Thanks Bixa,I don't know the name of it yet. I need to do some more research. I'm doing quite a few cuttings at present and will present them on here soon. To be continued. I'm knee deep in playing catch up with work.
Good for you BJD!! I trust it's the gorgeous blue plumbago you are referring to. As long as you have good root ball on it it should be ready for take off come springtime. The foliage may crap out on you but a good haircut should remedy that in no time as I'm sure you already know.
Casi, the man broke most of the roots trying to get it out of the ground, but there are a few left. And the plant also had a "haircut" since we had frost and he had cut it back, the way his wife used to do when it got cold.
But, yes, it's the gorgeous blue plumbago. I just have to find a sunny enough spot in my garden.
I have many,many aspirations for the garden this year. The biggest chore being the severe pruning I have to do,and soon, all the citrus trees. I would like to do some reconfiguring of some of the pathwys. Making room for another small water feauture in order to put in a lotus. The list is long... Something to aspire to indeed.
I have no hope of any garden, but yesterday I remembered to take the pot with the daffodil bulbs out of the bottom of a cubboard. A couple of them seem to still be viable. Normally, I only think of that cupboard when I see daffodils beginning to bloom shockingly early in Paris. The cupboard isn't even in my apartment but in the corridor leading to it (but I use it as though it belonged to me). So now the pot is on my kitchen windowsill, and we'll see what happens. About half of the time over the last 5 or 6 sad years that I have tried to nurture the pot, the bulbs only grow leaves but no flowers. Perhaps for once that I am not late, I can hope for a few blooms this time.
I am moving to a place with teensy outdoor space. While I'm happy & excited about the move, the plant cull will be dramatic. Also, I'm not sure how much sun will hit the patio. Right now there are a few hours of sunlight against the house wall in the afternoon, but it's a covered patio, so I'm dubious about there being enough for my beloved succulents.
I am so sorry to hear this Bixa. I know how much time energy and love you have expended in acquiring and caring for your succulents and cacti. I hope you find an appreciative home for them or perhaps you can sell them to a market plantsperson? I know Oaxaca is home to many, many ferns and their allies from reading Oliver Sacks treatise on them.Frankly I was surprised initially to learn of this as I have always associated ferns with moist humid climates. I look forward to hearing more about the new courtyard and what wondrous things I know you will do with it.
Casimira, thanks so much for your comments. Sorry for not responding sooner, but there's a bunch of stuff going on in my life right now, as you can imagine.
Right now I'm trying to figure out what I must keep and have already set aside enough plants to completely cover every inch of the new patio & then some.
Because of the differences in altitude in this region, there are areas that stay cool and misty, so would be fern country indeed. However -- and you've heard me whine about this a lot -- where are the blasted ferns (& salvias) for sale?! I have exactly two ferns that are a little out of the ordinary. Actually, I have to remember to post them here in the hope of an identification. One makes plantlets on the edges of the fronds!
Re: climatic variations in the region -- Once you climb high enough above the valley, you get up into the pine line where there are worlds of bromeliads. That's from whence much of that stuff sold at the Christmas markets is untimely ripped. I've also seen small plots of calla lilies being grown in sunken, presumably damp areas way up in the mountains.
I will be sure to photograph the blank canvas & record the changes I make. Be aware, though, that we're talking about a plain covered rectangle.
I do so look forward to seeing the blank "canvas" and your transformation. I've seen and always marveled and admired your horticultural ingenuity and savvy and have no doubt you will create an inviting space to spend time in with your dogs. As much space as I have here I sometimes pine for a smaller courtyard type space which would make me feel less overwhelmed and daunted at all the tasks seemingly constant at hand. I love the sound of that fern and would love to see it and help ID it. I simply adore ferns, always have. One of my first house plant experiences as a young girl was digging up some ferns growing in a wooded area near our home. I potted them up to put in my bedroom. My mother saw them and she explained to me that they would likely not survive in those conditions. I was crestfallen to say the least. Best of luck with your new and exciting endeavor and do keep us posted!!
