Sunday, October 24, 2010

Move Finished

All Andrew's Plants has moved to

I have some behind the scenes things to fiddle around with like Categories/Tags, my Blogroll, the header etc but for all intents and purposes this blog is now live.

Feedburner seems to have done everything very well and if you only read this on an RSS Reader you may not even notice a difference.

Let me know if you run into any problems with anything and I'll try to work them out otherwise welcome - same blog, new location.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Moving to Wordpress

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I think that my blog will be moving to Wordpress over the next day or two. I'm reading up on it and it should be a quick painless process to move my blog over to a Wordpress blog. At the same time I'll merge my old Zone 5 blog posts into the same Wordpress blog and delete it. This blog will redirect automatically (Edit - there may be some difficulties here - it will redirect but it may not do it automatically so that may delay the process a little bit) and the RSS Feed will remain the same with the (new today) Feedburner address. All in all it should be a quick and painless move and hopefully at the end of the day everything will be much better for it.

I've already been playing around a little bit in Wordpress and the blog is set up (set to private at the moment) and it seems like a very good publishing platform that does what Blogger can only do using hacks and workarounds by default. Please consider AllAndrewsPlants on hiatus until the move is finished, it may take longer than I'd hoped!

New Plants

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Cyperus haspans - Dwarf Papyrus
Cyperus haspans - Dwarf Papyrus

Zantedeschia sp. (White Arum Lily)
Zantedeschia sp. - White Arum Lily

Hibiscus acetosella 'Burgundy Aquarius'
Hibiscus acetosella 'Burgundy Aquarius'

The Pond Department was clearing out the last of their tropical water plants, the ones that didn't even sell at 80% off, and I grabbed these three nice little plants.

The Hibiscus is a plant I've wanted since Aaerelon tweeted about it. Not so much that I'd jump at the chance to get it when they were 80% off, but certainly enough to settle for the worst looking one for no charge!

The Dwarf Papyrus is interesting. I've never been overly thrilled by them before but I've seen a few pictures of some nice big ones that have made me reconsider. Unfortunately I don't have space for the nice big ones but hopefully after quarantine/division/repotting I'll be able to have some of this in my Mom's turtle tank and I can have some in my fish tank and another bit to put outside over the summer.

This particular Zantedeschia sp. is possibly (I stand to be corrected here) the showiest flower on an Aroid (In terms of being beautiful and elegant anyway). Others may be larger or smell more like dead bodies but this is just stunning. It came with some moss and Azolla as top dressing.

I've tried keeping Azolla indoors before but it didn't work out (too little light) so hopefully I can have better luck with it this winter. I absolutely love the way it grows right over wet soil without issue just as easily as it spreads over water, forming a stunning mat of green (or red in high light).

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Really cool winter container idea + more

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This container featuring Protea blooms was pretty sweet. Unfortunately I did not catch the name of the designer but if I can get it I'll post to give him credit. It was a pretty sweet container all around. They will apparently do well outside in a container over the winter provided they stay frozen. Freezing & thawing will do no good for them.

I may have managed to get my blog to redirect to the Google reader provided mobile friendly version of my site but just to test if you have a smartphone could you visit my blog by typing in the url and let me know if the redirect works for you?

Monday, October 18, 2010

Aloe flowers open + More succulent pictures

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Aloe Full Plant Shot

Aloe Flower Spike

Aloe Flower Closeup
Closer still.

While I had my camera equipment set up (cough - lamp turned on, stool in front of a large speaker) I decided to shoot a my Echeveria I'm still waiting on and another that's not going to flower soon but is offsetting nicely.

Echeveria Full Plant Shot
I think this might actually be Graptoveria 'Debbie' or 'Spirit of 76' - thoughts? It's already losing some colour from the lower light inside - it's a fantastic frosted pink outside in full sun.

Echeveria pulidonis?

Also thanks to Mr. Subjunctive (Congrats on your blogiversary!) Cactus Blog for the link love today.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Some flowers that missed Bloom Day

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These are both first time flowerers for me and even though I've got a pretty good idea what they'll look like they'll still be nice to see. I'm sure I won't be disapointed, both are beautiful even just in bud and regardless, I bought both of these plants for their leaves. The flowers are a nice bonus I hope to see soon! (You can see both (including leaves) in earlier stages of bud development here - The Aloe has been coming along much faster than the Echeveria.)

