Monday, April 30, 2012

Petunias On A Hill Part 3

Part 1
Part 2

Coming along nicely with some ideas added to the plan, particularly the second leg of the trailing Petunia extravaganza. I thought a break in the mass might look different. Two small raised areas were constructed from 2 x 12" pressure treated lumber. The problem is what to put in there. I have petunias above and below the areas with some ornamental grass from seed here and there. A mass showing of white Angelonia? I need a place to stick some more. Let's not forget those Verbena I bought in six packs yesterday...all 36 of them.

Here's a different angle similar to the original.. before changes were made.

The first leg of the Petunia party near the house. The flowering ones were planted about nine days ago and survived a frost. Yes, they are thirsty lil critters..for now.

Going further up the driveway and past the second leg on the right are 5-6 Petunias each section (left of fence) along with two white Angelonias near every fence post. I also sprinkled some pink and white Cosmos near the posts as well. I know I'll be driving over Petunias all summer long. It should be a massive show considering I have access to water up and down the driveway now...AND as long as I DON'T GET HUNGRY CRITTERS!

Oh, and the centerpiece rock area. I've heard Vinca vines do well in full sun so I scavenged a few clumps of them from the other side of the house. Still not sure what else to do, although I did stick six or seven sun Coleus in there with some Saliva. I'm beginning to see a large surplus of  Coleus. I only wish I could have had a smaller quantity choice. Maybe they'll grow on the creek banks? Creeping Jenny does.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

More Spring Blooms

A few highlights from the past few weeks before they disappear...either from the brisk wind and cold the next few nights or just done. I've never been a fan of these things (Bearded Iris) but some love them. They almost look a deformed plant. I should get more Dianthus in front this fall.

This spot has become more of a let's put it there for awhile location and small seed starter area that's been working great. Case in point; I've never been able to get 4 o'clocks going around here, but then I've started most seeds in flats. Anyway, I must have a dozen and a half good looking 4 o'clocks this year.

Seen every year, but more of a mid May bloomer, Dianthus near the porch steps. I usually have to replant 2 or three each fall, but several are going on three years this fall.

Down by the storage shed, it's those low growing bunch type whatch combs.

Foam flowers taken from the woods.

Off to the creek area. I had one Hosta that had to be removed and the reason for the gaping empty spot. It had the HVX virus, which I had no knowledge of until last week.

My proud and joys for the spring. Foxglove...

Finally after three years and who knows how many seeds...some Columbine

Half of my rooted Coleus and Angelonia planted in soil in an improved version  of the original hoop greenhouse in the woods. Covered with straw for the next few cold nights. Stays nice and toasty in there with the warm soil.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

How Big Are Flower Plugs From North Carolina Farms?

Finally after several months drooling over the possibility of massive shows of color, my plug order arrived. Both Fed Ex and UPS always have trouble finding this place. At least Fed Ex calls. UPS? They just throw it anywhere at anyone's house, mailbox, on any freaking street.. Screw them anyway.

How Big? The picture tells the story. This is one trailing Petunia plug. Almost about the size one would get from six pack annuals at the local stores, but the root ball is much smaller.

What did I get into? My gosh. Take a look see. I'm tired just looking at them.

Incidentally. I'm not sure if it's been mentioned. The original order was changed somewhat because all white Petunias had some kind of disease and were thrown out by the grower. much as I am not crazy about pink, they were sold out. So, I am left with a slight contrast problem as there are purple, red, and blue types. I had 'em throw in 100 white Angelonia, but how to arrange is an issue as there's quite a height difference. I'll dream something up.

Healthy looking buggers eh? They did look a bit tired from a two day ship time. So far I transferred (45 minutes) 40 to small cups and thought they were too small, but I'm not buying hundreds of 4" plastic pots. I'm thinking why bother with the Petunias. Grower admits 50 degree temps and lower at night are fine but will take longer.  I've moved smaller ones a few weeks ago that are doing just fine. Not being sure how far they hardened off the Angelonia and Coleus, they'll probably be kept safe for awhile in the larger greenhouse. Only problem is they're so crowded.

More later. I'm tired looking at them. Oh, yea. Here's a test spot for the Petunias. Temps may dip back into the low 30's early next week with another frost possibility.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

The Coleus Greenhouse With Heat!

Not sure if I mentioned it previously but there has been a need for heat in the early spring to get things along. Planned properly I can probably get an extra month (two if started in late February) of full color by using this older idea.

Four Coleus were picked up from Quinns Greenhouse up in MaCaysville, GA (borders TN) three weeks ago. Mother plants in the center. Forty are shown that have been rooted at different times. Other stuff include some potato vines from Florida and a tray of climbing Nasturtiums moved from the seed house.

The heater is ideal, but I was a bit concerned with the area being so small and how it would work, not to mention burning the house down if it shorted. Designed for indoor use, it's also referred to as a milk house heater. For $29.00 from the local Ace hardware it keeps things in the mid 50's even on cold nights like this morning when the outdoor temperature was 28. The current setting is very low, so the potential for heating a much larger area is very good.

Who knows what kind of set up I'll have next year. Maybe I can specialize in something and earn some extra income.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Spring Blooms

The second week of April around here usually brings Tulips, but not this year. Instead we have Petunias! Really. These are leftovers from last year that did not die off, just kinda shrunk. If I'm not mistaken these on and near the driveway don't ordinarily look like this until late June or so.

In and around the petunias are snapdragons and a reseeded Pansy from the fall of 2010 planting. This is an area that reseeds Petunias heavily, hoping more come to life but I don't think I'll need any more this year with my plug order arriving next week.

More Petunias along the driveway...

No blooms here but this will be the location of my plug greenhouse. Five ounce plastic cups (three seen) from Walmart will serve as a starter container. This will be covered with a frame and plastic sheathing until they're ready to take on the warmer weather come early to mid May. Great warm and sunny location for them to grow. I figure I can fit almost 1,000 in this area. 25 per square foot with 36 square foot available...not that I'll need all the area.

Remember that tiny Petunia plant I've been testing on the hill? Two weeks and plenty of growth. Looks like the hill project will work.

A few new Azaleas I picked up three weeks ago in with some new Hostas from last summer.

That's about it for the blooms. Oh, one more. Blue Star creeper. This area should be completely filled out by mid summer.

A progress pic on the Petunias On A Hill. Found a great source of newly discovered rocks in the woods near the house. All I have to do is just roll 'em down the hill. Expect more as time goes on. I'm about to yank that small Mountain Laurel in the middle. They're down right ugly 50 weeks out of the year anyway.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

A Better Seed Starting Greenhouse

Last week while looking around at all the spring growth I counted something like 35 perennial plants I started from seed last year. Nearly all are doing quite well, especially some Painted Daisies and Foxglove. The latter seem to thrive around far.

Anyway even though I probably started well over 200 from seed (forget those worthless Coleus) last year I thought I'd probably be pretty bummed out a few years from now if I didn't have more. It's all about getting them started under good conditions, or that's the way I see it.

Anyway a nice comfy spot in what retains quite a bit of radiant heat during colder nights should do the trick. Made from leftovers laying about, it too me a few hours to put this together. It has to be the warmest location in the spring.

Stuff started:

Two types of Foxglove
Nasturtium Milkmaid trailing -  This one is going in part shade and good soil. Has not worked under other conditions.
Red Hot Poker - last try
Dazzler Gaillardia - a half dozen doing well from last year
American Dream Coreopsis - last try, great colors
Snow In Summer
Jacob's Ladder - Don't know why
Columbine - ditto, they're tough, but the two year olds from seed are looking better this year.
Assorted others.

A peak inside...

Big improvement from this...