Another year, and, yes, new aspirations. What with the recent "polar vortex" and the devastation it caused, it was/is in a way a blessing in disguise. A lot of work no doubt, but, I view it as Mother Nature's way of pruning. We haven't had a hard freeze for quite some time,and subsequently, many of the major tropicals never went dormant let lone die back in any way so,it's been a real jungle out there. And so, one of the plans is first off, to get rid of the greenhouse,it is taking up too much valuable space,, and, I don't use it nearly as much as I used to. My tender, tender, tropicals, a collection of orchids has dwindled significantly, and I don't grow as many plants that need that much pampering. Anything that precious bring inside the house or cover. The bananas, gingers, and aroids will resurge. The plumerias are iffy. All that angsting and last minute hauling, fretting, just isn't part of my current gardening state of mind. The greenhouse is being given to a young enthusiastic couple who are currently renovating a fabulous house with a huge lot and will really appreciate it and use it wisely. In exchange, I have arranged an exchange of services both ca provide us,, she doing some upholstery work and he some minor contract work to the shed and other small projects that would be costly were we to have to contract someone outside.
So, the open areas will be devoted to less ornamental plants and more edible sections; a larger vegetable bed, more herbs, a couple of new citrus, in particular a new Persian lime, a Key lime, a new fig cultivar and should we decide to get rid of the opossum blood orange "cafe/trattatoria", something else, perhaps a papaya or mango. We have time to decide. I simply would like to have a garden that has many more edible plants, being blessed with the climate that we have to grow them in.
After basically no winter this year -- but lots of rain and damp so that there is moss everywhere, I pruned my rosebushes yesterday since they were already sprouting, even though not all the old leaves had fallen off. I felt bad cutting off the new growth, but better to do it now than in a month or two.
Most of my neighbours are shocked that I prune my roses so early -- they usually wait until March, but I figure the roses will survive even if we get a cold spell.
I think your roses will do fine BJD. I'm about to prune my way back. They are so resilient. Although, there are some cultivars that call for pruning at certain times of year, in particular, the one time blooming hybrids. I've never had a rose of any cultivar die on me because of pruning or shaping. Some may yes, delay the time of bloom, but, again, those are mostly the fussy types of hybrids. Pruning with new growth evident will not harm the rose, they are that hearty. I think that a lot of people rely on local garden expert/advisers more heavily than people who know from past experience what has worked for them, therefore, your neighbors reaction to what you seemingly know what you're doing. We, the sage gardeners know what to do and when.
It seems that the deer have been pruning our roses all winter long so all I will have to do is a little aesthetic shaping in the spring.
Since we are creating a homestead from scratch, I have a lot of work to do this year. The bare root fruit trees are arriving soon (Montmorency cherry, Dabinett cider apple, Comice pear) to join what is already in the orchard - Lapin cherry, Ashmead's Kernel apple and Italian plum. I'll be gathering the volunteer blackcap raspberry canes and planting them together. We'll plant several fig trees and see if the deer like them or not. If so, they'll all have to be fenced.
Our vegetable garden will not happen this year, one more year to go before we get the fence up. This year is gathering and enriching soil for the future.
I'll be starting all my seeds soon. I still have some rose seed and lavender seed from my honeymoon in France that I will be willing into germination.
Soon to come: photos of my homemade seedling starter box…
Oh,it sounds so exciting Lizzy!! I would so love to be able to grow all those fruit trees here. And, most especially RASPBERRIES!!! I'm looking forward to seeing your seedling starter boxes.
You are wise to get the soil preparation done before impulsively planting. I can't tell you how many clients of mine think that one can just put in a garden without soil preparation. It's maddening!! We are particularly fortunate to live in a section of the city where the soil is fabulous, Delta silt.And, the gentleman who lived in our house before us raised pigeons so we have all that fabulous pigeon guano in the soil. Many parts of the city have almost solid clay that is impossible to grow anything in. I do amend religiously as I am a rabid composter, make my own manure tea with rainwater, and compulsively mulch with pine straw, oak leaves, and cypress. I am really grateful that we don't have a deer problem here. My mother in NY battled them for years and it's only got worse over the years.
Our biggest nuisance is the opossums and raccoons.
Casimira of all people will know how avidly & wistfully I am reading the most recent posts in this thread.
What a wonderful & rewarding decision getting rid of the greenhouse turned out to be. Can't wait to hear about/see how that area will now evolve. You certainly know what you're doing, but let me just say two things: papaya = equals eight gazillion seeds, of which at least 550% will sprout. Mango = gorgeous tree, luscious fruit, HUGE tree.
Bjd, I so admire people who aren't afraid of pruning & who wind up with happy healthy plants instead of attenuated, black mold ridden stragglers. The pictures of your roses certainly are the proof of the pudding.
That does sound exciting, Lizzy! Did you have to bushhog parts of the property, or was it pretty well tamed? It sounds as though it was loved for many years, to still have bearing trees in the orchard. Bring on those starting box pics!
