Friday, February 8, 2008

You can learn a lot of things from flowers...


Outdoor Daffodil Tip
Allow the leaves to wilt down naturally after the blooms fade. These yellowing leaves are not attractive, so it's tempting to cut them down, but it's essential that all the nourishment in the leaves return to the bulb before it goes dormant for summer. Though you can hide yellowing foliage with flowering annuals, keep in mind that daffodil bulbs need a dry summer to remain healthy while they are dormant. Choose plants that like dry spells and won't need constant watering to hide unattractive bulb foliage


I couldn't speak better for the Grape Hyacinth than theplantexpert.com does here. If I could only return to the Keukenhof Gardens in Holland, where I once tip-toed through the tulips, with the eyes and mind of the gardener I am now...if only if only.





















I absorbed it well enough, but more in awe than inspiration. I suppose that was part of the process, of course. I would still be in awe standing there today - but at 18 I didn't have the experience as a gardener that I do now - to know what it takes to create such a garden. I'll go back someday...;)
This little guy lives on my desk in my office, and is admired by many. They're so delicate - even a student commented today that she'd never seen such petite bells on a hyacinth. They reach upward and dangle just below the daffodils that have made this week much brighter, in spite of winter's fickle forecasts.


The daffodil, March's flower, a mark of spring, associated with Hades and Narcissus, the muse of poets, and too many mythologies to cover in such a post - have been blooming on my desk since Monday. I was listening to Tonic (on CBC 101.7, with Katie Malloch) recently when she posed the question (paraphrased) what do you do to help get through the long winter months? I spoke directly to the radio and replied: I keep a pot of bulbs on my desk - watch them grow and bloom all week, Katie!


It makes such a difference. These daffodils have stopped enough people in their tracks this week to assure me that I am not alone in thinking that seeing such a thing when real spring seems so far away really is quite nice. For that reason, they sit right in front of me all day. They're utterly cheerful, spilling their fresh scent out their trumpets to remind us of what's to come. Their yellow makes up for the lack of sunshine.
I moved them into the beams to take these pictures, for the short time the sun was allowed to come out yesterday. These are certainly not bowing their heads in sorrow, rather joyous and hopeful. A good sign for the up coming months :)

Weird yet again to be watching sweet peas (Lathyrus odoratus) explode up the tube; they seem to be growing much faster than the last two attempts. The backdrop out the window often of snowflakes blustering about makes for some great pictures that I apparently don't take. (reminding myself I am there to work not take pictures of the office garden tee hee) I have however been trying desperately to set my camera up for some interval shots but again, work keeps getting in the way(haha).. so I'll catch the next batch as they germinate and these, maybe next week as they reach for the top. By "attempts" I mean attempts to get sweet peas to bloom in my office. They grow amazingly well and tall; but haven't bloomed yet. I have them in, I think, the best possible environment in the tube (which is actually a large cylindrical glass vase) with about 3/4 ' of soil at the base. The first attempts had rocks then the soil, the second had no rocks, this - the third I didn't change much other than deepen the soil and have been keeping the whole environment a lot drier. I should have deepened the soil a lot more than I did - which is why I predict a fourth attempt. I want to see them bloom, but this is one of those processes that is as interesting and beautiful to watch grow.

I've planted basil again. Too many. The Lit. Mag needs fundraising ideas and I think I just thunk one up. Bake and Basil sale in the Agora! ;D
I look forward to summer lunch time grazing again. The basil does surprisingly well in the dry, unpredictable temperatures of the building.
Basil can bounce back after a bad dry wilt, but I always think such an event alters the flavor of that growth. If that happened in the office I simply cut it back a few times - and, at the rate it grows it wouldn't take long before the plants were bushy again.

(Incidentally, the other great thing about the office garden: no cats.)


dizzy daffodils in the golden afternoon



Books I recommend reading in the bathtub:

Greenaway, Kate (illus), Marsh, Jean (text). The Illuminated Language of Flowers. Balance House, Ltd, 1978.
Heilmeyer, Marina. The Language of Flowers: Symbols and Myths. Prestel Verlag, 2001.
Wells, Diana. 100 Flowers and How They Got Their Names. Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill, 1997

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