Sunday, March 30, 2014

Who needs cut flowers?

It's Not-Quite Spring and a young (or middle aged) Gardeners fancy turns to FLOWERS and COLOR. So what is a gardener to do when it's still not spring?

Buy flowers for inside.

But why buy cut flowers when you can buy living plants in full bloom?

Spring Cactus, probably Hatiora

Even if it never reblooms, even if it dies, it will still last as long (or longer) than cut flowers. And who could resist these blooms when the world outside is gray and damp?

[Real Spring better come soon or I'm going to be hip deep in houseplants!]

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Wordless Wednesday... Now with WORDS!

The weather forecasters are gleefully predicting a "spring storm" for Wednesday (today). Snowfall totals keep dropping but we're still expected to get several inches (the South Coast and the Cape are predicted to get really pounded, though - a good strong Nor'easter).

I'm scheduling these to post on Wednesday to remind myself, and my fellow New England gardeners, that under that fresh snow there is some hope...

 Aqueligia "Little Lanterns" - one of my favorites, right by my front door

 Brave Little Toasters

It's hard to beat early spring color! Go Crocus Go!

Signs of Daffodils to come

Heuchera "Caramel"

Pycnathium Mountain Mint - will spread but will also look good, smell nice and attract LOTS of pollinators

Monday, March 24, 2014

Spring Clean Up

The snow cover has FINALLY melted and the weather got into the 50s this weekend so you know what that means!

Spring Clean Up!

In the Near Arctic of New England the retreating snow leaves some extra messes to clean up.

Construction debris and trash (that's a latex glove in the lower right).

Uh, "leftovers" from these guys since the last time the ground was visible and the, uh, "leftovers" weren't frozen.

And asphalt. From where the snow plow tore up our driveway.

Not to mention where the snow plow dug up my thyme (it's there, on the sidewalk, under that tiny bit of leftover snow, and surprisingly still green!). I think we need to invest in a snow blower instead...

I suspect I'll be picking up asphalt bits and "leftovers" for a few weeks. At least there are SOME signs of what is to come!

Nepeta racemosa (catmint) 'Walker's Low'

Grow Nepeta Grow!

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Foliage Follow Up, uh, Follow Up OR When a Biologist Renovates a Bathroom

I got a few requests from Foliage Follow Up to Name Those Plants [I can Name That Plant in one note leaf].

From left to right: Alocasia (African Mask), Aglaonema (bigboxus var. unlabelii), Calathea (noonelabelshouseplantus), Calathea 'Rattlesnake' and (on the bench), Fern tolerateslowhumiditi also known as wontstopgrowingae.

The photo from last post of the Alocasia was taken early in the morning while the plant was back lit from the morning sun. That image was of the underside of the leaf, this is the top side. Both sides are sexy!

Why did I subtitle this When a Biologist Renovates a Bathroom? Because of my choice of shower head, carefully selected so that I can haul the upstairs plants in to the shower for a good wash. [yes, I'm totally serious - when we did the downstairs bath I selected the faucet based on what I could most easily attach my aquarium water changing hose to - I have a 120 gallon tank and I really, really don't like hauling that many buckets of water!]

After all the dusty construction it took to renovate the bathroom boy did my plants need that!

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Foliage Follow Up March 2014

The snow is (slowly) melting but it's too cold to go outside and take photos of the dead foliage from last year (and the few evergreen plants I do have). Fortunately I didn't have to put on a coat (and shoes - ugh!) to take photos for Foliage Follow Up. I have houseplants for that!

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Garden Bloggers Bloom Day - March 2014

There is still snow on the ground here in Massachusetts. But that doesn't mean we can't have Bloom Day!

Here's the forsythia.

Uh, I guess it's not ready.

How about the Pieris?


Erm, Helleborus?

Still tightly closed buds.

I do have my FIRST OUTSIDE BLOOMS - Let's Hear it for Crocus! [and the crowd goes wild!]

[And I wonder why would I plant WHITE crocuses to bloom in the spring when I am so sick of the WHITE snow? I need COLOR!]

Fortunately I can rely on my indoor plants for color even at this time of the year.

Not shown: Clivia just finished; lots of Anthurium, but I post about them almost as obsessively as PATSP so I'll spare you.
Maybe I'll post about them next week since I do have seeds on one...

Thanks to Carol at May Dreams for this meme.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

The Joy of Indoor Plumbing

On Friday the plumber came and hooked up the plumbing in the upstairs bathroom. The renovation isn't complete yet but that hasn't stopped me!

Ahhh. I can give all of my upstairs plants a good soaking without sixteen-thousand trips up and down the stairs.

And I can let my hanging baskets drain excess water in to the sink. [It's probably time to split that plant....]

Just don't tell the city inspector! We're not supposed to be using it yet!

[can you believe how different the wall color looks depending on the angle I took the picture at?]

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Is it Spring Yet?

Yesterday got up to around 50 F and I got up to trouble. I've been deprived of gardening for months now. And deprived of fresh air and sunshine. So I just had to get out in the garden.

But we still have several inches of snow on the ground. So what can I do?

Well, there is this storm damage...

And winter has split the trunk

And split the bark

And something chewed in to the stem to winter (actually they're welcome to stay there - I Support My Local Invertebrate Population!)

So I went outside [in just a sweatshirt!] and did this...

Think it's too early? Think it's too much? I know Buddleia are supposedly tolerant of a severe pruning but I've never been one to severely prune anything. I guess we'll see if it bounces back or dies off.

Fortunately my gardening philosophy is "if it dies, I get to go buy a new plant!"

How long till I can tidy up the rest of the garden?
Is it Spring yet?

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Favorite (outdoor) Plant of the Week

OK, I know I've seen this idea somewhere else but I can't quite remember where [I checked the three or so blogs I thought it might be but can't find a copy of this sort of thing in the recent posts, if it's you leave me a message and I'll add a link to your site].

It's March, there's still several inches of snow over most of the ground and my crocuses are Brave Little Toasters trying to get started on spring growth. Go Crocuses!

Bonus! Those small seedlings? Aquilegia, most likely from Little Lanterns. Go Aquilegia!

Now if it can just quit snowing...

Sunday, March 2, 2014


I'm not a winter person. I don't ski. I don't like cold. I don't like wearing layer upon layer upon layer of clothes. So during cold weather I tend to get stuck inside. Cold, bored and deprived of sunlight. Early in the winter I usually mange to work on some indoor projects but by the time February comes I'm sick of winter and sick of being indoors and I get a good case of the winter blahs.

But now it's March! Sure, there's still snow on the ground, it's still cold, I still don't want to go outside but I know that by the end of this month the snow will be melted, the weather just a bit warmer and I'll be able to go for walks without the parka, hat, gloves and snow boots. By the end of March it will be time to tidy up the garden for spring. By the end of this month I'll start putting out the pots that have been wintering in the garage and my herbs will start to grow again.

March may not be the best month of the year but it is a sign that the season is turning and spring will be here soon!

Yeah, March!