Tuesday, March 29, 2011


Last week, I glanced at the big picture window in the living room and noticed the passion flower was peeking over the curtain rod. And here I thought it was just in suspended animation. That's cool. I was looking at it from the couch Sunday and notice it had a bud...double cool. This morning I wanted to see if the bud was getting ready to flower...and what do I see??

3 spent blooms!!! Really? I would have loved to know that was going on just mere inches from where I sit/knit/watch TV. UGH! But, at least I know now and there are a ton of buds snaking up this one vine. I don't think I'm going to pollinate any of them this time around. I need to get in touch with Logee's and find out where we went awry with the epic passion fruit fail from this fall. I'm psyched though I have some really neat, tropical flowers kicking around to get me through the last, lagging cold days of the winter that refuses to die.

Other breaking news at Garden Consultant HQ is....check this out:

These things had better taste really good after waiting since the beginning of December. I'm just saying...

Friday, March 25, 2011

Signs of life...

Yesterday, we woke up to about .5" of snow on the ground and intermittent flurries through out the day. Thankfully, it melted by late morning and the stuff that fell later in the day never stood a chance on the ground. Cruel joke, Mother Nature....just cruel. :( The weather looks very promising though these next seven days of sunshine and temps in the 40's and low 50's. Definitely a far cry from last year this time of year with the pouring rain that lead to the office and basement flooding.

Tuesday and today I've been popping out off and on and taking stock of what's happening outside. This pic below is a welcome sight for winter weary eyes. These guys are facing on my south wall and a) they are probably an early season daff and b) this wall is warmer than the others so things progress faster than others.

Sedum 'Matrona' getting her "brussell sprout" look on. Note to self...no fertilizer for her or my other sedums this year. They grew like hell and then flopped over mid June. If they do it again, they're getting pinched and hard.

I love emerging Lady Mantle leaves...they are adorable!

My dusty rose/orange lilies are popping up against that south wall. I'm waging a full out war against red lily leaf beetle this year and I'll have Eric get on top of that soon. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the evil little bug, here's a great link for educating yourself on them: http://faq.gardenweb.com/faq/lists/neweng/2002040522017914.html The good news is, URI has been releasing a parasitic wasp in different areas of Rhode Island to combat these little nasties. Dr. Cassagrande who is involved with their study is very optimistic the wasps will be successful in controlling red lily leaf beetle.

All of the other hostas are sleeping still but this one - Hosta 'Aureo-marginata.' This variety is one of the first to emerge in the spring. It's a gorgeous yellow and green variegated leaf with a vase like growing habit. Very, very striking in the shade garden.

I'm getting psyched for this growing season...let's hope that Mother Nature wants to play nice this year.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Hey....wait a minute...

Dare I say...I see a hint of red on my perma-green cherry tomatoes??

O. M. G.

I haven't detected any change of color on the yellow cherries yet. And, that is fine because they did start flowering later than that left corner red cherry. I am happy to report that the slacker red cherry tomato plant on the right corner is now happily blooming (and setting fruit) it's little head off. Patience does indeed pay off.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Aerogarden update - early March

It's been about 3 to 4 months since I've started up the tomatoes and the flower 3 pod aerogardens. I've been using an oscillating fan to create enough of a breeze to pollinate the tomato plants. It has been working really well and I have a TON of little cherry tomatoes coming. I'm not sure if I am super anxious because of the suspense of having cherry tomatoes I grew in winter. But...it feels like it is taking forever for them to ripen. I'm almost tempted to pick them and then ripen them on the windowsill like you do with greenies from outside. Must be patient....gardening teaches patience. I'm not following the wise words I constantly tell my clients. :/

Anyway, below are the red cherries on the far left:

Here are my yellow cherries in the middle. The fruit seem smaller than the reds and I am totally chalking that up to difference in cultivars:

The red cherry tomato on the far right hasn't produced any fruit at all...some flowers, but nothing that has gone on to fruit. I think it could be the lights from the 3 pod AG which shut off a lot later than the 7 pod. I wonder if that red guy isn't getting the darkness the other two are. Several weeks ago, I did move the 3 pod closer to my desk and further away from the big AG. I'm curious to see if that 2 foot distance will make a difference.

