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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.
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Last evening I put in a few more of the little plant starts I have in the back yard: six marjorams tucked in here and there, three dusty miller behind the pansies in the space between the two bushes, with the remaining three also tucked here and there. I gave my herb starts (parsley and thyme) a shot of Miracle-Gro and will pot them on over the weekend.

Some pretty cold evenings are forecast for the next two days (temps in the lower to mid 40s) so I will be hauling hippeastrums back and forth. I think it will be safe to set out some coleus, though.
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The wisteria are open, fragrant, and visited by flies and bees.

The moonflower vine seedlings broke through the ground yesterday. They look funny.

I bought a little solar light at the PathMark for $3.98. Works like a charm -- I think I'll buy a couple more.

It's forecast to be cooler and overcast pretty soon. The weekend should be good for transplanting herbs and other things.

None of the hippeastrum are looking too terribly insulted by the increase in light. In fact, they look pretty happy.

I brought out the nopalxochia yesterday. The bay tree has been out since the weekend. I brought up the basil from the basement a couple days ago and brought down the one from the windowsill today. The sansevieria has been out for a couple weeks and is looking shocky. Its shady corner turns out to be mostly sunny.

The pachysandra may stay in their pot this year, I think, and grow some serious roots. I planted an 'alabama sunset' in the center of the pot to add some additional interest.

I see much gardening in my future this weekend.
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2010-04-25_041longwoodBeen a busy week -- working, editing photos, going to Civil War events (stuff in the pipeline so I couldn't just bail out). I must have shot a thousand frames over the weekend, edited it down to 200 or so, and am still working on my Longwood shots from Sunday.

I'm not as discriminating as some photographers in what I share on Flickr, probably because I keep Flickr as my online notebook.

A chunk of this week has been consumed with rassling the PACSCL 2009 books into the sort of shape that will let me take them off to the treasurer today and then to the accountant next week. I always feel better when that's done.

It's been a little chilly around here and I was afraid that the cold and a beating-down rainstorm might have done in my thyme seedlings, but I seem to be okay. The expensive impatiens were a great disappointment, though. I think I'll have five usable plants out of the packet. The backyard garden continues to thrive.
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But I did, at least a little, and then went down to make a late breakfast. After breakfast I stood in my minuscule backyard, enjoying the blue sky and thinking it would be so nice to be able to hand out my sheets....

....except that my whole yard is 17 x 17, we've been feeding the sparrows for months, and my sheets would be covered with bird poop in about 20 seconds.

Another good reason to move!

On the other hand, there's a volunteer opp to work on a little public garden outside the Hort Soc headquarters tonight at 5:30. That's an easy bike ride and I'm sure if I turned up with my trowel land my entrenching tool they wouldn't turn me away.

EDITED TO ADD: Garden Notes )
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Two blooms of the second 'Exotica' scape have opened and mine eyes do spy a *third* stalk coming up -- it's about three inches tall now. Because the stalks are coming up in sequence like this I won't get the all-at-once showy display, but that's okay -- I'll get a mid- or late-April bonus.

The girly bits of the one 'gervase' I pollinated with 'apple blossom' pollen have completely shriveled and died, but I think I detect a swelling in the ovary. All four blossoms on the second scape are open. There's no sudden collapse of the blossom I tried to pollinate with superannuated 'apple blossom' pollen, but it's early days yet. Downstairs, the Class of 2006 has two representatives blooming or about to. Neither is particularly exciting, but they *are* my firstborn, so I'll probably keep them.

The Class of 2009, recently transplanted, has a bit of a case of yellowing leaves. They don't especially like being transplanted when they're not dormant, so it's probably just a shocky reaction while their roots re-establish. Another few weeks and they go outdoors to soak up the sunshine.

Nopalxochia is putting on quite a show in one corner but will be winding down this week, I think, except for two or three outliers.

Thyme is germinating beyond my wildest dreams -- I can't count the number of pinhead seedlings, but it's a heap more than I need. I see the first parsleys today, too -- four or five of them. The surface-sown seeds of the impatiens are plumping up and showing tiny white swellings at the corners, so I expect to have an abundance of them as well. All in all, I will probably have more plants than back yard.

In non-gardening news, Roy and I went to see Alice in Wonderland on the big screen. We both found the high level of the audio intensely painful. I had earplugs in my bag, but only one set; Roy fabricated some out of toilet paper. Thus insulated somewhat from the assault on our eardrums, we liked the film very much. Roy commented on our ride home that he thinks we would have missed a lot of the effect if we'd waited for the DVD.

Thyme's up!

Apr. 2nd, 2010 01:09 pm
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That was fast. I sowed the thyme seeds March 28 and counted nine little seedlings this morning. The packet says germination in 14-21 days.

I now have a new technique for Very Small Seeds:

  1. scatter them on the surface of soaking wet potting mixture in a cut-down 1 gal milk jug
  2. put more potting mixture into a colander and shake over the surface to cover the seeds -- barely (only the fine stuff makes it through the holes so the seeds aren't suffocated by big honking chunks of wood chips or whatever crap Miracle-gro puts in its potting mixture)
  3. set top of milk jug loosely on top of bottom and place in sunny windowsill.

In other news, Roy says he's going to break up the last little nubbin of concrete on his hit list some time today. I think I'll plant my undistinguished sedums there.

Other windowsill news: I don't see any ovarian swelling on the 'gervase' flower I pollinated, but I do see that its girly bits have collapsed, whereas the girly bits of the others are still standing up. Also, that flower rolled up a lot faster than any of the others did. Since the first flower of the second stalk was sort of open, I took a chance at pollinating it with what's left on the collapsing Apple Blossom. Photos should be taken, I guess...

EDIT: I biked about 9 miles today and was pretty tired at the end of it. Roy did indeed break up the concrete but I couldn't muster the energy to plant the sedums.


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