Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Groundhog Day

Happy Groundhog Day! Today we will find out if there are six more weeks of winter or if spring will start in just six more weeks

While shopping, I noticed the plant racks outside many stores. Colorful racks of primroses, tiny daffodils, and cyclamen. There were onion, garlic, and pea starts available as well. Onions and garlic, I might buy a few since I didn’t start any last fall.

I chuckled at the pea starts. The old timers, which I am becoming one day by day, always said to plant peas on Washington’s Birthday, February 22nd. I think I will plant a row or two of peas. I love to eat them raw or steamed for a couple of minutes with mint.

The mint garden is getting green. Here’s a hint for growing mint (poet and don’t know it.) Grow it in a contained space. I have a bed right outside the back door that is surrounded by cement. It is perfect for keeping mint contained. I also keep the lemonbalm in the same bed. Makes it handy for mint juleps and lemony ice tea. A friend counseled other gardeners to grow their mint contained in an old tire. Then, use hemlock bark to cover the tire. The first time I planted mint it grew into the lawn. It sure smelled nice whenever I mowed!

I like to buy cyclamen, daffodils, and primroses to use in the house. I line a basket with plastic. Then I un-pot the daffodils and primroses arranging them for the best color and height. I fill in between the plants with a quality potting mix (I mix a slow release fertilizer in with the potting mix) When the plants are finished blooming, I just lift the plastic liner and incorporate the plants into my flower beds.

Here in USDA zone 8, regular cyclamen will grow in the garden. I plant them when they finish blooming, remembering to use slug bait so I can enjoy them again next year. Otherwise, keep them in filtered light, water to keep moist, and you may have a new show next year. I found a pink with white stripes. The leaves have a lovely silver pattern.  I have hardy cyclamen as well.  These little guys just keep going and going.

Lots of leaves coming up. Grape hyacinths are growing around the base of the multiflora climbing rose. When the grape hyacinth are finished blooming I just pull them up. They are such fast multipliers! I throw them in the garbage as I don’t want to find them all over the garden! By the way, you can drop some in the lawn for an early bit of color. Mowing helps to keep their numbers down.
We have many different narcissis. I love the multiheaded fragrant ones. They were here when we bought the place. I will take some with me when we move.

The leeks are growing. A couple of years ago, I threw some leek roots at the compost bowl just outside the back door, in the mint garden, they missed. The next year we got leeks. I left them alone and last year they bloomed! The parent plant is growing and I am hoping to get more leek plants from the seeds. Watch my blog Cooking in Nana's Kitchen for leeky recipes!

Daphne odora will be blooming very soon. It is the featured plant on the cover of the OAN magazine, Digger. Easy to grow in a sheltered spot. Daphne is so fragrant, people are known to follow the scent looking for the source. Growing up to four feet tall and wide, Daphne is hardy to zone 7. One young landscaper told me the secret to growing Daphne is to add lime every year. So far, my plant is doing quite well.

If you are looking for early color, now it the time to get out and see what is available in your area. I also recommend shopping through catalogs for less used perennials and shrubs to make your garden your own unique oasis.

1 comment:

  1. i'm hoping to move to oregon in may/june and i have been trying to research the plant scene there and your blog is perfect! please don't stop posting :)