Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Over the winter hump...

Here is my Amaryllis Hermitage in all of its glory. The first main flower stalk ended up shorter than last year much to my delight. No worry of it flopping over. There is another flower stalk growing that could very well end up taller than the first. Last year the two stalks bloomed at the same time, quite spectacular. I am happy with the staggered blooms though, as it is prolonging the color.

Looking past the Amaryllis you can see out my front window at all of the snow piled up around my Japanese Maple. We got at least a foot of snow. The boys have been busy building tunnels and slides, one of the projects looks like a rat maze.

After having the coldest February since 1978 (remember the blizzard of '78?), today my temperature on the east side of the house is 44 degrees. On Saturday they are calling for 52 degrees and thunderstorms! The snow will be gone and my spring bulbs will begin the second half of their push upwards.

I have been busy lately, still winter sowing, I am near 50 containers now, with plenty more seeds to start. I have been trying my best to draw out the gardens on graph paper, but doing so from pictures rather than going out and measuring like I should be. My drawings look vaguely like Picasso sketches instead of an architectural rendering with the proportions out of whack. I tried using BBC's garden planner, but the plant selection is extremely small and the tree selection ridiculous.

I have been looking through all of my gardening books and magazines, trying to sort through them all. I made a stack of books that I will be giving to fellow gardeners or donating. These books have to go. My gardening bookcase was getting overly full and I have to always keep room for new books. It has been quite nice to go through them all. Great to look at all of the wonderful ideas that people have had over the years and the beauty of their projects.

Here is a big fat robin I saw in a local park's parking lot a week ago. There were several of them playing around together. I often wonder about birds in the winter. Are they using nests from last summer? Do they build winter nests? I have seen some birds flying out of our purple martin house, so I know it is getting used. As for the martin house, it has not been lowered to the ground and cleaned out for who knows how long. We have been planning to do so before this spring, but what to do about the birds currently using it? I would hate to take it down and clean out the home that they are using for protection right now, but I do want it ready for the Martins that use it.

You can see from this picture just exactly how much work this martin house needs. Sometime in its life it was hit by something large and left in this awkward eastward leaning position. It is buried in concrete, so putting it back into position won't be easy.

That view of the back of the house was taken from the north side of the barn. I have a large planting area over here, with all of my Clematis growing on different things. The back of the house is quite boring, no deck and just a small patio out the back door, big enough for the grill and a chair. Last spring I dug up some pavers and moved them over that way so we would have a place to put the patio table and chairs without the legs sinking into the ground. As it turns out, the area is so boring that we never use it, we don't even out out there.

Sighhhh... another project...


Gotta Garden said...

Your amaryllis is lovely! We're having a record cold February also...although temps are starting to rise! Good luck with your winter sowing!

Marc said...

I really like your Amaryllis! I just got one this year and know nothing about them. I was calling it by its Hippeastern name because that was what was on the tag. I diddn't even know that it was an Amaryllis for a long time. Anyway, you said yours is shorter than last year. Does that mean you keep it growing year round? Do you let it die back and re-plant the bulb? These are probably dumb questions but I'm a vegetable guy. I'm new to flowers because of blogs like yours. Your Clematis is beautiful too! I look forward to seeing more of your photos as spring arrives!

Angie said...

Gotta Garden, thank you!

Marc, Thank you for your comments!

Here is what I do with my Amaryllis- I cut the blooms off as they fade and once completely done blooming, cut the stalk all the way to about 2-4 inches above the bulb. Leave the strappy leaves and keep it in a sunny spot until May when the chance of frost is gone. Then I plant it outside in full sun for the summer. Right before frost in October, I dig it up, rinse it off, cut the leaves off again (and maybe this fall my babies will be big enough to separate from the momma plant-I left them on last fall because they were smaller than a golf ball), let it dry a day or two, then put it in a paper bag, wrote the date on the bag, roll the bag shut and put it on a shelf in the attached garage against the interior wall. Leave it there for 8-10 weeks and then repot the bulb and start over.

I don't know how I managed to get a shorter stalk this year, but I don't mind it. Also, looking back at last years pic, the leaves are considerably smaller too. The momma bulb is a monster, probably 6 or 7 inches across!

Sandy said...

I wish I could get my amaryllises to rebloom! My grandma was a real pro....proof, a greenthumb is not heridetary!