April 29, 2010

Meyer Lemon season ends, and begins

In this time of great transition in New England, when every tree and garden plant is either blooming or starting into new growth, I thought that I might take a break and focus on some tropical activity. At least, with what is happening in the greenhouse.  I've grown lemons since I was a young child, when I ordered my first citrus to grow as a house plant, from a Park's Seed catalog. In those days, in the early 1970's, the idea that one could grow citrus fruit indoors seemed very exotic, yet today, it is less fanciful. Still, if one was interested in growing citrus in a house, or greenhouse, there is perhaps no better plant than the Meyer Lemon. A fact which I just recently discovered.

My one, small Meyer Lemon has produced well over two dozen fruits this winter, and it has provided us with fresh tasty and juicy Meyer Lemons ( a taste which is sweeter than typical lemons, said to taste more like an orange) for use in tea and cooking. I have to admit that I am addicted to their sweet flavor, which I would describe as tasting more like an orange blossom, they are incredible to pick and smell during the winter, when I run out to the greenhouse after a snow storm, to pick some for tea. This tiny crop has lasted us all winter, and there are still a few left on the tree, even though it has started to bloom already. This past weekend I moved the plant outdoors so that the bees could do their thing, ensuring a new crop for next winter. Now, I can use the rest of the lemons with our newly harvested honey, and make believe that we are the luckiest folk on earth!

Busy week this week, few posts due to us hosting the American Primrose Society National Show social events, which start tomorrow with a cocktail party and dinner at the house, and then the national show at the Tower Hill Botanic Garden on Saturday and Sunday. If you live in the Boston area, drop by at see the show, it lasts from Saturday at 12:00 noon until Sunday evening.

April 26, 2010

Gold Lace Primula

This Primrose is not rare, but it is more unusual in American gardens.Highly esteemed by British Primulaphiles, this ornamental primrose has a strong base of enthusiasts who strive for perfection with such things and a perfect gold edge that splits each petal, so that the blossom looks as if it has 10 petals and not five ( which this does), a good distribution of color that is nearly black (which this one has) and a thrum pistol, and not a pin ( oops..) (crazy American!). Pins and thrums are a constant worry of real primula enthusiasts, for in England, if you enter a pin flowering primrose in a primrose show, it is automatically disqualified ( a pin plant is one where the pistol extends out of the tube, see my flowers above). In England, these plants would be burned, or at least, banished to the far corners of the garden as punishment for not being perfect. 

Here in America, we worry less about such natural things, and who knows, I may even enter this in our National Primrose Show this Friday. Oh, wait......John Richards the Primrose expert is coming here for a cocktail party on Friday, I had better hide it!

April 25, 2010

Taking time to enjoy spring, and to work like bees

Most any weekend in spring is busy. I love it when I get notes from some of the plant societies which I belong to, since they all seem to understand how precious weekend time is. They usually start with " Matt, I hate to ask you for a favor during gardening season, but..." This weekend we have been getting ready for a big party next weekend, when we host the National show for the American Primula Society. We host an opening night cocktail party and dinner for all out-of-town guests, and if you ever saw what out house and garden really looks like, you would understand how crazy we can get cleaning up!

This weekend's to-do list was long enough, but there are alway detours to be expected, baby ducks need tending, a big box of bulbs arrived Saturday from Brent & Becky's Bulbs with 150 Galtonia bulbs, 200 Anemone coronaria and 100 Ornithogalum  bulbs, all which needed immediate planting since they were starting to sprout. 
Ornithogalum saundersiae bulbs waiting to be planted.

And then, there were the bees...