Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Just Some Blooms

Today is another ridiculously cold day - the predicted low this morning was -5 degrees Fahrenheit/-21 degrees Celsius, and it is only a teensy bit warmer now - but according to the ten-day forecast  temperatures above freezing are finally on the horizon. In the meantime, here are a few more indoor blooms that help me stay cheerful in the face of this frosty weather:

Freesias (Freesia cv.)

Pelargonium zonale cv.

Tradescantia zebrina

The freesias are from bulbs carried over from last year's batch. While they flowered abundantly, their foliage was infected by some sort of disease. I was going to throw them out and start with new bulbs this winter but then I tipped out the pots in spring and some of the bulbs were so nice and plump and healthy-looking that I could not bear to throw them out. They spent the summer completely dry in some potting soil in a pot in a corner of the back landing and I repotted them in the fall. The flowers are beautiful and fragrant once again but the disease problems on the foliage appear to be returning as well. Maybe next year I really will buy new bulbs...

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Happy Chinese New Year!

I contemplated writing yet more about the "Chinese Sacred Lily" narcissus for the occasion of Chinese New Year since it is commonly grown as a decoration for the holiday but instead decided to recommend some pertinent reading. My favorite books on Chinese gardens and garden culture are the the wonderfully hefty and lavishly illustrated The Garden Plants of China (1999) and Gardens in China (2002) by Australian botanist and garden writer Peter Valder, both published in this country by Timber Press. As far as garden history is concerned, one of my favorite works, not just with regard to China and Chinese gardens but in general, is the magisterial Fruitful Sites: Garden Culture in Ming Dynasty China (1996) by art historian Craig Clunas.

The books in question and lots of auspicious oranges

Gong Xi Fa Cai!

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day - February 2015

We are currently living through yet another massive snowstorm, so needless to say, there is not much in the way of flowers to be found outside. Our street currently looks like this:

Snow, snow, snow... and check out those icicles! 

Luckily, even while outside looks more and more like we are living through some trippy live-action version of the movie Frozen, there are a few things in bloom inside. Some are trusty stalwarts that are practically always in bloom though perhaps not very showy, like crown of thorns (Euphorbia milii) and Anthurium scandens:

Crown of thorns (Euphorbia milii)

Anthurium scandens

Then there are, oddly enough, two basils, the ever vigorous van tulsi or wild basil (Ocimum gratissimum) and the more finicky and delicate regular tulsi  (Ocimum tenuiflorum):

Van tulsi (Ocimum gratissimum)

Tulsi (Ocimum tenuiflorum)

Some of the 'Constantinople' narcissi are still blooming as well, and then there are the flowering plants that I have bought in the past weeks to add some color and fragrance, like the florist's cyclamen and the Jasminum polyanthum.

Narcissus tazetta 'Constantinople'

One of the florist's cyclamen (Cyclamen persicum cv.)

Jasminum polyanthum

Creeping bellflower (Campanula sp.)

And last but not least, there are the flowers I got for Valentine's Day from the best of significant others - not living plants, per se, nor grown here, but still lovely:

My Valentine's Day flowers... :)

Now back to studying and dreaming of all the things I will plant one day when this snow actually melts...

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Happy Valentine's Day!

This (very) short film for Valentine's Day, part of a campaign by Spanish department store chain El Corte Inglés, has nothing to do with gardening, but it is funny and adorable:


There are English subtitles, so make sure to turn them on if your Spanish is a little rusty... :)

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

A German Documentary on Delhi Gardens

One of the things that I loved as a child growing up in Germany - and that probably contributed to my intensely nerdy tendencies and my abiding fascination with pretty much anywhere far away and foreign - was the seemingly never-ending stream of documentaries on the most obscure topics that aired during the day on Germany's numerous public television channels. Of course, given my academic and horticultural interests, I was delighted just now when I came across this one from a few years ago that focuses on gardens and gardening in and around the Indian capital:


The narrator does not always know what she is talking about - she refers to cinerarias as asters at one point, for example, and stocks as "white wallflowers" - and there are a few orientalizing generalizations as well, but nonetheless even having a documentary of this length on something as niche as the gardens of a place like Delhi is quite exciting. Unfortunately there are only German subtitles, though.