Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Our Cheatin' Blooms ...

Well, both of us have apparently been so bloom-starved that we had the same idea of giving each other blooming gifts for Valentine's Day last weekend! And even though one could say that we're technically "cheating on Nature," I will say that it's really nice to have something blooming in the house right now, especially after the recent snows and cold. At least we can justify the purchases somewhat by intending to plant these out once it's spring, so the plant material won't go to waste. Though they may not thrive again for a year or so, everything depicted in these photos is hardy to our garden, so we'll just be patient for them to get their second wind at blooming.

The bulb basket in the first photo is a gift mix of spring flowers that I ordered from Van Bourgondien, thanks to a clever reminder email they sent me early last week, guaranteeing Valentine's Day delivery ....It's called the "Dutch Garden" gift basket and has a great assortment of bulbs in it ... 5 red tulips, 5 yellow Narcissus, 5 'Pickwick' giant crocus, a Hyacinth and 5 White Siberian Squill (something we don't have). Since they arrived on Friday, they have been practically flying out of the pot once they got some sun, water and warmer temperatures, and since I took this photo late this afternoon, 2 more of the Narcissus have started to emerge, and the crocus are beginning to open up a bit ... the hyacinth has opened its 'alien pod' and we can see the bloom developing inside ... so it's not going to be much longer before this basket will be quite colorful!

In the past I've generally had a dim view of forcing bulbs because it does tend to sap the plant's energies, but since then I've read that as long as one tends to their basic cycle, keeps them watered and deadheaded until they die back, that they can be successfully planted in the garden, even though they might take a year off from blooming, they will eventually return to their original glory. I think what I'll do is just give them some bulb food after they're done blooming, let them die back naturally and then plant this whole arrangement in a spot out front. Maybe we'll get more blooms next year, maybe not, but even if they don't, they'll be back at some future point. At least for now, I'm getting my purple crocus fix! I just love this variety, 'Pickwick,' and we just put in a bunch more of these last fall, so you'll be seeing them again if the ground ever warms up! When I was browsing my archives last week for that one post, I was a bit dismayed to see that last year's crocus were in their heyday in April! I sure hope it doesn't take that long this year, but last year was a pretty nasty winter ... time will tell....

Fernymoss shares my passion for Primroses, and he even managed to find a nice, blooming specimen for his gift to me ... this yellow cultivar is one of my favorites because it has such a lovely scent and is such a cheery shade of yellow. It had quite a few more blooms on it when I got it on Saturday, but before I took this photo, I had to pinch several spent ones off today so the remaining buds will develop and open ...no matter, because I love just about everything about Primula polyanthus, the lush textures of the foliage as well as the delightful yellow and sweet aroma the blooms have. I'm pretty confident this will do just fine in our Primrose Patch out front by the entrance steps. (If you'd like to see those, just click on the labels below this post for last year's blooms.) It took us a few years to find success with Primroses, and not all designated as hardy are truly hardy to our climate, but since I planted a mix of Polyanthus several years ago, we've finally found a spot they like and thrive in, and since then, they have been happily spreading into a nice clump. I'll be really interested to see how much bigger it is this year, because in the 3 years they've been there, they've already doubled in number, so I'm hoping for even more this spring!

Come on,Spring! We're getting a bit antsy here, but at least we have some beautiful harbingers blooming now inside, so let's hope they can tide us over till it finally arrives....

What? No Hanna pictures? Ok, here's one I haven't posted yet ... from 18 January, her first evening here at Casa IVG when she was just getting acquainted with us, and really pouring on the charm....

I think you guys will make really good daddies for me ... can I stay here furever?

How could anyone say no to this sweet little charmer? We sure couldn't! We're still delighting in all of her (well, most all) crazy puppy antics, the newest of which is playing "ice hockey" with an ice cube. She was cracking both of us up before I came up to work on this post ... chasing it around the room, knocking it about with her paws and nipping at it before she finally decided to eat it. Who says dog toys have to be expensive? And we don't even mind that she eventually destroys these particular ones! So here you go, Janet ... she's got the makings of a hockey dog somehow ... at least she knows what to do with an ice puck!

28 comments:

Roses and Lilacs said...

I've had good luck planting forced bulbs and having them come back. You gave each other perfect valentine's gifts.

Thanks for the chuckle. Picturing that ice cube hockey game brightened my morning.
Marnie

Roses and Lilacs said...

