Garden

Fridays Flower-Primrose

Primrose

 

Primrose Stirs, Lifts Up Her Head
Stands Up Tall, On Softened Bed
Resurrected, As Winter Dreams
Primrose Smiles, Or So It Seems

 

Blooming primroses are such a bright, cheery sight in the spring.  They do make my heart smile when I look at them!


Primroses are a perennial plant, coming back every year, making an ever bigger clump.  They grow from fibrous roots.
Primroses bloom in the early spring, sometimes blooming sporadically through the summer.
Do you grow primroses?
*
Matthew 6:20,21
But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven….
for where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.
*
I will be digging and dividing my primroses this late spring/early summer.  The colors that I have are the ones in the photos above-true yellow, and a dark pink with a yellow eye. If anyone would be liking a start of them, just let me know in the comments and I will get it to you!

 

Garden

Fridays Flower-Hyacinth

Spring Hyacinths

spring hyacinths

Hyacinth-one of the early spring blooming flowers.

What a welcome the blooming hyacinths are, for their rich color and wonderful fragrance!

Hyacinths are very easy to grow, requiring very little care, but so rewarding after a long, cold winter.  They are the essence of the fragrance of spring, blooming about the same time as daffodils and tulips, March to April.

Hyacinths grow from large bulbs that should be planted in the fall, usually in September to October, any time after the first light frost but before the ground freezes they can be planted.

Bulbs can be purchased at your favorite big box store or ordered from seed or nursery catalogs.

Hyacinths are hardy from zones 4-8.

They do best in full sun but will still flower in partial shade.

Hyacinths come in a wide range of colors from white, peach, apricot, salmon, blue shades, yellow, pink, red to purple and lavender.

Hyacinths grow to 6-12 inches tall, with a dense flower spike surrounded by strap like leaves.

The bulbs should be planted 4-6 inches deep with the pointed end up and 4-6 inches apart.

They like rich loose soil that is well drained, and only need water when dry.

Hyacinths do not multiply and spread like daffodils.  One bulb per flower-the bigger the bulb the better.

Hyacinths tend to decline over the years-some people treat them as annuals and replant new bulbs every fall, but if left alone they will bloom for many years, just not as pretty and lush as the first year. The faded flowers should be cut back as soon as they begins to turn brown, and the leaves left to grow.  The leaves will store energy for next years bloom.  When the leaves brown off they can be cut back or gently pulled off.  Some compost or fertilizer is appreciated at this time.

Hyacinths are best at the front of flower borders.  Emerging perennials will hide the dying foliage.  They are lovely lining a walkway where their fragrance can be enjoyed.

Hyacinths make good cut flowers and have a long vase life.  They can also be planted in containers, or forced for indoor winter/spring blooming.

One warning-the bulbs are poisonous-they contain oxalic acid, so use care while planting and around children and pets.

I am enjoying the beautiful colors and fragrance of my hyacinths this spring.  In the photo above is one of the beds that I made at our new house.  The stone wall on the right was already here-I made this flower bed, bordered by my signature stacked stone borders from stones that I have gathered over the years. Seems like every time I was digging I ran into stones-I decided to put them use as border stones.  Now I look for stones everywhere, and have been known to stop the car and grab stones from along the side of the road.  No stone is safe around me if it is the right shape and size!   Also the stepping stones were brought from our last house and reused as a walkway between the stone patio and stairs to the deck.

The garden here is a work in progress, and I am enjoying the progress of it!

 

Poem by Gerald Green


HYACINTHS PERFUME

I lingered to enjoy the moment,
ending the eleven-month intermission,
as the sweet aroma reached me
from the garden behind the house.

The hyacinth had returned
without fanfare or recognition
by bulbs not yet broken forth,
or buds pregnant with the glory of spring.

I followed the unforgettable scent
to its humble position beside the hellebore,
and admired my early spring friend
before me in perfect health.

With one whiff, everything changed.
Last year’s faded images of spring renewed,
and the value of life increased
in a moment. In a breath.




Garden

Reasons to Start Your Own Seeds

 

It is the time of year to start thinking about starting seeds

for this summer’s garden.

What are some of the reasons why you should start your own seeds?

