Testing Seed Viability

A few weeks ago, I tested the viability of some older, packaged tomato seeds.  Then I realized that there might be some beginners out there who don’t know how to do this.

Seed packages aren’t too expensive, but when you add in variety – I like to grow seven different kinds of tomatoes at a minimum – buying new seed every year can get expensive.  And tomato seed can last for many years.  But what if you aren’t sure how old they are, or maybe they weren’t stored properly?  You can check.

bean seed sprouting
bean seed sprouting

These are some Emerite Bean Seeds that I saved from 2017.  I didn’t want to buy more if they were viable so I checked.  It’s easy to do.  The seed at the left of the picture is what they look like in the envelope.  To test, just wrap a seed in a wet paper towel, put it in a waterproof container and in a dark, warm spot.  The top of the refrigerator is classic. I tucked mine there under a shelf for the darkness part.  I started checking at about three days.

The picture was taken at more like a week because that’s when I around to getting the camera out. It shows a swollen seed that’s putting out a root system.  You can just see the base of the leaves, breaking out of the seed pod.

Now I know, the seeds I saved from two years ago are fine, and will make bean plants this year.

Some caveats:  Don’t wet the paper towel too much for small seeds.  Check sources to find out how long your seed normally takes to germinate; there is a lot of variation.  Warm and dark works for most summer garden seeds but not all; e.g., some seeds need a cold period before they will sprout.  Check your package or check for special conditions online.

Pinky and the Pine

Pinky Winky from the Deck
Pinky Winky this summer  from the deck

Once upon a time there was a hydrangea called Pinky Winky.

Every summer she grew in stature and grace. The woman who planted her near the deck admired how the flowers started white and then went through many subtle variations of pink as they opened and matured to a deep rose.  She even left the brown flowers stay until spring – for winter interest she said – when Pinky dropped her other leaves and went to sleep.

The nearby pine tree watched all of this, the woman constantly at the door, on the deck, her loving attention.  “That woman is far too fond of flowers.” He thought.  “All she ever did for me is pull the poison ivy and creeping Charlie that want to smother me.  But then, without asking me, she planted some other vine to grow up my trunk, one whose leaves look a lot like Pinky’s.  It’s true she also made a flowerbed around me.  And I do get extra water when she thinks they are dry.  But none of that’s for me.  I’m just a backdrop, staging.  Neglected.

I tried for flowers to make her happy but all I can do is these heavy brown things that the squirrels like.  I see her throw them into the woods when she mows the lawn.  That’s how much she cares for me.  She cares far too much for these little, bright, short-lived things.  I will have to remind her of the beauty of power.”

It wasn’t something that he could do on his own, he had to harness the power of a snow storm, too.  A wimpy one, there was no wind, but the heavy snow and sleet gave him what he needed.  When he felt one of his lower branches breaking under the weight, he took direct aim at Pinky.  As a bonus, he tried for the small rose in front, but the woman had protected it with a metal cage.  Now a twisted metal cage.

“That’ll teach them.  Pinky may have beauty but I have the power to destroy.  A ha, ha, ha, ha, hah!”  He roared.

The woman thought it was the wind.

Over the same deck railing
Over the same deck railing
The light branches are the hydrangea, in the pine bough
The light branches are the hydrangea, in the pine bough
Most of the pine bough cut away, except for the part directly in the center
Most of the pine bough cut away, except for the part directly in the center
What was left
What was left
Broken and heavily damaged branches removed
Broken and heavily damaged branches removed

 

Tomatoes 2016

Tomatoes July 28, 2016
Tomatoes July 28, 2016

From bottom left, around the outside:  A ripe Black Krim, a not so ripe Black Krim, a counter ripened Big Beef and Green Berkeley Tie Dye.

The small ones in the middle, again starting from the left, Purple Bumblebee, (slightly above) Supersweet 100, back down to another Purple Bumblebee (to show the variation in shades) and bottom right is a sun gold.

I included some of the classics because colors are hard to capture and this way you can compare the exotics.

