Saturday, January 30, 2010

Variegated Ivy and Fern

This was the scene from the window the other morning.

So, I continued to tend to the houseplants.

The fern got a shower.

The variegated ivy got a trim. (It’s friend looks a little aslant.)

I watched Mr. Green Thumb e-How video about variegated ivy. (Stan DeFreitas, also known as Mr. Green Thumb, has experience as an urban horticulturist working for the Pinellas County Extension Service and has taught horticulture at the St. Petersburg College.)

I’ve got to get out more.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Root Pruning

I have had the red Christmas cactus for more years than I care to remember. I don’t remember how many new plants have been started from the original plant my aunt gave me when I was 16.

It’s been a long time since repotting and the plant looked tired. So I decided to do a root pruning and repot. I took 2 cuttings and put them in water to root. If I kill the plant with an inept root prune, I should have new plants to start – a little insurance so to speak.

I watered the plant thoroughly. I used a knife along the edges of the pot to loosen it. The root ball didn’t look too dense. I cut about ½ inch from 2 sides and the bottom. I put the plant back in the original pot filling in with new potting soil. After a thorough soak, the plant is back in the cool room that is its winter home. I’ll keep a close watch for the next few months and hope the plant is re-energized.

(More information on Christmas cactus care from Penn State Extension.)

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Philodendron or Pothos

Pothos is the one with variegated leaves. But no one I know calls it Pothos. And the care is the same no matter what you call them.

Philodendrons and pothos are great houseplants. They tolerate low light, uneven watering and neglect. I have a great example of a neglected and out-of-control Pothos.

I picked off the yellow and dead leaves and untangled the stems. When I stretched it out, it reached about 8 feet long.

I took a cutting from one of the tips, removed the lower leaves and put it in a vase to root. I’ve done it before and the cuttings rooted easily from the node or base.

I also put a bit of stem with a few lumpy nodes in the soil. The stem should root at the nodes. I anchored the stem with a paper clip opened to a V pushed into the soil. I’ll add a little potting soil. I hope a new plant will arise.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Resurrecting Fuchsia

Last March I bought 2 fuchsia plants - ‘Lena’ and ‘Swingtime’ – at the Philadelphia Flower Show. They bloomed resentfully all summer hanging from a shepherd’s hook near our front walk. Seven foot tall American Dream lilies have grown up around the shepherd’s hook completely overpowering the little fuchsia.

I neglected them at the end of the summer. When I brought them in last fall, they were sticks with a few tiny leaves. I almost composted them but decided to put them with the other overwintering plants.
They came back to life. I trimmed back the dead branches. I’ll take cuttings from the new growth.
If all goes well, I’ll have new plants for the little pots on the shepherd’s hook. Maybe they’ll do better this year. Or maybe I’ll find a better plant for those pots.

(Information on fuchsia care from Washington State University Spokane Extension.)

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Spring Shows


Valley Flower and Garden Show
Ag Hall, Allenttown
           New Dates: March 2, 3 and 4  -- Mark your calendars!!!

Adventures in Agriculture
Palmer Park Mall, Easton
Friday, February 10, 4pm – 9 pm
Saturday, February 11, 10am – 9 pm
Sunday, February 12, 11 am – 4 pm
Philacelphia International Flower Show

Marchh 4-11, 2012 =  Islands of Aloha

2011 UPDATE -

Adventures in Agriculture Feb 11-13, 2011
Philadelphia Flower Show “Springtime in Paris” March 6-13, 2011

Valley Flower, Garden and Patio Show - Ag Hall, Allentown Fairgrounds, March 11-13, 2011.
Lehigh Valley Green Builders Expo March 19-20, 2011


February starts the round of local spring shows. It’s fun to see what’s new while waiting to get out in the garden. (Click on the headings for more information about each show.)

Lots of farm, bug, garden, food, ecological and animal related displays. The alpacas are always a big hit - educational and interactive displays and fun for kids. (See February 20, 2008 post.)
Palmer Park Mall, Easton, PA
Friday evening, February 12: 5-9 pm; Saturday, February 13: 10 am-9 pm; Sunday, February 14: 11 am-5 pm. No admission fee.

The 8th Annual Eastern Pennsylvania Spring Home Show
200 vendors fill Agricultural Hall with everything from gazebos to gardens.
WHEN: Feb 19th - 21st, 2010
WHERE: AG Hall, Allentown Fairgrounds,
SHOW HOURS: Friday, 5pm to 9pm; Saturday, 10am to 9pm; Sunday, 10am to 5pm
TICKETS: $8.00 adults, $7.00 seniors, children under 12 free.

Lehigh Valley Green Building Expo
An exciting gathering of green living experts will offer demonstrations and workshops on a wide variety of green topics. This is a new one for me. I intend to check out the rain barrels.

Northampton Community CollegeMain Campus - Gymnasium, 3835 Green Pond Road, Bethlehem, PA 18020

Saturday, March 20 – 9 am to 8 pm; Sunday, March 21 – 10 am to 5 pm
Admission $5

The 2010 Philadelphia Flower Show “Passport to the World”

The over-the-top international flower show has a reputation for huge landscape displays, excellent horticulture and design and a great variety of shopping at “The Marketplace”. I always come home with a plant or two or more. (See blog post March 11, 2009.)
Sunday, February 29 through Sunday March 7

Pennsylvania Convention Center, 12th & Arch Streets, Philadelphia, PA 19107
Hours: Sundays 8 am to 6 pm; Monday through Friday 10 am to 9:30 pm; Saturday 8 am to 9:30 pm.
Admission: Adult $23, Student with ID $18, Child 2 to 16 $13.


