Wednesday, December 30, 2009

I've got a crinum too.

Nell Jean started it, then Janie blogged about hers. I've got one too.

It came in a package from San Antonio, TX that arrived in late May 2009. Kathy had mentioned on GardenWeb that she had a pink brug she could send me cuttings of. As it happens so often in these kinds of trades, she also had two pink crinum bulbs and some Eastern redbud seedlings. You're not supposed to say no to free plants when they're offered, so I accepted. In return, she got a cutting of Kongmansia and a couple of Sweet Shrub seedlings from my wintersown batch. I don't have the greatest memory, so I had to search for the emails documenting this trade.

My crinum is planted near the brick chimney on the Southern side of the house. It's a sunny spot in winter, moderately shady in summer, and the soil is fast draining since it's on a bit of a slope. Crinums aren't completely cold hardy here in my zone, but this one still hasn't died back. It hasn't bloomed yet, planted only this past June. After seeing Nell Jean and Janie's flowers, I'm suddenly curious about this bulb again. It's been ignored since the day it was planted.

There are gardeners that spend oodles of money on new plants. There are others who only grow from seed. Still others add to their gardens by propagating through cuttings. There's a customer at the store who brought me a few twigs of various plants this summer. She handed them to me and said, "Stick that where you want it to grow." I did. And some have. I love trading with other gardeners. I love to propagate plants. I'm a sucker for a clearance rack at the garden center, but nothing compares to plants passed down to you from others who have grown them. They can provide knowledge and insight far beyond what those generic little tags tell you on the plants you buy.

Today, Carla and I are taking a trip to her former house. It's a few miles away in Norwood. When she lived there, she planted a Black Mission fig. I'm going to be bringing back a few branches to root later this winter. I'll be sure to give one of the new plants to her as a thank you gift for helping me acquire the cuttings. It's the least I can do.

It's 28 degrees and cloudy this morning. When I opened my eyes, the sky from my bedroom window had the most beautiful streaks of pink and orange. By the time I was dressed and outside, the light had mostly faded.

Other plans today include preparing more containers for wintersowing, making more tags for those containers, and hauling more of the split firewood into the basement. Rain is likely tomorrow. I need to get it inside to dry.

12:56pm - Lunch is done. I spent the morning at Carla's helping her plant 100 daffodils and 60 muscari. She hit the same clearance rack sale I did a few weeks ago. We took a ride to her former house in Norwood. There, I got some fig branches to turn into cuttings and a few cuttings from a very fragrant pink rose. It's still blooming. I'm hoping to get at least one or two rooted plants from 8 cuttings.

The rose. Lots of thorns, very fragrant.

The fig branches, most likely a black mission. It was there when she moved in. She says it's a heavy bearer. Of course, delicious.

I've already cut the majority of the branches into cutting sized lengths. The smallest pieces will be potted into 3 gallon containers and stuck in the hoophouse. I'm giving them a couple hours to dry out. The sap is flowing heavily. The rest will be refrigerated for sticking later in the winter.

The excess branches will be stuck in the ground where I want this fig to grow. If they root, great. If not, I have these for a backup. The bushes I took from were huge, easily 8-10' across and tall.

Now it's time to haul firewood into the basement. I've already stuck the rose cuttings in the cloner using the same method as the knockouts I did earlier. I'm just going to ignore them from here on out. This evening, I'll take down the Christmas lights on the outside of the house and pack away all the indoor ornaments. The window boxes will remain empty for a month or so.

It's 37 degrees and sunny. The hoophouse is 68.

3:55pm - Christmas has been returned to the attic for another 11 months. The basement has been reconfigured using a few extension cords for lights. The fluorescent lighting that used to illuminate my work tables when I had a business of my own are spread out to provide good coverage for the whole space. Even the garage area has a light. It looks so different with every nook and cranny visible. Laura would be so proud.

I'm pretty much done for the day aside from a few dishes and some groceries. Deciding what to have for dinner will be the hardest decision I've made all day. There's a chance of wintry precipitation overnight. 70-100% chance of rain with temperatures falling to near freezing by 2am. Maybe I'll wake up to a white yard tomorrow.

It's 43 outside. 53 in the hoophouse. It's been cloudy for a couple hours.


Darla said...

Congrats on your Crinum, they are spectacular plants. I have them in wet shade to dry hot areas and they do fine. They are also known as Cannon Ball Lillies, because the bulbs get HUGE!!!

L. D. said...

It will be interesting to see those fig branches after they have sprouted. I remember seeing them in Texas many years ago.

Tom - 7th Street Cottage said...

Thanks Darla. I can't say I've ever seen one bloom, but anything is possible. I just hope she survives the winter.

LD, I rooted a few figs last year too. I'm still searching for a white Marseilles cutting. I had some last year, but they didn't make it. Thomas Jefferson brought that fig back from France to Monticello. Almost all the figs of that variety in the US are from that plant. I'd love to have one.

LeSan said...

Tom I am always so impressed by all the starts and cuttings you do. I am still pretty intimidated by such things. I also don't actually have the beds to put things into right now so that at least eases my sense of failure. hehe.
I have learned a lot from watching you along the way. Thank you.
--And what a wonderful treat that rose must be on a cold day in January!