The classics, for me, are Black Krim, Supersweet 100 and Sun Gold.  All of them taste yummy this year as other years. I tasted one Purple Bumblebee and want to reserve judgment. Haven’t tried the Berkeley Tie Dye yet, either.  I will report back after tasting.

I do not have any large yellow tomatoes yet.  Pineapple seedlings died in the tray and Gold Medal (formerly named Ruby Gold) haven’t ripened.  The Gold Medal plants have stopped growing, acting like determinates, although Tomato Growers lists them as indeterminates.

In a normal year, the tomatoes would just be getting started now.  With our severe drought and the longest heat wave that I remember, it’s hard to tell what will happen.  I’ll let you know.

 

Chlorotic Seedlings 2016

Chlorotic Tomato Seedling
Chlorotic Tomato Seedling

Although I’ve done the same things this year, as far as I know, a lot, not all, of my seedlings have developed these leaves of an unhealthy, pale green.

As usual, I started seeds, one to each 2″ soil cube made with Pro-Mix .  Fertilized with a half-strength solution of Miracle Grow when true leaves appeared.  (Seedlings are supposed to carry their own “food” to this point.)

My favorite theory is that the small soil cubes (like the basil below) dried out on the heat mat and then got flooded when I watered.  That inconsistency would interfere with the plants ability to take up water and nutrients.  It’s my favorite theory because I’m potting everything up, anyway.  As usual, I do that when they have a couple sets of true leaves or earlier, if I see roots at the edge of the soil cubes.

Most of the web sites on this issue are written for mature plants and because the problem is on the newer leaves, most sources would indicate an iron deficiency.  But why this year and not others?

Other theories are a magnesium deficiency, although that would be easy to treat with Epsom Salts, again, why this year only?  And web sites that show pictures of magnesium deficiencies show more damage than just a poor color.

Other years, I’ve had damping off problems and fungus gnats, as well as mice that ate my seedlings, and a cat who ate them and upchucked green goo on my putty colored carpet (sigh).  This is a new one.

So, as I was potting up, I cleaned all of the flats and the watering can with a 10% solution of bleach in water, just in case.  I sprayed the plants with the same fertilizer solution — if for some reason they can’t get food through the soil, maybe they can get it through their leaves.  It has small amounts of both iron and magnesium as well as the usual.

I’m also considering a test where I also spray a few plants with an Epson Salts solution, a teaspoon in a pint of water, because of anecdotal evidence that tomatoes love the stuff.

Doing several things at the same time isn’t a very scientific way of finding out the cause but mostly, I want my seedlings to thrive.

Chlorotic Basil Seedling
Chlorotic Basil Seedling

Coming of Age

An exercise that I wrote in my Thursday writing group.  I have been working intensively on fiction writing skills and not on my blog. It IS garden related so I thought I’d post it here.

Red, it’s almost always got to be red, the color of lust, the beating heart, the cut-vein red of an open wound.  And round like the sun, with the curving, firm heft of a young woman’s breast. 

Anticipation is a part of it, the days waiting, praying to the weather gods, not too cold, not too wet, now not too hot, please.

Worship of the bees.  Just in case, I take an old electric toothbrush to the blossoms or snap my fingers next to their small yellow flowers.  The pollen is necessary.

And smell.  There has to be a ripe, rich odor, slightly acid, sweet.  The tannic smell of brushed branches, their green-yellow sap burning my skin, is all a part of this.  The summer’s first tomato.

It was tomatoes that bought me to this garden, to any garden, in the sense of tending plants.  Well, them and roses.

I was raised on a farm.  My first memories are of vast fields.  Planting corn, it was my job to stomp each hill once the seeds were covered.  The hills went on, beyond my father’s towering frame, to the sky.

I realize now that much of my early years in the garden were because there was no childcare, no pre-school. So I spent my summer days learning soil, small red bugs lighting up the brown; curly fat worms, spiders, my playmates.  Weeds the enemy, the purpose of our labor.

