Six on Saturday: Nursery Schooled

Horticulture can be such a bad habit. (Where have I heard that before?) Once one learns how to grow horticultural commodities, it is difficult to stop. Pruning scraps get processed into more cuttings. Self sown seedlings get relocated instead of discarded. Extra pups (divisions) get salvaged as if the garden can accommodate more. There are several acres of landscapes here, but it is not enough for what we could grow.

1. While dividing a bunch of Morea bicolor, I found a single shoot of Morea iridioides. How did that get in there? I should have discarded it. Perhaps it will grow to become something useful.P00725-1

2. Pruning scraps of zonal geraniums got plugged as cuttings, but then did not get separated as they grew. There may be a dozen in there. They are nice, but we really do not need any more.P00725-2

3. When composting just is not good enough, plug cuttings instead. There may be a dozen Ponderosa lemon cuttings here. One is too many. They are not grafted, so will be on their own roots.P00725-3

4. Boston ivy is fortunately not as abundant as I thought it would be. We wanted four, so I plugged a hundred cuttings. It seemed to make sense at the time. Most did not survive. Plenty did.P00725-4

5. This self sown bigleaf maple is not in the nursery, but I want it to be. It should not remain where it is. I may dig and can it this autumn, as if there is a situation into which to install it later. P00725-5

6. These summer squash are not from the nursery, but from right downstairs. They are happy with all the runoff they get from above. Neighbors have been getting many pounds of squash.P00725-6

This is the link for Six on Saturday, for anyone else who would like to participate:

Edelweiss – Fail

‘Small and white, clean and bright’? They only got as far as ‘small’ and ‘clean’, but did not get to ‘white’ and ‘bright’.

Edelweiss, edelweiss, every morning you greet me. Small and white, clean and bright, you look happy to meet me. Blossom of snow, may you bloom and grow, bloom and grow forever. Edelweiss, edelweiss, bless my homeland forever.”

Why are there no corny songs like this about California poppy?

Although I never met edelweiss before, I always thought that it must be quite excellent. Those who are familiar with it where it grows wild in European mountains seem to believe so. It does not look like much in pictures, so must be much more impressive if experienced directly.

A colleague here who met it directly in Austria decided to grow some, and easily procured seed online. The seed was chilled in a freezer to simulate winter in the Alps, and sown just prior to the last of the rain as winter ended. They germinated, and the seedlings started to grow, but then mildewed. The potting soil that they were in was likely too rich and too damp.

After all, edelweiss naturally lives in limestone scree, where the climate is harsh. Such environments are less than hospitable to fungal pathogens that cause mildew. Rich and well watered medium that would be considered to be a good situation for so many other seedlings may not be what edelweiss seedlings are comfortable with.

There are already plans to try edelweiss again next year. Seed might get sown in sandier medium, and a bit later in the year, so that they are not so regularly dampened by rain. If they survive beyond their seedling stage, they will likely become more resilient as they get established in an appropriate landscape. There are a few situations here where sandy soil drains well.

Perhaps I will eventually experience edelweiss, and see what all the fuss is about.

Sole Survivor

One is the loneliest number. (It is in the middle of the far edge of the flat.)

By now, I can safely assume that any of the various old seed that were sown late last February that have not yet germinated are not likely to do so. They were all so old that I knew at the time that their viability was questionable. Nonetheless, I could not discard them without confirming that they were no longer viable. Four months later, this empty flat just about confirms it.

So far, the sole survivor is a seedling of a California fan palm, Washingtonia filifera. It looks silly all alone in the otherwise empty flat. Yet, even if no other seedlings germinate, the effort will have been worth this dinky palm seedling. California fan palm happens to be my favorite palm; but I would have been just as pleased with something that is not a favorite.

This little seedling is still too young to be pulled and canned. It will therefore wait and grow in the flat for now, and perhaps until autumn. I still hope that other seed will germinate during that time. Even if they do not, the empty flat will get set aside where it will continue to be irrigated as needed until late next spring. Viable but old seed may be unusually slow to germinate.

I can not help but wonder if some of the seed did not get enough chill after they were sown late in February. Maple, ash, elm, birch and arborvitae might require more of a chill through more of winter to be convinced that the warm weather afterward really is spring. I am not quite ready to give up on them yet.

There are still many more very old seed to sow this autumn. For most, I do not expect germination to be any better than it was for this previous batch.

This little California fan palm seedling certainly seems determined to survive.

Six on Saturday: Leftovers


It is not easy to discard seedlings and cuttings that have potential. We are supposed to sow several seed for vegetable plants where we ultimately want only a few, which typically produces a few extra. Feral seedlings for other types of plants commonly appear in the garden. I happened to grow a few seed that were marginally old, but that I did not want to discard. Nor do I want to discard deteriorating but lingering cool season annuals from last winter.

1. Since no new warm season bedding plants are going into the landscapes, cool season bedding plants are lingering until they succumb to the warmth. This pansy is not ready to give up yet.P00606-1

2. ‘Roma’ tomato seedlings that got plucked to favor stronger seedlings got plugged in cells for later. They got sown very late, and plugged even later, but might become a nice second phase.P00606-2

3. Extra summer squash seedling were also too good to discard. The main plants are producing now. This one should find a home quick. Since it can produce all season, no phasing is needed.P00606-3

4. Ponderosa pines make extras too. This seedling got plucked along with other weeds, but was too exemplary to discard. (For the record, someone else salvaged it; so I can not be blamed.)P00606-4

5. This is too blurry and dinky to look like much, but is a seedling of California fan palm. The seed was so old that I doubted its viability. I am very pleased with it, even if is the only survivor.P00606-5

6. White California poppies are rare in nature. This one was left in the landscape while many of the orange poppies were removed along with weeds. There is another only a few yards away.P00606-6

This is the link for Six on Saturday, for anyone else who would like to participate: