When I think back to all of the 'first day's of spring' that I've experienced, today really seems no different - I mean aside from the fact that we had the warmest winter ever recorded, after the coldest and snowiest winter ever recorded last year, and that now we are buckling down for a late winter snowstorm tonight, it's all good!
Most of my time this week has been spent in the greenhouse, with only a few crops planted outdoors - parsnips, peas, lettuce, the typical cold weather crops are sown, and this late snow won't hurt them one bit. I am glad that I have resisted relocating some hardier plants outside for a few weeks (camellias and rosemary), as a few more nights of 18 degree weather are sure to arrive. No worries, under glass, things are keeping me busy enough as garden planning continues with more seeds to sow. I don't know about you, but I am still ordering seeds, and have barely started ordering plants yet - just a little late, I guess. maybe this is something I can do if we have a snowday tomorrow?
Yesterday, I had the pleasure to give two talks to the Connecticut Master Gardeners association - a pretty incredible turn-out, with about 350 attendees - and both of my talks were sold out, which kind-of made me feel a bit like a rock star. I spoke about old-fashioned vegetables - forcing Sea Kale, Rhubarb and Chicory as a winter crop, and various stories about the history of vegetables. I think the crowd liked it, but it wasn't something that I would typically talk about - so I was up late the night before making tweaks to the presentation, so I am pretty tired this Sunday. What a great group they were, and what a terrific event.
|Just in time for Easter next week, I spent the morning washing eggs from our chickens and ducks. Aren't the colors beautiful? We may not have to color any this year.|
Sweet Peas and other rare Lathyrus and Species
It's high seed-starting time here, as I assume it is at your house too. I know that I forgot to mention that I am raising a collection of lathyrus species (flowering sweet peas - yes, but not specifically the cut-flower sweet peas we are more familiar with like the Spencer varieties, as I am also collecting the species - many of which are currently being used in breeding,many of these have interesting colors such as green and yellow). I've found about a dozen species from three sources, as well as a few from some specialist collectors. Sure, I am raising regular English Spencer varieties as well, but not as many as I have in last years.
The Survival Story of my Tropaeolum hookerianum ssp. austropurpureum
You may remember the post from around Christmas, when I knocked a pot over of a rare tuberous nasturtium - a blue flowering species recently described? It's always the rare plant, right? After the stopped swearing, and arranged the segments and parts on the potting bench the new shoots on one side, and the separated tuber on the other, I decided to not throw the entire mess away, but to just reassemble the pot as best as I can. I figured, what do I have to lose? Besides, maybe this happens in nature -a rock slide or an animal disturbs a bulbous plant, and sometimes things all work out.
|One of the blossoms on this violet colored Tropaeolum hookerianum. I am hopeful that both the tuber and the stem have survived, and the good news may (must) be that the stem has rooted in the pumice, and produced a secondary tuber.|
Thankfully, they have. And although I don't have a vigorous vine tumbling amongst the branches with violet blossoms, I do have a pathetic little shoot that has not died, nor hardly grown in 3 months, deep in a big old plastic pot, but it never died - AND it has produced a few flowers. So, I am rather thrilled.
|This alpine Vireya (rhododendron) was a nice subject for my new lens. SO, here is what it looks like when I take a photo with my old camera......|
|...and this is the same Vireya with my new camera an lens. (18mm - 135mm) Canon.|
|Japanese chrysanthemum cuttings - gnome types and cascades, rooted in February, have just had their fast pinch.|
More about the Dendrobium Speciosum Monstrosity
I have to show this plant one more time, even though it is far from perfect or award winning - otherwise I would have brought it down to the Philadelphia Flower Show or to the New England Flower Show. Orchid societies and orchid growers are very selective about the plants they accept in exhibitions, and this one although impressive with its fourteen spikes and 6 foot plus stature, it has some sunburn on its foliage, and some damaged leaves. I really don't care about that though, it is absolutely spectacular this year. So, bear with me as I share a few more photos of this magnificent specimen which is native to Australia - and, one of the worlds largest orchid plants.
|A detail of the Dendrobium speciosum|
Dendrobium speciosum selections are difficult to find, probably because they are so large growing, so here in the East, they are less common than they are let's say, in Western collections. Most of these Australian native species are cool greenhouse orchids, so they should make useful cool house plants, if you can handle the size. That said, there are many smaller cool-house dendrobium from Australia that you can try. IN particular, the many crosses with this species and other dendrobium. Check out the selection at Santa Barbara Orchid Estates. That's where I ordered the young plant of this one.
|If I counted every orchid blossom, I wonder how many corsages this would make for Easter? If people still wore orchid corsages on Easter.|
|An Edgeworthia continues to bloom, in the greenhouse. I really enjoy this Asian shrub, but the akebono variety is really nicer, with its orange and yellow blossoms.|
|What's this yellow flower on the floor?|
Jasminum 'Revolutum' Surprise
So, here was a surprise today. I vine which I have barely noticed for a couple of years, is blooming, and I wouldn't have even noticed it, if I didn't look down and spot a single, yellow blossom on the ground in an aisle. Jasminum 'Revolutum' or Jasminum humble. A vine which I planted as a cutting a few years ago ( from Logee's). I knew that I smelled something jasmine-like a couple of weeks ago, but I could not find the source. Little did I know that it was 12 feet above me.
|The mesclun is up and growing already, even though it is just past St. Patrick's Day. These are being raised in a cold frame, so tonight snow should not hurt them.|
|Irish Terrier Puppy shot - puppy number 3! They're getting super cute, but off to their new home in a couple of weeks.|
|Doodle (Daphne), rubbing her back on the boxwood - like her father Fergus used to do. Just what a want, a boxwood-scented dog (actually, I like the smell of boxwood).|