Well, it is the Vernal Equinox today. Day and night are the same length … and so we can look forward to increasingly lovely, long days and outside living. I’ve been clearing up the patio in preparation. Moving bird feeders off the edge of the pergola, moving the olive trees out from beneath the shelter of the wisteria, uncovering the wooden table and moving the accompanying chairs back outside. I may not expect to have a BBQ any time soon, but I am ready and we can now take tea breaks out there any time.
Apart from all that, of course, it is time for Six on Saturday with Mr Propagator: Sharing six gardening related things:
1 Wild Daffodils
Every autumn I plant a few more bulbs in the wild meadow patch at the end of the garden. Sometimes it’s camassias, sometimes crocuses and scillas, sometimes it’s snakes-head fritillaries, but whatever I choose I always add another 50 bulbs of narcissus pseudonarcissus, wild daffodils. They can be a bit slow to show in their first year and 50 isn’t exactly a huge number over the area, but since there is now an established population pool they are showing up nicely from the house this year.
2 First Peacock Butterfly
It was cheering to see the first Peacock butterfly of the year yesterday when the sun was out:
Yes, you’ve probably noticed the moss in the lawn. It is a good year for that too, but in my defense, this is the same rough grass area that the wild daffodils were planted in! We will completely gloss over the state of the rest of the lawn.
3 Castor Oil Seedlings
Ready, steady, take off:
That’s zero to >10cm in a week. These seeds were positively bursting to germinate. Sown on the 8th March, the photos show the progress on 13th and 15th March. To think that I was worried that I hadn’t soak them at all! Last time I tried them, they were reluctant growers for me. Now, the challenge is that I just have to keep them in pots till the frosts have passed.
Our grape hyacinths are in various stages of bud/flower. The gorgeous, scented ones: Muscari muscarimi (top left) and Muscari macrocarpum ‘Golden Fragrance’ (bottom right) are wafting tantalising perfume in the mini greenhouse. The stripey one (Muscari azureum I think, top right) has been a little nibbled by slugs and the Muscari armeniacum ‘Valerie Finnis’ (bottom left) are just emerging from their munched off leaves (Muntjac – who ate all the crocuses on the edge too 😦 )
You may remember that I started a miscellaneous ‘exotic’ seed mix (Mac’s mix XIV from Chiltern Seeds) in January and that I had an instant response into growth from what looked like convolvulus seedlings. Well, I can now report that at least some of them are already in flower … in the bedroom.
They look like Ipomoea Cardinal Climber, with fern-like leaves. The heart-shaped leaved ones have not started into flower yet, but are so far looking like the trumpet kind, such as ‘Grandpa Otts’ or ‘Heavenly blue’.
6 Chasmanthe ‘Saturnus’
Oh dear, I’ve discovered the plant retailer ‘Farmer Gracy‘. Big mistake. I now get tempting emails every few days. Last month I purchased a dozen delicious dahlias. This month it was persicaria ‘Fat Domino’, as I am always admiring it in Cathy’s vases (e.g. here) … plus these Cobra lilies (Chamanthe floribunda ‘Saturnus’, a crocosmia relative). I thought that it would be fun to compare how they get on along side the ‘Lucifer’ crocosmia stand. They may take a year to settle down though.
I’ll report back in the summer, so long as they flower.
That’s it for today. You can check out other Sixer’s Spring posts via the comment section on Jonathon’s post.
Uncovering the wooden garden table is an excellent way to mark the vernal equinox! I like that Convolvulus flower, a very warm colour, am well behind you as I haven’t sown mine yet, but how nice to have it flowering in the bedroom. Do you sow yours in ordinary pots / deep ones / biodegradable? I hear that they hate root disturbance…
I do usually move the convolvulus around from densely planted pots to sixes to garden, but I’ve only grown Cardinal Climber once before and it did take a while to get going in the garden. If you’ve got the space maybe sow into modules and try to plant out with compost intact … or you could try homemade newspaper pots (I find them hard to transplant though, ‘cos by then they are beginning to disintegrate).
That’s useful advice, thanks. I have got some biodegradable little pots so might try in those, a bit sturdier than newspaper pots or loo roll ones I think. The main problem is I have too many seeds to sow, not enough time!
What a good idea to get your outside area all set up so you can make the most of the first sunny days. The red Convolvulus is stunning and very exotic looking.
Yes, it’s very bright. The flowers are much smaller than Heavenly Blue etc., but it is an easy, free-flowering climber which is always useful. I am definitely looking forward to outdoor picnics and BBQs again!
Happy Equinox – here’s to the lengthening days. I feel like dancing with joy as the garden season is all ahead of us. Such a hopeful time of year. 🙂
With all your surrounding woods I am imagining you literally dancing with joy!!
Beautiful convolvus flower. I’ve started mine 2 weeks ago.
You makes me want to start ricinus now. I love the way the first leaves appear
Thanks Fred. I was just thinking that they (ricinus seedlings) look like swans as they emerge. 😉
Ooh ! Right!… 👍🏻😀
I love moss, and I think everyone should have some in at least part of the lawn! Thise Ricinus seedlings are amazing. They could end up as monster plants! I grew some very successfully some years ago, both in pots and in the ground and they did add a certain flair to the garden. Are you growing the Chasmanthe in pots? I wonder if Crocosmia would grow in pots…. (I think the mice eat or nibble them and mine have only ever produced one flower!)
I am keeping my fingers crossed for absolutely giant castor oil plants. The Chasmanthe are only in pots until I decide where they are to go. I’ve grown crocosmia in pots, but they don’t like it much. They did flower though, but they didn’t multiply. Again it was a holding exercise while I prepared their end location.
I am a little encouraged by your comments on the narcissus being slow to appear as I planted quite a few into grass and none showed up last year – and they aren’t evident as of yet this year either. I’ll live in a little hope for a while longer.
What a shame! 😦 Are you not seeing any leaves either? Mine managed a few leaves in their first year and the odd short flower. I’ll keep my fingers crossed for you.
I’ve done a close inspection today and there are lots showing foliage only – no flowers – so there is still hope. Perhaps, the bulbs needed a year or two to bulk up to flowering size.
http://digdelve.com/planting-native-daffodils/ fourth paragraph… If Dan says it’s true, then it must be!
Can you hear me laughing aloud! LOL
How exciting to have these ‘exotic’ seedlings emerging – the castor oil seedlings are so pretty! I could have sent you some Fats Domino and saved you a few pounds – do let me know if there is anything you fancy in future. I always add fritillaries to my bulb order to build up numbers and they are beginning to make more of an impact now
Thanks, that’s very kind Cathy. You weren’t to know that with that offer I’d bite your hand off of course! Anyhow, if there is any chance that you still have a good supply of P. rosea, I’d be interested in getting my hands on some of that. My email is firstname.lastname@example.org. Fritillaries are a lovely choice to increase year on year. Who wouldn’t want a swath of them to admire?
Will email, Allison