Eye candy, batch #2

11 12 2011

Pulled from the archives of my personal refrigerator magnet poetry, I give to you my handcrafted attempt #1:

January snow blanket melts
cold February moon gone
March winds a memory
a luscious light envelopes
tiny crocus petals whisper spring
most delicate green grass emerges
rain sweetens the earth
bird song filters down
from the impossibly blue blue sky
warm breezes weave through
a gorgeous tapestry of color

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

In bloom today: Amaryllis

9 01 2011

My friend Karen gave me this Amaryllis plant a few months ago and it is almost completely in bloom today (three out of five blossoms have opened!). Amaryllis bulbs originated in the Andes mountains of South America. The bulbs are tender, so they can only be grown outdoors in Zones 9-11. They are one of the easiest bulbs to force indoors. The term ‘forcing’ refers to inducing a plant to grow (shoot, leaf and flower) ahead of its natural schedule and out of its natural environment.

The plant needs a well-lit and warm place to grow, but after the buds begin to open, move the plant to a cool and shady location to keep the blooms longer. When the flowers begin to wilt, cut them off at the top of the stalk. Cut the stalk just above the bulb when it begins to droop. Water and fertilize as normal until the leaves turn yellow, then cut the leaves back two inches from the top of the bulb. Remove the bulb and store in a cool dark place for a minimum of 6-8 weeks. You can repot the bulb after that and begin the whole (bloomin’) process all over again!

I took advantage of Target’s after-Christmas 75% off sale and have added another Amaryllis plant to the kitchen window sill (not blooming yet) and two pots with Paper White Narcissus bulbs. I grew Paper Whites two years ago and learned quite a bit about the process. My favorite Narcissus photograph and that experience can be seen on my blog here

Paper White stalks can get quite leggy and often require staking. I just learned how alcohol (vodka, tequila, whiskey or rubbing alcohol) can keep Paper Whites from falling over here.  

Isn’t it ironic that alcohol makes people fall over but plants stay upright?

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

‘Zowie’ Zinnia and Giant Alliums

25 06 2010

‘Zowie’ Zinnia with alliums in the background—-I just learned from an employee that the gardeners at Green Spring Gardens spray paint the giant alliums blue after they have flowered. I should have noticed that but didn’t until now—duh. Pretty creative!

Thanks to Patty, I’ve got the name correct. I actually called Green Spring Gardens and when they got back to me later, I was told it was the ‘Arizona Sun’ Gaillardia. I know I described it in detail so there would be no confusion. Thanks, Patty, for getting it right!

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

Magnolia bud

2 04 2009

Magnolia bud, Green Spring Gardens

I don’t know exactly which species of Magnolia this is, but my web research revealed that there are 80 different species and they are native to the eastern United States and southeastern Asia. I assume that because the flower looks like it will be a pale yellow that it could be one of the two very popular yellow flowering cultivars—perhaps ‘Butterflies’ or ‘Gold Finch’. I did call and talk to a gardener this morning at Green Spring Gardens and she confirmed that it is a Magnolia.

I learned from the United States National Arboretum site that Magnolia flowers are typically pollinated by beetles. Magnolia flowers do not produce nectar but they do produce large quantities of pollen that is high in protein. Do check out the Arboretum’s web site—it’s well organized and very informative!

And because there is a society for virtually everything, I discovered Magnolia Society International. a worldwide organization of gardeners, nurserymen and other people who are devoted to the appreciation and study of Magnolias.

ID Update #1: I think this bud could be a Magnolia stellata— Star Magnolia or Royal Star Magnolia. The buds on this site look very similar to this one.

ID Update #2: A quick photo trip to Green Spring Gardens today—I was able to identify the tree—Magnolia ‘Yellow Fever’—Yellow Fever Magnolia. There was just one bud halfway opened on the tree, so it may be a few more days before there’s something to photograph!

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.