Archive for March, 2009

img_4690I’ve got to start reading my own stuff more carefully! The mysterious yellow tulips that I forced recently have been identified: They are called Daydream, and if you are looking for a tulip to brighten up your yard or house, this variety would be great. The identity of the tulip was listed in the blog in a post I wrote last fall when we first planted them outdoors. The purple tulips are still unidentified, but they are starting to bloom. They seem to be a smaller, later-blooming variety, but still very pretty.


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An Early Spring?

img_4648Last week’s warm weather seems to have jump started some plants. On Saturday, I noticed that the first of the Scilla siberica, a.k.a., squill in my front yard had emerged. This one not only has a few leaves, but  tiny buds. For reference, I posted on this same topic last spring — on April 4 — a full two weeks later than I noticed the squill this year. After our frigid, now-this-is-a-real-Minnesota-winter winter, an early spring might be nice. The weather forecast for the next week or so: 30s, cloudy, windy and a few snow flurries. Ah, well.

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More About the Forced Tulips

img_4638Arghh! I am just kicking myself for not making a note of what kind of tulips these yellow/apricot ones are. I bought them out of the bins at the Farmers Seed and Nursery store in Faribault last fall. (Farmers Seed has a huge bank of bins of bulbs to choose from.) I bought a bag of what the photo near the bin showed as yellow tulips and one of purple tulips. I forgot to write down the variety name of either of them. Both kinds of bulbs are in this huge pot in my kitchen window area, but so far only the yellow ones are blooming.  And, they are not really yellow. They start out yellow and then slide from the tips of the petals down into a gorgeous orange-apricot shade.

Are there any tulip experts out there who can identify the variety?

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I don't think the Garden Writers give leg lamps for awards, but it would be cool if they did.

Yesterday I received word that one of my blog posts had earned a Silver Award in the Garden Writers Association’s annual media awards. The post is self-described as “A rambling discourse written over several days about dried beans, home gardens, and the creative impulse.”

The post was entered in a relatively new category for electronic writing. The great thing about the GWA awards is that the association announces all the silvers in spring (the number of silvers in each category varies) and the big winner in each category is not announced until the GWA’s conference, which this year is in beautiful Raleigh, N.C., in September. In other words: Road Trip!

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Thank You for Blooming

img_4627I’m feeling grateful toward this pot of forced tulip bulbs that has started to bloom despite being terribly mistreated this winter.

Forcing bulbs or branches is a fun way to bring spring color into your home while it’s still cold outside. I wasn’t planning to force bulbs this year, but while planting bulbs this fall, I put a bag of them on the shelf in the garage and promptly forgot about them. Round about January, I discovered the bag. Not wanting to pitch them, I decided to try forcing. So, I planted them in some soil and put the pot in a box back in the garage where I once again forgot about it. I remembered that there were bulbs in that box about three weeks ago and brought them into the house, first in the cool part of the basement, and then the sunny ledge in the kitchen, watered them a bit, and am being rewarded (most undeservedly) with pretty yellow blooms.

Generally, forced bulbs are planted in fall and put in a place cool (recommended temperatures are 35 to 50 F) for 10 to 14 weeks, then brought into a warmer place to bloom.  Well, my garage was a whole lot colder than 35 F during much of this long, harsh winter and those bulbs sat out there with and without soil about five months, so it’s a testament to the hardiness of bulbs that they bloomed at all. I can hardly wait until the outside bulbs start blooming!

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Did I mention there were orchids?

Here’s the problem with going to garden events, such as those I attended this weekend: You get so many ideas that you have to think about adding more space. Maybe I’ll expand my front gardens and add one of the hardy shrub roses Kathy Zuzek recommended, such as ‘Lillian Gibson’ or ‘Harrison Yellow‘. No, wait, how about ‘Candy Oh! Vivid Red,’ a variety hybridized by David Zlesak, a young U of M educator who has written for Northern Gardener.

Wait, maybe, instead I’ll add an herb garden, filled with the three kinds of basil and Lavendula ‘Hidcote‘ in a pot and a bunch of other herbs recommended by Theresa Mieseler of Shady Acres Herb Farm. No, wait, I’m going to plant that great big annual salvia, Yvonne’s Giant, which Donald Mitchell recommends for attracting hummingbirds. And, that doesn’t take into account the enthusiastic peony and dahlia gardeners I talked with Sunday at the MSHS Plant Society Day at Gertens.

So many ideas, so little space.

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img_4618The signs of spring are mounting. I’ve noticed several types of birds have returned to our yard — robins and a funny blue jay who was trying to pull seeds from a sunflower I left standing over the winter. The flower’s head is nodded over, and the jay perched on the top of it, bending over, over, over, trying to get seed. Sometimes he would grab some — other times, he tumbled off the flower empty handed (or rather, empty beaked), but was in flight before he hit ground.

Saturday, perusing my front flower bed, I saw the little nubs in the photo. I believe that is an early tulip, testing the air for warmth.

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