Wednesday, January 13, 2010

In Search of Lost Roses

In Search of Lost Roses By Thomas Christopher (1989)

I’m back in my Winter Gardener mode – time to read garden books.

This little book introduced me to the Rose Rustlers - a posse of Texas old rose enthusiasts that gather in November to scour the countryside in search of lost roses. (The term “old rose enthusiasts” does not refer the age of the rustler.)

They start out with buckets and shovels to find roses of Texas’s past. They search through cemeteries, abandoned towns, fields and private yards. Their sense of adventure and quest for discovery encompasses a passion that rivals Columbus. Texas hot, dry climate makes roses that have survived for decades truly a treasure. I would like to read more of their personal adventures.
(Climbing Rose Blaze - 1932)

Lost Roses chronicles rose history from the wild roses of Greece and Rome through Napoleon’s Josephine’s 10,000 seedlings. Roses that crisscrossed continents with opium traders and settlers. China’s natural order to modern hybridization and genetic engineering. Damask, bourbon, gallca, cyrene, moss and many others are carefully indexed.


(‘Madame Isaac Pereire’ - Bourbon 1881)

As I read I sometimes googled the rose mentioned to get an idea of what it looked like. With only a thimble of old rose understanding, I found tracing roses from France, Italy, Greece, England, China and America complicated. But, I came away with an appreciation of the depth of knowledge necessary to identify the old roses. The book illustrates the obsessive passion of old rose collectors.

Saturday, January 09, 2010

Spring Garden Series

Penn State’s Lehigh and Northamption County Master Gardeners are offering classes to launch the vegetable gardening season.

If you are browsing those beautiful seed catalogs now, the first sessions on planning and seed starting should push you out of the winter doldrums. These timely topics are offered on February 24 in Northampton County and February 27 in Lehigh County.

The “Mission Possible” series in March “Mastering Home Vegetable Production” continues with planting, spacing, watering, feeding, rotation as well as pest management.

Small space? Container Vegetable Gardening will be covered February 27 in Lehigh County and March 10 in Northampton County.

Both locations will end with “Win with Tomatoes and Peppers”.

Each class costs $6 or $30 for all 6 hour-long sessions at one of location. Space is limited and usually fills quickly. If you are a beginning vegetable gardener or an old hand looking for a refresher or some new ideas, you can’t beat this deal.

See the brochure “Spring Garden Series: Victory in the Vegetable Garden” for all the details.


Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Dreaming of Spring

Every spring I have plants to move or divide. I set up a word document each year to use as my garden journal. I keep lists (there I go with the lists again).

During the growing season when I’m working in the garden and see a plant that needs to be divided, I add it to the “To Be Divided” list. I also have a “Move” list. The “Give Away” list includes requests from friends.. There is also a “To Buy” list but that’s another story.

I’ve been checking my lists. It almost makes me feel like I’m gardening.

To Move.

The pretty hosta will be divided added to the new garden. (See September 29, 2009 Post “New Garden”.) It should add some brightness to this shady spot.

This little ruffled pink azalea will also move to the new garden. Last spring I thought it was dead. It doesn’t do well crowded where it is. I hope it will have a better chance with more room to grow.

The liatris (Liatris spicata 'Purple Spikes’) was dug in behind the garage temporarily several years ago. It’s time for a permanent home. I’ll move it next to the liatris that I relocated last spring.

Give Away.

Sheffield Pink mum – I always have requests for this pretty mum.

Dead Nettle (Lamium) (picture top of post) – a great dry shade plant. A friend has a perfect place for it.

Red Hot Poker (Kniphofia uvaria) – Another temporary “dig in”. I found someone who would like the plant. I have a huge clump in my front garden and certainly don’t need any more.

Tansy (Tanacetum) – I have a request for this ferny-leafed plant. I forgot to divide it last year so the request will be filled a year late.

To Be Divided.

Several plants need to be divided and will be looking for a new home.
Liriope (lilyturf) next to the hydrangea – this tough little grass is overgrown and crowded. I will need to divide it with a hatchet or sharp saw.
Forget Me Not (Brunnera macrophylla) – Over the years this plant has spread and reseeded to the point of taking over. The profusion of blue flowers is lovely in April but there are just too many of them.


Tall (6 ft.) yellow rudbeckia (Rudbeckia nitida 'Herbstsonne) – This plant was divided an moved last October when I planted the Sky Pencil Holly in its place. Some of the divisions were “dug in” and need to find a permanent home.

I keep dreaming of spring. Now, back to my winter list. I’ve already checked off five and a half items.

Saturday, January 02, 2010

Happy New Year

January – sigh.

As I looked through my garden pictures from last year I realized it will be at least 2 months before I can work outside again. And fully 2 or 3 months before the garden really comes to life.

The Snow Glories were blooming on March 11, 2009.

The first yellow crocus popped up between the leftover fall leaves.

The pretty purple helleborus was full of buds waiting to open.

The daffodils were budding.

Donna at Momma Mia Days (link at right) got me over the early winter doldrums with her colorful post from her trip to San Diego.

So I made a list. I have books and catalogs to read, a lot of house cleaning to do, income taxes to start, Mom’s apartment to clean and organize, flower shows and meetings to attend and garden plans to make.

I realized I have a choice. I can sit here wallowing in self-pity because it’s cold, icy and miserable outside or I can get some things done so I’ll be ready to garden in March.

On one hand, it looks like a long winter ahead. On the other hand, there may not be enough time to complete everything on my list.