Monday, March 6, 2017

More Spring Emerges

What a difference a week makes! I just posted pictures I took last Sunday, and yesterday there was an entirely new batch of flowers and much more growth. I managed a little cleanup, as well, since it was such a gorgeous day. I also snipped a few branches of forsythia to force at home the rest of the way. Now the bug has officially bitten and I'm ready for spring to actually arrive.

The hellebores are all growing well, and blooming just in time for their nickname, Lenten Rose, to ring true. 

All of the hellebores seem to love the "high shade" of our shade garden, and we try to add new varieties every year. Their blooms droop down, but they are worth a closer look. They are also a long lived cut flower.

A yellow crocus I found blooming out in the lawn.

While I was strolling, snips in hand, I stopped to cut out all of the old hellebore leaves from last year.

Now the new growth has plenty of room.

The tulips in the vegetable garden are getting taller and taller.

Some of the latest to bloom are just starting to push out of the soil.

More crocus blooming at the edge of the lawn near the front bed.

The vibrant blue 'scilla siberica' is beginning to bloom beneath the old tree out front.

And in the Hydrangea Border a lone white crocus pushes up through the frond of an evergreen 'Autumn' fern.

Also in the Hydrangea Border are lots of daffodils already budding out!

As are the Hydrangea themselves. Now this makes me a little nervous as we lost all of the hydrangeas but three in a frost years ago. It is definitely getting cold this week, so I am hoping for the best. This weather just tricks so many plants!

Peonies are pushing up!

And more daffodils are very close to blooming

The appearance of the miniature iris, or iris reticulata, are always a welcome sight. I can't wait to see what's blooming next!

Friday, March 3, 2017

Spring is Springing

Everyone is talking about the Early Spring we are experiencing, and though I am ready to get back out in the garden, I do worry about what this means for the planet. Some meteorologists are predicting the famous cherry blossoms in D.C. will bloom two and a half weeks earlier than normal, and trees all over the South are leafing out about 20 days earlier than normal. I think this all is cause for concern. I love growing my tropical plants, but I would prefer to keep growing them indoors in the winter.

A few days ago I took a stroll around the garden. Everything is, indeed, up earlier than usual. I need to look back and see just how much earlier. Enjoy a few pictures!

Some of the primroses are already in bloom.

 Out in the vegetable garden the parsley and chives are greening up.

And in all of the vegetable beds the hundreds of tulips I planted last fall are pushing up out of the ground.

I planted early, mid, and late season tulips so we will have a continual show while vegetables planted from seed grow up in between the rows of flowers.

I really am so excited about this.

An old, wee little hyacinth pushing up.

The forsythia is ready to burst.

I love bringing home some branches of the bright yellow forsythia.

I have a lot of pruning to do in the Berry Patch, and the gooseberries are already leafing out.

More daffodils and surprise lilies in the neglected southwest quadrant of the perennial garden.

And proving spring really is a bit early, I picked some daffodils to bring home. The first of the year!

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Checking On the Tropicals

On Sunday I had time to do a little check up on all of the tropical plants stored in the "Winter Garden" during the cold months. Everything is doing well, and if March continues like mild February we may move everyone out before Memorial Day.
It's only been about a month since all of the figs were moved inside, and they have all leafed out and a few have begun fruiting!

Another fig growing on last year's growth. An early spring crop of figs on old growth is called a breba crop.

All of the figs look healthy.

It's a blurry photo, but we now have two papayas growing on the tree. Hopefully we will have more!

A 'Ponderosa' lemon bloom. All of the citrus is blooming and they smell so sweet.

More new growth on the figs with a lot of last year's leaves in the pot. I can't wait to get all of the tropical plants back outside for the summer. I think this year I might be able to get the banana to bloom!

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Moving The Figs Inside

In previous years the figs had moved into the "Winter Garden" with all of the other tropical plants at the end of summer. This year there wasn't quite enough room at first, so they moved into the garage for a true dormant period. Usually they end up losing their leaves even in the warmth where the tropicals thrive, so I wasn't too worried when the leaves began to fall. Last week I realized we should probably move them in, however, since the days were getting longer and the sun might actually pop out of the clouds one of these days. Maybe. I hope.

Here they were huddled together. They were watered infrequently and really just left alone. Some major pruning needs to happen so we can get control over some of the leggier branches. These were all either brought home from South Carolina, or sent in the mail from Logee's in Danielson, CT. I'm excited that I just might have a chance to visit them in person toward the end of March. I need to plan on how much money I allow myself to spend at their greenhouse.

A wee bit of green at this leaf bud.

