Monday, March 23, 2015

Update from the Arctic Hinterland

I've been looking at other bloggers post on their early spring flowers, spring clean up, mud season. Up here, North of Boston, we're still firmly in the grip of winter. At this time of previous years I've had crocus blooming.

This year I can't see the Hellstrip where I've planted hundreds of crocus bulbs.

These, tucked up near the house in a rare bare spot, are TRYING to come up.

You can do it!

Well, maybe in a week or two more...

The snow is starting to recede in places, mostly up against the house and along the driveway.

Here's an unknown plant making a run for it. I can't even see what's near it to try and remember what I planted there - you're seeing basically from the edge of the house to the edge of the snow field.

Right by the front door my always early Aquilegia 'Little Lanterns' is starting to show. Those early bloomers got to get started as soon as possible. When these bloom you know it's time to have your hummingbird feeder up.

Of course the receding snow is also showing signs of damage.

I don't think this holly is going to be nicely shaped this year. It should be quite a bit taller than it appears now. I guess I'll have some "rescue and recovery" pruning to do once the snow finally melts. [note the leaning gutter behind the shrub? Guess what The Husband has to repair once the snow finally melts?]

And my matching dwarf golden threadleaf cypress (Chamaecyparis pisifera) are sporting matching damage.

The plant should be growing up in this picture, not sideways.

In this image "up" on the plant is to the right. *shudder*

I think I'll be replacing those this year. They bracket the front door. I'll have to think about alternatives for those spots...

When is spring arriving this year? 

I visited my mom in NC last week. She sent me home on the plane with a lone daffodil in my hand. Thanks, mom. I need that on my desk this week! I won't be seeing those in MY garden for a while yet.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

New Anthurium

My regular local source of fresh eggs got a new job and is no longer convenient. My back up options (farm stands) are all closed for the winter. BUT a local garden center has a Winter Market in their greenhouses. Local meats, home made breads and local eggs. So we drove half an hour to pick up some eggs.

Did I mention it's in the Greenhouse? 

I love visiting greenhouses in winter. But I'm often feeling so deprived of green that I end up buying houseplants. 

I'm kind of full up of houseplants right now. So I swore I wouldn't buy any.

I only came home with five. And two were small.

Today, however, I'm only going to post pictures of my new Anthurium. I've been having problems with my Anthuriums this winter (probably low humidity and I recently found mealy bugs. NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO) so I swore I wouldn't buy any new ones until I figured out the problem.

Yeah, right.

Then I saw this beauty.

Gorgeous purple flowers. Yum. And a slightly pinkish purple, different from my other purples.

The flower age more pink.

Still a nice color.

AND she's pregnant!

It's too bad (ha!) I don't live closer to Mr. Subjunctive. If I did I'd constantly be dropping off plants and seeds in the middle of the night. This would be one of them.

Of course he'd probably figure me out and in turn drop off plants at my house in the middle of the night and I'd end up with a house full of over 1000 plants like he has so maybe it's good for both of us that we're not feeding each others addictions.

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Winter Interest

I know some gardeners like to talk about winter interest in their garden. We've gotten over 100 inches of snow in about a month. My idea of winter interest is... well...

I'm interested to see if our dog figures out that the fence is proportionally low enough for her to get over...

I'm interested to see how much work and/or money it's going to cost to repair the damage from the leaking roof...

I'm interested to see if the gutters stay on the house or if the ice dams are strong enough to pull them down...

Most of all I'm interested to see how long it will be before the snow is gone and I can even start to THINK about planting my vegetable garden... It's under there. Somewhere.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

The Problem with Snow

In case you've been living in a hole - Boston (just down the road from me) has had it's third snowiest winter on record this winter. And most of that has been in February. I've got about 4 feet of snow on the ground in my yard right now.

The bit of plant to the right is part of a four foot tall Pieris 

Even our fuzzy dog is tired of it. 

But what problem is this causing to my garden? It's causing a problem that I'll have to deal with in April and/or May.

I'm still getting new catalogs from mail order companies.

I've ordered too many plants.

Because of the snow I'm not getting out of the house as much as normal. So I'm stick inside, bored, and longing for some green. And I've got this great big stack of catalogs on my desk. 

Add to that the fact that my garden looks like this...

and I can't exactly go outside and look at the garden and notice where the empty spaces are or where I could possibly tuck in  a new plant. I think I've ordered about 2 or 3 plants for each space.

