Confessions Of A Seed Addict

I am a seedaholic – and this time of year is especially rough for me and others like me.  The seed catalogs have arrived, with all of their colorful glossy photos designed to tempt the gardener with promises of summer bouquets and homegrown vegetables – all of the scents and textures of life itself.

Each time I visit the mailbox and find a new arrival, I wonder what the neighbors think.  A wave of thrills and excitement passes through me.  I clutch the catalog to my chest as if it was the latest issue of Tiger Beat and I’m a giddy 11-year-old school girl.  And, I swear, I feel like skipping.

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Moss Rose, By Any Other Name . . .

Unplanned Portulaca crowds out the planned Geranium.

A few posts ago, I wrote about gardening as a natural surprise party and my belief that my plants actually get together and come up with creative ways to entertain me and, well, surprise me — popping up in places where they had not been planted, blooming in different colors than were purchased or planned. But if I had to pick one plant as the organizer of all this guerilla gardening, it would have to be Moss Rose, or as I love to say, Portulaca.

It’s actually a fun name to say, like Dahlia or Liriope. Pour-tchew-lack-uh. Sometimes I think it could be the name of a Native American guide leading early explorers westward or a wife of Caesar. Maybe it’s a resort, kind of like, “We’re taking a ride up to Lake Portulaca for the weekend.” Or maybe it’s the closest I come to referring to any of my plants by its proper Latin name.

No matter what it’s called, though, Portulaca has been very, very good to me.

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I’ll Show You My Plants, If You’ll . . . (Part I)

Everyone I know keeps asking me, “What are you growing in your greenhouse?”  So for this post, I thought I’d try something different: less words and more pictures. 

First, this is the greenhouse/potting shed.  I started most of  the seeds in February.  This, of course, depends on the seeds.  I will break up the planting schedule based on germination time, bloom time, and last frost date.  See the Library page for my guidebooks.  There is a space heater in there, as well as heat mats for the seedlings.  I have hung plastic to keep the heat in the growing area; the other area is for storage of yard equipment.  The best times are when it’s snowing outside, and I’m in the shed in 75 degrees.  There is no running water, so I carry water in. Continue reading

To Plant A Seed And Wait, Is To Believe

A few years ago, a friend gave me a plaque with this inscription and a bag of muscari bulbs.  I was struck, because I am by no means a holy roller, but I did hang the plaque on a wall in my potting shed.  And each day when I worked in the shed, I stared at that nine-word phrase, and I gained a greater understanding of why I enjoy gardening.  So, as my first post, I again look to that plaque as a starting point, because what better way to start than with a seed.

I love seeds.  They come in all sizes and shapes, and each one holds so much promise of growth and color and bounty.  My favorite part of winter is actually after Christmas, because that’s when the seed catalogs arrive.  I spread everything, including myself, out on the living room floor, surrounded by pages and pages of color photographs and plant descriptions.   I am like a child again studying the Sears and Penney’s Christmas catalogs.   And after I go through the catalogs once, I start all over again.   And let’s not forget about the free gifts.  I would never purchase my own tomato seeds–but a free sample??  That’s a gift for me and for my father on Father’s Day.  I make a wish list, and then edit it down to something that’s more manageable and realistic.  In my head, I am a LAND owner.  In reality, space and time are very real limitations. Continue reading