So, as we are nearing the end of the period where frost is a threat for the outdoor plants, it’s worth asking what’s happening in the greenhouse. Despite fears from some quarters that this would be just an expensive folly, it was merely expensive but not a folly at all. At least in my plant-centric view of the universe. I had originally pictured the greenhouse as an opportunity to reproduce the climate of my Southern California upbringing on the east coast. While it has done that (I kept the minimum temperature at 40 degrees this winter), it has also opened up the whole world of seed exchanges for planting unusual species from around the world. I’ve joined the North American Rock Garden Society, the Alpine Garden Society, the Scottish Rock Garden Society, the Pacific Bulb Society, and the Species Iris Group of North America, all of which have wonderful seed exchanges for an opportunity to obtain seeds that are not only inexpensive but not generally available in common seed catalogs. In addition I’ve ordered seed from the Göteborg Botanical Garden in Sweden, Silverhill Seeds in South Africa and from the plant explorer Vojtech Holubec in the Czech Republic. A total of 155 seed packets have been planted from December through April. Nearly 70 have germinated so far and just the process has been very interesting. With the automatic watering and fan with window ventilation, the greenhouse has stayed pretty disease and insect free (I think I sprayed a branch of aphids on the citrus and bougainvillea twice). Given that it’s open to the outdoors it seems to be less prone to runaway insect problems like I used to get in the basement. Here’s what the benches look like in a little more detail.
And then some of the seedlings that are making progress.
In addition the greenhouse has been used for holding over plants bought for outside planting and some that are indoor plants. In the latter category was a Babiana that I bought in January from Annie’s Annuals.
Interestingly the Babiana that I’ve grown from seed are not all that much smaller than the purchased plant that is now flowering.
Some of the other purchased plants are awaiting planting outdoors including a Spring Pasque Flower from Evermay in Maine.
A Chinese May Apple and an exquisite Ranuculus from Far Reaches Farm
And a brilliant Cana from Plant Delights
There is also a tray full plants from Thimble Farms in British Columbia, but I can’t show everything 🙂
The other really valuable purpose of the greenhouse is to enable frutiing of some of the tropical plants that we’ve had for years. The Fig has fruit appearing on it now.
And the citrus are all growing better than they ever have. The blossoms on the Naval Orange would seem to predict a goodly number of Oranges next year.
Temperatures today are predicted to hit 90 degrees and although the watering system is nominally automatic I’ve found that I need to up the duration of watering as the temperatures rise. In mid-winter I was watering 10 min every 4 days. Now it’s 20 min in the morning and 10 min in the late afternoon.
Time to get out to the greenhouse and see what popped up today…