April 16, 2014
Tulipa turkestanica, which I planted the year before last, has already multiplied nicely, even in relatively poor soil and partial shade.

Tulipa turkestanica, which I planted the year before last, has already multiplied nicely, even in relatively poor soil and partial shade.

April 15, 2014
After a relatively cold and slow start to spring, the last few days of warm (70+ degree) weather has given every single bulb a jump.  Here, an early Narcissus ‘Avalon’ jumps up from the ivy.

After a relatively cold and slow start to spring, the last few days of warm (70+ degree) weather has given every single bulb a jump.  Here, an early Narcissus ‘Avalon’ jumps up from the ivy.

April 10, 2014
Major/minor.  (Amaryllis ‘Gervase’)

Major/minor.  (Amaryllis ‘Gervase’)

April 3, 2014
Iris histroides “Katherine Hodgkin” (another great naturalizer here) coming up through some wild violets.

Iris histroides “Katherine Hodgkin” (another great naturalizer here) coming up through some wild violets.

April 2, 2014
Iris reticulata “Harmony” has naturalized surprisingly well here, even in dense red clay.  Each clump, like the one here, was only two or three bulbs just a year ago.

Iris reticulata “Harmony” has naturalized surprisingly well here, even in dense red clay.  Each clump, like the one here, was only two or three bulbs just a year ago.

March 31, 2014
Papaya seedlings. Really. (Balanced on a branch of an overwintering pepper plant to bring it closer to the light.)
The backstory: I went to Hawaii last winter, and it was there that I rekindled my love of papaya.  After so many mediocre ones here on the east coast, I had kind of given up on them.  They just do not ship or store well, and like so many tropical fruits, I had just come to accept that I would not have another good one until I was in a place that grew them.  Well, Hawaii grows them beautifully, and during my stay I ate at least one per day.
So, I saved a handful of seeds from one particularly delicious specimen I netted at what could be described as a “competitive farmers market” in Kauai, and tried to germinate them upon my return last January.  And waited.  And waited.  Nothing.  Well, I guess it wasn’t to be.
Fast forward to last month, when I started my first sets of annuals, and found that I still had a couple dozen, completely dried out papaya seeds in a ramekin on my seed shelf.  They were brittle, very light and probably not viable.  But what the hell, I had space for another six pack in my seed starting dome.  I put about three seeds in each cell, nicking some with a blade for good measure (just in case that would help).
It took about two weeks for the first one to emerge, but the rest followed within the next few, and as you can see, each cell now has at least one actual, living, future papaya tree!  I will plant one or two in my raised bed with the tomatoes when temperatures allow.  The rest I will move to large pots (they apparently hate being transplanted), and see if I can keep them alive, and maybe even produce fruit.  Watch this space!

Papaya seedlings. Really. (Balanced on a branch of an overwintering pepper plant to bring it closer to the light.)

The backstory: I went to Hawaii last winter, and it was there that I rekindled my love of papaya.  After so many mediocre ones here on the east coast, I had kind of given up on them.  They just do not ship or store well, and like so many tropical fruits, I had just come to accept that I would not have another good one until I was in a place that grew them.  Well, Hawaii grows them beautifully, and during my stay I ate at least one per day.

So, I saved a handful of seeds from one particularly delicious specimen I netted at what could be described as a “competitive farmers market” in Kauai, and tried to germinate them upon my return last January.  And waited.  And waited.  Nothing.  Well, I guess it wasn’t to be.

Fast forward to last month, when I started my first sets of annuals, and found that I still had a couple dozen, completely dried out papaya seeds in a ramekin on my seed shelf.  They were brittle, very light and probably not viable.  But what the hell, I had space for another six pack in my seed starting dome.  I put about three seeds in each cell, nicking some with a blade for good measure (just in case that would help).

It took about two weeks for the first one to emerge, but the rest followed within the next few, and as you can see, each cell now has at least one actual, living, future papaya tree!  I will plant one or two in my raised bed with the tomatoes when temperatures allow.  The rest I will move to large pots (they apparently hate being transplanted), and see if I can keep them alive, and maybe even produce fruit.  Watch this space!

March 24, 2014

A small selection of some of my favorite non-orchid plants from my most recent visit to the NYBG orchid show.

March 21, 2014

Amaryllis ‘Gervase’ took a long time to blossom, but it is stunning.  The bulb bore two huge (3 ft+) stalks, each with four 7” flowers.  Most unusual is this lone bicolor bloom, the bottom petals being entirely red.

As you can see, my kitten is also quite confused by this.

March 10, 2014
About friggin’ time.  The first sign of life in my garden, the humble crocus, has finally arrived.

About friggin’ time.  The first sign of life in my garden, the humble crocus, has finally arrived.

March 5, 2014

NYBG 2014 Orchid Show; part 3 of several. (part 1, part 2)

March 3, 2014

NYBG 2014 Orchid Show; part 2 of several.

February 28, 2014

Is this really what Key West is like?  If so, I’m on the next flight out.

NYBG has absolutely outdone themselves with this years’ show, which opens tomorrow, March 1st.  Today was members’ preview day, and honestly, stepping into the doors of the Conservatory felt transformative.  The warm, humid, scented air made the gusts of cold, dry wind outside feel a world away.  It was nice.

And the orchids are magnificent.  I took many macro photos of them, as is my wont, but on my second walk through after lunch (PS: the food at the new dining pavilion is quite good), I was done taking photos and reveled in the architecture of the whole thing.  There are orchids on walls, in beds, hanging from the ceiling, on trees, on top of other orchids.  It’s truly immersive.

Here’s the first of a few parts of my favorite photos from today.  I feel warmer just looking at them.

February 28, 2014

Hey, orchids! Today is the members’ preview day for the annual orchid show at NYBG, and I’ll be there.

I posted my pictures from last year’s NYBG orchid show back when it happened.  But somehow I never posted these photos (please forgive the timestamps) from the 2012 Philadelphia Flower Show, which I may also go back to this year.  I’d never seen anything quite like this, and looking at them now, I still remember how huge those paphs were.  What beautiful, licentious flowers orchids are.

February 27, 2014
Repeckah, 1/3/14.

Repeckah, 1/3/14.

February 27, 2014
House finch (orange variant). The colors of male house finches vary wildly, based upon whatever they happen to have eaten during molt.  While most of our two dozen finches are in the standard pink to dark red spectrum, there are a few yellow/orange outliers as well.  But this guy, a more recent arrival, is absolutely the most bright orange finch I’ve ever seen.

House finch (orange variant). The colors of male house finches vary wildly, based upon whatever they happen to have eaten during molt.  While most of our two dozen finches are in the standard pink to dark red spectrum, there are a few yellow/orange outliers as well.  But this guy, a more recent arrival, is absolutely the most bright orange finch I’ve ever seen.

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