Thursday, March 8, 2018

BLUE Blooms?

I have written about “blue” perennials and annuals before.  Typically, they are not blue - rather they are shades of purple or lavender.  

I am trying Scabiosa ‘Butterfly Blue’ again this year because I LOVE the flower and the annual scabiosas are long lasting in bouquets.  This cultivar is a perennial, but years ago when I grew the plant, it did not overwinter.  I am going to grow and sell it as a “hardy” annual this year, and perhaps with global warming, it will make it to 2019.

‘Butterfly Blue’ (above) won the Perennial Plant of the Year for 2000.  It does not like wet soils and needs full sun here in northern Vermont.

By the way, below is a photo of supposedly the same plant offered in a catalog, with a lot of help from photo shop.

A  plant with similar blooms that does overwinter, and one that I will offer, is Stokesia ‘Honeysong Purple’ (below).  This is a late bloomer and the flower is more aster-like.  

Campanula ‘Rapido’ Blue (below) is a new bellflower I will try this year.  It is similar to the ‘Clips’ series, but is supposed to bloom earlier and for a longer period.

I always grow ‘Blue Jay’ Pacific Giant delphinium (below) - love the color.

For annuals, the best blues can be found in lobelias, particularly ‘Cobalt blue,’ which is grown from seed or laguna sky blue, which is grown from cuttings.

Friday, March 2, 2018

Looking Ahead - 2018 Growing Season

The steady sleet this morning (March 2) has turned into snow.  I have a few things under the grow-lite and more growing elsewhere for me.  Typically I buy in tiny plugs of begonias, pansies and impatiens, because I have difficulty growing them from seed consistently.  (Begonia seeds are the size of dust!)

Two years ago in spring I had open heart surgery (get out your violin!) and last spring I had some kind of mini heart attack that landed me in the hospital for four days.  I wasn't sure if I would continue the business, but I have some determined helpers who really want to pitch in and keep the old gal going .... so here we go again.

My hesitancy is starting to change into excitement as I clean up the greenhouse and get ready to start the heat going.

Bacopa Gulliver Blue

I'm giving bacopa (spellcheck always turns that word into "bacon") "Gulliver Blue" a try this year.  I will probably use it mostly in combination plantings.

I really like the "Delta" series of pansies and this year they are offering "Wine and Cheese."

Delta Wine and Cheese Pansy

"Blueberry Thrill" will be another new pansy on the shelves.

Blueberry Thrill Pansy

Growers are coming up with all kinds of calibrachoas (million bells) and one of several I will be trialing this year is "Candy Bouquet."

Candy Bouquet Calibrachoa

During the winter months I sell vintage clothing and accessories on eBay and Etsy.  The greenhouse turns into my photography studio.  It's time to bring the clothes and jewelry back inside and get ready for another gardening season.

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Freezing at Last

It has been three months since I last posted on this blog.  It's not that we haven't been busy, but most of what we do this time of year is consolidate, getting ready for next year.  And because of health issues I am never sure just what the future holds.

However ... I have been ordering seeds and rooted cuttings for next spring, so the beat goes on for now.  We had such a strange, hot fall, but finally, we have a bit of snow and this..

So everyone is busy covering pots we planted up in September and even in October ...

And hopefully all of the plants will be nice and healthy and large to offer to customers in the spring.  PLEASE let me know if there's anything special you want to see in the greenhouses.

Friday, August 4, 2017

Dig Your Own Daylilies

We are dug out.  In two days serious gardeners came by with their shovels, some with trucks to fill.  Some came back the second day.  I hope people call before they come the third day.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Dig-Your-Own Vermont DAYLILY Sale

SOLD (DUG) OUT -two days later...  Field is closed.

We grow our own perennials to sell, digging and potting them in the fall and the spring.  To this end we have six large gardens.  And we can't maintain them all anymore, so from one of the gardens we are having a DAYLILY DIGATHON sale -  Fill a five gallon bucket for $4.00.

I picked blooms from that digging field on Monday and show them below.

Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday (Aug 2 - Aug. 5 ) from 9 am - 11:30 am come to Amanda's Greenhouse and we will supply you with a five gallon bucket. Please BRING YOUR OWN shovel. Fill the bucket with as many plants as you wish. We will transfer the plants into a plastic bag. $4 a heaping bucketful.

This will not be easy digging, so bring a good shovel and strong shoes.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Hardy Daylily Sale in Vermont

All daylilies (buy four or more) are now $6 each in gallon pots.  June had seven inches more rain than average and the daylilies loved it.  We have now had three hot, sunny days in a row and suddeny they are exploding into bloom in the gardens.  I have never seen so many buds.

I believe these are edible, but I am not THAT hungry (unless maybe they are identical to chocolate.)

RUBY SPIDER is huge this year, easily measuring nine inches across.

