Wednesday, April 6, 2016

ARHS Seed Exchange Glimpses

To celebrate the many years we have been administering the Atlantic Rhododendron and Horticultural Society Seed Exchange, a little pictorial essay was produced.
This effort was sitting around as a draft here in "Blogville". I guess it is still relevant even after three years.

A Year Gone By

It seems that blogging was not on the list of things to do in the last year. The most recent item was about a year ago in 2015. This spring seems to be trying to progress a bit better than last year, but this first week of April has been pretty wintry.
At least we were quite snow-free before the latest little blast.
Last week we were able see some real signs of spring.
The Witch Hazel has been in bloom for quite some time, although it was a bit of a challenge to get to the far back where the plant grows.

The very early Crocus were up as soon as the snow retreated.
Crocus ancyrensis
Our little patch of spring blooming Erica were quite pretty.

Pieris comes into spring ready to burst into bloom, although we will need a few more warm days before that happens.

It appears that the winter has not been particularly harsh on the rhododendrons. We haven't noticed much bud or leaf damage. It does seem that grouse were doing a lot of azalea flower bud pruning. That is a hard thing to have any control over, it seems.
We have an unusual hellebore in the back nursery bed called H. argutifolius. It is purported to be a tad tender, so we have never has very great expectations. Imagine our surprise when we saw flower buds!
Helleborus argutifolius
The snowdrops, of course, were popping up in many places and looked great until new snow arrived.

One of the most disheartening things about this spring is the need to have a great number of tree branches removed. A very nasty storm on Jan. 29th resulted in a lot of broken and damaged trees. We have commissioned someone who will come and remove the "hangers". James has already removed some of the trunks that were absolutely fallen on beds and paths.
Big hunk of maple down on the bottom of the rhodies.
Typical damage to birches
Hopefully we will have someone salvage the wood that will be generated.
There was also quite a bit of damage to some of our gutters and downspouts, so that is another job to do.
One of our gardening tasks this spring is to try and market some of the many seedling Magnolias we have in the nursery bed. Bill was a bit generous in seeding a few years, and so we really hope we can persuade our gardening cohorts to adopt a new Magnolia.
We gave a presentation called "Getting to Know Magnolias" in February at a Garden Club gathering in Lismore. several plants were ordered, but more need to go. We have the list of available plants on our website.
I am also giving this same talk to the Eastern Shore Garden Club on April 12th. It seemed like a good idea to refresh people's thoughts about Magnolias. They are really quite easy plants to deal with and not the prima donnas they are often thought to be.
2013 seedlings in July , 2015 They grew a lot over the summer.

These plants range in age from 2-4 years.
A M. loebneri type seedling from 2012 seeding
Quite a task ahead of us it would seem.
Other pursuits for another time.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

A bit of Spring Optimism

Spring has had a hard time reaching us here in Nova Scotia. In spite of having serious winter not start until almost February, we have been deluged with storm after storm with little respite or mild intervals.
Everyone in the province is very tired of shovelling and ice chipping.

The great accumulation of snow and cool temperatures has seriously delayed even the Maple Syrup production in most areas. That rite of spring is only just now getting under way.
Our friends at The Sugar Moon in Earltown are hopefully getting their first good sap run this weekend.
Here at the Willow Garden, we have been a bit occupied dealing with the ARHS Seed Exchange for the 2015 season. The list is quite long and interesting. We have sent out 500+/- packets of seed so far. Gardeners have until April 30th to avail themselves of this exchange.

Spending most of the time indoors has been somewhat improved by a very nice, long period of bloom from our various Amaryllis.
This 'Red Lion' variety gave us two lovely blooming stalks. We were pleased because it was a "saved" bulb. Our success with carrying over Amaryllis is a bit variable.

The sunporch off the kitchen where we have been overwintering a variety of plants has been a bit interesting. A pot of Scopolia carnifolium, which I feared was dead, came to life early this spring. It has grown quite vigorously and has even put forth flower buds.

There have been a few flowers on the old, gnarly Rosemary. Our other Rosemary plants have spent the winter in the basement and seem to be doing okay. I seem to kill one or two a year, maybe my luck is changing.

The season for our own seed starting is underway. Bill has done very little seed starting this year, but has some very nice little plants from Xanthoceras sorbifolium (Yellowhorn). These are offered on the ARHS Seed Exchange list. A very unusual plant for the most part.

The usual seeds of veggies, herbs and a few flowers are in the works. Tomatoes will be planted in a few days. We haven't taken the Begonias out of cold storage yet, but that will happen a few days.
Looking towards May....I have decided to have a mini-vacation and together with my sister attend the "goings on" at the Annapolis Royal Rare & Unusual Plant Sale weekend.
This is a very popular event amongst Nova Scotia gardeners.
This weekend and the coming week are forecast to give us some quite nice sunny and mild days.
The hope is that some of the icy layers and tall banks of snow will indeed subside.
We want no more of this scene.

The late spring and huge snow cover has been posing a problem for many bird species who cannot find their usual foods. Many of my acquaintance have been making bigger efforts to put out a bigger variety of food items to hopefully help a few feathered friends.
Here is my friend Lynda's effort to help robins. She made a little video of a robin visiting soon after.

Quite the hodge podge of pseudo-spring items.

Friday, January 2, 2015

Our 2014 year has come to an end without a very regular assortment of blog posts.
Last year was somewhat exceptional with a few health issues between Bill and I. These do seem resolved. Our hopes for 2015 is that we proceed in a "normal" manner.
My thoughts ran to the variety of changes that occur over a year....both inside and out. Thus the following pictorial.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Mostly Leaves 2014

Nearing the end of another gardening season with a severe lack of blog posts.
Our summer and fall has had a number of off putting events. Hopefully winter will be blissfully dull and ordinary.