Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Spring Thaw

Hippeastrum "La Paz" as a reluctant cut flower....easier to enjoy up close
A fantasy African Violet (Saintpaulia) I love the 60's splash look
A birthday gift from designer Tim Super-FANTASTIC gift will out live me!
fragile looking....but tough as nails Hellbore...the Christmas Rose of Victoriana
A Tulip scented dendrobium Orchid
Baking heirloom Pumpkin pies helps get you through the COLD...Pecan nut crust for good measure...whipped cream for the soul.
light greenhouse freeze
Like feathers...
Frost Blossoms
close up of the Blue Atlas Cedar, pre burn
Armillary Sphere in the snow
The weather in my part of the World, has been far colder than we are used to here, dipping below 0 degrees, burning all my zone sensitive plants and trees, including Magnolia grandiflora, Blue Atlas Cedars and some of the tender Viburnums. All I can do right now is hope for the best, and a speedy recovery. This means total defoliation, and if I'm very lucky, a strong surge of new growth. Most of my Roses are on their own roots, so even if they get fried to the ground, I'll get strong shoots in the Spring. The positive thing is that for how cold it was, snow cover protected many things that would have succumb to the cold if exposed.

I've gotten outside, but most of my efforts have been in my Sunroom and under lights. I would be out in the greenhouse, but with the coldest weather upon us, the heat costs are just too high. The passive solar nature of the building keeps hardier things just fine, like Gardenias, Rosemarys and ligustrums...but tender seedlings are in the house for the first part of their life, moved to the cold greenhouse early in the Spring (March).

The days are getting longer, thank God, and the plants are starting to come back from their winter sleep. The tender Orchids are sending up bloom stalks, and their amazing blossoms never cease to put me into a state of awe. I have a dendrobium Orchid that sports lovely ivory white blossoms, speckled with lavender dots. I noticed on my day off, that late morning is the prime time for scent on this easy blooming beauty. At first...I couldn't figure out the fragrance on this plant, many Orchids mimic other fragrances and sitting next to it, I closed my eyes and let my mind drift, thinking of what I smelled. Then it came to me, hybrid Darwin Tulip scent! A Tulip scented orchid! perfect for early, early Spring...

When I was very little, I loved and still do, the wild violets. My mother gave me a Saintpaulia, or African violet for Easter one year and started me down that pathway at an early age. The advantage to Saintpaulias is their year round growth and bloom. They also come in every conceivable size and color, something for everyone! If my life is going smoothly, my violets are in full bloom...if things are bad and crazy for a period of time, and my plants show the stress as clearly as a EKG machine.

I found a whole new world of miniature Hippeastrums this year, I can't wait to see how they do in future seasons. Last year, I splurged on a "La Paz" bulb, part of the breeding line coming from the Bolivian species, Hippeastrum cybister. I love the spidery petals, and the contrasting red and green bloom. I think it's going to make a wonderful clump in years to come.


  1. your writing is like the breath of spring.

  2. Like the snow-covered landscape scenes. have never tried the miniature Hippeastrums but have always been reluctant because of their price.

    I should just bit the bullet and give them a try anyway!

  3. whimz kim,thank you! CIMS, I think the miniatures are more like the wild plants, and will make great clumps in time...worth the cost!