Garden Diary - February 2013

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Sunday, 10 February 2013
Greenhouse Flowers

When it looks like this outside it's difficult to believe that Spring is on the way.


Faithfully I keep repeating my mantra, "Every day is another day closer to Spring."
But the birds aren't singing. Night temperatures dipped down to the single digits.
And then we got snow, more snow than we received heretofore this winter. O.K.,
less snow than Connecticut and Massachusetts. But outside it's white, and cold.


Indoors, under glass, it's BelleWood in Bloom. Better than a cruise. Bulbs and more in bloom.


Size matters. Big box stores sell cheap hippeastrum. (That's right, cheap. Not inexpensive. Cheap.)
And oh yes, hippeastrum is the correct name for what's often called amaryllis. That's a misnomer.
The cheap bulbs are a smaller size and produce one or two flowering stalks, with four flowers.
This large, heavy bulb cost $18. It has two flowering stalks, one with 6 and the other with 5 flowers.

It's the cultivar "Red Pearl" and I find it most attractive.

Last fall I taught a couple of classes on potting bulbs for forcing. Of course I needed
to demo the various techniques. And now I reap the rewards. Narcissus 'Tęte-a-tęte'
adds sunshine to gray and overcast wintery days. Later on I'll plant them in the garden.

Muscari 'Christmas Pearl' is a terrific choice for forcing as it will come into bloom
without any chilling, so necessary for tulips, daffodils, and hyacinths. I used a clementine
box and just packed the bulbs in as close as possible. I think it held 25 or so. Very nice.

And then there's my Methuselah Cyclamen persicum. I had this tuber for 40 years now.
It's travelled with me to three different houses, living under grow lights, in a spare bedroom,
now with the luxury of my cool greenhouse which at night is heated to about 50° Fahrenheit.
It is quite happy, flowering lavishly and just at the time of year I welcome flowers the most.

This cane stem begonia would no doubt like it a little warmer. It's near the through-the-wall heater which is the best I can offer.
When I dug it from the garden last fall I just stuck it in a bucket and intended to repot it when I got it up to the house. Well, that
never happened but the begonia doesn't seem to care. Yes, it's somewhat straggly and I should have removed the yellowing leaves
before taking a picture. Sometime in next month, in March, I'll take cuttings and root them. It's a nice plant for the shady garden.

Days are getting longer. I have flowers. Clearly my mantra is working.
Every day is indeed another day closer to Spring.

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