I have a little something unusual this week, and although it's not officially "in a vase" I just had to share it! Those of you who have been following my blog regularly lately will know that I am nuts about this plant. The flowers of the Castor Bean are usually described as "insignificant", but I think they are incredibly beautiful, if a bit strange! The male and female flowers are born on the same stem, and as you can see, their appearances are distinctly different. The male flowers look like tiny cauliflowers and scatter pollen at the lightest touch (they are wind pollinated), and the female flowers look like little starfish or some other sea creature! One of my plants is also starting to form seed pods. Hopefully I will be able to get them out of the greenhouse and into the garden SOON! :D
I always find myself looking forward to Mondays, when gardeners around the world share their beautiful flowers (and vases!) at Rambling in the Garden. I hope you'll enjoy it too, and have a great week!
All the sunshine we've had the last couple of weeks has been nice, but rather unusual for us. Some of the plants were beginning to look a little withered, so I was very glad for the showers we had yesterday. The humid air really brought out the fragrance of the flowers, making it impossible to stay inside!
Some of the tulips have started to bloom.
The woods looked so tempting during my early morning walk across the field that I promised myself I would return later if possible.
So, despite the innumerable garden chores that still need to be done, I declared the afternoon a holiday and set out to explore!
Red Osier dogwood grows at the edge the woods.
Don't ask me how this boulder got here! It makes a nice seat to enjoy the scenery from, however.
A beautiful but threatening sky.
I saw signs of bear, as well as moose and deer...it made me wonder if I even ought to be out here alone, but I was already having such a good time there was no turning back!
It certainly looks like bear territory, doesn't it?
One of the first sights that greeting me when I entered the woods was this beautiful trillium!
Does anyone know what these plants are? I am so ignorant about woodland plants! They appear to be some kind of flower. I will have to go back to see what kind of flowers they have!
There were lots of fiddleheads, too. These are considered a spring delicacy around here, but I haven't tried them yet.
I went deeper into the woods than I normally go, but stopped in my tracks when I saw this! A bear den perhaps? I didn't get close enough to find out!
It was a wonderful time. I felt like a child again, and even caught myself imagining that I was a botanical explorer in some unknown forest! There was a downpour on the way back so I came home drenched but very happy and eager to do it again sometime soon! :)
We are having a lovely stretch of sunny weather, so I thought this sunny bouquet would be appropriate! I actually don't have that many daffodils in my garden...something I really hope to remedy this fall. :)
A glimpse of the gardens. We had a freeze a couple nights ago, and I was worried that the tulips and hyacinths wouldn't survive, but most of them did. Even the daffodils were drooping early that morning, but they revived quickly when it warmed up. I did lose most of the heliotrope and several dahlia plants however. I left them in the greenhouse under cover, but they still froze.
There are lots of hyacinths in bloom, along with a primrose, but the glory-of-the-snow is fading fast. There's also a picture of one of my rhubarb plants, which I started from seed last year. They are amazingly easy to grow!
I hope you all have a beautiful week in your gardens. Do stop by and see what others have gathered today at Rambling in the Garden!
The Castor Bean plants are growing so fast that I had to move them into these tubs only one week after I had transplanted them into the largest pots I have! It will be at least another 2 weeks before I can safely plant them in the garden. Meanwhile, I hope they don't outgrow these because I have nothing else that will hold them! And they are supposed to be a "smaller" variety!
Looks like they are getting ready to flower, too!
I spend time just sitting and admiring them every day. These are definitely the most exotic and fascinating plants I've ever grown!
My collection. Notice that they all have a reddish tint but the one on the left!
I can hardly wait to see them in the garden! :)
At long last, Spring has come to the rugged North, and I have a few flowers to gather and share with you as I join Cathy at Rambling in the Garden for IAVOM! You can see many beautiful flower arrangements from around the world today on her blog.
The vase is just a little tea cup and saucer given to my sister and me after we gave a concert at an antique store many years ago. I've had my eye on it for several weeks now, eagerly anticipating this moment!
The main ingredient in this arrangement is Glory-of-the-snow. I absolutely love this little flower! There are several small clumps of it in my garden, and they get more beautiful with each year.
The little bits of foliage come from my Valerian plants. They are a very pretty dark red when they first emerge in the Spring.
The crocuses are just about finished, but there are still a few nice clumps here and there. They haven't been enjoying the heavy rains and wind we've had lately.
I hope you all have a beautiful week in your gardens...it has been a hard winter, but Spring is here at last! :)
Yet another garden update! Yesterday was warm and sunny and the crocuses were stunning! Some of the Dutch crocuses opened as well as the Species. Things happen so fast here once Spring really gets going!
Can you spot the bee in this picture?
Striped Squill and Glory-of-the-snow...
This time of year the garden is always full of surprises. There are little clumps of crocuses, patches of Glory-of-the-snow, and of course all the perennials popping up. It is altogether lovely, but unfortunately the camera never does it justice. I often pause while working in the garden and rush off to get the camera, only to be sadly disappointed by the results!
Remember the great snow wall around the greenhouse? Here's all that is left of it (with a before picture to compare)!
I am having quite a time keeping up with the growth of these Castor Beans! Seems like I just moved them into larger pots a few days ago, and they are already outgrowing them! Aren't they beautiful, though?
I think that's all for now...I do hope to resume the flower history posts soon. I just haven't had the time to sit down and write much. There is so much work to be done in the gardens (and what delightful work it is!) and after such a long winter I just want to be outside. Even today's cold soaking rain couldn't keep me in! ;)
This is the second year in a row that I have expected to see some bulbs emerging within a week or two, only to find them already appearing the next day! Last year I attributed it to the fact that we already had a deep layer of snow on the ground before it got really cold, so the ground didn't have a chance to freeze to any great depth. This winter however, we didn't get much snow until the middle of December, and we had already had some below zero temps before that. Needless to say, it was a very pleasant surprise! The weather has been absolutely beautiful the last couple of days and temperatures rose to almost 70! I have just about been living outside and am enjoying it immensely!
