28 February 2019

random plants

Checked on my mint pots. Chocolate and ginger mint are still alive!

Love seeing the sunlight through pot of chives
Indoor lemon balm is getting taller again. I may pinch and use fresh leaves from its top just to make it branch out more.
My teen wanted to add fresh ginger to green tea. I dug some up from my basement pot, where the rhizomes were going to run into the pot edge anyway. They're smaller than I expected. And she said there was very little flavor. I wonder if because the plant is dormant, probably better to dig it in late summer or fall.
I'm thinking of planting some out against the house wall, on the shady hillside behind my row of big hostas. They need a backdrop! and it might like that spot which is kept damp by the sump output, and it would have plenty of room to spread. I could always dig enough to keep potted overwinter and plant out again in spring- something I was never willing to do for flower bulbs, but now considering for ginger . . .

new coldframe

I finally finished my coldframe. (Now going to always refer to the standing, plastic-wrapped one as my coldhouse, to avoid confusion). Today it got a paint job
I removed two of the smaller muntin so there are fewer cross pieces casting shadow. The plastic was cracked anyway. It's ready for use.
After the snow passes! We're due for another four inches tonight. So I'm extra glad I didn't remove leaf mulch (I'll replace with fresh spring compost) yet, around the perennials. To protect from cold I only need to bring my seedlings in, and cover the emergent plants in the herb bed with cloches. It's not going to be cold enough tonight to necessitate covering the camellia.

27 February 2019


It was colder today, and overcast. Makes tending the seedlings easier- they just stay shut up in the coldframe house all day, and come in at night. I've started work in the yard. Today cleaned up some of the perennials- cut down the dry stems of turtlehead, salvia, 'autumn joy' sedum and gladiolas. All the old stems, broken up, made a base for spring turning of the compost pile. I shifted about half of that into the moved bin so far. While cleaning up a bit in the beds, noted that most of my chrysanthemums have tiny new shoots- I think I've only lost one. There are red points of new shoots just breaking the surface of peony and turtlehead. Sedums already have some green leaves. I didn't uncover to check the black-and-blue salvia yet. Seedheads on the turtlehead by the garden looked so abundant, I stripped them off and scattered in a new spot in the front yard, just pressed into the soil a bit. Maybe they will sprout.

The trees all have buds, there are plenty on my forsythia and hydrangeas. I keep thinking the hydrangea don't look that much bigger than when I planted them, until I stand next to it- they're almost up to my shoulder! Perhaps next year will grow taller than I am. That's something to make me smile.

Holly bush and euonymus shrubs are glowing with green health. I changed my practice on tending my shrubs- what little there is to do of that. I break up sticks that fall in the yard and mulch under the shrubs with that, let them break down to feed the soil, and give extra water through winter (when there aren't any annuals in the garden needing it). The holly bore tons of red berries this season- and our yard was just full of birds monday and tuesday. Flock of robins and starlings, but I also saw a flicker and at least two cedar waxwings. They were all in and out of the holly, cleaned it bare and now the yard is quiet again. I stood and watched them from the dining room window, just above the holly. I don't know if I've ever seen a cedar waxwing so close up before.

seedlings airing

It was warm enough yesterday the coldframe house got over 95° so I moved most of the seedlings out into open air, middle part of the day.
here's some closeups- Kale
Arugula and leaf beet chard in the rear
Young leeks:
Marigolds stayed tucked into the warmth of the coldframe, but with the door ajar for some ventilation
My pot of chives has been spending a few hours here and there outside, too. And on a related note, I cut tarragon down to the ground (eating it in egg dishes) thought probably I had killed the plant, but it's sprouting up again!


I don't often think of featuring this plant. It's younger leaves have almost reached the height of the older ones, now- and they're a bit brighter still.

26 February 2019

third sowing

Started more seeds in trays today:

Yellow cabbage collards
Alabama blue collards
Orange cosmos
Nicotiana "peach screamer"
Nepitella "mentuccia romana"
Celosia cream color
Celosia pink color
Cosmos "seashells" mix
Summer savory
Black cherry tomato
Brandywine red tomato
Beefsteak tomato
Cherokee purple tomato
Celosia "supercrest" mix

I looked up more info on some of the plants that are new to me- and glad of it, because I found out that sculpit, like sage, needs light to germinate. So that tray alone sits in the window instead of on the fridge top. Most of the new flowers in the list were a gift from my sister! Cranesbill is just an experiment- I really like that plant, and saw a few of its flowers had gone to seed last fall, so I collected them. The milkweed is my last try, end of the packet, then I'll just have to buy plants. None of the winter-sown seed in jugs outside have germinated.

charlie charlie

My main creeping charlie plant got a trim. It was trailing down so far from its pedestal dragging on the furniture surface and snagging on things when I rotate it (about a half turn daily, to keep its growth even). It looks nice and sprightly now!
Here's the pot of its scions, up in my bedroom. This one got thinned out- it had quite a few leaves growing suspiciously curled under (like some of my aquarium plants do when lacking certain ferts). I simply pinched all those off, and some large, older pale leaves. The appearance is much tidier and bright now.
I have one more small pot of this in another room downstairs, and have put cuttings from these trims into a jar for more starts. I think it would make a nicer plant to gift to my friends than jade (which I also have a lot of, but haven't grown baby plants out of that for a while).

