Picture Snob

March 15, 2011

The primroses are blooming!

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Primroses are some of the first flowers of spring and so welcome! They have the added benefit of being perinneals and with a little loving care should last for years and years. Primroses love cool weather and lots of rich humus and leaf mold. In spring they will take full sun, but like some protection later on in the summer. Primulas are quite tolerant of being transplanted, even when they are in bloom. Newly purchased plants can be set into the garden in early spring. Older plants can be divided and transplanted right after they are finished blooming.

If you want to plant primroses from seed, you should know that the seeds are very tiny and also need light to germinate. Before planting any primroses in the garden proper the bed should be prepared by mixing the soil so it is at least half peat to a depth of at least eight inches. As with all other planting, fertilizer should be mixed with the soil, preferably one that has 4-12-4 or something similar. Another application can be given in the early fall to stimulate a little fall growth before the ground freezes.

The more common primroses seem to be perfectly hardy and except for a light mulch to prevent heaving they do not require a great deal of winter protection. They certainly brighten any flower garden or window sill with an array of color early in the season.


At Common Primrose Scarlet

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March 14, 2011

Bunching onions continue to grow year after year

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Bunching onions are sometimes called shallots. They have hollow stems and do not form a large bulb, but stay small, like green onions and grow in clusters. These onions are cold resistent and can be grown all year. I used to have several clumps growing along the fence line years ago and am inspired to try this again.

Bunching onions have a milder flavor than regular onions and are often used in Asian dishes. There are many different types, some Asian, some Italian. Plant them thickly where you won't be tilling, such as next door to a perennial planting. You might want to thin them a little when they come up, and then let them grow. Harvest some of them when the stems are as big as a pencil, but leave plenty alone. When you harvest you should gently pull older ones up allowing the young onions remain in the soil to grow. They will develop more shoots and continue to grow throughout the year.

At Ferry-Morse 3083 Organic Onion Seeds, Evergreen Bunching

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March 11, 2011

A spring day when planting peas come to mind

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Today was one of those soft spring days when there is a mist of rain and then sun and then rainbows and then rain again. And the light rain falling on head and shoulders doesn't stopp the yard work or the digging in the garden. One can just keep going through all the changes because the weather is so mild.

I started thinking about planting some pea seeds in hopes of having some ripe peas as early as May. The problem this time of year is whether to soak the seed or not. I like to soak pea seeds because it 's easy to see which ones are not viable and throw them out and not waste energy planting them. If I wait just long enough to see the first small sprout break out of the casing, then I know I've got what I want. However, I have planted such nicely sprouted seeds and waited for them to break ground until impatient, I dig down to find them rotten or disappeared. That's the down side of sprouting them to get an early start.

Just dropping the dry seed, covered with a little innoculant into the ground avoids this problem, but can also lead to rot if the weather decides to turn cold and wet. So basically we gardeners take out chances. If you have a greenhouse, you can let the plants grow tall and then put them out, feeling fairly certain they will survive and produce. It all depends on the weather and a willingness to experiment. However, I think I'm putting in a small row of soaked seeds right now.

At Sugar Snap Peas

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March 10, 2011

Audubon Workshop has a catalog full of ideas for attracting birds

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Audubon Workshop was created in 1930 to provide bird lovers suggestions and items that would attract birds and butterflys. Besides an extended variety of bird houses, bird baths, mason bee houses, and squirrel baffles, the Audubon Workshop catalog has a page after page of plants that would attract birds, hummingbirds and butterflys.

There is a section on red flowers for hummingbirds featuring columbine and honeysuckle. There are evening blooming plants like primroses, lavender, and a Soft Cloud Sedum, which, if you leave the blooms, will feed birds in the spring. What caught my eye was a Coreopsis called Route 66 which is lovely cream and wine colored flowers on a plant that doesn't mind heat, drought, poor soil, and neglect while providing food for butterflies and seeds for songbirds. Sounds perfect!

At Audubon Workshop

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March 9, 2011

A pomegranate tree is good for landscaping and eating

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My neighbor bought a pomegranate tree about twenty years ago and it is still growing and still producing in spite of recent years of neglect. You remember how it figures in the Greek myth about Demeter and Persephone? When Zeus lets Persephone return to her mother, the earth, spring comes back to the world. But Persephone had eaten six pomegrante seeds and so had to return to Hades and the Underworld for six months every year bringing winter to the world.

Powerful fruit! And now it's been tested and we know it is full of antioxidants. This great Pomegranate variety in a smaller one gallon sized tree. Pomegranates are useful as landscape plants as well as for great fruit. They can be trimmed to fountain shaped shrub or a tree depending on your needs. The tree is mediterranean and so must have sun for best flowers and fruit production. But it is drought tolerant and grows well in alkaline soil, or will grow in a container on sunny patio or deck.

Pomegranate is surprisingly cold tolerate and will take freezes down to 0 degrees. You could make your own pomegranate juice from the large ripe fruit! The tree will grow to over 12 to 15' tall if not clipped. It is shipped as a potted one gallon plant, not bare root.


At Wonderful Pomegranate Tree

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