Strawberry Blossoms

I brought my strawberry bucket into my unheated sunroom last fall to overwinter. These beauties must be enjoying the greenhouse effect of the windows, as they’re already in bloom, just as the daffodils and hyacinths and cherry blossoms are doing their thing outside.

I did a little research to learn whether strawberry plants need pollinators, and the answer is — not really? The dark yellow bits need to come into contact with the light yellow center, whether by wind or other means. One gardener wrote that he usually rubs two blooms together, but that some people use a paintbrush to get the pollen where it needs to go.

After I took this photo, I pollinated the blossom by kind of pushing the pollen into place with my fingers. The next day, the petals were dropping and the center part was getting ready to strawberry itself.

Might be an extra bit of work on my part, but if I keep the strawberry bucket in the sunroom, I won’t have to worry about birds eating my damn berries.

Spring Weeding

Weeds before and after

I only spent two hours weeding and cleaning up today, but I could easily have spent all day, if I’d had the time.

My main goal was to clean up the “tulip bed,” above. I call it the tulip bed because I planted some couple dozen Angelique peony-flowering tulips in the border a couple autumns ago. Last spring, deer ate the tops off of two-thirds of them. Earlier this spring, deer and other wildlife just straight up ate the bulbs right out of the ground. I have about six left, and I intend to use this photo as a reference for where I should plant some more bulbs come this fall.

Anyway.

I spent some quality time weeding here, then pulling up last year’s stems of Solomon’s Seal in the next border over, along with pulling the most egregious of the weeds there. I also swung through the front garden (what I pompously call the Cottage Garden, although it really looks nothing like one yet) and did some spring triage: pulling up skeletons of last year’s annuals, making sure weeds don’t choke out new growth from peonies and yarrow, that sort of thing.

I’m planning a gardening morning off of work in a couple of weeks, but I’m chomping at the bit to get out there and tackle some more tasks: plants I’d like to move, more weeding, some pruning, etc.

When we moved into this house four years ago, I didn’t exactly go from zero to gardener in a season. It took me a year or two to ramp up and grow into it. Now, though… this is a full-fledged hobby of mine, disguised as yardwork.

Moving My Favorite White Rose

I decided over the winter that I need to move all the plantings out of my current rose border and let it grass over. I have more borders than I can manage, honestly, and that one just doesn’t have the impact that the others do. So, two unidentified white climbing roses and one Dortmund climbing rose need to find new homes, plus a hosta and a smattering of white irises that I only recently divided.

This morning was the perfect day to move a rose: cool and overcast, with the forsythia in bloom, coming off of a few solid days of soaking rain.

That doesn’t mean I wasn’t still nervous as hell. I’ve never moved a rose before, and I didn’t want to kill my favorite long-bloomer. But I went for it, anyway.

Before in the Rose Border

(more…)

Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day: March 2017

The mercury rose unseasonably high in February here in northwest Ohio, Zone 6, and I feared for some of my earliest risers. In what I’ve dubbed the Early Spring Border, where I can see muscari and daffodils and hyacinths and alliums from my kitchen window, things are definitely moving along earlier than usual — but, thankfully, in this border, only one very early blooming dwarf iris felt the wilty brunt of this week’s snow.

Dwarf Iris

This is what it looked like on February 25. Today, it’s a sad, floppy thing.
(more…)

Seed Starting Continued

The tomatoes and eggplants are going gangbusters, the sage and thyme and foxgloves and lemon balm are peeking up, and today was the basil’s turn.

Technically, today I started four varieties of basil, plus stevia, cinquefoil, and cosmos. Tomorrow (after a 24-hour soak), I’ll start the white coneflowers.

I put the new seeds under a humidity dome. I wish I’d gotten a shorter one, since I’d like to have my light closer to the seeds so they don’t get leggy, but I guess I’d have had to put the light that high to reach both trays, anyway.

So far, only the paprika peppers have failed to germinate, and I haven’t given up on them just yet. Gardening season is getting off to a great start!

Unseasonably Warm

78F indoors, 66F outdoors

It’s summery in the sunroom this afternoon, so I’m taking a break from laundry and housework to enjoy the sunshine for a bit.

Yesterday, I got outside to do some of the spring cleanup: raking out a few flowerbeds, cutting back and pulling up dead and dormant plants, that sort of thing. I like getting out there up close and personal with my plants before they fill out — gives me a better idea of what survived the winter, what didn’t, what got eaten by critters, what I should move to where, et cetera.

Several of the earliest bulbs are peeking up some greenery. I don’t see any crocuses yet, but some of the early daffodils are a few inches tall, hyacinth foliage is barely emerging, and there are tiny buds of peonies and alliums poking out of the soil.

I noticed that my beloved tree peony may be ailing; it’s losing its bark near the base of the trunk. Once it goes, I think I’ll be replacing it with another. I love seeing those huge mid-May blooms every time I come home from work.

I still don’t consider myself a gardener (not like some of the garden bloggers I follow), but I’m coming to realize that I really, REALLY enjoy puttering with plants.

Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day: February 2017

While my Zone 6 garden hasn’t quite awakened from its mild winter slumber quite yet, I have plenty of blooms indoors to keep me company.

I got this African violet as a birthday present from a co-worker some ten years ago — actually, probably more like twelve, now that I think about it. It’s still going strong, which pleases me.

Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day: Feb 2017

I potted up this Ragtime amaryllis in hopes of a Christmas bloom, which it just barely missed. (Luckily, the second bloom stalk of the Christmas Star amaryllis filled in quite nicely.) This is the second bloom of Ragtime, much later than I would have expected. But I’ll take it!

Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day: Feb 2017

This is my first year forcing hyacinths. I decided to do them in rounds, partially because I bought half a dozen bulbs and only have three forcing vases, but also so I could do some trial-and-error to see how they bloom best in my house. I managed to rot the first two bulbs, but this third one is the charm.

Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day: Feb 2017

Finally — and this one might be the one I’m most excited about — this is the first bloom of this particular kalanchoe that I got as a cutting nearly three years ago. My friend and co-worker gave me four cuttings of three colors (I think), and so far I’ve seen shades of orange and pink. This is the first yellow bloom.

Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day: Feb 2017

Looking forward to seeing a few outdoor blooms by this time next month — crocuses, if nothing else.

As always, thanks to Carol of May Dreams Gardens for hosting this meme every month!