Tuesday, June 10

Bringing Out My Dead (But Maybe They're Not Dead?)

Ever since I read Kristin Green's "Down to earth - bring out your dead" post, I've had Monty Python quotes running around in my head... which is never really a bad thing.  It's funny that she went that route, because whenever I find new things sprouting in the yard, I've been calling out Steve: "Look! I'm not dead!" in my best Python impersonation.

There are quite a few plants that are still on the fence this year about their Dead/Not Dead status. These poor brugmansia 'Charles Grimaldi' cuttings spent the winter sitting in a jar of water after I took them home in the fall: 

Two not dead, one dead, one maybe dead: Brugmansia 'Charles Grimaldi' cuttings
All of the smallest cuttings bit the dust over those 5-6 months (!!!) and I potted up the rest in the urn this spring. The little guy on the left didn't make it, the leafy one in front is doing well, and the other two lost any leaves they have but have resprouted since... so there's still hope for them.

Definitely dead are the cannas that I tried to overwinter in a big pot in the garage.  After weeks of looking at this...

... I dug around and found a few clumps of mushy corms. I'm not sure whether they were overwatered in the garage, or whether the couldn't take the bitter cold, but I will definitely go back to digging them out for dry basement storage next year.

One plant I'm REALLY not sure about is my 'Sky Pencil' Japanese holly.  It actually looked okay for most of the winter, but come early spring, the leaves started to turn brown:

There are still a few green sprigs throughout the plant, though, and the base looks like this:

I think that the plant is still alive, because there are even some new green leaves at the very bottom. So the question will be: If the branches all (or mostly) died back, will I want to cut it back and wait it to get back to its current 4ft height... in another decade?  Right now, I'm thinking no.  So I'm still in wait-and-see mode.

Since I don't like to end posts on such a negative note, let's go through a short list of things I thought were dead at one point, but which aren't:  'Concord' and 'Himrod' grapes, and my 'Brown Turkey' fig that overwintered in the garage with the cannas.  It took a while for the fig to leaf out... but here's proof that it's "Not dead yet!"

Did your garden have an easy winter this year?  Or did you lose a few favorite plants, too?

Friday, May 16

GBBD May 2014: Latest. Spring. Ever. Or is it?

It's been chilly and rainy for the past few days, and it really feels like the few nice spring days we've had were a total tease. Because of that, I originally titled this post "Latest. Spring. Ever." 

And then I went back through May Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day posts of old... and discovered that the outside plants are actually NOT really that far behind. The purple allium that I posted last year are just starting to open, but everything else is pretty much on schedule. 

Even the lipstick plant - whose flowers are resting amongst baby jades in the pot below it - is blooming right on cue:

Elsewhere in the house, the Meyer (Improved) Lemon keeps putting out fragrant blooms.  And the crazy phaleanopsis orchid shows no sign of slowing, either. Check out all these buds:

Of course, the blooms are beautiful too. Especially backlit in the morning sun:

Back outside, the little species tulips are just a memory. But the fancy tulips - like "Hero" and "Queen of Night" - and all of the lamiums are starting their show:

I haven't seen blooms on my peach tree just yet, but both cherries have bloomed. (I only hope that this cold spell isn't bad enough to spoil my chances for fruit!) The red currant that I cut back in the fall is sulking, but the other current is more than making up for its partner's funk:

It may be hard to see the "flowers" in this picture... but I always take a close look when they're in bloom. I find these little clusters oddly charming:

And that pretty much covers everything that's going on here for Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day. (Except the 2 trays of annuals that I had to move into the house... but I'll save that depressing sight for another post!) For more of what's in bloom around the world, check out Carol's May GBBD roundup over at May Dreams Gardens.

Thursday, April 10

April Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day: New Beginnings

Yes, I'm a little early for April Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day... but the coconut orchid is blooming, we have taxes to do this weekend, and I just know I'm not going to sneak in a post otherwise. (Hey, I'm usually late, so maybe this can make up for a month or two!)