Rebel youth,  I grew to hate the heat, the work and the isolation of the farm, to dream of living in a house like grandpa and grandma’s in Detroit where evenings were spent on shaded porches, chatting with the neighbors, the ice cream shop a short city block away.  Someday, I thought.

Boarding schools and colleges and big cities later though, I hungered for tomatoes.  Grocery stores sold pinkish things that would turn some approximate shade of red but never make my heart beat faster.  Never remind me of the sun’s heat in August or the last pickings under a cold harvest moon in October, racing to beat the frost.

Now I need a patch of ground, a piece of the sun for myself and the bearing of the tomatoes inside of me, long buried seeds, waiting for a rebirth that only I can bring.

Mo Dahlias

Candlelight and Gloriosa
Candlelight and Gloriosa

Lower front, Candlelight’s orange aurora varies in its location and intensity; the orange deepens as the blossom ages.  This is not a huge dahlia but it’s one of the best dahlias for cutting, lasts forever and just gets prettier.

Gloriosa
Gloriosa
Gloriosa Red
Gloriosa Red

This blossom of Gloriosa had more red highlights than most.  I like!

Undeserved Dahlia

Kelvin Floodlight in a Pot
Kelvin Floodlight in a Pot

This is Kelvin Floodlight; normally a huge plant.  I pulled it with several non-performing tubers after they had been in the ground for a few weeks, when most of the dahlias had good sized plants.  I noticed a tiny sprout that had done nothing on this tuber and stuck it in a ten inch pot, intending to find a place for it later if it grew.  It did grow and I never did find a place for it.  Now it’s blossomed; still in the small pot, much more than I deserve.

Also a bonus shot.  One of my Croydon’s Masterpiece plants is blossoming too yellow.  It’s still a pretty color but not what I get normally.  Evidently, all the better to give some intense sunset effects, streaks of purple.

Off Color Croydon's Masterpiece

Summer Veggie Problems

cucumbers on supports
cucumbers on supports

Ironically, when I was searching for information about a problem with wilting dahlias, I came across a couple of pictures that looked just right.  When I clicked on them in the search engine, it was from an earlier blog of mine.  And I never got an answer and never came back to it.  Real helpful Gaias Gift lady, she says sarcastically.  What MAY have happened, is what’s happening this year, the plants are recovering.  I don’t know if they will produce any blossoms but they are not wilted in the cool of morning and evening and less wilted in the daytime.

On to this year’s veggie problem.  I was so excited at the healthy growth of my cucumbers; Sweet Success again.  I started them indoors in soil cubes and they transitioned wonderfully in our warm spring.  Then I saw lots of little cukes forming with flowers at the end and I was salivating.  No signs of vine borer anywhere this year yet.  (Now I’ve done it.)

SANYO DIGITAL CAMERAAlas, almost all of those little cucumbers have done nothing except sit there and petrify. This COULD be a pollination problem except that Sweet Success aren’t supposed to need pollination.  And they are all female so I wouldn’t know how to do that anyway??  So did I get the seeds I ordered?  I sent off a question to the seed company and got an immediate request for more information; pictures and such.

The one and only cucumber that’s grown to full size hasn’t filled out at the blossom end the way it should but I wanted to keep the plants producing.  It does show promise in its length.

I purchased Super Sweet 100 tomatoes from the same source and have been grumping because they are getting so much SANYO DIGITAL CAMERAbigger than any of that variety and much later.  See the leftmost two tomatoes in the picture; picked green.  Next to the two Sun Golds on the right, picked ripe.  I’ve been picking Sun Gold for weeks; so the seed company got that question, too.

Whatever the red ones are, the chipmunks prefer them <weak grin>.

Dahlias September 2014

SANYO DIGITAL CAMERAYvonne, I have grown her other years and still a favorite.  Smaller blossoms but so pretty and there are a lot of them.  The dark stems are distinctive.  A relatively tall plant.

