Leafing Out

Photo of seedlings in flats

Flats of my strong seedlings this year…a mixed blessing. After advising that in zone 6b we should start seeds around February 25, I couldn’t wait and started mine two weeks earlier. And I was growing some things I hadn’t tried before, so I had no database for decisions. The dahlias I thought would be pot-sized are a couple of feet tall already, upending my plans. I’ll have to expand the dahlia bed and buy other things for pots. 

Celosia are too sensitive for a long sojourn, and should be started late so they don’t live in pots for months…maybe I’ll learn this time! (I’ve brought a couple indoors to my plant shelves so their roots can warm up.) The tomatoes and cosmos, as you can see, are good and healthy in confinement, but more than ready to be in the ground. I have upwards of twenty flats altogether, a big job to carry in and out of the garage…

And nothing to do but wait. A weather phenomenon called an Omega Block is keeping Ohio in winter, and we won’t get real May temps until the end of this week.

Photo of frog designed bird waterer and bog pots

Last post I discussed how helpful it is to the roots of plants to have a rock over them. A pot works in the same way. You can see that the mini-hosta (Munchkin Fire) under the edge of the bog bowl is bigger and hardier than the other two. The bog bowl holds pitcher plants, and the red pot has a Venus Flytrap. [Plant Delights is a great place for variety in bog plants, with trustworthy sourcing.]

Photo of small tub pond and surrounding plants

I added this tub pond at the rear of my yard. I tried a couple of times to get it leveled, and it went off each time, due to settling of the planter’s fill. But I think the uneven water line is a good thing, in fact. If an animal gets in, it has a way of reaching the edge and climbing out. Once the leaves grow over the tub, it will look fine. The plants are purple-leaved heliopsis (Burning Hearts), two types of carex, chartreuse-leaved hyssop, Blue Victory salvia, silver sage, calamint, and coreopsis. These should all be deer resistant, so I won’t need to spray much close to the pond. Inside, you can see a couple of the new blocks that stores like Lowe’s are selling for constructing raised beds. I thought they’d make great supports in ponds for water-plant baskets, as the niches can shelter tadpoles.

Photo of a hugel bed with logs showing, mulch, and plants

My hugel bed, maturing nicely. The logs are slowly being buried by soil activity, and their tops make an attractive feature. Last year’s plants have deepened their roots and are benefiting from the microclimate, that keeps them warmer than the outside temp. The new plants are two more pulmonarias, snapdragons, and woolly lamb’s ears. My yard has tons of fireflies in the summer, because these stick and log borders are perfect insect habitat. 

Photo of brunnera and bleeding heart mingling

Photo of yellow-leaved bleeding heart

One of my shade beds, with brunnera and bleeding heart mingling to a pretty effect. Below, the bright yellow bleeding heart that’s become a star of this area. I was looking for a plain one when I bought it, and didn’t want the yellow leaves. I’d thought of adding one in late spring, and that year the yellow was all I could find. As it turns out, it’s a perfect plant.

Photo of giant Empress Wu hosta

They say hostas don’t like to be moved. These Empress Wus did nothing their first year. The second year, because I’d got them as a BOGO and hadn’t really paid attention to what they were, I read up on them and learned their claim to fame is huge size. Then I knew the Wus needed a bigger space, and moved them by the chimney. But they aren’t sulking at all; they’re taking off and sporting footlong leaves. (The little fence is a deer-snout-bumper, which actually works pretty well in deterring them.)

Photo of bright coral heucheras and blue green hosta

Finally, some heuchera that I bought cheap at Walmart, with no variety name. Their first foliage is a velvety corally-copper, going great with the astilbe, the Solar Eclipse heucherella and the blue green hosta.