, or sub-tropical rhododendron cuttings are taking root in some Guy Wolff pots. There is nothing like an alpine yellow or red rhododendron in full bloom, and they love the cool temps and moisture under glass.

Lastly, I just had to share these - some prickly mounds of Abromeitiella species, or Deuterocohnia, a small, mound forming bromeliad popular with collectors of cacti and succulents. Don't you  love their mounding effect?


  1. Looks like Blithewold gave you a piece of their K. fedtschenkoi, my favorite.

  2. Oh to have a greenhouse. Love the Lachenalias and the Abromeitiellas. How long have you been growing vireyas? I've had mine for about a year and a half. Only 2 are mature enough to bloom.

  3. Beautiful photos as usual. Nice to see that it's spring somewhere in New England! I do have a question for you, though - in your post you said that your potting bench needs to be cleaned daily. Does that mean that your out sowing seeds/repotting every day plus you have a full-time job? How early do you wake up in the morning! :)

  4. Seeing all that color is such a gift for these color-starved eyes of mine! Even though I just got back from Georgia and visiting Plant Delights and Longwood gardens to come home to feet of snow still on the ground and knowing it will be weeks & weeks before anything is flowering here. thanks for the fantastic photos!!

  5. Hi Matt, I was wondering if you could give me some information on your greenhouse. I have searched your blog but can't find the specifics. My sweet husband has offered to buy and erect a greenhouse for me, but I am flummoxed on what size to purchase. He thinks 8x16, but I think that would be too big for my needs. Could you share what type, what size and whether you are happy with your current greenhouse?Thank you, Heidi

  6. Heidi, I have been working on a post that discusses the entire process of building our greenhouse, but actually I forgot about it ( I had started it a few months ago). Feel free to email me privately with any questions you might have, and in the mean time, I will try to finish that post! How exciting!


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