Verrone's Obsidian
Verrone’s Obsidian was Swan’s gift this year for my dahlia order.  Interesting, but probably will not grow next year.
Kidds Climax
Kidds Climax, big and beefy pink and yellow blend.  I’ve grown it for several years, too.  I do have other pinks and purples, which I guess is hard to tell from this post.  I bought a number of new warm colors to fill out that end of the bed.
Gloriosa
Gloriosa, size B; lots of blossoms and beautiful complexity of color and shape. Keeper.
Cherubino
Cherubino; When this first started opening, I wondered why I ordered a white, single dahlia.  Then the lacy center started to develop and I remembered why.  It’s still a marginal keeper because it’s flopping.  Most of my small dahlias don’t need staking but this one probably does.
Candlelight
Candlelight; advertised by Swan’s as a good cutting flower but the stems are not very strong in my garden.  Still, a keeper.  Plenty of blossoms and I love the blend.
April Heather
April Heather is a lovely flower but unexpectedly, the plant is going on seven feet tall!  Typical collarette flowers aren’t huge but the complex colors are dramatic and as you can see, the blossoms are prolific.  I need to figure out how to use these big plants      with small flowers.  (Pooh is another one that I grow.) I put this one at the front of the bed and that was a mistake!

Early dahlias, 2014

Citron de Cap
Citron de Cap
Candlelight
Candlelight
Fercliff's Lemon Kiss
Fercliff’s Lemon Kiss
Yvonne
Yvonne

I’m starting out with a bit of a cheat.  Citron de Cap did not do well for me last year, although the one or two blossoms that opened were beautiful, that was it.  I was going to discard and a friend said she’d like to try with a few of the ones that weren’t doing well for me.  She sent me a picture when it was first showing color and I wondered if I’d sent her the wrong tuber because it there was so much pink.  But it’s opening now and the fine, lacinated petals are unmistakable.  She says there are more fat buds.  I am very jealous.

 

The next two pictures are new dahlias for me.  Candlelight is a medium sized plant, good for the front or middle of the bed and Swan’s describes it as a good cutting dahlia.

 

 

 

 

The lemon yellow is Ferncliff’s Lemon Kiss and it’s another keeper for the front of the bed.

 

 

 

 

Yvonne, is always a favorite; such a delicate lady.

 

 

And the last shot is of Art Deco.  I’ve been growing it in the deck boxes for years.  This year, I found a lantana on sale during late spring and planted it, hoping that my color memory was good and that it would work with the dahlias when they opened.  I think it works.

Art Deco

 

 

Tomato Seedling Problem

another shot
another shot
Brandywine tomato with problem
Brandywine tomato with problem

I threw out about two thirds of my Brandywine seedlings yesterday as I was potting up my tomatoes into three inch peat pots.  The leaves were starting to curl, wilt and yellow.  With a close look, I was thinking maybe scale but the fuzz is not something that I associate with scale.  Then saw pictures and descriptions of older plants with early blight.  I’ve never known it to hit seedlings. Any ideas?

Yellowing Rhododendrun

Rhododendron with yellowing leaves
Rhododendron with yellowing leaves

See how the new growth is yellowing?  Could this be sunburn?  (not that we’ve had much sun).  But this is northwest of where I had those trees removed after Sandy.  And I can’t think what else it could be.  It’s was a large plant when I moved here over fifteen years ago and has thrived on neglect.  It also has more blossoms than ever, it didn’t blossom for many years because of too much shade.  Which suggests it’s noticed a difference.

And if it’s sunburn, will it acclimate?

Fred the Assassin

Fred the Assassin
Fred the Assassin

I’m small.  It’s not my fault.  I was designed this way.  Petite and tender green like the emerging shoots of plants in spring, touched by delicate pink.  Pretty but deadly, I’m the deceiver, the destroyer.  I eradicate. 

My brothers and I were cloned.  Mercenaries, our lives were sold to aid in the war against bugs.

I do not march.  My skills are of a different kind.  Slender stems, springing from an innocuous stalk carry lightly capped amphorae.  Rounded, voluptuous, each curve gently highlighted in the sweetest blush contains a precious liquid deep inside that attracts the hungry enemy to my door.