  1. More choice of variety.  With the variety of seed choices, mainly through seed catalogs-see here– the choices are almost endless.  Nurseries, greenhouses and big stores mainly sell starter plants and seeds of the most common, familiar, and tried and true varieties. There is nothing wrong with the old tried and true varieties, that is why they are sold year after year, but there are so many more varieties to try.  By ordering your seeds, you are not stuck with the small choice of varieties.
  2. More plants for less money. Most seed packets contain 30 or more seeds, and it is much more economical than a 4 or 6 pack of bought starter plants. This point needs qualifying-the initial cost will be greater.  You will need certain supplies to begin with, but these are mostly 1 time expenses.  Once you have these items, the main yearly cost is mostly just the seeds and soil.
  3. Seeds can be started for the proper and extended planting times in your area.  You can start seeds earlier than usual if you want to plant out early if you have the proper season extending covers, or seeds can be started later for an extended fall and winter harvest.  It is nearly impossible to find starter plants to buy in mid to late summer for a fall and winter harvest.
  4. Seeds can be saved from year to year, and varieties can become custom to your locale. By saving seeds from plants that display certain traits that you desire, such a bigger size, different color or taste, or better disease or pest resistance, or just in general do well for you, you can eventually end up with a custom variety well suited to your specific growing area.  This is how many of the heirloom varieties have come about, they have been saved and passed down through the years.
  5. You can control how the seedlings are grown in regards to watering, fertilizing, and thinning.  Actually there is very little thinning needed if you start your own seeds as you control how they are planted.
  6. The crowds are avoided in the spring planting rush.  I am always amazed at the frantic folks buying their starter plants and rushing to get them planted in the short planting window.
  7. You won’t be disappointed when many of the starter plants are sold out  You won’t be left planting what you really didn’t want because what you wanted was sold out.
  8. You can experience the fun, excitement, and enjoyment of gardening while it is still winter outside.  What better way to spend part of your days stuck inside-watering, tending, and watching green, growing things.

Let the planting begin!

Do you start you own seeds?

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Hebrew 12:15

See to it that no one misses the grace of God

and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many.

 

 

Garden

Winter Winds

Wild winds

come a-blustering,

Clearing a path

for the feet of Spring,

To dance her way

along the lane,

Bringing

daffodils

again.

Patience Strong

These last few days we have been battered with the worst winds that I can remember.

Trees down, power outages.

Winter is going out with a bang.

The first month of Spring will soon arrive, and none too soon!

I am so ready for Spring to dance it’s way in.

I am tired of being cold!

Are you ready for Winter to be over?

*

Psalm 40:3

And He put a new song in my mouth,

a song of praise to our God.

 

Garden

Growing Amaryllis

 

Say hello to Amaryllis!

Amaryllis bulbs are such a fun thing to grow in these long winter days.

I purchased pre-potted amaryllis bulbs this year, gifting some of them to my daughter and daughter-in-laws for Christmas, and keeping a few for myself.  I thought that my Sunday School class would enjoy growing a bulb, and took one into class.  The children enjoyed watering it and watching it grow-amaryllis bulbs shoot up very fast-and it bloomed prolifically, much to our joy.

Lovely pink and cream blossoms.

We were out of town for a week and

my sweet Sunday School scholar, Rachel,

faithfully watered and tended to the bulb while we were gone.

It bloomed so beautifully for us!

We also grow 2 jade plants in our class.

They are hard to kill!

Growing Amaryllis

  • Amaryllis are very easy to grow.
  • Amaryllis bulbs can usually be purchased from the big stores, already potted up.  This is the easiest way to start them.
  • If you have bare bulbs, plant them in a pot of good potting soil, leaving the top 1/3 of the bulb exposed.
  • Keep the soil barely moist-about 1/4 cup of water per week, until growth begins.
  • They like a cool room-60-65 degrees.  (This is probably why our Sunday School bulb bloomed so beautifully!)
  • Keep in bright, indirect sun.
  • Use a pot that is 6-8 inches and is heavy.  The stalks can grow quite tall and when it blooms it can become top heavy.
  • The bigger the bulb, the better.
  • Amaryllis should bloom 6-8 weeks after planting.  My bloomed much earlier.
  • The bloom time should last a few weeks.  Dead head the spent blooms to keep tidy.
  • After it is done blooming, cut back the flowing stalk.
  • Continue to water and fertilize, the bulb will continue to grow its leaves.  The leaves need to grow to feed the bulb for re-blooming.
  • When the danger of frost has passed, the amaryllis can be placed outside.  It can be left in its original pot if it has drainage holes. If there are no drainage holes, the bulb will rot.  The bulb can also be planted out in the flower garden where the foliage can be enjoyed.
  • At the end of summer, quit watering and let the foliage die back.
  • Store the bulb in a cool, dark place for at least 8 weeks to let it rest.
  • After it’s rest, you can re-pot the bulb in fresh soil, and begin watering again.  It should re-bloom for you in 6-8 weeks.

Have you ever grown an amaryllis bulb?

