April 2, 2012

Autumn and spring merge

A tiny rare wild Gladiolus species from the Cape of South African, Gladiolus alatus blooms in a small clay pot, just as the pot of bulbs is almost ready to go dormant for the summer. A little slug damage on the petal does the flower no hard beyond its appearance.
When one has a greenhouse,  the seasons seem to blur, both figuratively and literally. As southern hemisphere plants push toward their autumn, northern hemisphere plants start their growing year. Plants that come from areas where there is only rainfall for a short time, such as South Africa or Chile, the differences are more extreme, with many bulbs and other geophytes blooming either at the start of the rainy season, or at the end of the rainy season. The South African bulbs fall into these two categories, so collector greenhouses like mine often look best right at the beginning of the 'rainy season' ( i.e. the hose in fall" or at the end, when many bulb plants seem to send up their last hurrah. 

Purple Rain

Helleborus x hybridus 'Heronswood Black Purple Strain'
These are the days when in just one week, the entire garden can change seasons. One day, a tight bud, the next day if the temperatures rises to 70 degrees F., they may open, - by Friday, when I return from work, the entire process might be over - so I am trying to take more moments to capture this little moments - such as when a helleborus, with nodding, slate blue dark blossoms dangle at mouse-height requires me to lie on the wet ground with a fish eye lens to get that bumble bee view. It does look so much nicer from this angle!

April 1, 2012

April Seedlings, Sowings and Showers

The sweet peas that I started last month are getting large. They have just been pinched back to two sets of leaves, in prep for being transplanted into the garden next weekend.  ( I know - I may have over done the sweet pea thing!).

Last night the temperatures dropped to 31 degrees F. which may be the last nip of frost for the next week here outside of Boston, so I have moved some containers back outside from the greenhouse to make room for my annual spring cleaning inside. We host a garden party the first week of May for the American Primrose Society, when they have their show near us at Tower Hill Botanic Garden, and I never seem to make enough time to clean the greenhouse during this horticulturally busy time of year - this year I hope to get the greenhouse looking spiffy.  Today I was able to clean under two benches, stack some clay pots and sweep out half of the greenhouse.  I filled a dumpster with junk, even though I try to not use plastic, it just seems to grow when you have a greenhouse. Empty bags of sand, old flats, potting soil bags, labels.... enough plastic to fill a landfill - it's disgusting.