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.

Forsythia

 

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.

Poinsettia

 

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!

Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day: December 2014

Outside, in my garden, nothing is in bloom. A few things are green — pachysandra, lamium, yucca, arborvitae — but no flowers have escaped the onset of winter here in Zone 6b.

Inside, of the few things that could be in bloom, only one has a teeny tiny bloom: the sedum cutting I took this fall.

Sedum

My African violet’s blooms finally faded a few days ago.

My Thanksgiving cactus had one spectacular bloom on Thanksgiving Day that lasted for a few days afterward — then, after I pinched off the spent flower, all the other flower buds wilted and fell off. Not sure if I changed my watering pattern or if bloom time was just over and done.

My kalanchoes are still relatively young (potted in April from cuttings taken in February), and I haven’t seen them bloom yet. I know from the parent plants that I should have yellow, orange, and pinkish blooms someday.

Just this weekend, I brought in one of the containers of grape and pink hyacinths that I’ve been forcing in the garage. The sprouts are still little, and I wonder if I brought them inside too early, but I just had to try. This is my first year forcing them — I took dozens and dozens of tiny bulbs out of the area where I’m planning to put my herb garden this year (and still missed some!), so I figured I’d give it a shot.

A photo posted by Diana Schnuth (@dianaschnuth) on

Despite having many windows in my home, not many of them are prime locations for plants, due to orientation (no south-facing and no good north-facing windows), interior design (some tables in prime window locations are needed for setting down drinks and snacks), and just by virtue of having a cat and a three-year-old. I have every intention of adding to my collection of sturdy plant stands as time goes on, but for now, I’ll be happy with the houseplants I have, and not be adding any amaryllis or other winter-specific blooms to the fray.

Eventually, someday, I will enjoy blooms every month of the year!

Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day: November 2014

If you would have asked me last year to write a post about what was blooming in my garden (or in my house) in the month of November, I might have laughed. Now that I’ve been participating in GBBD for a few months, though, I’ve been paying closer attention to the small things.

For instance: I found this mum blooming in late October, and I had completely missed it last fall (since I still don’t know what all the previous homeowner planted).

Fall Mums
[Taken 23 October 2014]

Not long after, we got our first frost here in NW Ohio, so I’m glad I got a nice photo of the mum before then. The pollinators didn’t seen to mind the wilty petals, though.

Bee on Fall Mums
[Taken 3 November 2014]

While I was doing my fall cleanup this month, I also spied a single confused bloom amongst the creeping myrtle.


[Taken 3 November 2014]

Also during my fall cleanup, I documented the last rose bloom of the season, on my unidentified pink rosebush.

Very Last Rose of the Season
[Taken 3 November 2014]

That’s probably going to be about it for the outdoor blooms until March. Until then…

 

Houseplants

Back in September, I cut some sedum blooms to bring inside as part of a flower arrangement for my son’s birthday party. Over time, everything else in the arrangement wilted — but the sedum only faded as sedum does, and the leaves stayed green. So I kept it in water. Then it started growing roots, so I planted it in potting soil. Then, this month, it started blooming.

Sedum
[Taken 5 November 2014]

They’re teeny tiny blooms, and I should probably be pinching them off to let the plant grow stronger roots… but they’re welcome color on my windowsill.

My African Violet decided it was time to bloom, too:

African Violet

As a special surprise, my Christmas Thanksgiving Cactus has started to bud, and may actually be in bloom around Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving Cactus

 

With a little planning, we CAN have blooms nearly every month of the year. I have some ideas about getting blooms in my house and on my property this winter (and in winters to come), and I wouldn’t even have considered it if not for Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day.

Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day – October 2014

Here in my Zone 6b garden, most plants are starting to quiet down for the season. I’ve got some beautiful fall colors happening, and a few hangers-on from late-summer blooms, but the real action is drawing to a close.

This currently-unidentified white rose has the longest bloom time of the half-dozen or so that bloom on my property — this year, anyway. It was the first rose I saw in June and is the last to bloom this October.

White Rose

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Garden Bloggers Bloom Day, September 2014

Summer is drawing to a close and autumn is definitely taking hold in my gardens here in USDA Zone 6b. The roses are preparing for one final bloom flush to finish out the season. The leaves on the maple tree out back are just starting to take on a rosy tinge along the edges, and the leaves on the flowering trees in front are turning a subtle pinkish red.

Autumn Leaves
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Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day, August 2014

0815-kitchenborder

Welcome to my first-ever Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day post! I didn’t know this was a thing until I went researching… something garden-related, I forget what… and came across the July Bloom Day entry on Cold Climate Gardening which led me to May Dreams Gardens and Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day (GBBD).

So, here I am. *waves*

As a newcomer to this community of garden bloggers, let me give you a little backstory.

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