lblanchard: (swannfountain)
Yesterday and today have been days of hippeastrum maintenance. After a winter and early spring of low light, my species hippeastrum were flopping all over the place, their foliage lanky and weak. H. 'mandoni' has especially flopsy leaves -- a yard long and ribbon-like. My 'mandoni' were also purchased as juveniles and put into 16 oz solo cups, which they'd outgrown a few months ago. So -- a fine big new pot for both 'mandoni' and some serious staking. I also staked up the class of 2011 ('papilio' x emerald'). Downstairs, where the Class of 2011 is in repose by the living room window, I cut stakes but haven't made the cat's cradle of twine to hold them together. Later today. Today I also staked up my two 'papilio.'

All this is in preparation for moving everybody outdoors, probably next week.

The class of 2006 has short, stubby, sturdy foliage. It will eventually need staking but not yet. The class of 2009 has stakes in place but needs new twine.

Speaking of the class of 2009, here's the delightful out-of-season bloomer, snapped this morning:


Class of 2009, Hippeastrum 'supermarket' (Trader Joe x PathMark or
ProbablyFairyTale x ProbablyAppleBlossom, depending on how you'd like to think of them)

Today's weather is threatening, followed by rain, a good time to set out some transplants, so I set out several rooted coleus cuttings. I paused to admire my fat peony buds. I'm keeping my fingers crossed they don't rot from damp weather again this year, the way they did last year. That was very disappointing.

The wisteria seedling crumpled and turned pale brown yesterday. I threw it away. The Franklinia looks exactly as it has for three days.
lblanchard: (Default)

Originally uploaded by lb_philly.
It's imploding. Or maybe deflating is a better word. In any case, the peony is pretty close to two-dimensional. But it's impossibly fragrant as it dies.

The oenothera are opening, and the rose campion buds are starting to show a peek of color. The one side of the garden is a couple days ahead of the other. I think I see flower stalks starting on the hostas. And when all of these are done, there will be begonias and coleus for color.
lblanchard: (Default)
2010-05-14_01peonyRoy and I started this lovely day by replacing the whiskey barrel planter out front. We had had the current one for a decade...the bottom had rotted out, as had a couple of the staves, and the metal bands were falling to the ground.

So I pulled up all the iris (ick! aphids in the interstices! there will be no mailing of plants to anyone), and then we removed the soil, installed a new barrel (this time with plastic liner), replaced some of the soil and mixed in new soil, watered and let it sit. I planted one big pansy in the center as a signal that this is a work in progress.

I need to get some chemical warfare stuff to go after any aphids that are living in the soil. I pulled off dead leaves and triple-washed the iris, and will put some back in.

We had the front door propped open as we worked, and the Scamp alternately prowled around the steps and skittered back into the depths of the house. He does not love the internal combustion engine.

The peonies are about done, so last night I snipped one off and floated it in a glass bowl, set it on the piano, and played a couple of Chopin preludes. For years, that had been my definition of being a lady of leisure: "I will play Chopin and arrange peonies in a glass bowl." When the outside petals open up completely the bloom is a good 9" across.

The first oenothera opened today. I think I see obvious buds on the rose campion.

The front pansies were definitely past their prime, so I cut them back. I don't know whether they will come back, but they're masked by volunteer feverfew right now, so it doesn't matter.

Yesterday I set out the parsley seedlings in a big planter and today I planted a variegated basil in the center of them. I also made up a hanging planter with the prostrate rosemary I bought at the Flower Show as well as seedlings of parsley, thyme, and marjoram. I tucked some thyme seedlings here and there in the flowerbeds. I also re-potted my new oak seedlings so it has a little more room for the taproot to go down, and surrounded it with parsley and thyme.

Now I am drinking coffee but not succeeding in staying awake. There may be a nap in my future.
lblanchard: (Default)
I've observed my first visible shoot today -- not sure whether it's an embryonic leaf or an incipient rootlet. Several other seeds are pushing up from where I planted them, so I'm expecting to see more shoots very soon.

This is twelve days after sowing. I've sown 64 seeds -- eight rows of eight seeds each. I won't mind if I have a lower germination rate than last time.

