Monday, February 27, 2012

Siiiiiigh. Spring, how I pine for you.

To do when it finally gets here:

* shop for hellebores
* put down riverwash stone/gravel over landscape fabric
* edge backyard patio with riverwash stone/gravel
* deploy shelving and clean up shed and throughway
* throughway madness: dig everything up, lay down paver path, mulch new beds
* prune the hell out of the lilac
* top up mulch all around

Pondering ways to dress up the entrance to the throughway. There's a big old empty space between the top of the fence and the roof of the carport; the roof of the carport makes it not a great spot for an arbour or other fancy structure. My first thought was to hang up an old windowframe or two with some stained glass, but I'm not sure such a thing wouldn't get stolen. Next idea was to put up a trellis of some sort, even just some string, and send some climbing thing up to fill the space. Dutchman's Pipe? Silver Lace Vine? Hardy kiwi? Akebia?

Friday, February 24, 2012


Hog-wild. Yep.


I used 9 doz peat pellets, and then spied some coir pellets (made from coconut husks, purportedly more renewable than peat) at Lee Valley and used 200 of those. Kind of a pain because they only "inflate" to half the size they're supposed to reach, and to get the rest you have to sort of squish and poke them. Still, it's a soilless growing medium, right?

Also instead of sealing things in plastic bags I have cleverly co-opted some plastic shoeboxes!


I sure hope this works. I mean, I have constant (12-16h) light; I have constant moisture; I have reasonable (65-70F) temperature. What else would it take? ... well, if I get middling results again I may try proper pots next year, as opposed to the pellets. But SURELY TO GOD. Right???

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Looking at last year's pictures, I've been thinking that the backyard could use a super-early-season colour boost. The primroses and bloodroot don't do much in isolation: what I need are Drifts of Colour.

If I'm successful starting some primulas from seed, that will be an excellent start, since I will then have a pile of them to scatter around. I doubt they'd do very well in the sun bed, though - crocuses might be a better solution there. And/or squills, maybe. Will have to keep an eye on the ones in the front yard and see when they bloom. Hellebores would be a good pick for the shadier parts of the backyard, too. Although they're pretty pricy to plant in numbers.

Figures that this occurs to me NOW instead of three months ago, when I could still have been planting spring bulbs.
Tempting from the Gardenimport catalogue:

* Bush clover (Lespedeza) Gibralter.

This caught my eye in the show gardens at Artistic Landscape Design in the fall, but at 5'-6' tall and wide, I figured I didn't have room for it. What I DIDN'T know was that, like Buddlejas, these die back to the ground every winter and grow back to their shrubby proportions over the season; so if you place them right, the smaller stuff they engulf is getting ratty-looking anyway. And it "prefers a poor, well-drained soil in full sun," which I think I can provide!

I'm not generally a fan of heucheras, but these really caught my eye as possible splashes of colour for the east bed:

* Autumn Leaves

* Pear Crisp

I was looking at Persicaria, too, but it needs consistently moist soil. Bah.

Friday, February 10, 2012

It seems imprudent to go hog-wild on the seeds before determining whether my new equipment will actually help them survive, but...BUT...damn you anyway, tempting seed catalogues!

Enticing from the Thompson & Morgan offerings:

* primulas: japonica mix, crimson japonica, and drumstick mix - particularly tempting because I lurrrrv these and want to plant many many of them; this would be a super-cost-effective way to do it, if I could pull it off, considering that a packet of seeds costs as much as a single potted plant
* bright orange calendula
* agastache cana
* amaranthus marvel bronze
* amaranthus love lies bleeding
* celosia flamingo feather
* cleome mix
* knautia macedonica
* verbena pink spires
* verbascum copper rose

Intarwebz tips for growing primulas:

An alternative method for growing PRIMULAS is to sow in a peat based compost which has already been moistened and do not cover the seed. Cover the container with a piece of glass or plastic and grow in the dark in a steady temperature of 60F. This is quite adequate and over 65'F germination will be inhibited. When the seeds start to germinate sprinkle a thin layer of fine compost over them and when the seed leaves come through this, move the box to a well lit place with a temperature of 55'F. At no time should the seed box be in full sun.