Tuesday, January 31, 2012

January's parting gifts

Has January 2012 been the mildest January on record? It certainly has seemed so. Those who have planted gardens for winter interest are really getting their money's worth this year. If you planted seeds of poppies, larkspurs, corn flowers and other hardy annuals you are probably seeing a lot of green by now - and, barring a severe shift in the weather, the promise of lots of huge plants in a few months.

Here are some photos taken today which give an idea of what is happening in the garden. From top to bottom: Galanthus 'S.Arnott', Hamamelis 'Jelena', Crocus tommasinianus, Jasminum nudiflorum, Cyclamen persicum and Taraxacum officinale (dandelion).

The cyclamen are florists' cyclamen and were purchased about a month ago; they have been outside since except for one or two extremely cold nights. If you have failed with these plants in the past, try again but this time keep them as cool as possible (but above freezing). Plants purchased during the Christmas holidays can still be blooming in April if they have been kept cool and moist. That is moist, not wet: the roots rot quickly if the drainage is poor. The big, large flowered forms have a disagreeable odor, but the smaller pink and white  ones seen above  are very sweet (the red one has the stink of the big ones). As you can see, they are worth growing for their foliage, too.

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