January 28, 2012

Temperature Trumps Calendar

With the warm weather we had last week, some perennials are popping their heads through the soil.  I have seen daylilies and some spring bulbs.  Daylilies are tough as nails.  Hard to kill them even if you wanted to!  I have seen them survive under standing water.  Aquatic daylilies.  Maybe a new breed.  So no worries if yours are waking up early.

Daylilies in January

Those delicate looking spring-flowering bulbs are pretty tough little numbers, too.  I know it is tempting to bundle them up against the returning winter chill, but that makes them even warmer and cozier, and therefore more likely to grow.  Leave them be unless you see flower buds forming.  Do cover them up with some leaves or mulch.  They may get frost nipped anyway, but the bulbs should go back to sleep, and rebloom in spring when we need them most.

January 21, 2012

OneSeedChicago for 2012!

Hey Chicagoans, it's that time of year again!  Time to vote for your favorite candidate in the OneSeedChicago contest.  And receive a free seed packet of the winning plant this spring. 

In the past there have been natives and veggies.  I had faves from the start.  This year the choices are all herbs.  Sigh.  I adore them all. 

Basil is so easy to start and so useful.
Cilantro tastes so fresh and the seeds are coriander.
Chamomile makes relaxing tea and has scented leaves.

Here is the ballot and more information on the program.

January 4, 2012

Overwinter Your Amaryllis? Yes You Can!

Here are helpful and clear instructions for overwintering Amaryllis bulbs for blooms next year.  It is easy and so rewarding. (Note - I have no connection to this company). I leave mine in the pot since I don't have the in-ground conditions. But they will need to be put in bigger pots come fall after a season of growth.  Don't forget drainage.  Many attractive "bulb" pots don't have it.  At least use a plastic insert that does. 


I have had the best luck with large, quality bulbs, but they do tend to be pricier.  So experiment with what you have.  Just be sure to buy bulbs that have no soft spots or mold on them.  And remember to fertilize so you don't get all leaves.

I like to start mine for bloom after the holidays for a shot of color in January or February.  Allow six to eight weeks.  Some warmth helps them grow faster but a cool place later on will keep the bloom going longer. 

So save some money and keep your favorites!  Here are mine.

Amaryllis 'Showmaster'

Amaryllis 'Picotee'