Thursday, April 29, 2010

One of the fun things about running a plant nursery is that you get a chance to literally change the local landscape. If you sell the usual run of common plants, like the big box stores do, you don’t get to see this effect. But it you’re selling things that are more unusual, you get to see your influence around town. At least you do if you’re in a rural area/small town like I am.

A number of years ago I was given cuttings of “Mozart” rose. It’s an unusual looking rose; it has a mounding shape and has tiny, tiny five petaled flowers that are brilliant dark pink with white at the base. It stays covered with these blooms for much of summer. Many people do not recognize this plant as a rose when the first see it, but they find it attractive. This is a rose that is available some places online, but you don’t see it in garden centers. I grew out those cuttings, and took cuttings from those bushes, and started selling them at the farmer’s market.

You see them around the county now. In someone’s front yard, in a row of shrubs in a dirt road. This gives me a thrill, to see something that I grew and that the person probably wouldn’t have found and put in their yard if I hadn’t put it out there. There are other plants out there like that; things I’ve grown from seeds purchased out of some of the lower circulation catalogs. Things like polemoniums with flowers that start out peach and age to mauve. Lavenders with pale pink flowers.

It’s fun to be able to offer something different, and to see it making people happy.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Silver wasn't too sure about today's mail:

But the contents proved pleasing:

I think our house has officially reached it's maximum number of lifeforms. Two humans, four cats, six fish, six ducklings, 21 chicks, hundreds of seedlings and the usual houseplants. And that's not counting the spiders that live everywhere.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

The view of the ski hill when I went out to take pictures in the yard:

About five minutes later, the heavens opened with rain and hail blowing almost sideways.
Then 30 minutes later:

Friday, April 23, 2010

We went to Home Despot yesterday, and so of course I came home with plants. How could it be otherwise? So of course I spent most of today planting them!

First was Phlox divaricata, the woodland phlox. I put it behind the Golden Curls willow, because it likes some shade. It's on the east side of the house anyway, so it should be happy. It's in the area with the bleeding heart and some ferns and hostas. It'll fit right in.
Phlox divaricata

Next I put some Golden Scotch Moss between the slate pieces in the walk to the front door. Hopefully it will grow quickly so I can divide it and fill in; I only have four little plants now and they look like polkadots in the path.

Golden Scotch Moss

I bought an azalea, "Elsie Lee", not knowing at the time that it was an evergreen one. I hope it's hardy enough and makes it here, but it's iffy. The ones that drop their leaves in winter are much hardier than the evergreens.  It's so pretty; light lavender-pink with  a bit of a dark blotch!

Azalea 'Elsie Lee'

I also got an Endless Summer hydrangea. That was pricey, but I think it'll be worth it. The mopheads and lacecaps aren't reliable bloomers in our area because they usually die back to the ground, and they bloom only on old wood, which means- no blooms. I've had two plants of a beautiful lacecap variety for years now and have never had them bloom. The last couple of years I've found myself hoping they wouldn't survive the winter, but they continue to come up from the ground every year. 'Endless Summer' blooms on both old and new wood, so we should get nice blue blooms every year now.

The best place I could see for it was already occupied by a 'Bayse's Purple' rose, which has never liked the spot. A rose almost as tall as I am. And considerably wider. So I dug that up, cleared a new spot for it, replanted it and pruned it. Then I could plant the hydrangea. All (hopefully) without stepping on the hostas that haven't come up yet. And then I forgot to take a picture of the hydrangea. 

We also got four inexpensive bagged roses, older varieties that are, of course, grafted. I don't like grafted roses, but these come cheaply and I can take cuttings later in summer and hopefully get some going on their own roots. We got 'Angel Face', 'Nearly Wild', 'Sunsprite' and 'Climbing Golden Showers'. 

Since I didn't take pictures of the stick roses or the hydrangea, have a picture of the bergenia in full bloom:

I grew that one from a seed. It's many years old.

Also did the first of the seedling transplanting today. Some of the morning glories, sweet peas, hollyhocks, lupins and artichokes were ready to move up into four packs. Everything else is still too small.
Artichoke seedlings

Now I'm ready to drop into bed.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

A late post about Sunday

I'm leaving this post as I wrote it, on Sunday the 18th. After going through a total reformat of my hard drive earlier this month, with a clean install, all updates and a new antivirus program, I seem to have gotten *another* virus on Sunday. While I could get email and access most sites, I could not get on to Blogger, Etsy, my spam trap or several other sites. I just did a system restore back to Saturday, and so far, so good.

Some days I hate computers.