As I suspected, the house plants I brought downstairs to share the lighting wealth the AG's throw out are happy as clams. I did end up bringing the yellow Moth Orchid down here too because it was suffering from bud blast upstairs. Bud Blast is when buds will start to mature, turn yellow, and then fall off. One of the main causes of bud blast is major swings in temperature. Opening and closing the sliding glass door when it's frigid out and this orchid was the closest to the door. Since it has come down to the basement...I haven't lost any more buds.

As you can see here, the streptocarpus is loving life while leeching off of the extra light:

I've actually had a really nice display of Stock from the 3 pod AG. I just deadheaded it before I snapped the pic here. Now I have some white coming through which is a pleasant surprise. The oscillating fan does move their fragrance around the office and I have moments of where I feel like I'm at the flower show again. :) The petuntias are totally thriving and I'm hoping to see some flowers soon. I did end up pinching it back some after I took these pics because it was starting to get taller than the Stock. I'm sure I did set it back some from pinching off some of the buds. I started to change over the nutrients to support more flowering two weeks ago. Hopefully, I can push things along. The Zinnia I stuck in there is slowly growing but has a bud coming. It's literally 2" tall and looks kind of dumb next to it's neighbors. They got much, much taller in the 7 pod last summer. Whatever. These things are like one huge science experiment...and I find them fascinating.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Flashback Friday

Guess this gardening thing I do was really meant to be afterall. :)

No wonder why weeding is my least favorite of all gardening jobs - I've been picking weeds for the last 36 - 37 years.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

The Wet Pets Emerge!

These orange blobbish shapes gliding slowly under the ice were a welcome sight this morning. Lake Larson has finally lost it's blanket of snow on the shallow side and I can see what's going on in there. The deeper side, the ice is opaque and I can't see anyone who may be still snoozing under there. But, it's a big sigh of relief when Chunk, Rorschach, and their smaller buddies are looking at you from under their glass ceiling. Welcome back guys, I know you probably felt like those Chilean miners this winter under multiple feet of snow. It won't be long now, I promise. :)

I posted this on my personal facebook page last night. One of my Flower Show neighbors offered to snap a pic of me in my booth before the doors opened up on Sunday. I want to give a shout out to Paula from Simply Paula - http://www.simplypaula.com/ for being kind enough to capture me in my little Garden Consultant world last week.

It's actually not a bad photo considering we were on our final stretch of four days! I was expecting me to look like a horrible driver license pic. Thanks again Paula! :)

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Spring's knocking on the door

LOL...well, I'll give myself a big ol' F for my attempt at Project 365. Life got in the way and so goes my good intentions. Oh well. :)

Eventhough I haven't had much opportunity to post...stuff has been carrying on as usual. The RI Spring and Flower Show came and went last week. This was the sixth year for me in Booth 313 and it was a pleasure to be there again. I got the chance to see clients who have found me over the years there and to meet people who may join my ranks of clients/friends. I changed the layout of the booth a little bit this year and I really like the little changes I made. I got a lot of wonderful feedback on my work and the booth itself which is always good to hear.

The witch hazel 'Jelena' was a little bit early this season and missed the mark of her flower show week appearance. She was about 5 days early and I think she's as eager for spring to start up as we all are. Jelena is finally getting a little height on her and I can see her better over the picket fence from the kitchen window.

The snow is virtually gone this week after all of the rain we had last Friday and yesterday. I was wandering around picking fallen debris and branches from the back yard this morning. I've got some stuff to do this spring for a clean up but it won't be that bad. I think if it's nice this weekend, I may start a little sooner than I normally do. The itch to get my hands dirty is strong this year.