Thursday, January 30, 2014

Cabin Fever 101

Can you believe this Winter?  There are a few warm places but my brain can't seem to retain where they are, California you say!

I can't get excited about Spring and a growing season since I haven't seen the ground in months.  There was a day or two when my holiday containers were visible but alas they are now under a mound of snow with more to come. 

Order some seeds, this will certainly keep me moving forward towards a growing season.

Let's get that growing assembly out and ready for operation!

Sit down with the yellow pad and start planning the garden beds, containers, hayracks, etc.

Think about the workshops, Chicago Garden Show, Mid-Am Show, local garden shows, etc.

You know I am forcing myself to do this!

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Dream Time At Gatsbys Gardens

I have been taking a little break during the holiday season and am glad to be back with something that has to do with gardening.  It has been unusually cold and snowy in the Chicago area which curtails my outdoor photography.

Even my containers are buried under ice and snow!  I do think each year about the intelligence of putting together winter containers only to have them buried in snow for most of the winter season.  They are costly and might be just as attractive with some greens or a small boxwood in each one.

I am dreaming about my garden of 2014 and looking back at some newer introductions and great performing older introductions.

Begonia Santa Cruz (plugs from Harris Seeds) were great most of the summer in full sun.  They are a more delicate angel wing variety which I will try again this summer.

The front containers kept up with the summer heat, large Dragon Wing Begonias in red with Algerian Ivy, Pale Yellow Chiffon Superbells with Pineapple Coleus.

Petunia Petchoa
I ordered plugs last year from Park Seed and my only complaint is that they faded with full sun.  You might see them this year in the nurseries and would be worth a try in the lighter colors, supposedly holds up better in heat than petunias and calibrachoa (it's parents).
Sunpatiens were great this year and will do well in sun or part shade.  This variety is not affected by the dreaded mildew.
I loved the variegated leaf variety of Sunpatiens on the north side of the house.  They are a little pricey but maybe with more use the price will come down.  This is the type of plant that is worth growing from seed indoors if it can be found in the seed catalogs.
Magellan Coral Zinnia was grown from seed started indoors, great bloomers with very large flowers, other colors available  This variety is much showier than Profusion Zinnia.
Uproar Zinnia is taller than Magellan, large flowers and looked great growing behind Coral Magellan.
Uproar and Magellan Zinnias
Zinnias are one of the easiest flowers to start from seed, germinates very quickly so don't start too soon indoors.
Mascotte Beans
I received the seeds for this new bean introduction in mid-summer from Harris Seed Company.  I planted them on the edge of my raised bed veggie garden and they produced two crops of beans before the end of the summer.  This is a great variety for small places, or as an edging.

This was a German radish from Renee's Seeds, crunchy and a little zip to it.

The lettuces were mostly from Renee's Seeds with a very special dark red one which you can barely see towards the back.

The purple grafted heirloom tomato from Harris Seed Company arrived as a plug and was a winner, odd looking but delicious.