Archive for gardening
As a gardener, although it is the middle of Winter, some days you just have to get outside and get your hands in the dirt. Sunday afternoon the skies had cleared and the sun was shinning. I couldn’t resist.
Most of you probably have enjoyed our tulip display in the Spring in our large flower box under our sign. Those bulbs were planted the first of January after chilling a few months in my extra refrigerator. I didn’t quite finish the tulip planting chore that day and stuck the rest back in the frig. Finally, I had a day to finish the planting and hope I didn’t get them in the ground too late.
Here is a picture of the Fall window boxes attached to the front of our building. They were planted in October with some hardy and some tender plants that I knew would not survive the first frost. I liked the combination and knew some could endure(the pansies and ornamental cabbage). With the colder temperature the ornamental peppers and spider plants gave up the ghost.
I planned to used these boxes and plant the tulips around the hardier plants but I had a lot of open bare areas showing. Years ago my friend Patsy Cuthrell showed me the reindeer lichen growing along many of our roads. It’s also called reindeer moss and often used in floral arrangement and terrariums. Reindeer moss is really a lichen: a combination of a fungus and algae that have a symbiotic relationship and form a new plant. The moss is spongy when moist, but dries out when removed from its natural habitat. It can be preserved with glycerin and dyed with fabric dye. How to Preserve Reindeer Moss Since I was just using it for a short time in the boxes I left it natural.
I am lucky to have access to this lichen right at the end of my road. Harvesting the plants is so simple because it spreads on top of the other ground cover. Here is my harvest spot and bounty. It took all of five minutes to collect.
Some years I have better luck than others with the tulips in these boxes because they do not get a lot of sun in front of the building and the deer find them very tasty. Here is a picture of the boxes in 4/2012.
Next I cleaned up the dead plants out of the flower boxes and planted twelve tulips in each of the three planters.
Here is where I used the reindeer lichen to dress up the boxes and hide the bare spots until the tulips poke through and do their thing.
Keep your fingers crossed I didn’t plant the tulips too late.
On the warmer winter days do you head to the outdoors? What do you do? Garden, exercise, hike? Let us hear about your winter outdoor adventures around Lake Gaston. I am sure some of you sneak in a leisurely boat ride on the lake while the sun is bright! Send us your Winter outdoor pictures to share.
Happy Winter! I have visions of the Spring to come!
As most of my readers know I have a love for all things with flowers…growing them, decorating with them and enjoying them! But I became a real fan of orchids about ten years ago when I was given my first orchid plant by my very good friend and neighbor, Nancy. The first time it re-bloomed I was ecstatic! This has lead me to this place and time where this orchid trail begins. About a month ago with our good friends, Brenda and Quinn, we made a day trip to the Philadelphia International Flower Show. (Please don’t tell any of Paul’s motorcycle friends that he went to a “flower show”) All I can say is WOW! There are so many fabulous things I could tell you about this exhibition. But I will focus on the magnificent orchid display for this post. Click on this link to view a short video of the greenhouse: Orchid Greenhouse at the Philadelphia Garden Show
After viewing the fabulous array in Philly I was not satisfied with my few healthy, re-blooming Phalaenopsis orchids and a few other orchids that looked very pitiful. Local resources for orchids are limited. So as Paul’s birthday present to me we embarked on an orchid trail. We already had plans to rendezvous with Paul’s brother in DC for his birthday so we plotted our trail from DC to Lake Gaston. Somewhere on our way back home we were going to buy my birthday present. As luck would have it, our first stop in Vienna, VA was a winner. Orchids For You, a cute little orchid showroom, was tucked backed in a retail/commercial office district, which seemed an unlikely spot for an orchid greenhouse. As we walked in I was amazed at what was inside. After discussing my home environment with Tom, the knowledgeable owner, we decided Phalaenopsis (the easiest orchid to grow) was definitely my kind of orchid. It likes bright light and “semi-attention”, that is, watering only when it is almost dry if it is potted in a bark/moss medium. Paul and I began to make our selections. Paul, being color blind, reacts to flowers so differently than I do. I never dreamed I would be orchid shopping with Paul. Over the many years of our partnership in life we have each come to respect each other’s interests. No, I am not ready to travel on the back of his motorcycle but I do enjoy our discussions about his next motorcycle trip or his next motorcycle gadget (to some degree). As well he has come to appreciate and enjoy my love of flowers and gardening. So without further ado I present the treasures of our orchid trail adventure. Needless to say, we never stopped at the other greenhouses on the trail. We’ll save them for another day. Hope you enjoy!
Send me your favorite orchid pictures and stories. Let’s continue this orchid trail!
Mary Sherwood Lake Living…working with you to create your lifestyle!