Echeveria buds
These are the soon to open buds of an Echeveria The whole things a frosted pink colour and the orange-pink of the buds looks like it'll be a nice touch.

Aloe Hybrid Buds
For the record that's approximately my favourite colour in a flower. Not too different from the colour of the Echeveria on the lowest buds. I don't think the colour will spread to the tips so the effect of the open bloom may not quite live up to expectations but time will tell. Time will also tell if similarities to my Haworthia buds will carry through to the flowers.

In other news I'm planning a trip to Lee Valley Tools - one of my favourite stores but slightly out of the way. I needed wanted to pick up a few things but it's always worth getting everything you need in one trip so you don't have to go as often.

Looking around for a few things on their site (do they have these? I haven't seen them on their site, will ask in store - sounds like a perfect solution to my problem) I stumbled on a Self-Watering Patio Garden that looks exactly like one Mr. Brown Thumb reviewed. It's slightly more expensive than I might have wanted to pay but I may get one anyway. I had a really bad time with Tomatoes splitting and would really love not to have to deal with that next year. With the size of the container I could put two Tomato plants (all I usually grow) and all my herbs and in it and save space too which is huge when you're trying to fit as many plants as I am in as small a space as I have. Reviews I've read are strongly positive as well.

Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day - October 2010

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A few more things still flowering outside this fall Bloom Day. This may be the last outdoor Bloom Day until next March, but that will depend entirely on the weather. If it's like last year I may still have some plants flowering in mid-November but we've already had a few light frosts. We'll have to see how that goes though.

But this month... There's quite a bit that's still going. Sure there's a lot the same as I had flowering in September but it's still nice to have this much still going in the garden.

Chelone obliqua
My Pink Turtlehead (Chelone obliqua) is still going strong. I'd never even noticed the way it branches and flowers lower on the stems. I wouldn't have noticed either but I was chopping it back to make room for my Rhododendron. By the time the main flower stalk has finished though so have most of the side shoots. I think it's more "Oh that's interesting" than anything practical. The flowers are actually kind of ugly strange. There's not that much else that's as reliable for fall flowers though and the leaves are actually a very nice dark glossy green.

Purple Pansy
This little Pansy seedling has popped up on my patio and (other than being eaten by earwigs) is doing well. Of particular note is that this seedling is identical to its parent. I need to try to collect some seeds from it for next spring.

Morning Glory
This volunteer Morning Glory comes from my neighbours yard and is growing through and around my Honeysuckle. The Honeysuckle's still flowering with lots of buds to open, and I know there's at least one open today (I can smell it) but couldn't see it for a picture today. It's nice though because by the time this has started to flower the Honeysuckle is mostly finished with only the odd bloom here and there.

Red Rose with Miscanthus 'Little Kitten'
And because I love it so much here's my Red Rose again, this time with the seeds of my Miscanthus 'Little Kitten' - the smallest Miscanthus I've ever heard of.

Also still flowering in my garden but not pictured is my Toadlily (Tricyrtis hirta 'Tojen', Sedum 'Lynda Windsor', there's one or two flowers on both my Clematis 'Rebecca' and my Hall's Honeysuckle and just missing Bloom Day are my Mystery Aloe (x Haworthia?) and Echeveria, both of which have moved inside the house for the winter. Plenty of African Violets and the like too, but maybe we'll be looking at more of those next month?

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Kniphofia 'Papaya Popsicle'

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Picture from work. Nice colours on this variety. Not ad nice in the picture ad in real life. It's too bad the leaves always look so terrible on these because the flowers are so cool.

In slightly related news my mystery Aloe should be open soon. The flowers look at this point much like the buds on my Haworthia but with some orange colour to them. Maybe it'll be open by Bloom Day? Should have an Echeveria open by then too.

