The Clueless Gardener

"fanaticus sine potestas"

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Almost time to rip these open--!

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Sunday, February 11, 2007


Near Rhinebeck, NY is a greenhouse that raises these gorgeous flowers. They always have a supply for sale on the honor system. [which is all too quaint in this day and age]. Now I've got these in milk bottles all over my house, cheering me at every glance. Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Sow what else is new?

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Budget Buster

My seed and plant total for all my orders is a whopping $221.35 !! Luckily I don't go in for fur, jewels or fast cars, so I can spend on this. And this is without the Abies koreana, which turned out to cost 35.00 before shipping...tabled that idea. I am saving time and stamps by faxing in the orders, so give me a brownie point. I'm going to test a bunch of 2006 seeds, and maybe some of those will come through for this year. Now, how many of these seed packets will actually translate into plants in my garden this July? Hmmmmmmm...unfortunately, I have a clue in that regard, and the answer is a very low percentage! But if you are reading this, you understand that when it's 19 degrees outside, this exercise is a survival tactic.

Monday, February 05, 2007

More Catalogs...

...namely Bluestone and Fairweather, are still on my pile of to-reads. Oops, this means I have missed Bluestone's "order by Jan 31" offer. Oh well. I've only ordered my garden stuff early once or twice in all these years, so why should this year be any different?

Katalog Kraziness, or Am I Blue?

I've just pored over my pile of seed and plant catalogs...I seem to get sent only the warhorses, not the cutting edge or exotic ones. I'm a gardening schmoe, for sure. [Gee, should I change my blog name?] Here are a few of my comments...

Seeds of Change catalog--Does this bother you? You're sitting on the couch, or in bed at bedtime, reading the catalog comfortably, then you notice the catalog people are telling you that you won't see their complete selection unless you log on to their website...arrrrugh! Which is it, folks? Do I have to get up, pad on over to the computer in my bedsocks so I can be sure I haven't missed something? Well, in the catalog at least I've spotted a black peony poppy that sounds luscious. I've no idea what's on their site, sorry.

Johnny's Seeds-- I have enormous respect for these great people, but I grow no vegetables. But I see they have datura seeds and the real , unadulterated california poppy.

Thomson and Morgan-- The big gorilla of my catalog pile! I'm seeing an unusual nicotiana [ my very favorite annual, followed closely by petunias and poppies, and phacelia, and...etc etc] called knightiana 'green tea' which sounds tall and unusual, little green, weirdly-shaped flowers. Here is 'Lavender Haze' agastache--how is 'agastache' pronounced, anyway? A yummy but un-doable echium fastuosum for spikey silver-blue...I can dream....and here's my favorite seed packet photo of all time, the poppy 'Cedric Morris'-- gorgeous, gorgeous. [Also in contention for the best packet foto is 'Phlox of Sheep'.] Oh dear, I see they are calling their metal compost sifter a 'sieve' instead of a 'garden riddle.' I thought these guys were supposed to be British! Next thing you know they will be offering a water butt and calling it a very boring 'rain barrel.' C'mon, I want a full English breakfast here! And the catalog is capped off with a $100 Haws watering can...but who has any dough left over after ordering from T & M?

Heronswood-- This is the FAKE Heronswood, as most people know [if the news has gotten to me, it's widely known.],the real Heronswood was bought out by the Burpee folks, so this is what I consider Burpee's upscale plant catalog. I want to hate it, and they make it easy by putting in some very pretentious copywriting to make things more this: "the textural wash of finely cut fern fronds achieves wondrous effects in any corner of the shade garden." ---please. I am resisting everything, but I see out of the corner of my eye that they have the abies koreana, which I always drool over in the T & M, here offered as a plant. Those blue cones don't look as good here in the Heronswood, but I may order this anyhow. I think I have to have it.

Harris Seeds-- Amazingly still in business--I salute them, and have a soft spot for them, because I ordered my first 'Pearls' petunias from them back when I was rooftop gardening. The Harris folks feature many versions of plant growing stand, the kind with several shelves and built-in florescent lights [oh dear, no spellcheck on blogger!]--all costing an amazing amount of money. What's wrong with a shop light from the hardware store on chains in the basement?

Seymour's Seeds--They've got the blue anagallis, which I plan to grow this year...what a captivating shade of blue it has. [ Is it only called 'pimpernel' if it's scarlet? Who was that in the movie--Leslie Howard-?] Also, here is the nigella 'African Bride' that I have an eye on, and the fab poppy 'Angels' Choir.'

