Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Hyacinth Lover

Delft Blue Hyacinths
(Not an Heirloom)
This hybridized Hyacinth is available just about everywhere.

Are you a Hyacinth Lover? I have to say I think these are just the prettiest flowering bulbs on the planet. But, here's a sad, sad fact...

Brightly blooming and oh, so fragrant Hyacinths are being hybridized to extinction.

At one time, Hyacinths were more popular than Tulips. And, for good reason. They bloom longer, they're much hardier, and they fill your spring garden with an intoxicating, sweet perfume.

Rare Hyacinth Bulbs:
Old House Gardens is the coolest shop. They specialize in heirloom bulbs, even telling a little bit of history about the where's, when's and why's of how these lovely flowers got their start.

General Kohler: Born 1878
The oldest, surviving double Hyacinth.

Marie: Born 1860.
One of the rarest. Now considered 'commercially extinct.'

Gypsy Queen: Born 1927.
Naturalizes 'effortlessly' in dry, southwest gardens.

Hollyhock Hyacinth: Born 1936
Blooms later in spring than most commercial Hyacinths.

Curing the Winter Blues..
At about $1.00 a bulb (for commercially available Hyacinths) there's no reason to short change yourself. I usually purchase a couple dozen of these and store them in the 'frig. Hyacinth bulbs are easily 'forced.' Meaning we trick them into thinking it's spring by keeping them in a cool dark place. In winter, after 12 weeks of cold storage, forced Hyacinth bulbs will happily bloom in a sunny window.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

An Extraordinary Poinsettia

I think these variegated reds and greens are just gorgeous.
Have you been having trouble sleeping? Well, you came to the right blog! This post should knock you out...

Just kidding. Well, maybe not. Of all the flowers in the world that I could be yapping about today, I imagine I'm the only one who cares about a Poinsettia so long after the holidays.

But, this is no ordinary Poinsettia. I've had her for several years. And, I'm just fascinated with her. I guess the conditions in my home are perfect because she turns red without all the hoo ha.

* If you listen to the experts, Poinsettias need 14 hours of total darkness every day, for eight straight weeks, in order for the leaves to change from green to red. And, if you screw up that regimen even once, you have to start all over again. 

I suppose I would have to follow those rules if I wanted a solid red plant. But, this one doesn't get any of that special treatment. She lives in a south facing window and right about the middle of March... we start celebrating Christmas. {Granted her biological clock is way off kilter, but I still think it's pretty cool.}

* Poinsettias can reach 10-15 feet in height. I'm grooming mine to be an indoor tree in the sunny room.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Monday's Mystery

She's an itty bitty seedling, growing in my sunny window. About an inch worth of leaves have sprouted from the tiny pot. With any luck, by summer's end, she'll reach a whopping 15 feet tall ~ showing off some truly spectacular flowers.

Who could it be? {hint - she's not an annual.}

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Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Wordless Wednesdays: Prettiest Place on the Planet

The ocean walk in Wailea, on the island of Maui. {Whenever I'm having a bad day, I pull out this photo and dream of living in this house.} For more slightly Wordless Wednesday participants click here!

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Friday, March 1, 2013

The Hearty Little Hen

I think this is a Blue Rose Echeveria succulent but if you have other ideas, please let me know.
This is the pretty little wrist corsage that I wore to my darling daughter's wedding in September, 2012.

It laid on the table in my bedroom for about a month after the big day. Had it been a standard flower corsage, I might have pressed it, and dried it, to keep it forever. But, it was a pudgy little succulent. A rubbery rose, if you will. And, I didn't know what to do with it.

Until... I noticed how she was trying ever so hard to survive.

The corsage had laid on that table for a whole month without any type of moisture, yet only the tips of the leaves were turning brown. It still looked very much alive.

So, I thought... what the heck, let's experiment with this little cutie. Mid-November I put her in a dish with a teensy bit of cactus soil and filled the dish with water. Just to see what would happen...

Look close! My hearty little hen has given birth to two chicks!
She was in desperate need of a drink. The water disappeared very quickly. Days later, the brown disappeared from her leaves. So, I transplanted it. The little one promptly died. But, the big gal made a fantastic comeback! She's twice as large as she was when the florist had turned her into a corsage. And! She's gifted me with 2 little chicks. Pretty cool, don't you think?

* This group of succulents is called Hens and Chicks because the large plant, the Hen, produces numerous offspring, called the Chicks. Those will produce their own offspring during the next growing season. Most varieties do well in your garden. Some are cold hardy to zone 4.

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Thursday, February 28, 2013

Cowgirl Dreams

In 2 short weeks we'll be riding our happy horses through the Arizona backcountry.
Ah, 'twas a glorious day. Up at dawn, working like a little fiend on the kinds of freelance projects that I truly love.

Promptly at one, I scooted outta that office, embarking on a premeditated playing hooky kind of afternoon.

It's farrier day ~ new shoes for both horses.

