Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Dogwood Buds

The dogwood buds are swelling and if this warm weather and rain keep up, I expect them to open early this year. I enjoy watching the growth of dogwood (Cornus florida) buds and blooms. I see the white already peeking out in some people's yards, but not mine. I guess I live too far back in the woods, and the woods are a bit more cautious coming into bloom. Actually earlier bloom in towns and cities is caused by the heat island effect from all the pavement and concrete that soak up heat and release it slowly. It's a good thing in winter, but makes it hotter in summer.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Pruning a Japanese Anise

Yesterday I chopped on my Japanese anise bush ( Illicium anisatum) which after all these years had suddenly taken to drooping it's limbs to the ground and had rooted there. It had formed a sizable circumference and was overtaking some early spring wildflowers that were growing at it's feet.  I thought of it as a mother hen squatting over her charges, except in this case mother hen was actually smothering her charges. I knew there was a Hepatica under there and I found it blooming bright white just in the edge of the  encroaching anise. I also found a cyclamen in the depths of that that foliage. I do not remember if I planted it there or if it reseeded there, but it is liberated now. After twenty plus years, I wonder why this shrub suddenly decided to do this in the last few years. But that is the beauty of gardening. You never know in any year what new thing will develop, what plant will begin to march beyond it's customary place, what new plant will come in unbidden or depart for reasons unknown. Weather is one of the causes of change in the garden, and all I can do is watch and try to cope with the aftermath. There must be a life message there somewhere.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Tomato Seed Germinate Inside Tomato

In December I was given some tomatoes that were still very green and we ate along on them till there was only one left. It sat in lonely seclusion on the kitchen counter, holding itself aloof from the bananas and  oranges. All it's friends had disappeared down the pie hole except a couple who had slowly turned black and mushy. It never turned a proper shade of red for a tomato, having been severed from the plant before it was quite ready but in time to save it from frost. Time passed and the tomato began to turn it's thoughts inward; certainly that was better than consorting with bananas.
  By mid February I had noticed the tomato was turning an odd dark color on the blossom end. I suspected it was beginning to rot from the inside, but I could find no place where the skin was broken and wondered what was happening. At long last, I fried some bacon, took out the lettuce and mayo, picked up my knife and started for the tomato. I heard tiny frightened screams coming from the tomato, but I hardened my heart intending to save at least some part of it from ultimate destruction and loss. I sliced off the bottom of that tomato and beheld dozens of germinated seed inside that pinkish orange peel.
  What was I to do? Should I try to rescue those seedlings and plant them? Should I hurl the whole thing in the trash? This was a conundrum the likes of which I had never faced. Some must die and some must live.Ii laid those seedling filled slices right in that BLT and ate it right down. Yummmm

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Fragrant Cyclamen

Here are 2 cyclamen I bought from Wally World back in January (or was it December?).
I set them in the window behind the sink where they could get light and also be cooler at night. A number of times in the evening while I was working at or around the sink, I got a whiff of a delicious fragrance, sort of lemony. At times I had several different orchids in the window and tried to pinpoint the fragrance to one of them. At last when the orchid flowers had passed and the plants were sent back to the greenhouse and the cyclamen were the only blooming thing left in the window, I still could smell the fragrance. But it was not both Cyclamen. It was only one of them. The solid dark pink one had no fragrance at all. But the variegated light pink one was sending out a fragrance to charm some evening pollinator. The fragrance was much stronger in the evenings. No pollinator came for it, as far as I know, although some seed has been set. But I got the benefit of its efforts.Check out the leaf differences, too.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

The Old Maid and the Burglar

My mother used to sing  this song and we all laughed and enjoyed it a lot. I had forgotten many of the lyrics but was able to find it online (bless the internet!). A copy of the lyrics can be found here.
Another  version can be seen here.

Here is a recording of it from You Tube: 

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Paper Bush

This is my Valentine's day plant. It is Edgeworthia or paper bush, and that little bloom smells heavenly. It is called paper bush supposedly because the Chinese used it in paper making, but I would  prefer to stick my nose in the bloom. Yes, this stick with a quarter sized flower on it cost me $20. It was supposed to be growing in a 3 gallon pot and cost $40, but when it arrived it was a stick in a gallon pot for 420. But then, I had a hard time locating this plant, not just locally, but even on the not. I had read about Edgeworthia before, but what really whetted my appetite for it was the juicy write up by the Southern Living grumpy Gardener. you can read his piece here.

Monday, February 20, 2012


These little flowers Veronica Speedwell  have been blooming for several days. They seem to open up and are more cheerful on brighter days, just like crocus. They make a beautiful ground cover  and the blue really sets off yellow daffodils. The genus not only includes great garden plants, but also some weeds, if you can call such sweet little flowers weeds. I can say this because I do not really believe in lawns, so I would not mind if some of these wildflower weeds took over my whole yard.

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