Monday, June 8, 2009

Perennials from seed

The greenhouse is bursting with plants, some of them ripe for transplanting. Actually, some have been in their pots far too long so that by now they are pot bound and need to go in the garden very soon - or some of my hard work will be wasted. The Leucanthemum maximum 'Crazy Daisy' (Double shasta daisy) are rapidly filling in and they are thirsty constantly.
Verbena bonariensis (Brazilian verbena) are just as big and compact and screaming for more room.
I transplanted the first 10 of Aruncus dioius (Goatsbeard) last week-end as one of the beds that they are going in was cleaned up and mulched.
The native Aster puniceus (Purple stemmed aster) was almost "standing still" for some time, but the last couple of weeks really got them growing.
Digitalis stewardii (Foxglove) is the best looking of my three varieties. D. furreginea and D. parviflora didn't have a high germination % and are more or less just surviving. I think that I'll get a few of each, but this one is the best so far.
Agastache foeniculum (Giant blue hyssop) have done extremely well and also need to get a new home soon. Looks to me like a couple of seeds were from the golden-leaved variety?
Some species/varieties seem to be doing well, but stay small as this Heuchera villosa (Coral Bells),
Monarda fistulosa (Bee balm), and
Thalictrum pubescens (Tall meadow rue). I wonder if they would have looked different had I transplanted them into larger pots earlier, or are they just enjoying their youth as they don't have to rush to maturity like their annual cousins? I feel that they are too small to go into the garden and I will probably have to transplant them to either larger pots or a nursery bed until the fall or next spring.
In the green house, but not shown here are also Papaver anomalum 'Album' (White poppy), Euphorbia polychroma, Lobelia siphilitica (Great blue lobelia), Helenium flexuosum (Sneeze-weed), Sanguisorba officinalis (Great burnet), Liatris 'Floristan Violet' (Blazing Star), Asclepias incarnata (Swamp milkweed), Salvia superba dwarf 'Blue Queen', Salvia nemerosa, Phlomis tuberosa, Echincea purpurea 'Primadonna', E. purpurea 'Alba', and E. purpurea 'White Swan'.
It's all been fun and very exciting - although lots of work - to see the seedlings grow and flourish.
Winter-sowing however has been disappointing. Many varieties didn't germinate, some only had very few seeds germinate, and then some germinated and disappeared again before the seedlings grew big enough for transplanting.
Winter sowed Eryngium planum (Flat sea holly) had one seedling from a packet of seeds as did Sorghastrum nutans (Indiangrass).
Eupatorium maculatum and E. purpureum (Joe Pye) both germinated with 5-8 seedlings then died for me.
Angelica (Great Alexanders), Trollius europeanus (Globe flower), and a handfull of varieties from seeds I collected didn't germinate at all (yet?).
Sunflowers, Hollyhock, a double rudbeckia, echinacea, and shepherds scabiosa germinated well and are growing, although very tiny seedlings. Also germinating, but in small numbers were Astrantia major (Great masterwort), Trollius ircuticus (orange Globe flower), Asclepias tuberosa (Butterfly weed), Leucanthemum x superbum 'Alaska' (White daisy), and Rudbeckia 'Goldsturm'
I don't plan on growing this many seedlings again, but I am quite sure that whatever I grow, I'll get my grow lamps out in the office and then raise the seedlings in the greenhouse again. It may be a little more work, but with much greater results.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Bit off more than I can chew---

------hope not, but that is how I often feel these days!

After a loooong winter the grounds around here were wet, cold, and not workable until mid May by which time the weeds were far into the race to reach maximum height before the end of the month.

It is really not that I have been lazy (haven't even had time to enjoy most of my favourite blogs the past couple of weeks) - things just seem to all of a sudden to have gotten out of hand.

Think of myself as a pro-active person - at least during "normal" times - the gardening chores these days, however, have my mind and body jumping from one to the other, depending on which one appears to be most critical. It's like damage control - do I let the weeds take over totally while I get the veggie garden in order? - or do I spend my time on the jobs with the biggest impact letting my seedlings suffer as they need larger containers? - do I get my perennial beds ready for transplant of my seedlings (most of which will not bloom till next year) ignoring planning and planting the multiple containers that should be focal points on our new deck by the time we'll have about 100 guests here late July?

Happily I finished planting and sowing the veggie garden today. My tiny basil plants along with tarragon, parsley, rosemary, and the "perennials" sage, oregano, thyme, and chives in the raised bed.

The potatoes were sown 2 weeks ago and are showing some healthy leaves.
The willows in the field are doing great. Looks like almost 100% of this year's plantings are growing well and not - so far - any signs of deer stopping by for munchies.
I'll have to make some kind of "project plan": Lene's 2009 garden, step by step to stay focused (pro-active if possible) and save my sanity.