Wordless Wednesday: I giardini delle due donne

Climbing Monkshood (Aconitum episcopale) grown from seed.
Staghorn Fern (Platycerium) in its new home.
Pink Turtlehead (Chelone obliqua) grown from seed. Sadly the plant was eaten a bit this year.
The backyard.
Tradescantia ‘Bridal Veil’.
Bloodroot (Sanguinaria canadensis).
Fuchsia ‘Celia Smedley’.
Unknown Rosa.
Unknown cabbage (Brassica).
Notorious female feline.
Potted geraniums (Pelargonium), with St. Francis statuary, at the home of an Italian woman.

Wordless Wednesday: Sunny Times in the Back Garden

Impatiens tinctoria with Fuchsia ‘Autumnale’.
Mona the Cat under her hammock shade canopy.
Tradescantia pallida ‘Purpurea’. Yes, we can grow it in the ground.
Adiantum peruvianum.
Some of my pole apples (Malus).
Begonia boliviensis.
Clematis heracleifolia. 
Acquired as Graptopetalum paraguayense.
Coleus and Begonia in planters. I grew the Begonia plants from seed I bought last fall on sale.

Wordless Wednesday

Dianthus barbatus ‘Sooty’.
Unknown Abutilon.
Allium christophii.
Unknown lettuce leaf in a lettuce mix I grew from seed (Lactuca).
Dragon Arum aka Dracunculus vulgaris.
Fresh store-bought chickpeas (Cicer arietinum).
Father’s Day Dinner ikebana with Beech, Asparagus, Feverfew, and Dianthus. 
Hollyhock (Alcea rosea).
Lilium columbianum. 
Tradescantia pallida with a friendly Heuchera bloom.
Unknown Peruvian lily (Alstroemeria).

The Seed Labor-atory Grows

I am currently in my zero gravity recliner recuperating after two very long 10-hour days in the garden. The weather had been cold and wet so I’d put off dealing with all of my seedlings. When the sun arrived earlier this week, I rushed out like an idiot and jumped right in. Now I have garden rashes on my forearms that are both topped with a nice sunburn. My back is killing me and I can barely move my fingers. Was it all really worth it? I keep asking myself this over and over. And the answer I keep coming up with? Absolutely!
Part of my springtime mess. Sure, I have a potting area, but there is a pile of stuff there right now.

When you look at my seed starting numbers for 2011 you can see why I am so tired. You may find yourself wondering too if I am nuts, and yes, I might be because these numbers are totally ridiculous.

Indoors: I planted about 302 different plants.
There were 1658 peat pods or plugs, etc.
 As of yesterday, 340 plastic 4″ pots had been potted up. (Many of these contain several seedlings.)
Outside: I planted about 300 different plants.
They were planted in plug trays or rectangular biodegradable fiber flats.
I have not yet started to process these, but I imagine about 200 plants will be potted up.

I have also been potting up plants from flats I planted a few years ago—not all plants grow quickly. Some of them actually have surprised me. They looked rather small in their pots, but their roots were really ready to go and grow on.

Eventually, I will plant some of the plants, watch them grow, and then collect their seeds. Some of these plants will be traded, and the rest will be sold on Craigslist—or else to friends and family.

The back garden before severe editing that will begin soon.
Some of the seedlings in their new pots.
Scene of springtime that kept me focused as I worked.
From time to time I take breaks and reconsider where to add my garden goodies.
I purchased this great plant hanger a year or so ago at Molbak’s Garden+Home up in the Seattle area, and I found the hanging buckets at IKEA. What’s so great is that they hold 1 gallon plastic pots. So far, I have only chosen two of the five plants for the buckets, but the possibilities are simply endless. (I know the same plant would look better, but I am all about the seeds and I need to have many different plants.)

Then there are the houseplants that I arrange, and then rearrange. This is always a fun way to spend my time both inside and outside and it is a great break in my seedling routine. The houseplants are so much happier because of it too.

This Tradescantia sure made a mess when I brought it back inside the house last fall. Now the other houseplants that lived beneath it all winter have babies. Next year I am going to collect the seeds and keep that from happening again. I have no idea which species this is, but I think it’s Tradescantia fluminensis. Any thoughts?

This year I purchased this planter at IKEA. Like the other ones from last year, it is also made to hold a 1 gallon plastic containers. I had a small one stuffed in it in this picture, but you get the idea. I love that it can hang perfectly on a chain link fence.

Lastly, there is another new addition.

I am one of those folks who grew up in a home and garden that was like a museum and mom would have cringed if this had ever arrived in her space. I too wondered about it when I first saw it, but I was with a foster girl, one who is likely to be in the system until she is an adult, and she really loved it.

In her world, no one can afford things like this, and yes, they are seen as completely frivolous, but the fact that I would buy it and hang it outside actually mattered to her. When you are caring for a child of meth, one who’s mother chose the drug over her children, this kind of thing does matter.

Wearing my big heart on the sleeve of my house’s eave mattered to her, and for this reason, it mattered to me. I wanted to model the kind of behavior she craved in an adult, and so I obliged.

To my surprise, my husband liked it a lot. It reminded him of the 1960s and The Beatles, and over time it has started to remind me of Keith Haring’s art from the 1980s. I think it was a wonderful addition to our home and I cannot wait for the fern to perk up.
If you are interested in purchasing one for any reason, here is the link:
Mac’s Yard Hearts (I bought mine locally at Al’s Garden Center, but I think they can be shipped too.)