One of my metaphors for living the life of privilege is "I want to play Chopin and arrange peonies in a glass bowl." This year's peony crop wasn't big enough for that kind of arranging, but it *was* big enough for me to cut one and put it in a glass vase, which I set next to the music stand while I worked on Chopin Prelude #15 in Db -- known popularly as "Raindrop." It's still kind of extremely stumbling and ragged, but there are a couple of fortissimo passages involving massive octaves and/or chords in both hands that are awfully satisfying. (The dainty bits are nice, too.) [Here it is done properly. One of the fortissimo bits I find so satisfying is around 2:15.]
lblanchard: (Default)
Two peony blossoms are history, another is past its sell-by date, and the third is in full bloom. They didn't last particularly long this year.

and more notes to myself -- read them if you like )
lblanchard: (Default)
The first peony flower is getting brown around the edges and will probably drop its petals later today, if I don't cut it off first. I think the plant needs to be repotted in something larger.

The wisteria is just about in full bloom and is attracting bumbling carpenter bees and some fierce smaller bee thing that chases them.

Something has happened to my sense of smell -- neither the peonies nor the wisteria smell especially pleasant. There's a something they have that's common to petroleum products and I am noticing it more this year. Perhaps next year they will all smell better.

Last evening I moved some plantlets that are prone to self-sowing and nestled them in around the hostas. That would be rose campion and feverfew, as threatened. I also pulled up the couple of puny Martian Invader daylilies that never flourished in the Wisteria Pit, and put them where they'll get more sun and (I think) less competition.

On the windowsills, my seedling basil are just starting to put out their first true leaves. In a couple days I think they'll be far enough along to get a shot of Miracle Gro. There are about a half-dozen rooted coleus cuttings that I might as well pot up. Perhaps they'll go in the window boxes after all. Plus somewhere between a half dozen and a dozen looking glass begonias.

My friend Ann is returning a lilac to me some time this weekend. It's pink and not fragrant. Perhaps I'll pass it on to my sister. EDIT: Here's what it looked like in 2002. It's much bigger now:


The Schlumbergera 'madisto' that [ profile] clindau brought me last spring is clearly pot-bound, so I'll upgrade it to a 4" round pot today and hope that it gets pot-bound enough by fall to bloom for me. I took the Nopalxochia outside the other day. It got really bleached out from its time in a sunny window this spring -- lesson learned, and I'll move it next April.

EDIT: I was given some Jobe plant food spikes, so I pushed three in my big 'Looking Glass' begonia today.
lblanchard: (Default)
Two peonies are blooming (one is approaching its sell-by date) and a third is looking ready to pop. Memorial Day weekend starts in a couple of hours, so I guess I'm going to have peonies on Memorial Day, whee!

There were a few crisped up and dead leaves on the small maple. I have no idea why. They were all in one spot so perhaps there was some reason -- bird with particularly corrosive droppings, perhaps? I may repot it this weekend just in case the pot-to-root ratio is off again.

It has occurred to me today that now that I have some, you know, actual soil that's not being peed on in the backyard, I could plant some daylilies amid the hostas. Also rose campion and oenothera and feverfew. I think I have about 10 rose campion volunteers. They won't bloom till next year, being biennials, but their fuzzy silvery foliage is decorative. And I have tons of feverfew. Oh, and I still have blue flag iris in my front bucket. I didn't send it all to [ profile] pameladean and [ profile] clindau.

Now that it's blooming abundantly, the wisteria is a little disappointing. The flowers at one end of the cluster are fading before the ones at the other end have come into being. Not festive like [ profile] kightp's at all. But it's the wisteria I've got. I must take its picture this weekend.

I look at the hippeastrum seeds a couple times a day, even though they aren't likely to start sprouting until Tuesday or Wednesday at the earliest.
lblanchard: (Default)
Much better today. Still a little swelling and the occasional twinge. I'm taking stairs with extreme care, especially going down.

The knee thought about locking up when I got on my bike today, but I babied it by not putting any power on the stroke for about half a mile and then cautiously adding it back in, a little power at a time. After that it was fine on the bike.

Here's hoping that tomorrow I'll be able to walk on the level without any kind of weirdness to my gait.