IVG, you mentioned tomatillos on my blog. When you grew them did they self sow all over the place? Tina and I were wondering if we can expect these ground cherries sprouting up everywhere.
Marnie

Janet said...

Suhweeeet! I knew there was a hockey pup in her. :) She looks bright enough to be one LOL

Maybe she's our good puck charm for the Sharks winning the Cup this year.

FARfetched said...

I don't see a problem with having some indoor color before spring gets under way… you need it, you get it, simple!

Hanna sounds like she's got a little cat in her — that can't be all bad! Sometimes, I'll drop an ice cube in the cats' water dish. Aries gives it this "WTF?" look and starts trying to fish it out — without getting her paw wet at first, which is hilarious, then she just gives up and goes for the cube.

Janet said...

Shinobi, our black Lab, loves ice cubes. She eats em as treats.

Iowa Victory Gardener said...

Hi Marnie,
Good to hear you've had good luck with forced bulbs re-planted ... funny, but I got a free sample of bulb food in the mail yesterday, so I'm going to feed this planting after they're done to give them something to work with before they go outside.

Glad you found Hanna's new game amusing ... so do we!

RE: tomatillos, no they didn't self seed all over, at least for us. I left a more detailed comment on those over at your place....

Iowa Victory Gardener said...

Hey Janet,
I'm happy to offer Hanna as a good puck charm if that will help your team! I'll be sure to tell her to woof for your team, though I'm sure she has no clue what hockey is. You know me, I barely have a comprehension of it! (I know, much to yours and Olivia's chagrin!)

Iowa Victory Gardener said...

Hey there FAR,
As for the bit of cat, I can see that, especially since she came with Pepa's paw stamp of approval ... I always said I thought she had been a cat in a previous life!

We're enjoying the inside color ... we have 3 narcissus now and the crocus are almost open today! Thanks for assuaging the guilt....

Iowa Victory Gardener said...

Hi again Janet,
Pepa was nuts about ice cubes too and would sit there impatiently by the fridge until I gave her one (or two). Now Hanna has taken on that role for some reason. :-)

At least they're guilt free treats... cost practically nothing and no fat or anything bad in them!

Janet said...

Our dog starts hoppin around when we use the ice dispenser. She's getting old but she still manages to get her whole body wagging for ice pucks.

Hmmm I wonder why Hanna has a few traits that Pepe would admire and approve of... hmmm. Probably because Pepa had a paw in the adoption.

boran2 said...

That is a sweet picture of Hanna. Who could resist her?

Shady Gardener said...

I love the header photo... you've caught an ant, and yes, we're all "antsy" for Spring! ;-) You've picked great flowers... both of which you can use outdoors. (The double bonus.) :-) Hanna is as cute as can be.

Iowa Victory Gardener said...

Hi Janet,
Yup, more and more I believe that Pepa had a big paw in the adoption and is probably off somewhere smiling and saying, "See, you knew you could trust me on this one!"

Hanna had her ice puck earlier and had quite the fun time playing with it!

Iowa Victory Gardener said...

Hey B2,
You got that right! Obviously we couldn't and are all that much better for not resisting her charms! :-)

Iowa Victory Gardener said...

Hi Shady,
Glad you spotted him! The bulb basket is coming along now... the crocus and narcissus are almost done, but the hyacinth, tulips and squill are winding up for their part of the show now! Will try to update those when they happen....

Zach said...

How awesome. I forced last spring and it was fun. I have a post on it. you can search for it on my blog. I really enjoyed it. I will have to post some pics as the season progresses!

Gail said...

Dear IVG, While the plants are fantastic...and they really are....I love spring bulbs inside for a nice treat! Ms Hannah is the best looking flower in your garden! She can visit me and my garden anytime! She would love the wayback trails.

gail

Gail said...

ps I voted and expect (do you hear that Mother nature!) spring in March;-) gail

Iowa Victory Gardener said...

Hi Zach,
Thanks for stopping by! I saw your post on forcing, but don't recall if you replanted them outside for the following year? If so, how did they do?

Do post more when you have some real green going on ... I always enjoy and learn from seeing what other gardeners are doing!

Iowa Victory Gardener said...

Hi Gail!
Hanna thanks you for the lovely compliment! I'm sure she'd love snooping around and running in the GOBD paths, but it will be a while before we can trust her off the leash, I'm afraid. At least not unsupervised! She's way too fast...

The bulbs are coming along .. the crocus and narcissus are done, but the Hyacinth is blooming now, the Squill are coming soon and I saw tulip buds today!

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