We've had such a terrible water shortage for so long that even my succulents are suffering. I'm getting burnt out on trying to just keep things going & knowing they're not thriving. I'm not looking for sympathy, just wanting to say how much vicarious pleasure I get from reading the adventures & aspirations of all the gardeners here.
No, Bixa, we started the orchard ourselves last year. I think this year we'll get some blossoms and it will be heartbreaking to have to pull them off, but we should let them establish one more year.
I think a long time ago I posted this picture of what we started out with a few years ago: blackberry thickets. Three years of mowing, selective spraying and grubbing out weeds, and we have lawns. Besides the deer, our biggest problem are the sweet little bunnies. I love them so much, but they eat my lupins and chew the bark off the new trees.
We have some of the best soil on the island, but it's very sandy, so we'll be gathering a lot of poop this summer. And of course, no gardening in earnest until the well gets put in this spring.
I feel so guilty for having dumped out a full rain barrel as I want to use it for composting. (It's real close to the house and convenient). We of course, have the two giant bins in the back forty.
Lizzy, so much work!!! Might you in the meantime do some large container gardening to sate your desire for fresh veggies, herbs etc.?
I know all about blackberry brambles.... A somewhat funny story; there is a small community garden in my neighborhood. Members pay a small annual fee and are given an allotment. One year, a young woman acquired a plot and planted several blackberry bushes. Then, she neglected it. The woman who runs the garden so to speak, was beside herself, and diplomatically was able to come up with a solution to oust her. Most of the regular members had to do the work of eradicating the by then rampant brambles. Pure ignorance....
Yes, I think blackberries may be one of North America's most successful invaders. Eradicating them has not been fun; we're still digging out rootballs that are larger than loaves of bread. But right now my main enemies are nettles and thistles. We have no fewer than six varieties of thistles, some 5 feet tall.
I have been doing containers. I have a broken wheelbarrow bucket as my herb garden, and I have my nursery: pots in which I am starting all of our perennial landscaping plants from seed. When we're ready to decorate in a couple of years, I'll have the aforementioned 50 or so lavender plants for my provençal garden walk, roses, columbines, berry bushes, lupins, honeysuckle, whatever else catches my fancy this year.
I really hope that everybody else who gardens on this thread posts pictures. I think it would be fun to see what all the different climates produce. Maybe I'll start a June - Northern Hemisphere Gardens thread.
It's just a little too early here for me to have garden dreams. The first dream usually comes to me some night in late February or early March, and I am walking in my own garden that looks nothing like our ramshackle garden, more like a mini-Sissinghurst. In the dream there are wonderful early plants in bloom, and I marvel at the work I supposedly have done (when?)and am thrilled at so many exotic and special plants. And everything is SO beautifully arranged. Weeds? What are they? This is perfection. I must be quite the gardener! Or is it possible that I now have a garden staff? Please, don't wake me up.
The reality is that once our dog died and we began keeping our cat indoors, small animals started to wreak havoc out there. I have to keep shrubs in cages. I have to plant bulbs in wire cages and dig big holes to bury them. We have to cover blueberry and raspberry plants to keep the birds from getting the fruit. I set out traps that catch nothing. Deer get through the electric fence. Rabbits even come up on the porch and shuffle past me while I'm eating my lunch there. They think I'm St. Francis of Assisi.
I love my garden and I miss it. For years I thought of myself as a good gardener, and I hope to get that feeling back. This thread has started me thinking that this year I want to find my flower garden again. Many of the plants are still there but the whole thing is very overgrown. There used to be a path through it that I now can't find. I need to whack things back and re-establish a path. I need to dispatch moles and voles and chipmunks and groundhogs and rabbits. I want to fill in the gaps, replacing the special things I've lost to desecrators. Things like the Patty's Plum poppy, hellebores, clematises...it's too painful to think of what's gone.
Maybe this is the year I get back to the Phila Flower Show, which is a burst of color and humidity at a time of the year when I need both.
Other people's ideas and work inspire me. I'll be interested to read what everyone else is doing.
Wow, are they gorgeous or what! Maybe you could crop the photo a bit and bring up an even larger photo of them? Breeze, I wish you lots of good gardening weather this summer and hope you get so full of enthusiasm it rubs off on us Small jobs become a little larger and before you know it you will have that Sissinghurst garden! I might suggest you persuade a friend or relative or even hire a student to get you started and make a bit of a difference.
