March 9, 2014

Vizcaya Palace: Connections and Crossroads

A limestone urn with a brilliant, giant bromeliad, Aechema blanchetiana, of which there are many named varieties, each grown for it ability to develop a strong, coral color in the bright, tropical sunshine.

Last weekend I had the opportunity to take a couple of days 'off' in Miami, Florida,and while not a vacation, I can't lie and say that it was all work. The truth is, I was invited along with 5 other bloggers by Troy Bilt, to help create a community garden as part of their involvement with the Keep America Beautiful program, of which they ( and Lowes)  are a corporate affiliate of, as both corporations are sponsoring partners. The two and a half days were filled with tours, product updates, dinners and some fun, but mostly we all worked on planning this community garden, a venture which somehow all connected once I discovered the amazing connections which exist between Vizcaya, Florida's agricultural history, and with some incredible people who we met at our Keep America Beautiful project. In the end, it's all just another story about America, about it's many connections between people and a crossroad of cultures.

Read more, please click below:

March 5, 2014


A hybrid Japanese selection of Primula malacoides with wider petals and a more colorul eye. This strain from Sakata Seed, is more floriferous than wild collected seed, but each have their qualities, be they delicate and twiggy, or full of blossoms and fragrant.

How about some fragrant primroses to take away some of these winter blues? OK, it's snowing again today here, a soft, gentle snow, the sort of snow that if this was November, we would be humming Christmas carols and thinking about the Holidays - but it is March, and with night-time temps dipping just below zero (-2 last night), I think we all deserve a little primrose therapy. Here are a few pics of various types of greenhouse primroses that you can try growing in a cool room, or on a winter windowsill in your home.

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March 2, 2014


Even though I am still ordering seeds, I am beginning to sow some that need an early start. At this point in the process, I need to organize seeds by the germination requirements, or I risk missing an important date, such as, when to remove a tray of Cuphea seeds from the fridge, or when to subject Tropaeolum seeds to 40º temperatures.

Even though I started ordering seeds in late December, there are still many to be ordered, but suddenly it's March 1st, and I am a little late with my seed sowing, so it's time to catch up. I did sow some little treasures in January and February that needed a good, head start such as  pink heirloom Italian Cardoon, some snapdragons and even some florist Gloxinia ( Sinningia speciosa), which are so hard to find anymore. Along with some onions, heirloom red celery and leeks, that's about it for seeds sown by Matt so far. Most of these need warm soil temperatures (above 80º F) in which to germinate well, but now that they are all up nd growing, I've relocated them to the cooler greenhouse, which makes room under my lighting system for more trays.

Click below for my list: