Saturday, April 29, 2017

Passionflower Project

Passiflora caerulea (Blue passionflower)
I put my blue passionflower plant outside April 28 this week, for the first time in its life.  I started it from seed early in 2016, after many previous failed attempts to germinate passionflower seeds over the years.  The difference this time was that the seed obtained was fairly fresh, according to the company I got it from.  Also, there were instructions to soak the seed for a day, but I forgot them and accidentally soaked them for about 4 days before planting them.  Apparently, this worked!  I gave away a dozen seedlings and kept 2 for myself.  I have another in my heated greenhouse.   Temperatures are down to around 5 degrees C at nights recently.  I might want to take this plant inside on the cooler nights.  I've never grown one before so I don't know how it will do.  I'm hoping for some pretty flowers if all goes well.  I bought the trellis this week and stuffed that poor vine into it.  I think it survived the trauma so far.
April 28 in the perennial bed of the yard's landscaping
 The perennial beds still look rather empty, with many flowers not yet making an appearance above ground.  I have lost some plants in the yard, due to the unusually cold winter.  Most that didn't make it were near the house and therefore not protected by snowcover. 
Pulsatilla, Aubrieta, and Arabis (white blooms) flowering in the rock garden
We dug up the two mislabeled table grapes yesterday, replacing them with the seedless Himrod and Vanessa grapes.  It took 2 years to figure out that the previous ones planted were NOT seedless and that the nursery had labelled them erroneously.  Hopefully second time is the charm.  Now we just need the dog to refrain from chewing on the vines. 

Saturday, April 15, 2017

A Slow Spring

Spring is certainly taking its time in southern BC this year.  The cherry blossoms are finally appearing in Vancouver this week and today I saw a forsythia in bloom down the road. 

The apple trees in the orchard have not yet produced any leaves.  Peach trees that were in bloom this time last year have not yet leafed out.  I heard cherry producers saying that this late cool spring weather could be a positive thing for them.  I suppose the late start may mean less chance of frost damage to the buds.

I don't have many flowers to post, with only some scilla, crocuses and Iris reticulata in bloom so far.  In fact, I have a picture of the same white Iris reticulata blooming last year a full four weeks earlier! 
Iris reticulata, looks like "Eye Catcher"

 Things are looking a bit grim for the a few of the shrubs.  The unseasonably cold winter may have killed my only remaining rhododendrons.  The leaves are cripsy and curled.  Some herbs that usually make it through the winter are also gone. 
Some crocuses and dwarf Iris in my rock garden, April 14
I'd imagine even the garden stores are noticing the lack of early gardening enthusiasm.  I've picked up a few bright spring flowers for the containers, but haven't done much in the vegetable garden yet.  Dear husband planted 10 baby apple trees in it this year though.  I wasn't impressed.  Apparently, they are extras that will serve as replacements for trees in the orchard that don't manage to thrive this year.  Several hundred newly planted grafted trees didn't make it through last summer and were replaced this spring.  I don't want more trees to die, but I really want my valuable veggie garden space back!

I'm going to try to be at the Summerland Gardens annual spring plant sale May  6 & 7.  There are many good deals on plants there, and I enjoyed finding some unusual and native plants there last year.  Just remember to get there early!