Select Seeds-- These folks just seem to have my taste; I've been getting a lot from them the past couple of years. They have lots of unusual petunias, such as the 'integrofolia,' what I call the colonial, or original one, the magenta one. Also old-fashioned climbing, scented, and one called 'Rainmaster'. I always order all these then plant too few of them, alas. I might be ordering their plant selection they call 'moon garden' which has daturas, nicotianas, moonflowers, etc at a special price...I always have all these anyway...Now, here's something called the 'grass pea' which is low-growing, blue and wonderful, but does it self-seed? Ah, and here is blue anagallis again. It's getting easier to find, I see... And -- drum roll-- here are verbena bonarensis plants, which I am certainly going to order! They were my obsession last summer when I couldn't find them.

Roots N Rhizomes-- Hmm, they have lots of monkshood, should I finally get some of these? Late summer blue...which I already have with the perennial lobelia that self-seeds EVERYwhere in my tiny garden do I need it? But I do want it. Gotta ponder if I have room. Here is astrantia, which is everywhere in my British garden magazines, but seems to me to be rare here. 'Buckland' looks good. Campanula punctata 'Pantaloons', which is a two-toned blue-to-purple flower. Sez here it's a hummingbird magnet...that's pretty fancy talk! It'd be nice to have a new campanula.[if you are getting the general idea that my garden is, by default, mostly are correct.]

Burpee--Yes, I still look at the Burpee catalog. Remember, I am the Garden Schmoe. Their seeds always come up fast, so I get the regulars here if they have them. Four kinds of convolvulus! A true pink gazania looks nice...must resist the white marigold, it is's nicki 'marshmallow' which is a closeout at Parks, so grab it over there...Ah, Patty's Plum poppy, something I must get this year...hey Patty, where you been hidin', girl? I do like Burpee's deep-root 6-packs, which I order every year. [In nursery commerce, the 4-pack is rapidly closing in on the 6-pack, which absolutely burns me up.]

Wayside--The Escalade of my pile of pricey it's mainly for windowshopping only. What's this, Coreopsis 'Jethro Tull' ? Named after the 60's singing group? I should google the name to check the reference. Not since the Wayside featured the McCartney rose, with Paulie's guitar pictured in the background, has there been a reminder that me and my boomer cohort are entering our leisure word! Kill me now.

Park Seed--Here is Chaenarrhinum 'Summer Skies' which I have never heard of. Nice azure blue blooms, container-worthy, blooms first year from seed...sounds like one to try. In the Plants-From-Mars Department, rudbeckia 'Green Wizard' with those shrivelled-up sepals and all fuzzy head in the middle. Move over flowering kale, the original plant from outer space! I'm looking at a digitalis 'silver fox' that's compact, silver foliage, white to blush pink blooms-sounds nice. And of course, to mock us all, here is meconopsis, the blue, I don't live in Oregon, so I can go to hell as far as this plant is concerned, but isn't it gorgeous?!

Wildseed Farms Catalog--First thing I open this one up, I see the 'Laura Bush' petunia---no thanks.

Stokes-- This is a sentimental old fave of mine, too, from my earliest seed-starting years. This one includes instructions for commercial culture, which I find interesting -- " Sow Feb. 1 for Mother's Day" and the like. More blue blue blue! Nolana, phacelia, browallia, which to choose? I can't just grow blue ones, can I? Here is the shortest nicotiana yet, 'Saratoga,' and I ask again, why? I guess it's to make shipping easier, not to make a sensational old-fashioned plant into an ugly stubby one, which is what this stunting stunt does.

Grandma's Gardens--more unusual petunias, the Kentucky, the colonial again, vining, variegated, and a very tall snapdragon, which I am absolutely growing this year.

I need more catalogs, but I don't get Horticulture or Flower and Garden or Garden Design anymore, so no blowcards to mail in. I'm so out of touch-- if it weren't for The Avant Gardener, that sweet, earnest newsletter I get each month, I'd be completely off the radar screen of gardening news. I'm not sure if there is a newsletter called The Schmoe Gardener. Oh yeah, that's this blog!

What's your favorite catalog?

Friday, February 02, 2007

New drawing...

...over at I Brake for Delphiniums...!