God, how I love an overnight rainfall. There is nothing more optimistic than waking up to a bright and sunny day with the soil moist and fresh smelling. These are the perfect conditions for weeding. The softened soil makes it easy to slip weedlings (a spelling slip that I’m not gonna change) from the soil, and the pleasant atmosphere brings an added sense of joy to the task.
I’ve made it a habit over the years to learn about and identify as many plants in the seedling stage as I can so that I know at a glance who stays and who goes. Some seedlings are worth cultivating, but others just suck up nutrients and space — the sooner you can get them out the better.
The mystery seedling with just the seed leaves showing.
A handful of one particular type of seedling that I can not identify has been coming up in a section of the garden. They seem too delicate to be a tree, but don’t look like anything I have grown or even seen before. Some seedlings do change dramatically as they age, so there’s always the chance that they are something I am growing. They could have come in with the wind or birds but I don’t see them in my neighbors’ yard, yet many are situated near the fence. They could have come in the soil with some plants I planted last year… I can’t say for certain where they hailed from, but I do want to know what they are. They are delicate and pretty little things. Their beauty has bought them some time as well as my curiosity.
Can you identify these seedlings? I’m so eager to know I will send one of our t-shirts, any size or style to the first person that can correctly identify them.
Your help is appreciated!
UPDATE: Thanks to Kristen who identified the seedling as jewelweed (Impatiens capensis). The plant came in through a bush I bought at last year’s Parkdale Horticultural Society Plant Fair and I left it because it’s such a useful medicinal plant. I completely forgot about it until Kristen made the identification.
“Rainy days and Mondays always get me down.” – The Carpenters
I’m not going to mince words — the weather is shit right now. It’s grey and cold and the coffee I drank two hours ago has been unable to penetrate its dreary, low energy malaise. I feel like a zombie and I look like one, too. I often joke that I’ve spent so much time in the company of plants that I’ve become one. But the plants are bright, colourful, and standing up straight today — we are not in sync at all.
If you can stand to be outdoors, the overcast haze makes the perfect conditions for photographing the garden. I dragged my sorry ass out there this afternoon to capture some recent changes to the garden and photograph these books. The lemon balm is reaching a nice size now and I was reminded on sighting it that a fistful lazily torn and brewed in a cup of hot water is a good rainy day remedy. I added slices of fresh ginger and ginger honey purchased at the market to mine.
The cup is empty now and while I can’t say that I am feeling any more chipper than before, I am at least cheered by the prospect of more drinks made with fresh (rather than dried) herbs from the garden in the coming months.
‘Yalta’ is another of the crocus varieties that I planted last fall. It has alternating purple and soft, silvery lavender petals with a delicate and long throat. Apparently it is a C. tommasinianus hybrid, which is another species that I prefer, particularly ‘Ruby Giant’.
Last month I showed you a picture of this particular variety, Crocus biflorus ssp. isauricus ‘Spring Beauty’ (aka Crocus sieberi), growing in a pot in my friend Barry’s greenhouse.
Now here are a few photographs of the same variety as they came up in my own garden last week. As I said in the last post, it is the dark striping of the outer petals that really make this variety. The flowers are interesting to look at whether fully open or tightly closed. This variety is also quite petite, much smaller and more delicate than the typical grocery store bulb. These are the crocuses I like best. My only regret is that I didn’t buy more.
I’ve got another diminutive, multi-toned variety to show you next.
With just a week left in the month, March has decided to come back. Temperatures in Toronto dipped just below freezing last night, and it’s expected to go even lower tonight. Are those of you in similar regions worried? I’m not. At least not about my own garden. I’m worried about fruit orchards with trees that have already set flowers and the magnolias that are just on the cusp of opening. And I feel terrible for farmers who have no means to protect acres and acres of early crops.
However, in my own garden I’m not worried about the seeds I have recently sown. Most of them are hardy greens that can take a dip below freezing and in the case of those that aren’t, well, a little loss is not the end of the world. I never sow an entire packet of seed in one go, and I never sow more than I can afford to lose. I am slightly worried about the perennials that have come out of dormancy too early. Tender new growth may suffer the one-two punch of freezing nights and driving, cold winds. Even my urban backyard, which is protected by tall buildings and heat-absorbing materials is suffering from a tunnel effect as the wind drives through the narrow passages between walls.
Fortunately, the soil is still warm and the days are sunny. This seems to be helping to keep the plants warmer at night. I didn’t do anything to protect my plants last night — I even left out the echeverias that had spent the winter indoors — everything was fine this morning. Continue reading