After an eternal January, February seems to be obligingly whizzing by. Even though winter still holds forth on this frosty morn, there are glimpses of spring and the number of gardening opportunities increases each day. Soon there will be garden shows, conferences, and other events that will bring us together to drool over plants, seed displays, and presentations. So, with joyful heart, here are “Six on Saturday” from north central Indiana.
Our fourth month in a row with a major holiday, mid-February brings us Valentine’s Day and my Sweetie brought me these cheerful roses to brighten my day. Notice there are only 3, because after all these years, he knows I’d shoot him for a dozen’s extravagance. I’m perfectly happy with three.
Speaking of happy, these seedlings make me smile every day. This is the same flat shown last week, but over 100 babies have been moved into their own pots. Obviously, I have lots to do as soon as time permits. The seedlings are doing well so far this season (knock wood!) with no outbreak of aphids. I’ve learned to keep the plants brought in for wintering over in another room and that has really made a difference. Plus, I’ve already found several ladybugs in the window of an upstairs bedroom and moved them onto the lemon verbena, mini rose and scented geraniums that are prone to hosting aphids. Yes, these are the Asian variety, but they are welcomed this time of year in my house to eliminate aphids.
The first of 6 amaryllis bulbs is flowering beautifully. A 50 cent after-Christmas bulb purchased a few years ago has multiplied into my little amaryllis family. That was one of the best investments I’ve ever made, because they bring joy year after year. When they are done blooming I remove the bloom stalk and place the pots in an upstairs east window until after Mother’s Day, when the weather is warm enough to move them outdoors. All summer they live under the bench in the potager, where it’s shaded and slightly moist. When frost threatens, they go to the basement and are placed on their sides in a dark spot. After the leaves dry up, I scissor them off. The bulbs need to hibernate for October and November. In mid-December one or two get moved to a bright spot and are watered with a weak fertilizer solution weekly until new bloom stalks form. A week later another bulb or two are watered and so on, which spreads the enjoyment of flowers over 6-8 weeks. I only up-pot or divide bulbs if they are out-growing their pot. It’s that easy.
This doesn’t look impressive, but we actually had a day this week that I could get outdoors and prune the fall-bearing red raspberries. For fall bearers, all stalks need to be cut to the ground. The deer had already made a good start with pruning but they are rather lax about the weeding part. The posts laying on the ground were supposed to have been installed for support wiring last fall, but that blasted back problem delayed it. Now I’m just waiting for the ground to thaw so I can get them in. And yes, the soaker hose should have been stored away. My bad.
And lastly, and”bestly,” a gardening friend and I ventured out one non-icy day to a big Amish seed store, where I really blew the budget (see why I’m very satisfied with 3 roses…more money left for seeds!) especially given the fact that I’d already ordered 90% of this season’s seeds on-line from my favorite catalogs. This is the place with the 25 varieties of beets that I mentioned in “And the BEET goes on!” post. I haven’t seen this many varieties of various vegetables (say that 3 times fast) since visiting Baker Creek’s store in Missouri. Fortunately this time, I went with a list (having determined since placing initials orders on-line that there were additional seeds “required for succession sowing”… currently that’s my story and I’m sticking to it) and resisted impulse buys. My brain knows from having spent hours plotting crops in the graph paper potager that there truly isn’t any more space in the real one. However, walking down aisles of seed packets, the brain slyly suggests, “Surely I can tuck a few here or there.” I took some photos on my phone, which for some reason I can’t get to go to my e-mail. When I get it solved, I’ll update.
That’s my “Six on Saturday” and a big “Thank You, The Propagator” for hosting this meme. Check out all the other “Sixers” by clicking on the link.