Friday, January 12, 2007

Rose Hybridizing

Still have some hips hanging out on your roses?
Why not try growing your own from seed?

This is a very, very excellent hybridizing presentation from The American Rose Society: Rose Hybridizing.

Don't want to learn about all the hybridizing stuff and only want to start from seed you already have? Just skip to step 48.


Ever start reading a new garden blog you've just come across and know instantly whether this is the type of person you'd 'click' with?

All right, take something real life as an example:

You're in the usual gardeners' posture (hands in the dirt, something that's probably not your best physical feature in the air) by the sidewalk on a warm summer day, completely enjoying yourself and oblivious that the rest of the world is still ticking while you're giving a few choice words to, well, whatever makes your language not so nice for children or 80 year old church ladies.

Neighbor #1 pauses. You suddenly find his dog's nose beside your hand and some unwelcome paw help with digging up your prized plant. You look up, he mutters, "Hey, nice flowers," and moves along to his almost bare yard with gobs of hostas, iris and a few daylilies.

Neighbor #2 pauses. He has a dog. You're wired, ready to pounce. But, this man knows better than allow the dog in the flowers. Neighbor #2 says enthusiastically, "Hey, niiiiice flowers! I love those over there and I want to try growing some of those!"

Right off the bat, I know Neighbor #1 best keep that dog curbed, and we ain't got squat to talk about. Neighbor #2? Now, him and I are gonna be bestest buddies!

I find blognality an interesting thing. It's almost like a first impression. Do I care if the blogs I read talk about gardening or something related on every single post? Nope.

You can pretty much tell what a person's personality is through the way they blog.

Take mine for example - since I don't want to pick on someone else :)

I use lots of exclamation marks, hyphens, italics and ellipses (which I know drives a lot of people nuts and yes, I know I use them improperly!), I'm long-winded, pushy, sometimes loud, but it's basically how I talk in real life. I gesture, gasp, and believe it or not, am sometimes speechless or my sentences trail off to silence.

I admit being reserved in telling everything (Sometimes my opinions get me in biiiig trouble). I don't record all my failures, though this is a garden blog I started for the sole purpose of actually recording what goes well, and WRONG, in my gardens. Maybe it's a small fear of letting people know too much about who I really am as a gardener, or maybe it's an unconscious fear of appearing to be nothing but a putz when it comes to plants. I mean, really, who wants to record their failures with foolproof plants. But I resolve to do so. (No, not to specifically look like a putz!) The things I blog about may not necessarily be interesting to anyone else, but I get to have my say about things that interest me at that moment.

Lot's of people's personalities shine through on their blogs, even if they try to curb it. But I wonder how many are so reserved that they won't let themselves shine at all. Who out there in garden-blogosphere would I really enjoy reading, but never know it because they're much too cautious with their own words?

Take Hillbilly Mom. She's my daily dose of humor and lets it allll hang out. My kinda blogger, probably my kind of friend - well, if she gardened. lol.

Are you how you blog? Shine on blognalities, shine on!

The Willow Garden

When I came across this site a few days ago, my nose instantly threw itself to just inches from the screen.

The Willow Garden - What a beautiful Nova Scotia garden! I can just imagine strolling slowly along those paths, exclaiming and drooling over bloom after bloom. The Rhododendrons are absolutely stunning!

All the gorgeous photos remind me that this fluffy white crap will eventually retreat to somewhere and all will be green and blooming once again. And the pics on the Garden Developments page engourages my patience quota, of which there seems to be so little as of late.

Maybe it was envy overload, but once I reached the Saved Seeds page my brain came to a standstill. "They are FREE to good homes." Huh? Whatcha mean free?

I assumed I must have been reading something wrong. Yup, I was thoroughly confused. I couldn't imagine the expense they would incur in such a 'sharing' endeavor!

Off went an email. Sharon responded almost immediately, assuring me I had retained my reading comprehension skills. They were, indeed, free.

So here I am, patiently (ha!) waiting to start some more experimenting this year. Wow, I might actaully end up with a landscape worth ahhing and oohing over. Or at the least, one that is finally something I'm proud of.

If you have the time, give this site (and all those fabulous pics) a good look-see. It's worth it!