“What is that perfume, that luscious smell?”  They move closer.

“Come on in,” I encourage.  “You’ll find out.”

The charming cup is lined with soft and gentle fuzz, a zillion hairs to smooth your path.  “Go deeper, my friend.  Please be my guest.”

It’s one way into the chalice. 

Temptation is how I kill.  I will suck your juices.  I will dissolve your bones.  I will feed.

It’s lonely here.  Except for some silly, oozing pygmies, I stand a solitary watch. My insidious skills protect flats of lettuce that share my colors but not my deadly purpose.  More red, more green, more leaf thrown out with careless abandon, they foolishly succor the enemy.  They offer space between their roots to his offspring who feed on their dying leaves.  Who grow fat and breed.

The fools.

The enemy is everywhere, in the ground and in the air.  They taunt me with their flights, their freedom, as they visit destinations I can only imagine.

More fool I. 

Those I protect become salad.  For pity sake, I guard salad!

I was not cloned to question but to serve.  The calculated result of an insidious breeding program by monsters seeking to combine subtle beauty with deadly appetites in ever smaller packages. 

I am Fred the Assassin.

Serious article about Fred and his pygmy friends at http://gaias-gift.com/blog/?p=1991

LED First Harvest 2013

Under the lights
Under the lights

These greens were targeted for Thanksgiving but my timing is a little off.  Someone said Thanksgiving was late this year?  In the harvest picture below, from bottom left, clockwise:

  • Cilantro:  Calypso, which takes cool weather, bolts slowly and can be grown as cut and come again.
  • Shiso:  Aka Perilla; this is a red variety that I pick small for its color.  It does put out more leaves after being cut and has a very muted, almost-mint flavor.
  • Mizuna:  The common green variety.  I like the results of growing it under lights as outside, it seems to attract every chewing insect known.  Until growing it inside, I’ve always had to eat holey leaves.
  • Purple Mizuna:  See the single leaf in the middle of the board, with spoon for sizing.  My latest trial and I dunno?  I was thinking it was too little leaf surface to use up space under the lights and it’s skeletal shape is a bit off-putting, but it has the nicest peppery flavor.  It made my last egg salad sandwich quite elegant.
  • Spinner with Red Sails and Simpson’s Elite Lettuce
  • Majoram:  I got the nicest tasting marjoram plant at Lyman Estate’s herb sale this spring; normally I would let it die this winter but it’s SO good that I started cuttings under the light.  They weren’t happy; I’ve lost all but one; it’s more stem than leaves and I keep cutting it back without improvement.  But if I can just string this one plant along until next season, the genetics are there.
LED harvest
LED harvest

Total harvest this year so far has been about 12 oz.  Very fresh and pretty; organic, too.  The organic fertilizer that I’m using is based on fish pooh and kelp.  Sundays, when I fertilize, are smelly.  And I’ve learned from experience to only mix what I need.  It gets truly abominable when it sits.  It’s interesting that a few days after fertilizing, most of the smell is gone, well-metabolized by the fast growing plants.

 

Ferns

A friend of mine who lives in the Midwest mentioned a garden seminar on ferns.  It reminded me of how I used to think they were exotic, when I also lived in the Midwest.  Now that I’m in New England, I find that they can also be invasive.  I inherited a few varieties from previous owners so I don’t know what they are.  If anyone can identify them from the pictures, I’d love to hear about it.

invasive fern
invasive fern

Parts of the wooded area behind my house had been cleared and when I first moved in, it was filled with plants of a particular fern.  I thought they were pretty, especially when they turned gold in the fall.  And then one very dry year they turned gold July and quickly went to brown for the rest of the season.  And they don’t hold their own; over time, the poison ivy, small trees and brush (my nemesis, wild berry bushes) filled in.  They also tried to fill flower beds, with too much success, and I found that the only way to weed them is to dig out all of the roots or they will persistently come back over and over again.  The picture above is taken about a month after I had the area cleared, otherwise they would be brown this time of year.

fern at driveway endBut not all ferns are equal.  There is a clump at the end of the driveway that seems to know its place.  And it comes on late enough in the spring to share its space with bleeding heart.  It looks nice against the rocks that line the end of the drive and doesn’t mind the way that water stands there in wet years; I’ve backed it with elderberry plants that don’t mind the wet conditionss, either.

cinnamon fern detail
cinnamon fern detail

Another fern, probably a cinnamon fern, see the distinctive characteristics in the close-up left, takes over a difficult spot.  Not only is that a corner of the house where water runoff is an issue, I also pull the mean old hose through the space between it and the evergreen foundation plantings to water plants in the front of the house; injuring fronds but never completely discouraging the plant.  It’s tall and adds texture to the combination of hydrangea Incrediball and a grass (a miscanthus?) that I planted years ago.

corner planting
corner planting

I’ve added a bonus shot with fall colors.  When I took the shot I was thinking that I didn’t remember this display other years.  A day or two later, I thought I might try to get a better shot, without the brown leaves, and it was all very brown.  The bright yellow display must be very short lived.  But nice.

corner planting color
corner planting color

Dahlias 2013 Part Two

Dahlia Vassio Meggos
Dahlia Vassio Meggos

I’ve been looking forward to this dahlia opening since I saw it at Dahlia Hill in Midland, MI, last summer.  Although described as a lavender, I remembered it as a day-glo pink and this could fit both descriptions, sort of.  Big and beefy, the petals twist; adding even more interest.

While not completely organic, I do make it a practice never to spray insecticides on blossoming plants to protect bees and other beneficials so you will see the occasional hole or half eaten petal. One

Dahlia Pooh
Dahlia Pooh

morning though I came out to a just-opening Kidd’s Climax with a hole that looked like it had been gouged out with a sharp ice cream scoop.  I was looking for caterpillars and instead, found several huge Katydids with enough droppings nearby to convince me that they were the culprits.  They met an abrupt end.  I did some research and yes, they do eat dahlias and no, there’s not a good control for them this time of year.  There are some that I might try earlier in the year if the problem repeats, but after my search and destroy efforts, I’m not seeing much more damage.

Croyden's Masterpiece
Croyden’s Masterpiece

Pooh, and other collarettes are the best for attracting bees as their centers are so open.

Croyden’s Masterpiece is still the very best blend of sunset colors.  The first one of these to open this year was also the largest dahlia I’ve ever grown.   Not really working at that; I don’t disbud, for example, it’s still awesome to see.  I’ve already started labeling the plants that are performing early and well to save only those tubers for next year.

Devon Excel, below, will turn more pink/lavender as it develops.  I love the delicacy of these colors.

Dahlia Devon Excel
Dahlia Devon Excel

Dahlias 2013 Part One

The dahlia garden is still pretty green, with some notable exceptions.  The smaller varieties have been blossoming for a few weeks with Susan Komen being the first to put on a display.  It is the smallest plant of all of mine, a gift from a neighbor who didn’t want to over winter the tubers from a late season purchase.

Dahlia Susan Komen

Dahlia Binky
Dahlia Binky

 

Dahlia Binky is generous with its blossoms and and easy to grow, one (picky) undesirable habit is that the blossoms tend to be hidden in the new growth.

 

 

Dahlia Patches
Dahlia Patches

Binky fronts large-flowered dahlia Patches, which was the first of the large varieties to open.  It’s purple and white markings are more irregular than this picture would indicate and the white tends to fade to pink as the flower ages, for a unique blend of pink and purple.

 

 

 

The biggest and the showiest of the cool colors this year is Kidds Climax.  I grew all of these last year but this is the best performance that I’ve had from this dahlia.

Dahlia Kidds Climax
Dahlia Kidds Climax
Dahlia Croydens Masterpiece
Dahlia Croydens Masterpiece

In the warm colors side of the bed, Croydons Masterpiece, the one that motivated me to grow these myself, is not a disappointment this year.  I love its subtle blends of yellows, pinks and purples.  It’s described as an orange blossom but it’s much more colorful than that.

