Friday, February 15, 2013

Garden Bloggers Bloom Day Tropical Paradise

If I squint my eyes and sit near the heating vent I can almost imagine I'm in a tropical paradise. My Brunfelsia jamaicensis has accommodated me with its first open bloom. I've had the plant for a few years now and it hasn't grown that large, a good thing because I'm running out of room for indoor plants. It's pretty potbound but I think I will try to do a root prune on it to keep it in the same pot. It's a woody plant that blooms on old wood.

 
And speaking of old wood, the prickly Bougainvillea has never bloomed so much--even when it's outdoors in the middle of summer! It apparently is getting enough light in the back room and seems to be moving toward the window. I pruned it up to avoid the repeated stabbings I usually sustain throughout the winter from this thorny tropical. 
 

 
Perhaps next month I'll be able to report on Amaryllis blooms. But until then, I'm happy with my little and limited indoor tropical paradise.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Magical Surprises: You Can Grow That!


Maybe it's a bit early in the season to traipse through the garden looking for magic. At least that's what I call the little surprises you can never fail to find if you know how to look. They come in the form of plants you'd forgotten you'd planted, bulbs you don't recall digging into the block of thyme in that sunny patch of ground.

One cool thing about fairy houses is their ability to garner
a second (or perhaps a third) glance.
The worse my memory gets the more I embrace surprises. Why not go along with it instead of beating yourself up over not remembering those hundred or so Crocus bulbs you (must have) painstakingly placed in the lawn? Take it just a bit further and you've entered the realm of magic. And why not? It's your garden!
I (and my 60 million or so colleagues in the Baby Boomer group) shouldn't mind being pleasantly surprised once in awhile. And if that surprise turns out to be one of our own making? Consider it a gift made magical by the fact you were able to surprise yourself!

Hamamelis 'Diane'
Of course, self-made magic requires preparation. Using plants that bloom on the cusp of the seasons makes magic more likely. Hamamelis 'Diane' is a hybrid witchhazel that breaks into her colorful show as soon as the right opportunity comes along.
Juniperus h. 'Mother Lode'
If you think conifers are stuck in their own color rut, think again. Juniperus horizontalis 'Mother Lode' puts on a show in the cold of winter. It's called bronze in the conifer world, but it looks more like a heathery coral to me. If you have one in your garden, surprise yourself by a closer inspection of this great groundcover.

Meanwhile, if you've decided to overwinter those citrus plants you couldn't resist in the spring, you might be wondering what that wonderful scent is.
Citrus Clementine Fina Mandarin
If you don't happen to live in Florida or California, you've probably forgotten (or never realized) how good citrus flowers smell, or that it bears fruit in winter.

You can head outside and look for the magic, or plan on surprising yourself in the future by adding something uncharacteristic to your garden. (Besides, planning in the dead of winter will make it all the more likely you'll be surprised.)

What could be more romantic than to surprise yourself with some magic? Besides, it will take the pressure off that special someone in case he or she doesn't get it quite right on Valentine's Day.