Sunday, March 9, 2008

Ready To Get Started

You know how gift cards and money that were given with the thought that you will buy something nice for yourself often times end up in the general fund and just disappears leaving you with nothing to show for it. That happens to me more often than not. It must be related to my lack of shopping skills and immunity to advertising.

There has been a break through. I went looking to find a small evergreen shrub to hide an electrical outlet for my client. Wondering what payment method I would use, I remembered the gift card I had and came home with new plants for myself. This self indulgence was justified by an upcoming annual event and a desire to see a little more progress in my own new garden.

Of course I am not so self indulgent as to buy more than one of each. When the weather warms up I will propagate cuttings from my new plants.

I got an Exbury Azalea 'Lemon Lights', a Mediterranean Pink Heath, Erica x darleyensis and Andromeda polifolia, 'Blue Bog' Andromeda. The Andromeda and the Heath are the start of my low mounding sweeps of color on the slope beneath the utility lines.

I also picked up a couple more peat pellet trays for starting seeds. Note the Garden Sloggers, a gift from Garden Rant being used in garden related activities.

First you add water to expand the pellets, sow the seeds, cover with the greenhouse top and wait to see what happens. I got very good germination of Salvia nemorosa, Texas Bluebonnets (wrong time of year to sow them), Campanula, the Canterbury Bells and Digitalis purpurea 'Apricot Beauty'. These seeds were just a few of the items in the generous care package I received from Hank, the County Clerk.

After I got germination, I started to get damping off of the seedlings, not good. The greenhouse tops have been removed for more air circulation. It looks like I won't lose them all. Lesson learned. I am so used to just sowing seeds and putting them out in the nursery until they get to be big enough to re-pot. Dealing with this cold stuff has temporarily thrown off my game.

I think bulbs can have a place on my hillside utility garden. I have been told I can transplant some to my new garden. We'll see what happens when the shovel hits the soil.

The first hint of bigger things to come, pink Heath and stone walls.

I'm not sure if it is too early to plant, but I figured they are better off in the ground than in the pots which froze into solid blocks of ice last night. I know that's not good.


Carol Michel said...

Generally, if you can dig, you can plant, I say. That's a pretty purple. Spring is coming to your place!

Lisa at Greenbow said...

I want heath too. It is so pretty in late winter early spring.

Christopher C. NC said...

It was a tad frozen, but still diggable down at the bottom of the slope in more shade where I planted the Andromeda. The Azalea and Heath went in fine. This winter anyway, the soil has never frozen very deep, 3 to 4 inches at most.

I'm waiting for the soil to dry enough in the vegetable garden so I can rototill it to get rid of all the tire tracks from the new utility pole install. The tire tracks created the exact opposite of contour plowing, so now when it rains or the snow melts the water runs down my drive. It's just been raining and snowing very regular.

Annie in Austin said...

How lucky you remembered the gift card! The plants look good, Christopher - growing heaths, andromedas and azaleas would be a new area of horticulture for me...they're all acid lovers and my gardens were in more alkaline soil.

I hope Carol's "if you can dig, you can plant" rule works out well for you!

Annie at the Transplantable Rose

Frances, said...

I bought some of those azaleas, they were too good to pass up. Now is the best time to plant all those things you bought, like Carol said, if you can dig you can plant those. Watch out, though, the stores are now getting things that will not survive the freezes we have left. Also, if you top your seedlings with vermiculite or chicken grit, both inhibit damping off. Can't wait to see your plantings with the new wall!

Frances at Faire Garden

Frances at Faire Garden

Anonymous said...

You might try the Texas bluebonnets anyway. I've had them spout in late May if we have a lot of rain and grow all summer. If yours sprout now, they might think it's the right time of year and flower anyway.

The reason we plant them in the fall in Austin is that our ground doesn't freeze and they grow all winter long before flowering in the spring. That doesn't seem to be an option for you.

lisa said...

I'm with Carol-if you can dig, then plant away! Those "Lights" series azelias are extra hardy-good choice! And the andromeda...very nice! I got one last year, and I hope it comes back okay. (My soil is very sandy, so I put it by a downspout where I'm making a new bog area.) You've discovered my favorite shopping technique-"one for them, two for me" ! ;-)

chuck b. said...

Bummer about the damping off...but I'm glad some will make it.

Note: Those digitalis 'Apricot Beauty' basal rosettes get quite large--mine are currently about 2 feet in diameter, and growing. In places where I planted them too close together, they're now all smooshed up next to each other. And they seem to be not as efficient as extracting water from the soil compared to other plants. I put a few foxglove next to drought-tolerant Philadelphus, and the foxglove is quite small while the Philadelphus is growing by leaps and bounds.

You probably knew all that.

Christopher C. NC said...

I'm not sure what I know anymore. I can read plant tags, look things up on the internet, consult with the resident gardeners and observe things at various elevations, but it doesn't make up for real experience in this climate zone, so I am watching and learning.

The bits of advice are helpful and appreciated.

We're back in computer hell getting the formerly dead computer up to snuff with reloading upgrades and programs. Of course punished us again for excessive use and slowed us down to below dial-up speed for 24 hours.

The good news is the Tulips I got from Elizabeth at GardenRant and the Daffodils from the County Clerk are coming up. My section of the mountain is a touch colder on the more north facing slope.

chuck b. said...

Daffodils from Hank--just what you need.


Anonymous said...

Glad to see those Sloggers being put to good use.
Looks like you're in for a _severe_ spring there in N.C.