I also managed to get all my perennials (including my Rhododendron) and bulbs planted today and most "tropicals" brought inside for yet another frost warning tonight.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Need advice: wintering Musella lasiocarpa

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As the nights get cold and after our first frost of the fall (!) serious thought has to go into wintering some of the plants. Most are easy, they are going somewhere inside the house (where they'll all fit is a question for another time) but the Musella is not.

NOID Rose with Musella lasiocarpa
For obvious reasons my Musella lasiocarpa has become a favourite plant of mine.

The best I could hope for outside I imagine is survival of a very very heavily mulched root, leaving me with a plant that will never flower. I am in zone 5, my backyard is easily a 5b to 6 because of how sheltered it is but I would be seriously pushing all of my luck to think anything that's only reliably hardy in zone 7 would ever survive and thrive for me outside. So that's out of the question.

Bringing it inside the house is out of the question as well. This thing is huge.

My garage is probably the best bet. I'm hoping that the dormancy will mean that the darkness will not be an issue - no leaves = no need for light, right?

The pot will be wrapped probably in a foam pad (the sort that you might use while camping under a sleeping bag. I'm not sure how thick a layer this will make, so maybe I can place all that in a larger box with something like straw around it?

To protect the stems... I'm at a bit of a loss. Moisture should not be a huge problem because it won't be getting snowed on in my garage but I'm not sure what will be the best material for the job - newspapers? Blankets? Something that will breathe more? A wire frame with dry straw? Should the pot be dry or how often should it be watered?

Unfortunately this is also a new garage door and I've never payed attention to how cold it gets in there in winter. I'm sure it goes at least as low as freezing, a big plus though is that there won't be any wind which is usually the worst killer of plants here.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Tricyrtis hirta 'Miyazaki'

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Another picture I took at work. The spotted varieties have been growing on me though I'd still say I prefer the plain one I already have.

Friday, October 8, 2010

New Orchid: Miltassia Cairus 'New River'

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I picked this up today (Over an Oncidium Sweet Sugar 'Million Dollars' and two others that were quickly ruled out) and I'm pretty excited about it. On my wishlist is another Miltassia (Mtssa. Shelob 'Tolkein' AM/AOS, 'Webmaster' or 'Okika' with its variegated leaves or probably any other cross I find) so it'll be nice before I try ordering a pricier orchid online to see if I can keep a Miltassia alive and better yet re-bloom one.

Miltassia Cairus 'New River'
Miltassia Cairus 'New River'

It's a nice dark purple with some subtle spotting that might remind someone of a Rorschach test, this picture, however, is right out of Freud.

Miscanthus purpurascens

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"Flame Grass" has never been a favourite of mine, the plumes are not as nice as a lot of other Miscanthus varieties and the fall colour has never blown me away. Here it is though looking about as good as it ever does, which is actually not too bad. I guess it's nice too for its slightly narrower shape than any other Miscanthus.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Heucherella 'Solar Power'

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Just got some of these at work and they are stunning. And I thought 'Golden Zebra' was nice...

In other news sorry about not posting as much as I'd like but not much new has been going on with my plants so there's really not been all that much to talk about. I've also had a pretty bad cold that I'm mostly over now too so I can hopefully post more now. We've gotten a few interesting things at work as well I've taken some pictures of so there's at least that I'll be able to post over the next couple of days.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

New Orchids

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I picked up two new Orchids today - a Den. phal hybrid of some sort and something that belongs to the Oncidium alliance. It wasn't labelled at all (anymore) so I've really got no leads other than its alliance.

The other is easy (Not that I have a name or anything. I really don't even know what colour flowers it has):

NOID Dendrobium phalaenopsis
NOID Dendrobium phalaenopsis (hybrid)

From my research I should start to water and fertilize fairly heavily once the new shoots roots start to grow. Then I should let it rest (but not a complete rest rest, just reduce watering and no fertilizer rest) once the growth stops (I guess I'll figure out when that is when it happens?) and hopefully it'll bloom in the spring. Then, once even more new growth starts in the spring and starts to put out roots, water again, letting it rest at the end of the summer for a fall flowering. Doesn't sound too bad.

