}

January 6, 2012

Uncommon Home Grown Citrus

MANY CITRUS MAKE EXCELLENT WINDOWSILL PLANTS, IN MY GREENHOUSE, I KEEP ABOUT TEN TYPES, HERE ARE A FEW.
As a teenager, I was a bit of a nerd ( which I've been thinking about lately - see end of post). Not really into competitive sports, nor other typical teenagy stuff like comic books, music or pop stars; I was the sort of kid who instead of asking for a motorbike, begged my parents for money to buy a lime tree from the Park's Seed catalog ( circa 1972?). The idea that one could grow citrus indoors fascinated me for all it delivers - fragrant flowers, yummy fruit and a cool houseplant. Like many things, this was not always true. A popular book at the time had step-by-step methods for growing your own citrus from seed, ( something that I see even today suggested on other blogs), but although a great way to get children interested in plants, the truth is, most, if not all citrus from seed will not bloom and bear fruit for many years. So unless you child plants to take her citrus to college, and then to her first home, the reality of real fruit from a seed-raised plant is unrealistic.

January 2, 2012

A Sunny Winter Day in the Greenhouse

WITH OUTSIDE TEMPERATURES EXPECTED TO FINALLY DROP TO BELOW 10 DEG. F, A BRONZE COLORED CYMBIDIUM ORCHID ENJOYS A SUNBEAM ON A JANUARY SUNNY AFTERNOON IN THE GREENHOUSE.
Of the many pleasures one has in keeping a greenhouse in New England is the ability to garden during those months when snow is deep, and outside temperatures are far below freezing. It may be frosty outdoors, but underglass - in a t-shirt- I am muddy and filthy in the good way - with hand pruners, loppers, rakes and hoses. I actually prefer gardening in January in the greenhouse more than a June day in the garden. With the scent of almond and jasmine in the moist, green-smelling air, physical labor under glass in ones own greenhouse is one of the most memorable experiences. I have to admit, even as a snow-lover, with no snow this year, this sure beats shoveling snow! ( Lest we forget - last January).

I began my two weeks off from work ( the first full week I took all year), with a long to-do list, and naturally, very little from that list was accomplished. I was never able to get the greenhouse properly prepared for winter with a wrap of bubble wrap inside of the glass, so I do hope that this mild winter continues ( although, 8 deg. F tomorrow!), but I never really expect to get much done on these staycations. I just let each day dictate what needs to be done. 

January 1, 2012

Exhibition Flowers - Why not grow the best?

JUDGES FROM THE NATIONAL SWEET PEA SOCIETY EVALUATING SWEET PEAS IN ENGLAND AS PART OF THE RHS WISLEY TRIALS. LEARNING WHAT VARIETIES OF FLOWERS TO GROW AND GETTING THEM DIRECTLY FROM SPECIFIC PLANT SOCIETIES OFTEN IS THE BEST WAY TO OBTAIN THE NEWEST CULTIVARS.

 photo by  the talented photographer IanJmase ©All Rights Reserved/Flickr

Have you ever wondered why annuals that you buy in the spring in those plastic 6 pacs look so perfect? Why those pansies you buy are covered in flowers,  so green and lush with nice, dense growth?  Growers know that only annuals with flowers on them will sell, that short, dense and bush looking geraniums sell first. Most spring bedding plants are drenched in growth hormones, root stimulator's and are varieties selected primarily for their performance on the sales bench ( i.e. in flower when you buy them) and not for how they perform in your garden. We all deserve more, right?