Monday, February 17, 2020

Gardening and Learning

Although I can't say I have been gardening all of my life I can say that I have been around Gardeners all my life. I went through the Master Gardening classes, got certified and I continue to learn.

One lesson that I haven't learned all these years is how to keep good records. I have all the best intentions and some rather good ways available to me for record keeping. I have a 10-year Garden Journal for jotting down short thoughts or happenings I want to remember. It also encourages me to keep a daily temperature record. I do think it is fun to look back to see how the weather differs from year to year.

 I  keep a sketchbook in a refillable leather journal. I can take it outside where it gets dirty and I can wipe it off. If I leave it out and it gets wet not all is lost and yes I know this from experience. In this journal my thoughts can meander and my projects are drawn, listed or otherwise explored. Records, receipts, plant tags etc are stapled or glued into this.  I know this isn't the most convenient way to keep things organized and easily accessible but every time I try to change it just doesn't happen.
I  have a Word document that is fairly accurate. Yet I sometimes get too busy during the growing season and don't add new plants.

My DB got tired of listening to me complain about all this and set up an Excel spread sheet for me. It looks simple and efficient yet I have exactly two entries on this. I just can't seem to make myself delve into that operation.

I know we have discussed this all before, here and several other times,  so what has brought me to whining  thinking about all this? What with the growing/blooming season just beginning I am finding that I can't identify the few things blooming. Right now I have only two Galanthus blooming. Galanthus Nivalis and Elwesii. I thought I knew which was which. I am pretty sure that the following photo is G. Nivalis.  I have had this plant long enough that it is making a nice clump. I even think I can divide this one this year.
My other Galanthus is what I thought was G.Elwesii. I was wondering if any of you have this little beauty? EDIT: Thank you Linda for suggesting that this is G.  flore pleno. It sure looks like it in pictures I have been able to find.
When I went to the internet to make sure this is what I had I couldn't seem to find a picture of it that looks anything like this. I just love the little white skullcaps over the bloom that looks like a rose, if you can get down here to see just what it looks like.
It has really taken off this year. I don't know what year I planted this one but it has grown into a nice little colony that could be divided this year too. I have 4 small clumps of it.  It has been somewhat stunted in growth though.
The tallest bloom is only 3"tall and the longest green leaf is only about an inch tall. Which as I remember is oddly short. Maybe I am just paying more attention to them this year. Because last year a very generous garden blogger friend gifted me with Galanthus Primrose Warburg. Mind you this is one of those fancy yellow ones.
I can't wait to see it bloom. I didn't expect a bloom this year because it is it's first year here but just seeing the little brace of yellow makes me almost giddy. I have to protect it though because I thought I had another touch of yellow on another one and the rabbits ate it. I was a bit forlorn because I thought all was lost this year. Then this other one popped up. So there is hope.
I am not taking any chances. I have set this big strainer over the plant and set a big stone on the handle so the rabbit can't just move it. So I hope that it survives to bloom. I have never noticed rabbits eating the blooms of Galanthus before. Have you?  Nature has its way of keeping the classroom open. We never stop learning.

There is no gardening without humility.
Nature is constantly sending even its
oldest scholars to the bottom of the class
for some egregious blunder.
-Alfred Austin


Thursday, February 6, 2020

Travel Thursday - Costa Rica

Since it has turned cold and snowy again my mind started traveling to warmer climes. I went back to this past March when my husband, aka DB, and I went to Costa Rica.  Since we were meeting a birding tour group we arrived a day early to make sure we got there without a hitch. Our flight there was smooth and we had most of one day just to stroll the gardens where we were staying,  the Hotel Bougainvillea
This post is picture heavy but I won't have a lot of commentary on them because I don't know what most of these plants are. I promise I won't load up on the bird pictures. The above will be the only bird picture I will post...this time. 
The above is the view from our hotel room balcony. There was bougainvilleas dotted all over the grounds. 
The Hotel Bougainvillea is situated on 11 acres. All that isn't hotel is garden. I can tell you I was a bit overwhelmed with all the tropical plants. I felt like I stepped into a different world.
It was a breeze getting around the grounds. They had paved walkways through out. 
I don't know what this huge plant is but they used it extensively through out the garden. I am 5'6" tall so you can about guess this main plant is 10' tall.
This colorful planting was all the way around the parking lot.

Orchids and Bromelaids in trees.
Bromeliads were used as ground covers and there were so many varieties it was mind boggling.
Air plants were all over too. 
This ground cover was pretty with its pretty little yellow blooms. 
There was also a yellow and green bamboo that I thought was very pretty. I think it is Bambusa vulgaris. 
This Fox Tail Agave A. attenuata was taller than I. 
If you look closely at this picture you can see that  is used Amaryllis as a ground cover. I think I have seen this variety on someones post before. 
No it wasn't all birds and blooms. This sweet little baby Variegated  Squirrel ran up DBs pant leg and wouldn't get down.
He tried to ignore the little thing, taking pictures and walking along but it didn't want to be left behind. I felt so sorry for the little fellow. It was obviously distressed and didn't want to be alone. Once DB got him off it still followed us around and around. 
I could go on and on but I will leave you with this sight. Plants growing on top of this building. I don't know if they are in pots or just started growing there. They were quite a surprise. 
If you know what any of these plants are or if I miss identified some let me know. I took the names of the plants off of id plates but I didn't know if it was for the plant it was beside or if it was current. I think if you click on the pictures they will enlarge and be more clear.