And even more signs of growth here. In other years the figs almost always began leafing out the week after the solstice, triggered by the longer amounts of sunlight, I suppose. Hopefully everyone will be showing even more signs of growth in the next few weeks.

Saturday, January 21, 2017

One Project I've Been Putting Off

Now that we are coming up on a year on South Calhoun I'm getting around to finishing some things I've been putting off. Aside from still sorting through the few boxes that are stashed discreetly under my bed, I have been putting off painting all of the doors that face the hallway. Initially I was worried about painting any of them, but after Contractor swiped a roller over the laundry door I realized I should go with my gut and paint them all. White trim be gone!

I accomplished the door to the bathroom on Wednesday night. Hopefully this weekend I can finish the front and bedroom doors. And then, just maybe, my closet...

All of the baseboards and window trim in the apartment had been painted the first go round. We should have just continued. The white trim on the bathroom door has just begun to be painted.

The pantry door looks so great (after a few touch ups). Here you can clearly see how the white trim stands out against the Bedford Gray walls.

One down, two to go!

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Surprise in the Winter Garden

On Thanksgiving I went into the "Winter Garden" where most of the tropical plants are stored for the winter (actually the smallest bedroom at my mom and dad's house that happens to have a giant south facing window) and noticed that after almost a year and a half the papaya tree was blooming. I instantly read up on papaya reproduction and was quickly discouraged that I might have a male or female tree rather than a self pollinating tree. I took a cotton swab and sort of exchanged pollen between the flowers (I'm not sure if this really made any difference) and low and behold a month later there was definitely something growing!

Now if only my citrus would follow this growth spurt!

The creamy white flowers on the papaya tree. It always surprises me when plants start to grow better inside rather than during their time outside in the summer.

About a month later and there is clear growth, I think we are well on the way to having at least one papaya to harvest in several more months. Maybe a few more will appear by then!

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Beating Winter's Chill with Houseplants

Now that Christmas is packed away and the apartment is somewhat back to normal, I took a few minutes to check up on all of the houseplants. I've discovered that ferns and begonias love South Calhoun. I'm not sure if it's the floor to ceiling windows allowing great natural light, or the fact that they face east instead of west that has made this apartment so hospitable, but either way everything seems to thrive like never before. The light is so great, in fact, that a little angel-wing begonia has been growing on my kitchen counter far from the windows since I moved in, and a rosemary plant brought in from the garden is doing quite well on the kitchen island. Rosemary once had to fight for a spot in the south facing windows at the Penthouse. On South Calhoun everything just sort of grows wherever I place it.

I haven't tested bringing the citrus home for the winter, but maybe next year. I mean, if there's enough light for the rosemary there should be enough for a little lemon tree. I just made a visit to the "Winter Garden" at my parents home and brought home two orchids who have new spikes. I'll share those as soon as they bloom.

I recently potted up two stephanotis vines into one large pot I painted Bedford Gray. They seem to be thriving with much more room to climb as well as spread their roots.

Staghorn ferns seem to love growing in my bedroom. They are still in pots, but I would like to mount some and hang them like true "trophies". The fronds look so much more impressive that way.

A lovely, nameless begonia I rescued from the frost.

There are quite a few angel-wing begonias, including this 'Fannie Moser'.

'Fannie Moser' and 'Medora', another angel-wing, tucked into a faux bois container on my desk.

Another great staghorn fern in another faux bois pot. I love how the gilded frames and brass and mercury glass look against the dark gray walls.

In one of the bedroom windows my Southern magnolia patiently overwinters, He, too. looks wonderful compared with last year.

His leaves are still quite glossy, with brown fuzzy undersides. My bedroom makes me think of rooms in Charleston, so it's fitting to have this Southern beauty sharing the space.

Even in the windowless bathroom enough light is filtered in to make this Rex Begonia 'Dark Mambo' thrive. Unless I have an orchid or flower arrangement in here, this begonia is on the counter.

My biggest experiment to date is going on in my closet.

Three camellia plants seem to be surviving. I don't have the proper potting mix, but the unheated closet (if I keep the door closed) is the perfect place for them as they need night time temperatures between 35 and 60 degrees in order to bloom.

I don't know what will happen if they do survive. I don't have room for them to get too big. I found a great source for camellias earlier today that I might go a bit crazy if these guys survive.

Back in the living room with all of my green (and my little aloe) is my newest medinilla.

Malaysian Orchid ('Medinilla Myriantha') is right next to my Medinilla magnifica, which I have succeeded in reblooming once. Hopefully I can get this guy to produce the drooping umbels of light pink flowers they are known for.