February 28, 2015


The lily of the valley that I dug and potted in October is now in full bloom, and oh so fragrant. Hyacinths and nice, but lily of the valley takes ones mind deep into mid-May, and with snow as deep as it is around here in the Boston area, it really helps one cope.
As most garden blogger do during the late winter, I am going to share some of my seed list with you. I was reminded (and inspired) by my friend fellow garden blogger Dee Nash from Red dirt ramblings who listed the seeds she is ordering for her Oklahoma garden and greenhouse, and then when one of my designer friends asked me if I would share my list, I decided that it might be worth a short post.

February 21, 2015


My potted  collection of alpine bulbs greets visitors this weekend at the Tower Hill Botanic Garden first annual Spring Flower Show. 

It's a feeling one gets when you are bundled up, your face hurts from the frigid wind but your eyes glimpse a site - it's "oh, thank GOD" colors of the William Sonoma catalog.  With icky, brown snow and icy grey icicles reaching to the ground, regardless of ones religion or nationality the tones of robin-egg blue and pale pink  - the commercial tints of the Easter season sooths us, or at the very least, it provides a bit of hope that this 'arctic vortex' might actually come to an end.

We humans are fickly, though.  Spot Halloween decor in late August and we Facebook about it. Catch the first glimpse of red foil Valentines hearts before Christmas (really - another red holiday?) and we groan, and God forbid if we see Christmas wrap in September, or better yet - Back-To-School supplies in July - see this and all Hell breaks lose on Instagram and Twitter,  but something happens to us when we spot those soothing tones of 'preemy' Peeps, custard yellow Kitchen Aid mixers and pale blue Cadbury eggs. I feel that big business has not capitalized enough on the value of what I call 'seasonal hope'.

But then... we stop into a supermarket after a long day of work to find something for dinner and our noses note a specific scent - 82% Diorisimo, 15% dirt - and 3% bunny piss - but 100% spring. Not so deep within each of us we are reminded that:  yes, we are still human beings. 

Hyacinths can do that.

February 19, 2015


 Even just 5 bulbs of Iris 'Katherine Hodgkin' makes a scene. Bred in the 1960's it's a cross between two rarer small iris, I. winogradowii and I. histriodes, both delightful choices to force if one dares to risk ruining their bulbs ( I prefer them in the garden) but 'Katherine Hodgkin' is easy, and relatively available - it just sells out early in the catalogs.

The snow here in the Boston area is insanely deep, the icicles are nearly 15 feet long, and connect the roof gutters to the ground, and although I am tempted a bit to snowboard off of our roof into a snow drift, now that we are back from New York, I am focused on the bulbs I have been forcing for a mid-winter flower show, being held this weekend at the Tower Hill Botanic Garden (you MUST come visit it, as nothing will lift your spirits more!).  I've talked them into regenerating the classic winter bulb show, very much like the way most spring flowershows began in Boston, Philadelphia and New York in the mid 1800's - it's in their DNA to to sponsor such an event, and I have so much hope that this event will inspire others to grow and enter plants during the winter months.

Even though I knew that I wanted to force many plants for this first of what I hope will be an annual show, I just didn't realize,  back in October when I started potting up bulbs, that this last week of February would require me to be traveling (New York Toy Fair and Westminster Dog Show). This is a critical time when one is forcing different types of bulbs, as timing can become tricky - snowdrops rush ahead as tulips need care, when coaxing them into bloom, small iris can burst into flower within a couple of warm, sunny days while the rarer muscari slug along hoping for a sunny week of 70º weather in the greenhouse. Needless to say, it's been a challenge to time everything to bloom on a single Friday.

Click below for more!