In other news, one peony is fully open and another is about to open. Just in time for Memorial Day. And the wisteria is on the brink of full bloom. Photos will be posted.


May. 18th, 2009 04:04 pm
lblanchard: (Default)
The first of four Festiva Maxima buds has opened today. I think that's earlier than previous years. The plant also has one fewer buds this year than last year.

It definitely needs a bigger pot.
lblanchard: (Default)
We saw the sun for an hour or so this morning; now the high clouds are moving in.

This year the wisteria appears poised to bloom more prolifically. I stopped counting at 30 scapes. That's not prolific by [ profile] kightp's standards, but it's a great improvement on the six or seven scapes we had last year.

We have ants on the peony buds this year! Teeny tiny little black aunts, not the big ones I recall from my youth, but ants nevertheless.

I think I will be gardening passively this year -- not going out and acquiring new plants, but accepting what comes up. I have a lot of seedlings: corydalis, four-o-clocks, aquilegia, rudbeckia, and what I believe are rose campion. I also have enough feverfew to medicate the eastern seaboard if I let them grow. Then, of course, there are the coleus and begonias I overwintered.

We moved the hostas, in their boxes, to a spot where they would get rainwater. They are tremendously happy after the rainy spell and should have a good start on life this year before we move them back to their regular place. I am also thinking of dividing them and putting them in the ground. All of my variegated hostas have sported out to plain green, but that's all right.

stages of grieving for a large dog )
lblanchard: (Default)
Two warm days and the red maple's leaves are unfurling.

I can see and count three buds on the peony so far -- I think the biggest shoot has shot up six inches in the past two days. There are eight shoots this year, one more than last year.

The hostas are unfurling. The perennial sunflowers are poking up. I think I see a second columbine.

I set my tomato seedlings outside.
lblanchard: (Default)
Notes to myself, mostly )

In other news, I see four shoots on the peony so far.
lblanchard: (Default)

Originally uploaded by lb_philly.
Settling back into a routine, sort of.

There's some definite swelling on the pollinated hippeastrum. (For comparison, see entry from a week ago.) Looks like I can expect some seeds. Wonder if they'll germinate as exuberantly as the last batch.

There's another Nopalxochia flower at the peak of its bloom, and the last one is starting to color up.

Three peony shoots have poked through so far. I hope to see at least two more.

I did three loads of wash.

Roy came home from walking the dog all excited because there was a bluegrass jam taking place on our block and he got us invited. I went to observe, then sent him home for my guitar and played till my thumb blistered (forgot to ask for a pick).

It was sunny and warm, and then we had a thunderstorm with hail the size of peas.

ETA: Forgot to mention that the microwave had an epic fail (including bolt-like flashes of light, loud noises, and bad smells) yesterday. We've had it since 2000. So we lugged it out back and reinstalled the Amana Touchmatic Radarange that Roy got in 1978. We retired it because we wanted a smaller model in our kitchen but we kept it, and a good thing it is, too. It looks as though we have the dashboard of a 1978 Buick Skylark on the kitchen counter, but it works.
lblanchard: (Default)

Originally uploaded by lb_philly.
It's a warm day. When I went downstairs for lunch, I got my first urge to start sweeping up the winter's layer of birdseed hulls and generally tidy up.

The peach, maple, and crabapple are all budding. I will need to contact my daughter-in-law so that she takes the peach tree off to what is sure to be a better home before it gets rolling.

I felt around in the peony pot and am reassured that there are new shoots on the way.

It's warm enough that I set out my three small pots of rosemary and my bay tree so they can get a little more light this afternoon. I will have to bring them in last night.

In a move I will probably regret next spring, I attempted to pollinate the Trader Joe amaryllis with pollen from the Pathmark amaryllis. If that works, I'll be shoved out of house and home by the things.

I saw three fungus gnats in close proximity when I went down to look at the coleus. I don't like that. It means that there is fungus gnat romance in the air, to be followed by directly by a fungus-gnat population explosion. Biological warfare will be called for: I hope that the bacillus thuringensis stuff I've got is still potent. Double strength doses all around!

Next week I think I'll start some basil, and perhaps a couple Supersonic tomatoes.


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