Oh, look. I haven't ordered anything from the new High Country Gardens catalog yet...

Monday, February 2, 2015

What's that smell?

I'm a mad biologist who has filled her house with life: about 70 houseplants, 3 cats, 1 dog, 1 large fish tank and Walter the snail. So sometimes my house, well, smells (not in a bad way, just in a well lived in way. Well, I guess the house perfume industry would argue that any smell except for their house perfume is a bad smell but I just don't buy that).

Last Friday I went upstairs to bed and smelled an unfamiliar odor. Sweet. Floral. Hmmm... I didn't think anything upstairs was blooming. I checked. Nope nothing. Maybe the maids used a new cleaning product when they came earlier in the day?

I found the source the next morning when I walked into my home office (which is right below the bedroom) and go a stronger wiff. 

Ah-ha! Hoya!

Hoya iacunosa

This is a very small Hoya and it only has one bloom cluster (yes, those are my fingers holding the bloom) but it is enough to spread fragrance throughout the office, through the ceiling and in to our bedroom. Very impressive!

Monday, January 26, 2015

Preparing for The Storm

The weathermen are predicting The Apocalypse tomorrow. Well, they're predicting a strong blizzard but the hyperbole is heavy. It's the Storm-of-the-Century of the Month. We'll probably get a foot or more of snow.

So we made sure we were ready just in case. Fuel in the car, check, food in the pantry, check, pet food, check and back up water supply.

If this doesn't do us there's always the other option.

Yep, that's 120 gallons of less than ideal but still safe to drink water. I don't think the fish would appreciate it if we started in on their water supply, though. I did a partial water change yesterday so it's relatively clean.

Fill the bird feeders.

Realize the birds are emptying the feeder fast today and put "fill the bird feeders" back on the to do list.

My job is cancelled until Thursday. What should I do with this unexpected (and probably house bound) new time?


So what if I've already placed my orders for this spring. I bet I can find something else I just HAVE to have....

And now [because the relationship is new and I can't get enough of my new kittens] here's Wren. Young and naive enough to get shocked by the weather forecast and very glad he got rescued and is now an indoor cat.

Stay safe ya'll.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Foliage Follow Up - January 2015

It's time for Foliage Follow Up. There's snow blowing around outside but I stayed safe and warm inside, photographing the wonderful foliage of my numerous house plants. And wishing I had a better flash rig. Make that ANY flash rig besides the one that came with my camera. It's high on my wish list. If only the house can stay standing without a major expense for a while so I can afford it.

Here we go: 

I've been developing an interest in Aglaonema lately. Unfortunately each grower seems to have a gazillion varieties with the growers own unique name and I can't get a consensus about which varieties mine actually are.
This one has a bit more of a pale yellow wash than shows up in the photo.

Another Agalaonema, this one has more splotches on younger leaves.

This Agalaonema looks like the one most commonly found in public spaces. I would have passed it up except it was on sale for $3.00 at the Big Box Store and I'm a sucker for cheap plants.

Another $3.00 Aglaonema. This is one of my office plants that came home for the Holiday Shut Down and needs to be carried back as soon as it's reasonably warm outside.

I have mixed feelings about Calathea. This is C. lancifolia, aka Rattlesnake plant. The underside of the leaves is dark purple. I like the foliage and it grows well but if I'm not careful about de-chlorinating the water and watching the temperature these guys seem to get a lot of leaf burn. Then again most of my Anthuriums are also suffering from leaf burn right now, too, possibly due to the extremely dry air inside. Maybe I should set up my old 55 - gallon aquarium as a plant tank... If only I could convince The Husband (and find a spot for it).

This is a bit of a cheat. That's the shadow of a bloom on my Calathea corona (again, I'm not sure of the specific variety. I wish plant sellers would do a better job of labeling).

This is a small Corn Plant (Draczenea fragrans, unknown variety with yellow-green leaves)

Cuban oregano, Plectranthus ambonicus

Dracaena deremensis Lemon-lime, an old reliable for me and a really nice looking plant

Chamaedorea elegans, a nice, very small palm that normally lives in my office at work, where the cats can't nibble on it. 

Last up, Sansevieria trifasciata var. inheritedfrommomii

As you can see I tried to get a little creative with my photos this afternoon. Anything to avoid working on preparing my syllabus for classes that start next week.

Thanks to Pam at Digging for this meme