The Home and Garden show was this weekend, so I went and did a presentation on propagation by cuttings for the Master Gardeners. More people showed up than usual, so there were a lot of questions. That always makes it easier in a way- I do better answering questions than I do following a script. On the other hand, one question can lead to another and I allow things to wander off topic- not good. I think I only forgot to mention one or two things, though.
Must remember to call the Extension Office tomorrow. When I had to reformat the computer, I lost the schedule for when I’m supposed to have articles to them for the paper. I have a nasty suspicion that one of the deadlines is coming up pretty soon. Also must ask about plant clinic, since I need to do that this year or I will no longer be a Master Gardener! Missed the refresher course due to illness, and I need to know what the procedure is these days. It’s been years since I’ve done Plant Clinic, and I don’t want to be one of those people everyone else hates because they make a mess of the paperwork. There is always a fair number of those, and I’d rather not swell the ranks.

Greenhouse still not finished. Every day Tim says “It will be finished this evening!” and every day it isn’t, because everything always takes longer than figured. Soon, I hope, as the house is being over run with flats of seedlings that I have to take outside every day and bring back in at night

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Boxes of Interest

The cats are very interested in these boxes:

That's because the boxes contain these:

These aren't the horde that we ordered on the the internet; these are ones that the online place was out of, so we managed to find them in town. Five aruacanas and three gold laced wyandots. They are in our bathroom. Right now, they are cute and adorable and wonderful. In about four days, when they start smelling bad no matter how many times a day we change their paper, they won't be very cute any more.

This box is the biggest that the bathroom can hold; I really don't know where we're going to put the 26 when they arrive in the mail....

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Dear Cat;

I thought that there would be *one* place in the house where you couldn’t get, one place where I could put breakable things without it ended up as a shrapnel bomb. As one can see here, I was wrong.

I realize that you’re gray like the gargoyle, and actually look rather attractive up there. If all you wished to do was sit there above the front door, I might put up with it. But I’m not amused when plaster gargoyles and 100 year old books come raining down. And further, now where am I supposed to put my alien-fetus-in-a-jar??!

Please restrict yourself to lower altitudes.

Thank you,

The Humans
For reasons I can't figure out, I havent' been able to upload photos to Blogger for several days now. Obviously, I've been able to figure it out before, and I've tried numerous times the way I was uploading before, figuring there was a temporary server glitch. No joy. I've tried every other way I can think of- using the 'blogger in draft' thing, loading from a URL (Flickr), doing it in 'edit html' mode, in 'compose' mode. Still no joy. I've run out of things to try.

We've been working on the greenhouse, trying to rebuild it- it collapsed in the heavy snow winter before last. In the process of putting the new plastic on the top, I bashed my thumb with the hammer and it promptly turned a shade of purple that would actually be pretty attractive if it wasn't on, you know, my thumb. It's bending again now, though, so I guess it'll be okay sooner or later.

I've also been planting seeds like crazy- tomatoes, peppers, cabbage, lettuce, all sorts of Asian greens, iris, lilies, a wide variety of perennials, and lots and lots of onions. Tim becomes obsessed with one plant or another some years; a couple of years ago it was potatoes (about 20 varieties, which yielded about 2500 lbs), this year it's onions. Red ones, white ones, yellow ones, scallions, red scallions... and we never have luck growing onions. Hopefully this will be the year we figure it out!

Because of all this planting - and also because my computer got a virus and I had to reformat and do a clean install, along with the attendant downloading updates and reinstalling software and hardware- I have not touched either needlework or beading. Or, for that matter, much reading. Well, sooner or later I'll run out of seeds to plant. Of course by then, it'll be time to transplant them to larger containers...

Monday, April 5, 2010

Finished the other block for the breast cancer fund raising raffle:

I love the ribbon and the wisteria, but I don’t like how the pale peach wandering lines went. I tried to do it free hand, and learned that doesn’t work. I need to draw things on the block before I do swirly things! I’m not sure *why* I can draw things just fine, but can’t stitch free hand.

This block, like the purple one, is all recycled fabrics. The shiny brocade on the left is, I think, older than I am- it’s something that was in my mom’s stash, and was, I think scraps from a dress of my aunt’s, as is the one right above it. The one on the lower right was a shirt of mine; the upper right is a yard sale prom dress; the others are from drapery sample books. Crazy quilting is a great way to use scraps, old clothing and samples. While all the embellishments on these blocks are new, you can also use old jewelry, trim and ribbons, although there is no good way of reusing floss.

Friday, April 2, 2010

First breast cancer benefit block done!

I’ve completed one of the blocks for the breast cancer research raffle:

I keep feeling like it needs more on it, but every time I auditioned something on it, it didn’t look right. I think I ended up with too many ‘dots’- French knots and beads- sprinkled around, and anything more makes it too busy and scattered. And I find, looking at it on the monitor, that using the rainbow colored silk thread on the one seam was a mistake- I should have kept to more subdued colors like most of the rest of it is. Maybe I’ll see if I can tone it down with some fabric markers or the like.

Now, on to the peach colored one. This one might go a litter faster- I’ve caught a virus (and there is a storm coming in) so hopefully I won’t be working outside today. And hopefully I won’t just fall asleep!