I don't go outside much when the weather is this cold; it was -1°F (-18 C) a couple of nights ago and not much warmer during the day. Fortunately, I don't need to leave the house as my sweet husband is more than willing to take care of the goats and do the grocery shopping. (He gets cabin fever more often than me and I suspect he enjoys running to Shoprite because there he bumps into so many people that he knows.) Although a non-gardener, Duane has an eye for a plant bargain. The other day he found a good deal on hyacinth bulbs in bulb glasses. He brought one home to check with me that they were OK, then went back to buy two more. I put them in a sunny window in a cool-ish bedroom. They just started to bloom. They are a very pretty pink with a delicate perfume. I love them!
|Growing a hyacinth bulb in a clear glass jar is a lot of fun.|
|Aren't they pretty?|
|Two of the amaryllis bulbs that I forced this year. The pink one is Double Aphrodite and the red one is Double Double King|
I purchased my amaryllis bulbs online from Longfield Gardens. If you have never forced bulbs you really should give it a try--it is so easy. This is what I did. I potted them individually in 6-7" pots using a well-drained
potting mix. I added water to the mix and stirred until it was moist but not
soggy. I filled each pot about half full, set the bulb on top and filled in
with additional mix. A third of the bulb should be exposed and the top
of the mix should be 1/2" below the rim to allow for watering. I firmed the
mix and watered lightly.
I placed the pots where the temperature remains above 60° F. and I water only when the top inch of the mix is dry--or the bulb may rot. Growth usually begins in 2-8 weeks. When growth begins the plants need ample sunshine so I place them in a south-facing window.
Once my amaryllis blooms, I take it out of the sunlight and put it in a less sunny, cooler spot, so the flowers will last longer. My dining-room table is a good place.
|I am enjoying this funky pink and white striped amaryllis. It is called Double Doublet.|
|Poinsettias left over from my Christmas display|
It's not just the cold that is keeping me inside--the ice makes walking treacherous. The ice and icicles look very pretty on my shrubs, however, but I wish I had sprayed them with an anti-desiccant before the cold weather to prevent winter injury and water loss from the foliage. I am especially concerned about the weeping spruce next to the pond. The winter weather is brutal this year.
|The ice and icicles on the globe arborvitae look very pretty|
|We had three or four inches of snow. The 'naked lady', as my grand children call her, looks very cold.|
|I didn't check the brassicas in the coldframes today. The Brussel sprouts were looking great the last time that I lifted the lids.|
Those who have been following my blog for the past 14 years or so will know that I love watching the backyard birds in the winter months. My husband set up a heated water dish and a birdfeeder with suet and bird seed. He placed them outside the French doors in clear view from my chair in the garden room. (He removes them when the black bears come out of hibernation.)
|View from my chair. |
I am able to get some good photographs through that window. Here are a few I took this week ....
|Male cardinal waiting for his turn at the heated water dish.|
|Blue jay and male cardinal at the water dish|
|This red-bellied woodpecker was eating seed that was spilled under the birdfeeder|
|That red-bellied woodpecker came right up onto the porch.|
|Left and bottom right: Tufted titmouse, Top right: Carolina wren.|
This year the Great Backyard Bird Count (GBBC) is February 18-21. This is its 25th year. I always look forward to this fun and easy event. Join in if you haven't done so before--whether you are an expert, a novice, or a feeder watcher, you can count for as little as 15 minutes. Click HERE for more information about the count and about a free webinar.
Something I forgot to mention in my last posting: When we were in the gift shop at Longwood Gardens I found my friend's new book on display. Mary-Kate Mackey's The Healthy Garden, that she wrote with Kathleen Brenzel, is a lovely book. Of course, I had to buy it. I'll review it in a future post.
Stay safe and well. And if you live in a climate like mine -- stay warm!
|I brought this brave primrose indoors before the ground froze.|
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