Meet The Seeds — Part Two


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Now that we’ve made the first round of seed introductions, it’s now time to continue down the receiving line.  As mentioned in the previous post, I chose many red flowers — but I also included some experiments, seeds that could prove challenging.

First up, an experiment.  I always try to include Coleus in the garden.  The variety of colors and leaf textures are amazing — and they’re super easy to root if you’d like to save your favorites as houseplants.  Simply snip off a stem, place in water, and roots appear.  (By the way, that’s also an economical way to keep a favorite Coleus around for the winter months.  As the weather warms, take some clippings from that house plant and have roots ready for the outdoor growing season.)

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Meet The Seeds — Part One


This plaque, a gift from my friend Maria, hangs in the potting shed.

Simply put, I’m a sucker for seeds.  I can’t really say if it’s magical or spiritual, but I am amazed at what is locked inside each oddly shaped, variously sized seed.  Just provide the right environment, and it’s as if the Big Bang is put into motion.  Roots, stems, leaves, blooms, seed — it’s an ongoing cycle that is so simple (and yet so complicated) that it helps keep me grounded in this hectic world.  It’s one thing to stop and smell the roses, but it’s another thing to stop and plant a seed and wait and then smell. 

My Park Seed and Select Seeds order has arrived, and very soon, I will begin my own cycle of planting and watering and thinning.  I admit, I went a little heavy on red — but I do love red in the garden.  It’s hot and vibrant and passionate — and  it comes in so many shades, from bright to brick to bold. 

And now, without any further delay, I would like to roll out my red carpet.

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Of Super Bowl And Gardening


It’s game day — at last.  If you live in the New York Metro area — as I do — or in New England or Indianapolis, for that matter, Super Bowl madness has reached the saturation point.  Every second of local news coverage is devoted to the teams, the fans, the food — even my local supermarket broke a record for the number of heroes that were ordered for Super Bowl parties.

Don’t get me wrong — I am pulling for the home team.  And I am excited to see the half-time show with Madonna.  Yes, I know she made that remark about loathing hydrangeas, but I’m curious to see what the old material girl (yes, I went there) has in her bag of tricks. 

It’s just that gardeners need their Super day, their media coverage, their competition for the most clever gardening commercials.  I doubt any of that will be happening soon, so I have decided to take matters into my own hands. 

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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