The plant needs to be re-potted though, as I'm sure 90% of the roots on this thing are visible in the picture and the medium is complete garbage (compacts so much when dry, really not good when it's supposed to go dry for long periods of time). Seems like it'll stay too wet the rest of the time too.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

A few more flowering Saintpaulia cvv. for you

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It's hard to be too excited about an African Violet flowering because they do it so much it's really not that big a deal. I'll try though, these are some of the more interesting.

Saintpaulia "NOID0020"
"NOID 0020" - I lied, this one is not interesting. It is pretty though. Actually a bit part of the reason I like this one is not pictured here. The leaves are large, and round, and light green. The white flowers bring it all together but they've mostly been opening under the larger leaves above. So I was really only able to get a good shot of this one flower that's decided to make itself visible. I also had to do some serious photo-shopping to get any detail in the flower without having it horribly underexposed or with highlights blown. It worked well but what you can see of the leaves is way way darker than they actually are.

Saintpaulia 'Rebel's Splatter Kake'
Saintpaulia 'Rebel's Splatter Kake' - I've posted this one several times before. I was happy to see a large head of flowers on it... But most of them do not have the same quality or amount of spotting on them, so another closeup it is. I think the colour's closer to the real thing in this picture, and the light is softer and maybe the focus is sharper so you get to see it again.

Saintpaulia "NOID0006"
"NOID 0006" - I think this was ID'd as Saintpaulia 'Sergeant Pepper' but we did not (apparently) update the label. I like it.

Just for fun I'll throw in a bonus:

Streptocarpus 'Sultan's Ruby'
Streptocarpus 'Sultan's Ruby' first bloom. It's dark but red, not the purple you saw here.

Monday, September 27, 2010

The waiting game: shoots and buds.

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I have a lot that will be going on sometime later. I've even got a few first blooms for some plants, and first re-blooms for others, which is pretty exciting, or at least it will be.

Aloe hybrid bud
Unknown Aloe hybrid

Both of my new Aloes are in bud. I hope there will not be any complications from having to bring the one pictured inside when the temperatures drop too low, the other (Aloe descoingsii x Aloe haworthioides - couldn't get a clear picture of the tiny spike) is already inside and was when the bud showed up so I'm not so worried about that.

Echeveria cv. buds
An Echeveria cv. in bud too, another first.

I've got some exciting action going on with the Orchids as well.

Neostylis Lou Sneary 'Bluebird'
Neostylis Lou Sneary 'Bluebird' is in spike.

Aerangis biloba
Aerangis biloba

I only just got the Neostylis this spring and usually it takes longer for me to get any results from my Orchids, so very happy with that spike. It's supposed to be fairly reliable at flowering more than once a year so with any luck I'll get another spike on it in the spring (it was flowering in February when I bought it).

The Aerangis has flowered for me before, though this year it looks like I'll only have one spike. The plant was allowed to get too dry too often this spring and I'm paying for it. The moss packed (densely) around the roots stayed wet for a long time so I removed it, and increased watering. At least, for a time. Then watering slowed, and the plant went downhill. I moved it to the plant stand where I'd have better access to it and watered more and new leaves started to grow so I've tied a looser layer of moss around the roots and it's definitely responding to the moss and the more frequent watering. Still, i didn't expect flowers after its mistreatment.

NOID Miltonia
NOID Miltonia

This has been a slow grower for me, happy to see new growth though. Will keep it wetter next summer than I did this year.

NOID Cattleya
NOID Cattleya

I've had this Cattleya for a long time with no results. This will be its fourth new shoot since I got it with no flowering yet. It will likely run out of pot next year and will have to be repotted. This year it spent the summer outside in full sun, which I'm hoping will get me something for my trouble. My Oncidium Sharry Baby 'Sweet Fragrance' AM/AOS is not showing any signs of spikes after summering outside, and maybe it's too early but nothing yet from my Cymbidium. Night temperatures are dropping to single digits now so I'm really hoping to see something from the Cymbidium.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Fall's come early this year

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Not much to say here, snapped this picture of this maple today showing some nice late fall colour relatively early this year. Can't see it so clearly here but many of the leaves have already dropped. This tree us usually early compared to other maples, it's in a dry spot on a steep slope in clay soil with baking sun.

