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Archive for the ‘My Gardens’ Category

A few plants for the show bench

The National Show of The American Primrose Society is drawing near! And I am a vendor this year, so that means I have been very busy getting plants ready. This is a huge job which includes digging, dividing, potting, labeling, sorting the good from the not so good and worrying.

For the last few weeks I’ve been prowling around the gardens trying to decide which plants might be in bloom at the right time for the show benches and which would be good candidates for dividing & potting for the sale benches. I have dug many plants in hopes that they will be perfect for the show, but some are not panning out as planned and I’ll probably not take them. But then most are looking very good and I keep adding to the collection for the show benches.

My small 'nursery' of overwintered flats and plants for the APS show

My gardens are my nursery which means I don’t have a whole lot of room for all the plants I would like to grow, so the variety of plants won’t always be where I would like. I grow almost everything from seed or division and I’m learning new techniques all the time. I’ve been reading Bill Cullinas book ‘Wildflowers’ A Guide to Growing and Propagating Native Wildflowers of North America. It has been such a great guide. I love Bill’s way of explaining all manner of growing methods in such an enjoyable way. I just learned that if you poke around the crown of Dodecatheon you can tease off a few easily separated crowns and pot or replant them. So I went out and put this knowledge to practice and he’s right! The plant does separate very easily and I left most undisturbed, while separating off 3 crowns for potting. Next I want to try my hand at root cuttings of Primula denticulata.

Primula denticulata in the garden

The above plant will grow into a large ball of purple flowers. These love a constantly moist soil in part shade and will self sow when happy. Each year the clump gets larger and can be dug & divided in early spring. They come in pink, white and all shades of purple to almost red. I’ve got lots of them all along my streamside,and they are one of the earliest flowers in the garden.

Preparations for the Primrose show will be ongoing this week up till the last minute when I leave friday morning, so I’ll try to keep posting as the week goes on and especially at the show! If you want to read more about the Primrose show or see photos of past shows click here.

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The gardens are ever so slowly waking up, where there was snow yesterday, there are flowers today! A small Cyclamen coum ssp. coum was buried under snow yesterday morning when I left for work. But as I pulled into the drive in the afternoon this is what greeted me! This little plant was much smaller last year and now there are loads of self-sown seedlngs all around it. I am becoming so in love with cyclamen nowadays! They are easy from seed as long as you soak them for a day in water with a drop of dish soap in it, then sow at 65 degrees.

Cyclamen coum ssp. coum

Plant seedlings out into a partly shady well drained soil. The corm should be just below soil surface and they like to go dry during the summer.

Cyclamen hederifolium Seedlings

 Sprinkle a little lime on them each spring as like a slightly elevated PH.

So of course I had to take a walk through the rest of the gardens, actually it was creeping on hands & knees,  to do a bit of exploring and feeling around for other buried treasures! This is the time when I do alot of loosening up of the winter mulch of shredded leaves & pine needles that I spread late last fall. It really packs down over the soil and I always feel it needs to be fluffed up now. But what I’m really doing is looking to see what is poking up through the soil and what will be blooming soon and what just didn’t make it through the winter.

Here’s another early spring blooming bulb that is so hardy here.

Iris histrioides 'Katherine Hodgekins'

These small Iris need a bit of sun to do their best, so in almost every pool of sunlight I’ve popped a few of these in. And up the pop a few more each spring.

Almost every day I dig up a clump of something to divide and pot up in preparation for the American Primrose Society National Show the last weekend of this month at Tower Hill Botanical Gardens in Boylston, Mass. I’ll be there as an organizer and a vendor, so try to come and enjoy the show benches full of the most beautiful flowering Primula of all sorts, colors, forms and sizes. For more information go to www.americanprimrosesociety.org  See you there!

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