Monday, January 20, 2020

Monday Mishmash

It has been warm enough this month that after a heavy rain we saw earth worms that were encouraged out of the soil to trek across the street to drier areas. This is normally a spring, summer or fall happening. 
This morning was a different story . The cold front has come through. After the bitter winds  we have a skiff of snow settled upon the garden.  The snow isn't likely to go away too soon as it is quite cold.
 These conditions really stir up the bird life in the garden and beyond. We have had lots of birds at the feeders mostly the usual. Like the House Finches,House Sparrows and Juncos.
Half dozen Cardinals. The heated water bowl is a good place to find all the birds at one time or another. 
The Red-bellied Woodpecker grabbed a peanut.  You can see a tinge of red on his belly.
While a Hairy Woodpecker feasted on the suet. This is one tough woodpecker. He wasn't about to share with other birds. You can tell he is a male due to the red patch at the back of his head. You can tell him from a Downy Woodpecker first by his size. Look at that bill it is almost as long has his head is wide and it is thicker. A Downy also has little spots on the outer tail feathers.
The King of the feeders is the Northern Mockingbird. He allows no other bird on the platform feeder while he is there.
He is very secure in his position. He knows I put raisins on the platform for his use only. At least that is what he thinks. It is amazing to me that none of the other birds will take a raisin. After all the House Sparrows don't mind taking bites out of tomatoes or picking peas.
So while it is so cold outside I am inside admiring the packets of seed that were delivered this past week. They are from Botanical Interests. I so enjoy their packets because the are not only beautiful but are jam packed with information regarding the seeds you request. 
I not only received the seeds I requested but got a nice little Thank You in a packet of lettuce seeds. I always need a little push to plant edibles. Lettuce  and tomatoes are my go to vegetables to have in the garden. Nothing like a seed starting guide to get me in motion.  
The Botanical Interests company does a great job of filling orders promptly and answering any questions you might have. I would highly recommend them as a source for your seeds. I have never had any duds from them. I will also say that  they haven't paid me or even asked me to say something nice about them and their products.
One last thing today. I just had to show you the beautiful apron my dear friend gave me for Christmas. It has wide pockets at the bottom of the apron and the lettering, Plant Lady, is embroidered on the front. This all makes me want to start planting even tho it is a bit early in the season.
I hope some of you got to have this day off from work since it is Martin Luther King Day. Martin Luther King, a man we can all appreciate. A man I wish our politicians would try to emulate. We need more men like him.




Wednesday, January 8, 2020

Stroll Through the Garden

It has been a mild start to this new year here at Greenbow. I have strolled about the garden daily almost as if it was still fall.   Our temps have been running 10 or more degrees above the average. 
I have been watching for any early flowers this year.  I don't think that most of the plants are fooled by this warmer weather.
I did find a few things popping up like the Snowdrops Nivalis peeking out of the duff with the Golden Alexander Zizia Aurea.
Ivory Prince Hellebore has buds on it too. According to my records this is an early date for them to be budding. 
Other Hellebores are putting on some growth! Now this is odd for January. Usually they are hunkered down awaiting more clement weather. I realized that Ivory Prince has been in this garden in this spot for many years, since 1997, and it has barely grown. I am beginning to wonder what in the world is the matter with this situation??? I did some reading and it did say it was a slow grower. I would say that this is ridiculous. Oh well, it is reliable and evergreen most years. I was thinking I would move it then I also read it doesn't like to be disturbed. Have any of you found this to be true?
Walking around the back of the garden I didn't find much but this Hairy Wood Mint is making a great winter show. I only planted one of these year before last wondering if it was a normal mint and would go rampant. No, it is clumper not a runner. 
If you look closely you can see where it gets its common name  'Hairy'. The stems and even the leaves are quite hairy.  The only draw back to this plant is that it looks horrible after it blooms. I cut it to the ground thinking it would be no loss if it died but it must have appreciated the chomp. It will be dealt with this way in the future too. I will see how it develops.
Walking through some of the other paths you can see there is a lot of brown and gray. The grass in the paths hasn't given up this winter at all. While it isn't summer green it isn't winter gray.
At the West end of the patio there is still a bit of green. The brown of the Witch Hazel leaves still clinging even gives a bit of color.
Around front is one of my very favorite plants in the garden , a weeping spruce. It doesn't get much blog love because of where it is situated. It has become a magnificent tree to my eyes. 
This year I am thinking that it is the most prolific year for cones on this tree. There is clump after clump all over the tree. I wonder if it is because of the drought we have had the past few years.  
Rain shouldn't be a problem this month if the predictions come true this week. 3-4" of rain is expected. Oh, have I mentioned the wind? In December half of the days had winds of 20MPH with even higher gusts. January has begun with about the same amounts of wind. 
On that note I will leave you here with a shot of the Holly Berries in front of the house. They are well guarded by the Mockingbird that claims this area. This is the most color in the garden other than gray and a bit of green. Here is to a more colorful spring.