24 March 2012

You Know It's Been A Warm Winter When...

The nicotiana did not die in the fall
The white nicotiana (Nicotiana alata) is a reliable annual that reseeds itself year after year. Seeds usually begin sprouting near the end of frost, taking about a month to reach happy bloom time. So, early summer in June is when I expect to see and smell the night blossoms. This is great timing for the first outdoor barbecue of the season.

Last fall, the plants died back as usual, but apparently only from the ground up. Last year's plants are now sprouting again, and I expect to see blooms in April. With all those plants still growing from last year, and all the new ones that will be germinating, does anyone need white nicotiana?

Cardoon looks like a tropical plant
The great source of botanical materials, my landscape architect friends gave me two cardoon (Cynara cardunculus ) plants last fall. I planted them on the south side of the house, where they not only stayed healthy, but grew over winter. The leaves have changed shape with the seasons but they remained large and green. I am expecting to climb them this summer to a giant's castle in the clouds.

California poppies think they're in California
According to the internet sources, my mini California poppies (Eschscholzia californica) "...grow in warm, dry climates, but withstand some frost. They grow in poor soils with good water drainage." This is what happens with a mild Alexandria winter. They were started from seed last spring [posted 08.07.2011], grown on the south side of the house, and seem to thrive the more they are neglected. I even spied a few flower buds on them today.

Dogwoods and cherry blossoms bloom at the same time
Well, they are not exactly at the same time. The cherry blossoms are pretty much done with, 2 weeks before the official cherry blossom festival. Didn't they know? The dogwoods are now beginning the show, 3 weeks early according to my past blog post [posted 04.14.2010].

Weeds weeds weeds
Got Weeds? No, I will not post photos of the weeds. As one blogger wrote last summer, "My weeds are having a party." I have a stand of thick Henbit growing among the bearded iris that have never looked so healthy. Hairy bittercress calls my yard its happy home. The annual ryegrass in the flower beds choking any possible flower seed germination begs for Roundup.

Add your own signs of a warm winter.

Garden Calendar:
  • Blooming: Beauty of apeldoorn & Red emperor tulips, Poet & Salome daffodils, muscari

4 comments:

flwrjane said...
I am in a tizzy about the dogwoods...mid April usually, right?

I might need some white nicotiana :-)

After a too long weeding binge on Thursday after work I spent Friday night icing my shoulder while lyng about in a flexeril daze.

I have never known how to pace myself and there were too many deep rooted weeds.

Did I say were? That was just 2 beds worth.

xo jane
Janet, The Queen of Seaford said...
I am hoping my Nicotiana will reseed, maybe not if I don't see any babies now. I scattered some California poppies in the septic field, not sure if any are up....the field is getting greener, but could be weeds.
Swimray said...
Jane,
A day or two of rest and your shoulder will be good as new. We need to get you some white nicotiana. The leaves and stems are a bit sticky though for cut flowers.

Janet,
No sign yet of any poppies OR nicotiana from seed around here - only the winter survivors.
Cherry Lane said...
Hmm...I don't have any nicotiana. That must mean I need some! Love your cardoon.