I can't tell where you are situated (country) but down here in sunny South Africa we are experiencing the hot February weather and luckily have had quite a few thunder storms, patches of light rain and drizzle, to keep things alive. Currently I am waiting for a crop of Asian Long beans to appear. Flowering at the moment. We dug up a few spuds which although mottled with brown spots (?) were delicious. Only a bucket full. Most of the spinach and other veg has come to an end but my lemon tree is coming into a huge crop of juicy lemons so that will be good for a while.
As for flowers...I noticed a new hibiscus bloom and still have a few roses appearing each week. One of my cactus just put out two yellow flowers - (photo in What's in bloom). Pity it only lasted a day and a bit. Now with winter approaching I will be clearing the vegetable beds and turning in new compost until August when we can start planting again. This year I will leave it all up to my gardener as I hope to be in Europe between September and October. Hopefully there will be a pleasant surprise when I get back! Well, those are my garden aspirations!
Breeze, do the deer eat the baby iris? Just wondering, becaause I've been told they will eat any bulbs except for daffodils, which are the only ones I've planted so far. I'm going to start some saffron crocuses in pots this year. Maybe in 20 years I'll have enough for a paella.
Is the Phila Flower show in PA? Is that where you are from?
Lizzy, I do now remember that you talked previously about the challenges & hopes for your homestead. Yes, please -- a thread on the progress would be so interesting. I had no idea that blackberries were invaders. I always thought they were native to N.America. Gosh, you all really got the all the fiends of rampant weed plants!
Breeze, I loved reading your dream of perfection, a version of the one we've all had while piled up on the sofa in winter reading garden catalogs. I also loved reading the reality, seeing through your eyes what's there & what needs to be done. Those blue iris are too wonderful & so interesting in their difference from the "flags". Are those violets growing next to them?
Tod, it's so great hearing about your garden & the way it encompasses beauty and comestible abundance. I read this thread for the vicarious pleasure, as a former US seasonal gardener. Learning about your seasons adds a welcome extra dimension. You wrote:
I can't tell where you are situated (country) ...
Note that you don't have your country in your mini-profile either!
To all who'd like to put a location in their mini-profiles: Profile> Edit Profile> Personal> Location (5th item down, right below Gender).
There are N. American blackberries, Bixa, but these are Himalayan blackberries, much more pernicious than the natives. They crowd out everything. We destroyed our blackberries in spring 2011; in August we had carloads of people show up with buckets, hoping to pick the bounty from the vacant lot they had returned to year after year. I was disappointed for them, but not too much.
I'm in Pennsylvania, east coast USA, up in the hills where our growing season is supposedly May 10 through October 10. When I read about what you can grow in South Africa and Central America, I wish for gardens on both sides of the equator so that I could have endless spring and summer. I don't want much, do I?
Lizzy, these little bulbs are right next to the house and have never been eaten. Deer are pretty ruthless eaters, but I think you are right about daffodils being safe. Not much is, in spite of what the experts say. I thought deer would not eat kale, but once they got hungry enough, they did.
Lizzy, you also are lucky in your climate. The Pacific NW is the closest we can come to the English climate here in the US. My favorite mail order nursery is not far from you--Forestfarm in Oregon. We have many tall trees we bought as saplings from Forestfarm, costing around $10 each.
I do have a peon that I think will be available to help in the garden this year. He would rather grow vegetables, but I think I can divert some of his energy into garden renovation.
Ah Breeze, I am not so far removed from your locality having driven the whole length of Pensylvannia! Yep! that's what we did but of course probably never came through your way... You could always do a home-swap...We never have, but might be in for one this year. With close friends.
Breeze, I know Forestfarm, I haven't ordered from them yet, but they are bookmarked!
Yes, we're lucky with the weather here, but on Whidbey Island the temperature is generally 5F degrees cooler than the mainland all year long, so we have to be crafty with heat retention. Fortunately, we do not get the freezes that most of the rest of the country gets in winter, so it balances out. You will take some pictures this year, won't you? Even of the "unimproved" garden. I find it fascinating what Nature accomplishes in trying to fill a vacuum.
And rikita, I think you are forgiven for last year's lack of concentration. You were busy!
So, here are the seeds I've put into my starter lightbox. I contructed it one afternoon from foil-faced rigid insulation, duct tape and an old wire shelf found in the basement, together with 2 full-spectrum compact fluorescent bulbs from the garage. Tadah! Didn't cost a cent. Started today: 2 kinds of lavender, 2 kinds of rugosa roses, columbines, 2 kinds of poppies, comfrey, hollyhocks, sweet peas, nigella, alpine strawberries.
(It is actually blindingly bright in there, it just looks rather shadowy because of the contrast).