In two short weeks, we're off to Arizona, on our first trail ride of the season! The horsies are as restless as I am. Wild enough that I solicited help from a friend to calm them down.

 Still sporting thick winter coats, caked with layers of mud. (No need to photograph that mess!) In desperate need of a bath, though I doubt the weather will warm enough for me to make that happen.

And, that's okay. We'll go ugly. Just as long as we get to go.

I am sooooo excited for this escape to Arizona. 
Where it's summer! And, with any luck the cactus will be blooming!

Hey! A real live cowboy! Yet another fine reason to do these trail rides. :)
They haven't tried on their saddles in 6 long winter months. They're spooky and spirited with energy to burn. I've got my work cut out for me.... but this horse shoe day is a fun first step. Because it forces them to stand still. For nearly an hour while my kindly, old farrier trims up their tootsies and gets us ready for a new riding season.

I sometimes wonder what they're daydreaming about ~ while he's scraping and filing and messing with their feet.

Larry & Me
Perhaps they're doing the same thing I am...  

Remembering all the fun we had last year and hoping for a deliciously early spring. 

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Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Over Achiever...

Check it out! My Christmas Cactus is still celebrating the holidays...

Monday, February 25, 2013

The Oxygen Garden

Re-Blooming Beauty: Phaleanopsis Moth Orchid
Geez! Where did this month go? Zipping by at light speed. When I plopped down in front of my computer this morning, I started to panic...

Perky Little Primrose
 Did I pay for the house? The car?

Have I taken care of the rest o' those pesky bills?

Surprise blossom on the "I thought you were done flowering" Rose
 Apparently, I did. {Breathing sighs of relief} Though I have little recollection of these mundane tasks...

Can't live without the Kalanchoes
Because I'm still in vacation mode.

And, I'd kinda like to stay there for a good long time...

Argh. Mondays. Here's hoping you had a good one.

These are all the bright bloomers in the Oxygen Garden (aka the flowers blooming indoors, while we impatiently wait for spring.)

These pics were all taken with my iPhone. Hence the sub-standard quality and bodacious frames! ;>)

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Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Wordless Wednesday: Riding the Sahara

This little bit of the Sahara is actually located in New Mexico, USA ~ White Sands National Monument. I just got home from warming my bones down there!

And, this horse is a rescue. {Who seems completely delighted with his new owner.}

For more {slightly} Wordless Wednesday participants click here!

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Thursday, February 14, 2013

The Valentine's Flower


One happy acre of gardening opportunities... and 4 square feet of shade. Which is why the teeny tiny bit of cool, quiet shade I do own is full to overflowing with these.

In honor of Valentine's Day, I thought I'd divulge... confess to the world what's my most favorite flower in the universe. Now, don't tell my other perennials, but I secretly think the Dicentra: Japanese Bleeding Heart is the most spectacular blossom in the garden. 

(Get up close and personal to appreciate her clever creations.)

Don't ya just love all those dainty, little hearts dangling from her stems? They sway back and forth in a gentle breeze.

In spite of her delicate appearance, Bleeding Hearts are tough cookies ~ thriving as far north as Alaska and as far south as Florida. (They're also available in white but why choose that when you can have this delicious pink?) She stands a proud 4 feet tall in one of the few shady spots in my garden that stays damp and protects her from the sun.

As the temperatures climb toward the triple digits, flowering stems drape themselves onto this ceramic fountain - perhaps to keep cool.

About the only thing she doesn't like is dry soil. A soaker hose works well. Rock mulch keeps soil cool and damp. Water fountains are a terrific way to help perennials cope with desert heat.

* In the mountains, Dicentra spectabilis (Japanese Bleeding Heart) blooms in June, hardy to USDA Zone 3, goes dormant in the heat of summer.

PS: Happy Valentine's Day!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Cheer Me Up Flower of the Month Club

Kalanchoes + a Cyclamen.
'Twas a dull, grey and stormy day.  Almost dreary enough to have me grateful I was indoors, at a trade show, (almost) vs. outdoors, doing what I do best. (Nothin' much!)

Seeing as how it's the depths of winter, I've started a Cheer Me Up Flower of the Month Club. Oh, not one of those ultra spendy ship 'em from the grower via Fed Ex schemes. Those are delightful and, truth be told, I would much prefer that ~ provided someone else is paying for it.
No, no, my Cheer Me Up Flower of the Month Club come from the local supermarket. Tiny pots of Kalanchoes plus a misfit Cyclamen on sale for $3.99 (like I'm gonna pass that up...)

Kalanchoe Growing Tips:
They love warmth and sun and pretty dry soil. (Because, you see, they are succulents.) They do not appreciate fertilizer. Flower best when root bound. Will re-bloom every year on a sunny window sill. Pronounced Kah - lan - ko - eeee.....

Instagram pics are taken on the fly, with my iPhone. {Plz forgive the poor quality.} These are the little pretties currently gracing my kitchen window. How are you keeping cheerful this winter? Got any cool plants to share?

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