Phone stuff - a new keyboard

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I was finding the default keyboard on my Acer liquid E to be a bit of a pain to type with so I've just been checking out  a few options. I did not try many (most either don't have a free version to try or just didn't seem top have anything available at all - for example the closed beta only for Swype) but SlideIT is by far the best, easiest to use and fastest keyboard I did try. It takes a little bit of practice to get used to but really makes typing on a touch screen really simple.

Problems I have had include words containing the letter "p" (presumably  also "l"?) can get interrupted if your finger slides off the screen giving you two wrong words instead of one right word (it's usually excellent at getting the right word, even if you don't hit all the letters properly). All special characters can only be accessed through a button press (if you're lucky, sometimes it can take more since there are several screens of these characters - parentheses take two clicks to get to, and apparently I use them a lot). One of my biggest problems with the default keyboard was not having any way to easily go back and edit text. You could try clicking and hope for the best but otherwise you were on your own. SlideIT has arrow keys to move through text but unfortunately they are hidden on there fourth page of special characters. It's also really easy to hit backspace when you're trying to move right, or space instead of down - a big problem if you're trying to scroll through a lot of text and can't easily see where the extra space ended up. It's a little easier to click your way to a problem spot anyway but easier access to those buttons would be nice. There are also some handy looking cut/ copy/ paste buttons but don't ask how I'm supposed to select text! (oh wait, double clicking works most of the time, but only if you only want to select one word) Also as I've been typing this I've also noticed that the enter button is much closer to the period button than I'd like.

I've actually typed this whole post on my phone with little to no problems. I'm also impressed with some of the words they've got built in to there dictionary. Like Rhododendron (would not have been fun to touch type that on the old keyboard!). Another nice feature is being able to switch to a standard touch keyboard, though trying it out I could not help but notice how many keys I hit wrong in a very short time.

I would probably say worth getting the free version, the frustrations with trying to select, edit, or even move through large amounts of text really limit the usefulness of this keyboard. The Swype/Slide mechanism is interesting and it's a huge improvement over the stock keyboard but otherwise it needs some changes to justify spending money on it.

Oh, and speaking of Rhododendrons (were we? not really, oh well), I've tracked down a Lee's Dark Purple even though we supposedly ran out of them at the start of the month. Hopefully I can get some space cleared for it tomorrow, and get the rest of my bulbs planted. I guess I also need to really start bringing plants back inside now that were hitting single digit overnight lows.

Sorry no pictures tonight with this post, I'll try to get something something more plant related tomorrow.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Dracaena problems

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Can anyone tell me what seems to be the problem? Does not seem to effect the new growth, mostly older.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Just in: Hydrangea 'Little Lime'

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We just got these in at work and I wish I had a spot for them. Just like 'Limelight' but only growing to 3-5' tall.

We've also gotten Hydrangea 'Bella Anna' which should be like an improved 'Invincibelle Spirit', but it's not in bloom so doesn't look much different from a regular 'Annabelle', just in a blue Endless Summer pot.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Tillandsia mount

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I picked up some wood today to mount some of my Tillandsias to try and get them looking a little bit more ornamental. I chose a piece of wood with grooves so I could get the finished piece to look natural in the placement of each plant. I may get one more smaller specimen for the front, below the other two. Or, leave it as is. Odds are I'll leave it as is. Hopefully the larger one (a NOID) will recover from becoming a kitten chew toy and become a nice large specimen. I don't want it to look crowded once that happens.

Tillandsia mount
New Tillandsia mount.

Right now the larger one is wedged fairly tightly into a small hole, the smaller is just resting in a nook. I'm hoping they'll both root in place and I won't have to tie (which I've actually done since I wrote this) or (gasp) glue them in place.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Dark Flowered Gesneriads

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A couple of the darker flowered Gesneriads I have flowering right now.

Streptocarpus 'Ink Blot'
Streptocarpus 'Ink Blot'

Saintpaulia 'Black Ace'
Saintpaulia 'Black Ace'

Streptocarpus 'Purple Pepper'
Streptocarpus 'Purple Pepper'

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day - September 2010

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Lots flowering again this month. Many earlier flowering plants are repeating, and all of my fall flowering plants are going. And some have never really stopped.