25 February 2019

fresh green

I clipped some leaves off the arugula, (still in a pot in the coldframe) to garnish a wrap for my lunch today.

tiny what

Two months ago I got an additional handful of  salvinia minima from someone in fish club, and there were tiny bits of another plant mixed in. Seemed too small to bother picking them out, and I assumed they would die from the cold. They didn't. I was cleaning out a few browned salvinia pieces yesterday and sorted out all the tiny unknown plant. It has very small round leaves. Looks like the dwarf rotala rotundifolia I once bought in a tissue packet? but I think this is even smaller.
Regardless, since it was still alive I decided to see how it would do planted. Tucked the tiny stems in, they're even dwarfed by the substrate particles.

selena bottoms

Here's the lower halves of the buce 'selena' pieces I took out of my betta tank the day before, in my 45. Not sure yet if I'm going to let them sit here, or attach to some of the driftwood.

plain tank

My 20H is looking sparse. I pulled all the bits of crypts, planted the crypt willisii and becketti petchi (or maybe it was a lutea) in my 33 Long, three small younger crypt wendtii and retrospiralis in the 45. So this just now has anubias, one dwarf sword and rotalas. I cut down all the stems and replanted their tops. They had all begun to convert finally to new green growth.
Very short.
Kuhlis look happy enough. They hide under the rocks all day, cruise in loops up and down the glass, slide along the wall edges. Still pretty funny to see shrimps leaping out of the way when the kuhlis swarm after the food I drop in.

24 February 2019

coleus and sweet potato cuttings

Coleus on the back of the window tank is very pale- and they had all slid so lower half of stems turning dark in the water, roots look unhealthy. I propped them all up higher on the tank rim, removed two that looked worst.
Didn't realize how anemic they were until I had a cutting of removed stem next to plant that's been in a window on the other side of the house all winter. These are both scions of the same parent.
Here's a recent cutting in the other window- also looking good. I guess that tank isn't the best place for them all winter.
I've taken lots of cuttings of my potted coleus 'gay delight'- enough that all my cutting jars are now full
'Stumpies' left of the coleus 'gay delight'- on smaller leaves the purple decorative color is just a thin line
I also started taking cuttings of sweet potato vine to start replacing coleus on the window tank. The deeper notched one is much healthier right now that the more solid form. Guess what, I found a little spider on the plant that has been busy keeping it clean of pests! I was careful not to disturb him.
So these went straight into cutting jars, the other sweet potato cuttings got a good soak in soapy water first. They look peaky and unwell so I suspect a pest I can't see.

tenner plants update

Continuing to improve! although looking sparse-
because I took an extra twenty minutes to cut and replant tops of all the rotala stems. They are nice bright green!
Cut out a lot of blackening leaves on windelov fern. I see more nice green ones. Also cut out more buce leaves that had black algae edges. Subwassertang is doing great in here, there's a large bunch of it under the edge of the windelov driftwood, and more tucked between the skull and wood on the opposite side.
This is the buce top I cut and replanted, it's bottom half went into my angelfish tank.
the one behind it will be next- it's on the right, against the wall- where the stem is getting elongated I will cut just below where roots are growing out of the stem above the lowest leaf pair, that gives me a new plant and the bottom half grows a new crown
quick photo short end with the blue buces
other side with the stems and crypt becketti- next week I'll take out the surplus sponge

45 plants update

In my angelfish tank, most of the anubias have new young leaves
the aponogeton capuronii isn't very tall yet, but it also has new leaves sprouting- can see in center behind the anubias here
Crypt balansae is starting to look really good- not sure how tall it will get. There's a tiny leaf there in front of the balansae rhizomes- it's a piece of crypt willisii, found that bit floating around in here and just stuck it in that container
I was thinking for a while my java ferns were looking kinda awful. Cut out a half dozen leaves this week that went blanched white ugly. The rest look okay- and younger leaves look pretty green. I think it was just adjusting slower, to the changes with fewer fish, slightly longer photoperiod in the tank. Plus I've added back leaf litter again (not as much as before) I think that helps feed my plants in here.
Java fern 'windelov' looks nicest in this tank than any of my others, so when I found pieces floating unmoored in the window tank, I moved them in here.
Lost over half the vallisneria I planted in here. Two had come loose this week, I had to replant them. But those five left seem to be taking hold, so I hope they send out runners eventually. The two small remainders of crypt retrospiralis that were still hanging on in the 20H, I stuck into the front edge of this planter.
I trimmed one of my buce 'selena' in the betta tank. This time I replanted the top in the same spot, pulled the lower half with its roots and moved into here. Since the roots are clinging to some substrate, it sinks. When it has sprouted new leaves on top and looks more presentable, I'll tied it onto driftwood piece with the other 'selena' buces.