I can always count on MADE TO ORDER to produce tons of blooms.

MARKED BY LYDIA is an outstanding "spider" daylily.

"CHARLES JOHNSON" announces that summer has officially arrived.  At last.  

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Vermont Daylilies - July at Amanda's Greenhouse

Daylilies have just started to open here and I have scheduled a sale ( buy 4 or more, $6 each) to begin July 13.  Not sure what came over me, as that is early for a sale like this.  

Meanwhile - here are a few that have opened in the growing gardens...

Joleyne Nicole

Midnight Masquerade

Pat Garrity

Wineberry Candy

Zona Rosa

This last one is supposed to be a double, so I will keep my eye on it.  Pretty, anyway.  The daylilies have loved all the rain.  We had seven inches more rain than the average rainfall for June.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

June at Amanda's Greenhouse

The four greenhouses are emptying out and my goal is to get all remaining annuals into the one big greenhouse.  All pansies, violas, and wave petunias are on sale for $1.

The early spring perennials have finished their blooms and now it's time for the Siberian iris and peonies to put on their show.

The iris are lovely, but they go by way too quickly.  The foliage looks nice all season long, adding a good accent to the garden.  When it's time to divide Siberian iris the challenge is on.  The roots and rhizomes form a compact mass that feels like a block of cement.  I suggest a strong man (sorry sister feminists) and a sharpened straight shovel.  Or perhaps a strong edger would work?  

It feels as if we have had more rainy days than sunny days and the hostas in "Danny's garden" just love all the rain.

All foliage is healthy.

I thought it would be fun to fill a window box with primarily coleus, since I have lots left for sale!

I hope other Vermont gardeners have had better luck than I when it comes to planting.  It has been so wet, the soil is usually unsuitable to till.  My tomatoes are in at least, but here it is - summer solstice day (midsummer?) and I have not finished planting my vegetables.  Move away from the computer Amanda.  

Friday, May 19, 2017

May at Amanda's Greenhouse

I manage to write gardening columns for two newspapers, but darned if I can keep up with my blog.  Mother's Day has come and gone and despite crummy weather, business was great.  I have THE nicest customers.  Here's a photo of some small pots I made for $5 each as a possible gift for Mom.

And this is a photo of yours truly that will be going in the daily newspaper this Saturday.  Right now the weather sounds promising, which will bring out the gardeners.

My most recent gardening column was about calibrachoas... interesting to me, hopefully for some others as well. The photo shows normal sized geraniums with calibrachoas underneath and then the article.  

And I will now cut and paste the newspaper column and call it a blog!

The Story Behind Calibrachoa (Million Bells)

Not long ago  gardeners had not heard of calibrachoa or “million bells.”  Described as “a tiny petunia on steroids, it is now one of floriculture’s most popular annuals, second only to geraniums.  

The Japanese company  Suntory was the first to experiment with hybridizing calibrachoa , which they found growing wild in South America.  In the late 1990s Suntory licensed Proven Winners to market their new flower and calibrachoas  were  introduced to gardeners as “Millions Bells.”  

There is no standard, widely accepted common name for the calibrachoa hybrids yet, but ”Million Bells” was its first commercial name and still seems to be used the most by folks looking for calibrachoa,  even though it is a registered trademark name. (Think Kleenex and Bandaid, which are both registered trademarks.)     

Calibrachoas can be grown in a garden, but are really best in containers where they spill over the sides.  They work well in combination pots and window boxes as well as in hanging baskets.   The flowers do not set seeds, so they need no deadheading.

There are now thousands of different  calibrachoas in all kinds of colors and shapes with names like  “Mini-famous,”  “Cabaret” and “Superbells”. My favorites are from the Callie, Noa and double Mini-famous series.

The race to come up with new colors is highly competitive.  The German grower Westhoff introduced a new variety with magenta and yellow blooms that they named “Candy Bouquet.”  A year later the US growers, Proven Winners, introduced an identical calibrachoa, and named it “Holy Moly.”  Westhoff launched a $45 million lawsuit which has not yet been settled, but gardeners can still buy either variety.  (I grow “Candy Bouquet”).

Typically calibrachoa are grown from cuttings and it's illegal for growers like me to propagate them. Every tag has a “propagation prohibited” warning on it.
Recently a calibrachoa has been introduced that can be grown from seed.  This new flower is called “Kabloom” and is offered in a few solid colors. In no time I’m sure the selection will be much wider.  The advantage of seed-grown calibrachoa is that home gardeners can now grow their own calibrachoa, and not depend on those of us who buy in cuttings.

Calibrachoas  need excellent drainage and full sun.   They are actually a tender perennial, so can survive low temperatures.  They are heavy feeders and if properly fertilized they will bloom nicely the entire gardening season.