Wednesday, July 15, 2015

A gift from the garden

This gladiolus popped up in my community garden plots this year. It's not like anything I've ever planted. I'm assuming that it's a self-sown seedling. In any case, it's a keeper. Glads are known to be quick and easy from seed - just what I need, another seed hobby! 

Friday, July 10, 2015

Rudbeckia triloba 'Prairie Glow' and Hemerocallis citrina

Rudbeckia triloba 'Prairie Glow' and Hemerocallis citrina

What a happy, summery combination this one is - and it was utterly unplanned.
When I first saw 'Prairie Glow' a few years ago, it was love at first sight. I had bought the plants on the basis of the picture on the price tag. When they came into bloom I had one of those "where have you been all my life" experiences. The next year, there was a disappointment: the plants apparently die after they bloom. So I bought a few more the next year. After those died, I forgot about the plant for a while. If you had asked me a month ago, I would have said there are none in the garden now.
In the image above you can see just how wrong I was: they were there all along, building up strength to bloom.
All of the 'Prairie Glow' plants you see there are self-sown. I did not place them beside the Hemerocallis citrina. They compliment each other very well, don't they? This is the sort of serendipity which never occurs in the neat, meticulously weeded garden.  

Monday, July 6, 2015

Welwitschia mirabilis : I'm back in the game!

Welwitschia germinating: something's happening!

Welwitschia germinating: the cotyledons appear. 

Welwitschia germinating: the  cotyledons seen from another angle.

Welwitschia germinating: the cotyledons arise. 
Welwitschia cotyledons beginning to spread

Welwitschia: another plant with cotyledons beginning to spread; there are now four plants with cotyledons.
Welwitschia: Look carefully and you can make out the developing true leaves between the cotyledons.

Welwitschia: the true leaves are growing out nicely. 
Welwitschia mirabilis twenty-five days after the image above was made; growing out slowly. 
Welwitachia mirabilis seedlings on October 26, 2015

Welwitschia mirabilis: what's left of the fifteen-year-old plant. 

Back in 1992 I obtained a yearling plant of Welwitschia mirabilis at one of the Green Spring sales. That plant is mentioned in several earlier blog entries.
After fifteen years in my care, that plant died. That's what you see in the image of the dead plant.
In 2008 I ordered seeds from Silverhill but did not plant them: they went into the refrigerator, where most of them have been since. On July 27, 2015 I took out six seeds to give them a try. On July 30, 2015 two of those seeds showed signs of germination. During the next few days the radical on these plants extended down into the ground. By August 3, 2015, three of the seeds showed signs of germination. By August 5, the first cotyledons began to appear. By August 6, 2015, those first cotyledons are upright but un-expanded. By August 9, they began to expand and separate.
This is so exciting! But I might be counting my chickens as they hatch: a review of the current literature suggests that germination is the easy part: keeping the seedlings alive during the first few months, when they are said to be very vulnerable to fungal attacks, can be a challenge. We'll see. But in any case, I'm back in the game.