Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Seed, Water, Sprout

With March temperatures in the upper 40s and low 50s around here, I know spring isn't far away. So, let the seed starting begin! I'm using a 72-cell tray that sits on top of a water soaked mat with a drip tray beneath to keep the cells moist.

I've planted:
Sweet Pea, String Bean, Morning Glory, Moonflower, Wildflower mix, Columbine, Basil, Parsley and an annual Black-Eyed Susan mix

My kids are loving watching the sprouts grow taller every day.
As the sprouts grew, I moved some of the vines into bigger pots:

On the left are the Morning Glory plants. On the right near the window are the Moonflower and String Bean plants. In the foreground on the right I am growing geraniums and impatiens by stem cuttings.

Everything is growing pretty well so far, but I still have a while to go before I can plant them outside. Hopefully by then I'll have many strong and healthy plants to enjoy!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Spring Forecast...Snow?!

Spring officially arrived yesterday and my thoughts had kicked into high gear for the upcoming gardening season. So when I woke up this morning, I expected cool air and warm sunshine. Imagine my surprise when I saw my pansies had been covered in snow!

Ah well. Luckily, I planted the cold hardy types. And as the song goes...the sun will come out tomorrow (I hope)!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Forcing Forsythia

Happy First Day of Spring!
The weather is warmer, the buds are swelling and every day something new is blooming. I love to bring in Forsythia twigs when they are still in bud and watch with anticipation while the buds swell and then open into full bloom. At first, it looks like a just vase full of twigs, but then it becomes a gorgeous bursting delight:

As you can see, my amaryllis and poinsettia are still holding on too! But I love bringing nature inside and forcing its appearance a little sooner than normal simply for my benefit. Happy Spring!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

My Garden Wish List (thanks to the Philadelphia Flower Show)

Last week I was lucky enough to go to the Philadelphia Flower Show. I had never been and so when I saw a local florist was organizing a bus trip to the show, I jumped at the opportunity. This year's theme was "Springtime in Paris." Floral and landscape displays, award winning plants, miniature scenes using miniature plants, "paintings" that used only pressed flowers and plants and jewelry made from plant parts - the show had it all.

I came away from the show with my wish list of gardens and garden accents for this year:

1. An outdoor kitchen and dining area:

2. A majestic bed to sleep on under the stars:

3. New lawn ornaments to greet friends when they visit:


4. A fern tree:

5. A carousel for my kids to play on:

6. Some new artwork:
"Painting" made of pressed plants and flowers

7. A new use for my old car:

8. A gorgeous, handmade necklace:
Made only from: Oleander seed pod, Maple pods, Beautyberry, Eucalyptus seeds, Blackberry Lily, Pea, Navy Bean, Lentil, Barley, Crinkle Leaf Plant, Oregano, Mustard seeds, Rush

 9. A garden house for visiting fairies:

 10. A bigger window box:

11. A landing strip for my model airplane:

And maybe after I've finished installing all these things, I'll enjoy a lovely piece of cake:

Ah, la joie de vivre!

Friday, March 4, 2011


I just came back from a week in sunny Florida. It was great to be somewhere where the flowers are blooming and the grass is green! I am always fascinated seeing plants grow in the landscape there that I would normally consider tropical or indoor plants here on Long Island. But the group of plants that fascinate me the most are the epiphytes.

Epiphytes (aka "air plants") are plants that grow on other plants. The word epiphyte comes from the Greek 'epi' (meaning 'upon') and 'phyton' (meaning 'plant'). They are not rooted in the soil - they typically grow above the ground surface using another plant or object for support. They are not parasitic, only using the host plant or structure for support and they gather moisture and nutrients from the air and rain.

Some epiphytes include Bromeliads, Orchids, Lichens and some species of Ferns, Cacti and Succulents.

A prominent native Bromeliad of Florida is Spanish Moss. Everywhere I went, whether walking in the neighborhood or on a boat ride in a state park, I saw Spanish Moss draping the trees. It was gorgeous and mysterious at the same time.

I was so taken with these, I'm half thinking of trying to grow some in a terrarium. Have any of you done this with success? Which plants have you found work best?

Wednesday, March 2, 2011