Friday, April 11, 2014

More Seedlings

I spent a very peaceful afternoon today pricking out seedlings and planting some more seeds. Among those seedlings moved to more spacious quarters were roselle (Hibiscus sabdariffa), Eritrean basil (Ocimum gratissimum), Portuguese kale, and two kinds of marigold.

 Seedlings of Eritrean basil, Portuguese kale, red valerian (Centranthus ruber), garlic chives (Allium tuberosum), and Japanese honeysuckle (Lonicera japonica); the seemingly empty cell backs on the upper right are standing in water and are planted with rice ('Duborskian' and 'Hmong Sticky')

The additional seeds sown today were of Chinese lantern (Physalis alkekengi var. franchetti) and orange cosmos (Cosmos sulphureus). Meanwhile, the first patch of fairly hardy transplants, consisting of stocks (Matthiola incana) and some seedlings of butterfly weed (Asclepias tuberosa) were moved to the balcony to harden off and get used to the sunlight. In a little while they will be ready to go into the garden downstairs.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Spring! Spring! Spring!

It is getting warmer outside - today was positively balmy, even if it started with rain and ended quite windy - and inside there are flowers and more and more seedlings coming up every day.

Just a few of the seedlings, mainly marigolds and roselle (Hibiscus sabdariffa)

The last of the indoor balsams

The tiny Osmanthus fragrans, still oh-so-fragrant and flowering more than ever

So far only crocuses and some very early daffodils are in full bloom outdoors but a few more days at these temperatures and the trees and spring bulbs should burst into flower just in time for Easter.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Basil Blossom

Most of my south-facing window sills are fast filling up with seedlings for the garden - stocks, eggplants, chili peppers, parsley, and a number of different basils, to be joined soon by numerous other flowers - and I am so far very happy with how they are all coming along. Perhaps the most vigorous little plants have been those grown from a batch of seed of sacred basil (Ocimum tenuiflorum) from Fedco Seeds. They have come up so quickly and enthusiastically, in fact, that yesterday the first flowers appeared.

A pale purple basil bloom on the kitchen window sill

These differ a bit from the holy basil or tulsi I have had from other seed sources, both in how quickly and lustily they have grown and in overall habit and appearance but I am certainly very pleased  with their vigor.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Bouquets and Such

One of my Persian teachers came for tea and waffles on Saturday, and brought me a beautiful spring bouquet left over from a function the day before. Made up primarily of hyacinths, it has been perfuming the whole dining room ever since.

Lovely colors, lovely smell

A recent trip to Trader Joe's to buy groceries also had me coming back with a bunch of long pussy willow branches, quite cheap at $2.99. After a few days in a big vase in the sun room, the silky, silvery catkins are beginning to dust over with golden yellow pollen.

Willow catkins - they actually have a faint fragrance

Finally, in a simple glass vase on the dining table, there is currently a single branch of my cane begonia which I cut off after it became top-heavy and began leaning into and smothering neighboring plants.

A branch of cane or angel wing begonia - it holds up very well in the vase

While not as glamorous as the hyacinths and tulips or even as elegant as the willows, I still think it is certain sculptural beauty, and there is something nice about making use of home-grown plant material.