Gardener’s Log – March 2021
What a delightful day. The sun is shining, and some plants are slowly but surely coming to life. I am amazed that a couple of the Billbergia nutans plants that I bought in January have started to bloom. I had expected to have to wait a year or two. More pictures as they open up more.
Many of the Agave and other similar plants have had pups sitting by the parent plants over the winter. I decided it was time to get those divided and to start preparing to bring them out of winter dormancy soon. Six plants came off the Agave parviflora, three from the Agave neomexicana.
It was time to reclaim the steps through Down Under Up Top. This part of the garden is mainly plants from Australia and South Africa, but is at the highest part of the garden, thus its name. I was so happy to plant out my Grevillea ‘Pink Lady’ here and the descriptions said it got to be about 2′ tall and 4′ wide in 5 years. Well, it attained that size in the first year planted. The steps had almost been over-run with it. So, it was time to cut it back and to take cuttings.
It is just about to come into full bloom, even though it never actually stops blooming. From a distance, it doesn’t stand out, but as soon as you get close, the masses on pink flower clusters are amazing.
I did them in a 1/2 flat and squeezed 39 in. They were of various stem thickness and age and I hope there is some learning to be had from that. They were all dipped in Clonex before sticking in a peat/perlite mix and placed on heat with mist. Hopefully, by this time next year I should have some for sale.
A typical spring day here today. Rain, sun, rainbows, wind, calm and while I wouldn’t call 48F exactly warm – it is certainly warm enough to be out doing stuff int he yard, especially since the work that pays was completed for today. I did officially say goodbye to one plant – Grevillea ‘Spirit of Anzac’. It was planted at the same time as everything else in Gondwana, but it very quickly look unhappy and today it made room for Grevillea ‘Flora Mason’. This is a wonderful pastel Grevillea with silvery, airy leaves and should be a nice size for that spot.
Last night was cold, and that in part was because the skies were so clear. That stars were magnificent. It also helped us warm up quite quickly today, although the highs were only about 50F. However, in the greenhouse it was rather toasty so I spent a fair time out there today potting things up, took a few cuttings, cleaned stuff up. I think I can honestly say that I am caught up with everything that needs doing out there!
One of the new bulbs for this year is in the Tuxedo garden – Narcisus bulbocodium. The common name is White Petticoat and you can certainly see why. It is paired with Helleborus ‘Dark and Handsome’ and Leucanthemum x superbum ‘Sweet Daisy Jane’ – which doesn’t know it isn’t meant to be blooming at this time of year. It should have stopped months ago, but let’s not tell it.
Two new plants came into the collection today – both Agave. The first is Agave ‘Kissho kan’ a hybrid developed in Japan and the second is Agave ‘Desert Diamond’, a sport from ‘Kissho Kan’. The colors on both of these is amazing even though it will be a few years before they come into their real glory. These will be for display in the contemporary garden, once that gets created. More ideas for that started to form in my mind last night.
I know that a lot of people are plantaholics, but I am beginning to think I have a much bigger problem than many. I just had a whole bunch of new bulbs delivered – mostly Amaryllids and needed clay pots. The prices in the local stores was much higher than I was willing to pay and was also on the lookout for two – repeat two – new plants for specific purposes. So, off we go to make a quick trip into town to pick up the necessary supplies.
I did find one of the plants that I needed, which was our Christmas tree for 2021. No luck with the second plant, which is a replacement for the Magnolia in the contemplation garden that is looking really sick. It does not appear to like the salt air. Somehow, another 20 plants came home with me! I seriously have no room for them! I really need another acre of land – now!
We almost made it to 60F today. That was good enough to be the first real gardening day of the year. The sun was out, the winds calm and it really was quite pleasant. The afternoon was spent on a mix of tasks, such as new construction (putting in underground utilities for the Garden of the giants and the Fairy garden, plus adding some of the lattice onto the deer fencing at the heights they most like to go through) and maintenance (cutting stuff back, weeding and preparing some areas for planting).
As we end out the month, this March has been the worst weather month we have ever had here. It is the first time we have ever recorded a freezing temperature at the house. Admittedly, it was only for a few hours, but there were also several other days when we got really close. We also had some of the worst winds ever – with gusts over 55mph and many winds over 45mph. That really was a noisy day.
Rainfall and average temperatures were very similar to the previous year.