*

Matthew 6:34

Therefore do not be anxious for tomorrow;

for tomorrow will care for itself.

 

 

 

Garden · Uncategorized

In Concern of Spring

 

In Concern of Spring

I wonder if the sap is stirring yet,

If wintery birds are dreaming of a mate,

If frozen snowdrops feel as yet the sun

And crocus fires are kindling one by one:

Sing Robin, Sing!

I still am sore in doubt concerning Spring!

Christina Rossetti

*

Winter still has a grip on us-cold, snowy, windy, icy, all the things that accompany these winter months.

Spring seems so far away, though, in reality, I know that spring will ‘spring’ upon us before we know it….

and I will be behind, as usual.

The ground outside is dead and lifeless, or so it seems,

though I know the growing things are stirring underneath this snow and ice.

(See my winter surprise HERE)

And just because I am missing the wonderful color

and the growing of the spring and summer months….

I am so enjoying the growing of Amaryllis indoors.

Do you grow anything indoors during the winter?

*

Romans 8:14

“For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.”

 

 

Garden

Seed Catalogs

The seed catalogs have arrived.

(They actually began arriving before Christmas.)

The stores now also have a great supply of seeds.

I tell ya, seeing all of these seeds makes me anxious for spring growing!

Perusing the seed catalogs and dreaming of the beautiful garden you will have this year is a great way to spend some of this time while you are stuck inside because of the cold and snow.

Some of the seed companies that provide catalogs (both paper and on-line) are:

  • Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds.  http://www.Rareseeds.com.  This catalog is the premier dream of seed catalogs.  The photos are gorgeous, the information is plentiful, it is full of interesting stories and the selection beyond compare.
  • Pinetree Garden Seeds.  http://www.superseeds.com.  A great catalog.  I have ordered from them for many years.  The prices are good, and they have a nice selection of garden related books and soapmaking supplies.  For those that don’t have a lot of room to grow many different varieties, they have custom mixes of seeds that let you grow a variety from 1 packet.
  • Territorial Seed Company.  http://www.TerritorialSeed.com.  A lovely catalog with a big selection.  Also have beneficial insects.
  • John Scheepers Kitchen Garden Seeds. http://www.kitchengardenseeds.com.
  • Totally Tomatoes.  http://www.totallytomao.com.  This catalog is devoted to the avid tomato grower, and also includes a nice selection of other garden seeds.  A must if you love tomatoes!
  • Vermont Bean seed Company.  http://www.vermontbean.com.  This catalog is devoted to the bean lover, they have every kind of fresh and dried bean seed, plus other vegetable garden seeds.   Wish I had more room to grow!
  • Jung Seeds and Plants.  http://www.Jungseed.com.  A great catalog of seeds, perennial plants, fruits and berries.
  • R.H. Shumway.  http://www.rhshumway.com.  An old fashioned style of catalog.  Free seeds if you order before March 15!
  • Johnny’s Selected Seeds.  http://www.Johnnyseeds.com.  A great catalog with a huge selection.
  • Gurney’s Seed and Nursery.  http://www.Gurneys.com.  Seeds, perennial plants, berry plants, fruit, nut and shade trees.  1/2 off till March 6th!
  • Farmer Seed and Nursery. http://www.FarmerSeed.com.  They have been around for 131 years.
  • Burgess Seed and Plant.  http://www.eburgess.com.  They have been in business for 107 years.  They are advertising a 1/2 price vegetable seed sampler that includes 12 packets of the most common vegetables grown in the home garden for $6.99.  That is a good deal.
  • Burpee.  http://www.burpee.com.  A nice selection of good growing seeds and plants.  I no longer order from them as they sell their seeds at Wal Mart.

There are many more seed catalogs out there, but these are the ones that I have ordered from and have been happy with.

Do you order your seeds from catalogs?

Happy garden dreaming and planning!

*

Proverbs 3:6

“In all thy ways acknowledge him,

and he shall direct thy paths.”

 

 

 

Garden

Winter Surprise

February…what a teaser!

We have struggled and endured the stunningly cold polar vortex that assaulted us for a number of days in late January and early February….then February decided to give us a taste of spring with warm breezes and sunshine.  We are now back to cold and blowing snow.

While walking to the house with my head tucked from the cold wind, and not paying much attention, I glanced down and couldn’t believe what I saw…the little violas that had reseeded along the sidewalk were blooming!  Such an unexpected surprise!  February is teasing us again!  But spring will be here soon.

The flowers of late winter and early spring 

occupy places in our hearts

well out of proportion to their size.

Gertrude Wister

*

Philippians 4:4

Rejoice in the Lord always;

again I will say, rejoice!