 

 

The new and much anticipated warm color dahlia this year, Lady Darlene, has also opened to meet all expectations. Although at first I thought she was too red, as she’s opened, she’s showed more yellow and I like the blend with the red petals, most.  She’s only showing one other bud at the moment so I don’t know whether I will have much opportunity to judge whether this is typical this year.  I’m just enjoying what she’s showing now.

Dahlia Lady Darlene
Dahlia Lady Darlene

I am not the only one.  This small fellow lived in her for a couple of days.  My guess is an immature grey tree frog.  I read they have chameleon tendencies so are rarely grey.  But if anyone can ID him for sure, I’d be interested in knowing his variety.

I was worried about whether he could really get enough food and water there, as well as fluctuations in temperatures; our nights have been almost cold.  So was fine with him moving on.

 

 

 

Oxalis

Oxalis the weed
Oxalis the weed

I have a weed that’s very pervasive in my cultivated beds (not the woodlands, for some reason) and looked it up in a weed database.  Oxalis or wood sorrel.  I remembered my father showing me this weed and saying it was an indication of acidic soils, typical for New England.  So all weekend I pulled the stuff from my garden beds.  I also finally got to cleaning the very sad looking pansies out of the deck boxes and planting the – very stressed from being in too small pots too long – Art Deco dahlias.  This should have been done during our last heat wave but frankly, I was cowering in the AC and watching Tour de France on TV.

I needed something to fill the rest of the boxes and stopped at Applefield Farm , a favorite place for annuals.  The supply is smaller but the prices go down now.  I found a couple of colorful coleus and I needed something smaller for the center box with two dahlias at either end.  I saw this leafy plant with a pretty blend of pink, yellow and pale green and checked the tag for light requirements.  It’s Oxalis!  A Proven Winner’s selection called Molten Lava.  And yes, I bought it and brought it home to plant.  You just have to laugh.

Oxalis the annual
Molten Lava Oxalis, the annual

When I looked deeper into Oxalis, this represents many very pretty varieties as well as my prolific weed.  Some people even complain for lack of ability to grow them!

Updated picture with dahlia Art Deco blossoming.

Deck boxes
Deck boxes

A Little Color Problem

woodland edge bed
woodland edge bed

The new daylilies “Daring Deception” go much better with the Heuchera “Caramel” than I envisioned but the hydrangeas “Let’s Dance, Moonlight” clash a bit.  I thought I needed to add something; something neutral like a white would be the safe choice, but then I thought about small-flowered, warm-pink rose that needs to be moved and wondered what would happen if I just added more pink.

As I was mulling over the alternatives, a rescue plant, a geranium gift from Applefield Farms that they said needed some extra TLC started blossoming the way that it should and I realized it was the same color, if slightly less intense than the rose.

color check
color check

Hey, I can try this out with an annual, I thought.

I think I like it; and the next check will be after the daylilies are over; will that color just look out of place?

What do you think?

woodland edge bed again

 

Impulse Purchase – Hydrangea “Glowing Embers”

Hydrangea macrophylla "Glowing Embers"
Hydrangea macrophylla “Glowing Embers”

A trip to Weston Nurseries for some rhododendrons for the rhodie walk through the woods — a multi-year project, and I found room for just one more thing; this beauty.

I have it sitting in the pot near rose Graham Thomas until the yellow rose opens.  Graham may be too much of a gentleman for these flaming colors.  Most of the pictures that I see show this hydrangea to be a darker pink; maybe it will change as it matures but I was promised that the throats stay yellow-green for contrast.

I was also told that it was dwarfed but Monrovia shows it as a 6′ plant.  Other sources say “compact plant”, so I hope they are right.  I have room; I just don’t need more shade.

I’m adding a couple of bonus photos, pictures of rose “City of York” from my guest room window for a friend who isn’t on Facebook.

Rose City of York
Rose City of York
Blossoms, City of York
Blossoms, City of York