Thursday, January 27, 2011

Not Delphiniums Again

Yes, yes, I cannot be stopped.  I am reminded of my quest for Mohonk to become your Delphinium headquarters as we are in the midst of starting all that seed in the greenhouse.  There have to be dozens of varieties including the New Millennium hybrids we’ve acquired from the breeders in New Zealand.  You, too, can revel at their efforts by surfing to http://www.delphinium.co.nz/.
Yes, yes, I cannot be stopped.  All your perennials including delphs are enjoying the protection from the sub-zero temperatures with all this snow cover.  I know; I asked for it and my wish was granted.

No more stopping.  Back to seed starting.  Most delphiniums require a stint in the fridge to raise the germination rate.  We are moving out the food and moving in the flats.  Anything for the plants, we’ll just get take-out.

Below is some inspiration on a cold winter’s day.  Our valiant efforts will soon pay off as June will be here before you know it.  Promise.

Diamonds Blue
English Blues
RDS Purples

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Diamonds are Forever BUT Dahlias are a Girl's Best Friend

Just the other day I felt like a real "old school" gardener, actually flipping through bulb catalogs deciding on Dahlias for spring planting AND I wasn't online. A couple of favorite purveyors immediately come to mind: Dutch Gardens for top-quality varieties that have stood the test of time, along with Swan Island and Connells who cater to collectors and connoisseurs.

Dahlias are so popular these days. It's no wonder, they are easy to grow and bloom their fool heads off summer and fall. I have some faves. In the dinner plate “size does matter” category, 'Kelvin Floodlight' shines like a beacon. Ginormous lemon yellow blossoms dare you to pull out the measuring tape and the plants do not stop. Talk about flower power, I've included some pictures from the show garden archives.
Kelvin Floodlight Dahlia
Dare to pull out the measuring tape?



 
There is another group worthy of mention and that is the 'Karma' series. A vast arrray of colors can be had from this line that was bred for the cut flower industry. They literally produce perfect cutting stems. Need I say more? OK the variety shown is 'Karma Choc'.  Are you thinking Candyland ?

Karma Choc Dahlia

 



Friday, January 14, 2011

Long Live the King!

I write this on the 12th day of Christmas (for those more familiar with the song than the history, the Twelve Days of Christmas, also known as Christmastide, are the festive days that begin with Christmas Day.) and yet it seems the holidays are long over. Odd? We are reminded of the season by some woodies still persisting with fruit. Certainly crabapples and winterberries (Ilex) come to mind but a recent installation of a green hawthorn down at the Golf Pro Shop atop Mountain Rest Road are cause for a second glance because of the startling red clusters of pome-like drupes. That last description sends botanists to the reference books!

Botanically this green hawthorn is Crataegus viridis 'Winter King', which is a charming selection of a native species. The elegant vase shape and larger fruit make this a "must have". We are so smitten with the tree that plans for our new Gatehouse landscape already include them.

In the northeast, the end of the holidays can be the beginning of our winter storm season. In a gardener's way, we welcome the fresh covering of snow, but not just for romantic snowshoe hikes or invigorating cross-country ski outings. There is nothing like a warm winter blanket for these chilly January nights, and the same applies to all those hardy perennials and biennials taking their long winters' nap. Snow cover is crucial for keeping the soil as temperate as possible and it protects the tender, sensitive leaves of popular biennials like foxgloves and Canterbury bells.

Well, Happy New Year to y'all. I'll be back on schedule with regular correspondence now that we are done decking the halls and dropping the balloons.


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