Sunday, February 15, 2009

Welcome Back!

I love this time of year. The days are noticeable longer, when I get home from work it is still light out, and the snow that falls doesn’t usually stick, in short, there is hope that spring will be here eventually. Last weekend I even rode my bike into town for breakfast.
To the untrained eye, this plant may look dead. Even to the trained eye it might look dead, as Michael gave it the last rites when he saw it in December. I don’t even know what it is called, but it has lovely velvety purple flowers in the summer. Anyway I brought it inside last October and almost immediately it dropped all its leaves. I resisted the temptation to keep watering it, only watering when the soil was dry, about once every two weeks or so. This did give me some hope that it was still alive, since if it were actually dead the soil would have stayed wet. It has started to grow, sending out new green shoots. They are rather long and lanky, since it doesn’t get a lot of light in the room that it is in but at least I didn’t kill it.
My hibiscus, which is now going on year three, is also looking pretty robust and I have been having to water more frequently, another sign that it is coming out of its dormancy. I even had a few blooms this winter.

A project I wrote about last October is coming along great. I decided to force some bulbs for an early indoor spring. I planted them in a shallow container and put them in a paper bag in the refrigerator. When the stair well to my basement got cold enough I put the bag there to continue the chilling process. Spring blooming bulbs need to be chilled in order to bloom. The amount of chill time depends on the type of bulb. You can read about it on the previous blog or go to Van Bloem web site to learn more about forcing bulbs. Anyway I had sort of forgotten about them until a few weeks ago. I retrieved them and put them in my dining room, which is usually pretty cool. It has been about a month and they are now starting to bloom. It is important to turn the container as they do have a tendency to grow toward a light source and turning the container will help to keep them growing straight. After they have finished blooming I will transplant them outside. I could also let them go dormant and dry the bulbs, then plant them in the fall.

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