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

What Else To Do But Plan

Since there's really nothing to do now except Winter Sowing (which I've left alone for now due to temps) I plan, then double check the plan.

Although I do overly plan, I love to play with this cool tool - Grow Guide, spring (or fall)vegetable garden planning. There's nothing like software telling you what it is you're suppose to be doing today!

There's also Weekend Gardener's vegetable seed facts pages, which are definitely worth a look. Especially if you have unlabeled seeds. Lots of useful info. Pick a veg - let's try cabbage:

About This Plant...
Family: Brassicaceae
Genus and species: Brassica oleracea var. capitata
Growing Season: spring and fall

Indoor Sowing...
Time needed to reach transplant size: 6-8 weeks
When to transplant to garden: 5 weeks before to 2 weeks after last spring frost date

Outdoor Sowing...
When to sow outdoors: week of last spring frost

Other Sowing Guidelines...
Approx. germination time: 4-14 days
Germination temp.: 45-95 degrees F.
Sowing depth: 1/4 inch
Days to maturity: 50-100 days from transplant

Transplanting Guidelines...
Spacing between plants: 12-24 inches
Spacing between rows: 24-36 inches

Growing On...
Pests: imported cabbageworms, cabbage loopers, aphids, flea beetles, cabbage root maggots
Diseases: clubroot, black rot, downy mildew, white mold
Harvest: harvest when heads are firm and softball size
Growing tips: best flavor is achieved when heads mature in cool weather

Nifty and handy!

Monday, January 08, 2007

Buddleia - It Worked!

I figured that since I was pretty bored with my clematis experiment (Yeah, I know, sometimes it can take years, but why do they have to be so darn slooooow?) that I'd do a bit of messing around with my buddleia davidii seeds to see what color I'll eventually get.

Holy crap! All I can say is - it worked. Maybe too well as I now have hundreds of sprouts, and 144 going strong in peat pellets.

I thought I'd give it a few different treatments to see which worked best, so I WSed some (outside now), put some on moist seed starter in a sealed container in the fridge (following the chill for 4 weeks method), and the third was to plop some on a moist coffee filter in a baggie and leave them alone at room temp (they only got the least bit of natural light as I wasn't expecting much).

I won't know about the WSed ones, of course, until spring.

The '4 week chill' came out of the fridge on the 30th. No signs of germ as of today.

The coffee filter experiment was started on December 30th, and there were sprouts as of the 5th of January. (I should say I noticed germ on the 5th) I couldn't believe it! It only took 6 days for them to germinate - probably less as I hadn't checked them and they were quite a ways along when I finally did, so I'm saying 5.

5 days! Unbelievable! (I should specify that all the information I've read has stated 20 to 30 days or more)

Guess which method I recommend to the impatient among us? Though it is a bit of a pain to transfer them to soil, it wasn't all that bad as they didn't really stick to the filter and just sort of 'slid' off with a tease from the tweezers and some extra water added.

It's so wonderful to see something new and green at this time of year! :)

Safe Seed 2007

Has the seed company you buy from signed the pledge? Does it matter if you use GE seed or not?

"Agriculture and seeds provide the basis upon which our lives depend. We must protect this foundation as a safe and genetically stable source for future generations.
For the benefit of all farmers, gardeners and consumers who want an alternative,
We pledge that we do not knowingly buy or sell genetically engineered seeds or plants.
The mechanical transfer of genetic material outside of natural reproductive methods and between genera, families or kingdoms, poses great biological risks as well as economic, political, and cultural threats. We feel that genetically engineered varieties have been insufficiently tested prior to public release. More research and testing is necessary to further assess the potential risks of genetically engineered seeds. Further, we wish to support agricultural progress that leads to healthier soils, genetically diverse agricultural ecosystems and ultimately healthy people and communities."

Safe Seed Sourcebook

It's a hot topic, so better to keep my opinion to myself, I think.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

You Stole My Garden Design!

'The Irish High Court will be asked to settle a dispute between Andy Sturgeon and Diarmuid Gavin and to decide whether a gold medal-winning garden design at last year’s Chelsea Flower Show was an original or a copy. '

Though I was a bit astonished by this news on GardenMags, I couldn't help but chuckle.
Sorry guys, but it seems (quite clearly) to me that either one or the other of you is a total wanker.