Actaea (Cimicifuga) simplex 'James Compton'
Actaea (Cimicifuga) simplex 'James Compton' is one of my favourite plants. It is matched on the other side of the yard by the equally lovely 'Hillside Black Beauty'. It is rare for either of these to flower before September making them a real fall flowering plant. The buds start to form in mid summer so there's a lot of expectations on these once they open. A. simplex is faintly fragrant with a sweet candy like scent. Do not try to smell A. racemosa though!

Tricyrtis 'Tojen'
Tricyrtis 'Tojen' is another star of the fall shade garden. I had a picture of the flower a million times better last month but this better shows the massive number of flowers this can get. At each axle the plant will produce a branched flower stalk with between 10-15 buds, which open over an extended period. It starts in August but will not stop flowering until snow. This year as well there were no lily beetles to ruin the look so it'll be looking its best all fall.

Lonicera japonica 'Halliana'
Lonicera japonica 'Halliana' is repeating in its corner. Apparently with a little more light it would be more of a continuous bloomer, which would be nice, but I'll take what I can get. My Clematis 'Rebecca' is reblooming as well. It was hit hard by the unprecedented heat waves of this summer and does not look too good in pictures right now!

Persicaria affinis
Persicaria affinis started flowering in May and has not stopped. There's a better picture in the link but this shows the effect later in the season as the older flowers have darkened to a nice pink colour with more white flowers opening constantly.

My Bougainvillea is also still flowering well with little sign of stopping.

My NOID Red Rose. I can't say enough good things about this plant.

There's even more flowering inside but I imagine that soon enough I'll be posting those exclusively so for now enjoy the late season garden.

Thanks for stopping by and I hope you liked seeing some of what I have flowering this month. And as always head over to May Dreams Gardens to see what's flowering for other Garden Bloggers.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Checking in on Musella lasiocarpa

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I posted a while ago about how much this plant had grown in such a short time. Little did I know even that would be dwarfed by what it would manage by the end of the season.

Musella lasiocarpa
May 21, 2010

Musella lasiocarpa
June 25, 2010

NOID Rose with Musella lasiocarpa
September 14, 2010

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Another new bulb - Iris bucharica

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This sort of jumped out at me today and I had to pick one up without hesitation (or any research).

Iris bucharica
(Photo by Michael Wolf used under CC license from here.)

The leaves are so un-Iris-like I'd have never guessed it was an Iris, if it weren't for the flowers anyway. I was musing about using Iris reticulata 'Cantab' in the warmest part of my back yard (along with the purple crocus and Snowdrops) but I think this will take that position.

This spring it should be interesting to see all the new plants and bulbs start to flower and fill in.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

'Tis the season... for bulbs.

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In my front yard around my Hosta 'Captain Kirk' I'll be planting this combination of bulbs.

Iris reticulata cvv.

Crocus chrysanthus 'Romance' (I've planted this one before and been very impressed with the show it puts on. I think I had it mixed with an even lighter yellow/white that I may also try to track down again.)

Galanthus nivalis - Snowdrops

Most likely Iris reticulata 'Harmony' towards the back of the garden. This will keep the taller leaves away from the hosta and help keep it a little tidier looking. I'll have several groupings of the Crocus chrysanthus 'Romance,' possibly interspersed with a light yellow/white variety. Towards the front (all over the place ideally) I'll have the Snowdrops. I also have just gotten a purple Pasque Flower (not planted yet) and a Primula marginata ‘Mauve Mist’ that may decide to join the party. The colours should all work together so I'm looking forward to seeing how that all works together.

In my back yard I have a space under my Clematis which is probably the first reliably snow free spot in my yard. I've got a handful of dark blue NOID Crocus there already that I've just transplanted this year. I will add a few more purples, maybe some 'Harmony' and a bunch of Snowdrops.

I can't see myself doing too much other bulbs planting this year but we'll see. So far nothing else has really caught my eye but of course we'll have to see. I may also just pick up an extra bag of Snowdrops and tuck them around in different places.