A whole winter's worth of dirt and debris make the gardens (and everywhere else, for that matter!) look like a tornado has been through, so sorry about the mess! The blue arrow points to where the snow depth had been...
I'm looking forward to getting some work done in the new seed garden. I think I'm going to take the bean arbor out, or at least move it.
Tulips coming right up through the snow!
And Perennial Bachelor's Buttons (Centaurea montana)...
PS I started this post a couple days ago but didn't have time to finish. So, here's an even more recent update because things are happening so fast! This morning I noticed that the snow had melted away from some of the species crocuses overnight. About noon I was working on what little cleaning up can be done when I looked up and was amazed to see one of the flowers opening! This seems like a miracle to me! They were growing under a snow pack that had been there since December, and the few minutes of sun that we had this morning between rain showers sufficed for it to open! The striped squill isn't wasting any time either! My only fear is that I may have lost all the foxgloves, but I hope not!
And we have a couple of visitors right now! They are enjoying the puddles formed by all the water we are pumping out of the basement (well I'm glad somebody likes it!).
At long last, there are some 60s in the forecast! The snow has been melting fast, but still not quite fast enough for an impatient gardener! We are still concerned about flooding, however. The National Weather Service says that there is 10 inches of water in this snow pack! Our well house is already flooding. After such a hard winter, I do wish we could relax now and enjoy Spring! Oh well. On the bright side again, I had to show you my growing seedling population!
The Castor Beans are growing incredibly fast! It is exactly one month since I planted them.
Such a beautiful plant!
The young leaves are quite glossy!
More seedlings...what on earth was I thinking when I planted 72 basil plants? That I really like basil I guess, but I'm not sure where I'll put them all! :D
And what is this? Bare ground!!!
Various objects that I totally forgot the existence of have been popping out of the snow all week. The top of my birdbath just appeared this morning...I was beginning to think it had dissolved or something!
A lake is forming in the potato field across the road.
I'm writing this with a puppy in my lap, by the way! This is Sadie. :)
Hopefully I'll be able to show you some Spring bulbs poking their way up before too long! This sure has been a slow Spring, and we had so much snow to get rid of. I'm sure most of you are already seeing some Spring flowers by now. :)
Alright, after venting my frustration about the greenhouse and the snow in my last post, I wanted to write something a little happier, if only to cheer myself up! We still have more snow on the ground than I've ever seen this late in the season but the temperatures are rising slowly, so Spring will probably be here before I realize it! I was just going through my pictures from last Spring, and was surprised by how much color there was. Maybe it's just because I've been looking at nothing but white for 6 months! Anyhow, I have a strong urge to talk about my garden this evening. Some of you may already have seen a lot of these pictures, so please bear with me...I needed a flower fix!
I've been reading a wonderful book called The Greater Perfection: The Story of the Gardens at Les Quarte Vents, by Francis H. Cabot. At first I found it rather confusing since he goes into so much detail about how it was designed, and uses nearly all Latin names for the plants. But I picked it up again this evening and before I knew it I was completely lost in it (to the extent that I forgot to put more wood on the fire and am now waiting for that to revive before I can go to bed!). While not all of the garden is exactly to my taste, it is truly inspiring to see a garden on such a grand scale in a climate almost exactly like ours. He even writes of the the cool wet summers and snowy winters as if they were an advantage! Maybe someday I will have to write a book about my garden. It is far from perfection, certainly, but I love it with all my heart!
There is so much more I could say but it is getting late, so I'd better save it for a future post! :)
I start over 1,000 seedlings each Spring (and that number is increasing rapidly!). It's the only way to grow many of my favorite annuals in our short growing season if I want to enjoy them for more than a couple weeks before the first frost. There is not enough window space in the house for that many seedlings (of course!) so it wouldn't be possible without my greenhouse. Well, imagine my horror when I walked in to check my plants Saturday morning and saw this 2 foot long gash in the plastic! And on a second glance, it wasn't the only tear. I counted TWENTY-ONE, ranging in size from 1/2 inch long to 2 feet long! I am totally mystified as to how this happened. It looks as if some critter with sharp claws actually climbed up one side and came down the other, as the tears go almost in a straight line down both sides. We had some fresh snow and I had noticed earlier in the morning from a distance that it looked as if something had slid down the side of the greenhouse, but thought nothing of it then. By the time I went out there the snow had all slid off, and there were no visible tracks. My first thought was squirrel, but I can't believe our little red squirrels could do that much damage. My mom thinks it could have been a cat. What do you think? Has anyone else ever seen anything like this?
Here is a picture of the longest tear which I snapped hastily with my phone before running back for the greenhouse tape. I wish now that I had taken more pictures!
And here is a picture I took yesterday, now that it is all patched up. It should last the Spring if we don't get any more blizzards, but I'll probably have to replace the plastic before next winter.
Did I mention that it snowed again? I can't see over the piles anymore but it's just as well, I suppose, as I'm quite busy enough right now without dealing with flooding!
But that's enough complaining! On the bright side, the Castor Bean plants are growing fast and starting to get their true leaves. I moved them into bigger cups yesterday.
Here are the lovely heartsease...the flowers have a rather obstinate way of wanting to look out the window, though! ;D
And I have lots and lots of tiny seedlings, which need to be taken out to the greenhouse while the sun is shining, so I better go get busy!
I am a passionate gardener and seed-saver, who also enjoys playing the violin and accordion, running, spending time with my 4 golden retrievers, keeping chickens, photography, and reading. I also blog for Heirloom Gardener.