I’ve been spending every spare moment in the greenhouse or garden for the past few weeks. This time of year, flats of seedlings occupying every spare inch in the greenhouse. They are crammed in amongst cuttings of overwintered tender perennials like coleus, a huge pot of a dark-leaved elephant’s ear (Colocasia sp.), houseplants that didn’t fit inside this winter, and more.
Above: Colocasia ‘Black Beauty’ spends summers in a container of water in the garden, and winters in the greenhouse.
I cleaned up the mess a bit so I could share a picture. (Please don’t try to imagine what this looked like before I straightened things up!) As a comparison, here’s what it looked like last summer, after everything was out in the garden
Above: Casey helping in the greenhouse in spring.
Seedlings have also taken over the garage bay that adjoins my greenhouse. We recycled a Thermopane picture window from the house when we renovated, so I have a lovely space to hold seedlings where dirt and a bit of water don’t make much difference. I keep this space cooler than the greenhouse—in the 50s—so it’s great for germinating seeds that don’t need too much coddling. The greenhouse stays at about 60°F, and I have heat mats that keep roots a bit warmer.
I check daily to see what new surprises have appeared. This year, one of my favorite pots has tiny seedlings of angel’s fishing rods (Dierama pulcherrimum. ) I also have a thriving pot of tiny summer hyacinth (Galtonia candicans) seedlings. The angel’s fishing rods aren’t hardy, so they’re destined for permanent container life. On the other hand, the summer hyacinths should be fine out in the garden, and something new to experiment with. I know I have a bit of a wait for blooms—a couple years, probably—but still, I love watching them come along.
Out in the garden, there’s lots to do, too. My hairy bittercress weeding blitz didn’t take care of all the weeds that are springing up—far from it, in fact. I’m trying to get the garden weeded and mulched before hot weather arrives, so most afternoons I spend part of my time pulling weeds. As soon as we have a still, windless day, I’ll try to get some pictures of plants that are looking especially nice this spring.
Above: A pre-weeded shot of primroses: Primula veris ‘Sunset Shades’, left; and an old “hose-in-hose” or double-flowered selection from my mother’s garden. Between them, Lamium ‘Purple Dragon’.