Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Cold Beginnings

I recently overheard a conversation in which 3 older gentlemen were complaining about the lack of sunshine. One gentleman proclaimed that there have been only 17 days this winter in which the sun was apparent for even a short while. That makes for a very gloomy winter.  I believe the statistics show that Seattle Washington sees more sunshine than West Michigan.  So, on a beautiful clear morning I took these pictures of the sun shinning through the trees on the snow that had been dumped the night before in a snow storm. Within a few hours we lost the sun to cloud cover again.

Sunrise through the sassafras.
White pines.
A week or so later we woke up to a frosted world.  The deep cold created beautiful shards of ice coating everything. I got a few pictures before it all melted in the morning sunshine.

Deck Rail.
Frosted Lantern.

The 2013 gardening season has officially begun for us. I started 12 varieties of seeds in my seed tray this week. Included in that list are: 2 varieties of onions, 3 varieties of parsley, 3 varieties of chives, 2 varieties of cabbage, pansies, and lavender. I used Popsicle sticks written in pencil to label my rows. I used to put germination time and dates on them, but have gotten lazy and now only put the name of the seed and number planted if less than a full row.

Seed tray
My mother in law has a beautiful purple and white Lupine growing in her garden that I really liked. I saved seed from it 2 summers ago and forgot about it until I cataloged all of our seeds. Since they had been in the refrigerator for more than a year, I didn't stratify them. Stratify means to subject the seed to significant cold temperatures for a certain number of weeks which depends on the type of seed. Lupine has a very tough seed coat and needs the cold and soaking process to enable germination. After I soaked them for 3 hours I planted them in these little 2 inch pots. We will see if any come up.

Lupine Hopefuls
One of my plant creations is this mini succulent garden which is in a 12" shallow terracotta pot. All of the plants I started from cuttings.  There is a Jade plant, Aloe Vera, Burro's Tail, and an unidentified succulent.

I really like succulents because they are easy to grow and incredibly easy to start from a leaf. A friend of mine gave me some of her patio plants last fall and most of them were in bad shape. So, instead of keeping a large gangly succulent, I took a couple leaves off and am starting new plants. This particular plant was very cool looking, with its ruffly edged leaves that spiraled around the stem.

Succulent Starts