 

Garden

Brrr! Bring them inside!

Bringing Plants In

“The Autumn Winds They Do Blow Cold…”

It is the time of year to bring in any tender plants that you want to overwinter.

You can preserve plants from year to year and also enjoy the tropical greenery inside.  It is nice to have something green growing when all is dead and buried under snow outside.

Inspect the plants and pots for pests and insects before bringing them in.  The plants may need pruned back some, or re potted.

Make sure you have the right spot for them-they need bright light out of direct sunlight.

The air inside is dryer, and of course much warmer, and the plants need a higher humidity-mist them occasionally or set on pebble filled trays.

I find that it is easier to take care of them if they are grouped together.

Keep them well watered.  They should be lightly fertilized about once a month, especially after the daylight begins to lengthen in the early spring and they begin growing again.

What is going on here garden wise….

The only vegetable garden I was able to muster this summer here at our new home was this…

A few tomato plants and a few zucchini squash along the block wall by the carport.  They grew fine and I enjoyed the precious few tomatoes and summer squash.  The summer season ended all too soon and I am left wondering where the summer went.

The temperatures have dipped into the 30’s at night these last few weeks and reduced my small garden to this…

Good by summer!

One of the most frost sensitive plants are my impatiens-they put on such a beautiful display in the shady areas of the garden-overnight they turned into this.

I do have a few houseplants that I overwinter every year, bringing them inside before the frost damages them.  After spending the summer outside, they are all growing very lush and full.

One is the Christmas Cactus.  It is really a Thanksgiving Cactus, as soon as I bring it into the warm house, it begins setting its blossoms and should be in full bloom in a few weeks.  It is a very forgiving plant and survives just fine outside in the summer and also does well inside during the winter.

I love ferns, and try to keep this one from year to year-it is a challenge as it does not like the dry heat of the house. By the time late spring arrives, it is barely surviving.  It recovered nicely this summer, but I am expecting it to suffer in the house again this winter.

I was given a few pink sorrel plants years ago -these were from the person’s grandmother, and could I keep them alive?-and have overwintered them successfully for a number of years.  They are considered perennials, but are not hardy in our area.  They overwinter in the house fine, but do make quite a mess, as they grow, flower, die off again and again.

The last plant that I plan to overwinter is this mixed hanging basket.  It grew ferociously during the summer, hanging down about 4 feet, but it is very frost sensitive and suffered some killing damage already as I didn’t bring it in soon enough.  I will cut it back severely, and see if it recovers.

It is the time of year to begin tucking everything in for the winter….are you ready?

Do you overwinter any plants?

Are you successful?

*

Proverbs 24:5

A wise man is strong;

yea, a man of knowledge increaseth strength.

 

 

 

Garden

Flower of the Week-Johnny Jump Up

Johnny Jump Up

What a name!  But the flower does its name justice.  Such a cute name and such a cute flower.  Such a happy smiley face of a flower.

When we moved to this new house last fall, I found lots of these Johnny Jump Ups all over, in the lawn and in beds.  I tried transplanting some of them from the lawn into beds where I wanted them.  Most of the transplants did not live over the winter, but this spring, there were plenty more to move where I wanted them.  I had never grown violas before and I am loving them.

So, here is the scoop on Johnny Jump Ups…

Violas, known as Johnny Jump Ups, are a popular, easy and fun to grow flower. They are also known as wild pansy, which they are related to, (the size of the flower being the difference) and as heart’s ease.

Violas come in the cheery colors of deep purple, mauve, and yellow.

They love the full sun, and will also do well in partial shade.

Violas can be planted in the summer or fall, by scattering the seeds on the ground and then barely covering them. Keep watered.

They like average garden soil, but some compost never hurts anything.

They will germinate in about 10 days.

Violas are long blooming, blooming from spring till the fall if they are kept deadheaded.  When the plant becomes worn out, cut it back to about 3-4 inches for a re-bloom.

Violas are low growing, about 3-10 inches tall and are good for the front of flower borders.

Violas can be self seeders, as the ones I have are.  If they are not deadheaded, the seeds will scatter as they will.  Just dig a good size clump and move them where wanted.

They like to be kept well watered and weeded.

Violas are not bothered by disease or pests and are frost tolerant.

Violas are edible-they can be used as a garnish to decorate cakes and pastries, added to salads, and frozen in cubes to float in summer drinks.

I am enjoying my happy face Johnny Jump Ups.

Do you grow violas?

*

Colossians 1:10

That you may live a life worthy of the Lord

and may please him in every way;

bearing fruit in every good work,

growing in the knowledge of God.