Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day: January 2015

I always forget what USDA Zone I’m in, and I have to look it up, because I’m right on the border of 6a/6b. Technically, I’m in Zone 6a (Average Minimum Temperature -10F to -5F), but a mile and a half east of my house is a pocket of Zone 6b that borders Lake Erie. So, we’ll call it 6a/6b.

At any rate, everything outside is sleeping under a (relatively) fresh blanket of snow. As I mentioned last month, a few plants are evergreen, like the yucca and the yews and the arborvitae (of course) and the lamiums and pachysandra (under all the snow), but nothing is in bloom. For that, we look indoors.

About two weeks ago, on a balmy 36-degree day, I cut some forsythia branches for forcing. Today, they’re unfurling their cheery yellow blooms in my dining room.



Even the small lower branches that I removed from the larger ones and decided to force in a much smaller container are now brightening up my kitchen windowsill! (I wasn’t sure how that would work out.)

Small Forsythia


The Christmas poinsettia is still looking mighty nice. I accidentally killed last year’s poinsettia by following some instructions I found online to help it properly go dormant, wake back up, get bushy, and turn red again at the right time. I’m considering just treating this one like a regular houseplant like my in-laws used to do, and not putting it in dormancy in the garage or drastically cutting it back. I’ve been giving it deep drinks of water every other day or so, and hitting it with the mister, and it seems to be pretty happy.



While my grape hyacinths (muscari) and pink hyacinths haven’t bloomed yet, most of them seem to be faring well so far. I have four small containers of bulbs forcing in gravel and water; some foliage is wiltier than others, but I’ve only had a couple of bulbs completely fail to thrive. (Not bad, considering that I dug them up from what will soon be my herb garden, and just left the bulbs sitting in an old plastic pot in the garage for a few months.)

This was my first attempt at forcing bulbs, so now I have an idea of what containers work best, how close together to place the bulbs, when to start them (earlier than I thought!), and where in my house to keep them. (A dark spot in the unheated sunroom is OK until the outside temps get below freezing; then the basement is a good spot, as long as I remember to water them…)

Muscari (Grape Hyacinth)


I’m so grateful for Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day! It keeps me from pining for the days of Spring and making grandiose plans that I may or may not manage to fulfill. Instead, I can focus on having blooms every month of the year!

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