I am particularly excited about the coconut orchid bloom (above) because this is the second time I've grown Maxillaria tenuifolia - and it's the first time I have overwintered it successfully! I'll be sharing my trick in a later post.

Phaleanopsis orchids are much easier to overwinter, but it's been particularly fun to see this one start blooming. I had to stake the flower stalk (which has been growing since December!) and the flowers seem all topsy-turvy as a result.

A tiny pot of peperomia, which I nestled on the window sill between orchids to give it some humidity - and so I would remember to water it - is also blooming. Perhaps to show its appreciation?

Speaking of tiny... assuming that all continues to go well, we will have another tiny thing to care for in September.  Baby M is due around September 11th, and has kind of thrown a wrench (a very welcome wrench!) in our plans to put the house on the market and move this spring.  :-)  So I have decided to embrace the garden again for one more year... and to resurrect the garden blog as well.

For more of what's popping up this April in gardens around the world (and maybe outside of gardens, too!) check out Carol's Garden Bloggers Bloom Day post on April 15th.

A quick note, to round out my GBBD: It's too early for anything to be blooming outside here... Lake Erie keeps us fairly cool in the springtime, and it's been a long winter! But I do have tulip and paperwhite foliage popping up in the yard, and my Meyer (Improved) Lemon is also blooming in the dining room.

Thursday, October 17

From Traditional to Tropical: October Foliage Follow-Up

As always, visit Pam at Digging for more of this month's fun foliage posts - and to share your own!

It's a mixed bag this month for the October Foliage Follow-up!  I have everything from late season vegetables:

A golden variety of Swiss chard
To forgotten-in-the-summertime plants that reveal themselves in themselves in fall's slanting sunshine:

Glossy-leaf European ginger
Grape hyacinth foliage and the last of the coleus
'Little Zebra' dwarf miscanthus
To the hot foliage of tropicals (like this red cordyline/Ti plant) that are bright enough to put the tree leaves to shame:

Okay, I'm currently in love with this cordyline and I can't pick just one photo to share... so here are a few more:

Soon, the cordyline will have to come inside, joining the other tropicals and non-hardy succulents on a windowsill:

Mother-of-thousands, tillandias and orchids
A close-up of one of the current crop of "thousands"
The cordyline might get a few companions this winter. I have a dish of rescued tillandsias that are taking up too much valuable space on a pedestal... surely a few of them can be tucked into the cordyline branches?

The green air plants are rescues from a trashed tillandsia ball... but the fun red tillandsia is my souvenir from Naples this spring!
Speaking of my winter plans, has anyone started moving in their plants yet this fall?  If so, do you have any space-saving hints on combining and displaying them in your house?  I--I mean, a friend of mine--could always use a little help in that department... ;-)

Wednesday, October 16

Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day - October 2013

Most of what's blooming around here in October... was also blooming in September! I don't think that I got a good picture of my ivy geranium last month, so I decided to lead off with it this GBBD:

It's been blooming off and on all summer, in spite of my neglect and lack of feeding. The silvery foliage behind it is helichrysum (aka licorice vine) and they're both planted beneath a tree yucca of some kind. All too soon, I'm going to have to figure out what to do with all of them for the winter.

But for now, I'm enjoying the bright pop of color provided by the last of the honeysuckle vines against the blazingly blue fall skies:

The berries (above) are definitely something new.  The vine is covered with them, and it's kind of fun to see the berries and flowers coexisting.  Since the pyracantha (aka Firethorn) blooms just once in the springtime, there's no chance to see blooms and berries together on it.  But the berries come in so thickly that there wouldn't be much room for the flowers anyway:

Their orange color reminds me that my blue-pot cannas are both still going strong.  Here are a couple of nicely backlit (in the early morning light) shots of the orange one, blazing above silvery-blue 'Berggarten' sage:

Last but not least, the waxy bloom cluster of a hoya.  It started blooming outside and had to finish up its show indoors:

Pretty soon, indoor blooms are the only ones I'll get to see.  But in the meantime, I'm enjoying the last blast of fall!

For more of what's in bloom around the world, check out Carol's October Garden Bloggers Bloom Day post.