Weekend Garden Notes: Blooms, Buds, and Pots

A Fine Weekend for Gardening

The sun was shining and the temperature was mostly pleasant. It got all the way up to 69 F (21 C) on Saturday. Today was cooler, in the mid 50s (13 C), but still darn nice. To make the weather even more perfect, we got some rain Saturday night, much needed because the soil was starting to get a bit dry. The clouds had thoughtfully excused themselves by Sunday morning, however. I got through most of my spring cleaning chores, though there are still some things that need doing, mostly in the back garden.

More Spring Blooms

More of the crocus are blooming, most notably Crocus vernus ‘Twilight’.

Crocus vernus 'Twilight'
Crocus vernus ‘Twighlight’

Also, the very first of the Siberian Squill (Scilla sibirica) is blooming. This is an advance guard, with many more to come.

Siberian Squill
Siberian Squill

On the other hand, there is very little sign of the 200 Crocus tommasinianus that I planted last fall. I hope this just means they are tardy making their first appearance, and not that they provided a feast for squirrels. To keep from brooding on this, I can always look at the Forsythia we brought inside two weeks ago,  now cheerfully blooming.

Forced Forsythia stems
Forced Forsythia stems.

Container Tulip Watch

According to Judy’s most recent count, 68 of the 90 tulips planted in containers have sent leaves up through the potting mix. A few look nibbled on or have a bit of frost damage, but generally they look good. The Great Container Tulip Experiment seems headed for success!

Other plants are also coming out of hibernation. You can see the flower buds on this Virginia Bluebell (Mertensia virginica).

Virginia Bluebells
Emerging Virginia Bluebells

And the flower buds on the Spicebush (Lindera benzoin) look just about to burst open.

Spicebush buds

New foliage can also be seen on the Wild Columbine (Aquilegia canadensis), Celandine Poppies (Stylophorum diphyllum), and several other perennials.

Coir Pot Report

There has been some discussion recently about Bluestone Perennial’s new practice of shipping their plants in coir pots. These can be planted straight into the ground, pots and all, thus reducing the amount of solid waste. However, there has been some concern that the pots do not degrade, trapping the plant roots inside.

Well, last fall I planted some Woodland Phlox (Phlox divaritica) from Bluestone. Today I had to replant several, because they had been heaved out of the ground. And what I found was this:

Coir Pot
You can see that the roots are coming through the pot.

The roots had worked their way through the coir, even though the coir had not yet broken down completely. So score one for Bluestone and their coir pots!

Did you get to have fun in the garden this weekend? (Note to Rachelle in Wisconsin: please keep away from sharp objects and loaded weapons when you consider this question. Also avoid ledges.)

43 Comments on “Weekend Garden Notes: Blooms, Buds, and Pots”

  1. I didn’t get to work in the garden, our weather was cold, windy and rainy. But I did go to a plant sale, which was almost as good. Sounds like your weather was perfect. I hope your Tommies pop up soon. I’ve heard that they are not as tasty to the squirrels, so maybe they’re just a bit late.

  2. The weather was wonderful just to your north, too. I spent many hours outside, raking, photographing, and doting on the first bloomers and plants of the season–Crocuses, Daffodils, Hellebores, and Snowdrops. They’re all making an appearance at the same time, largely because of the slowly melting snow. It’s almost gone now, and Hellebores that were budding in December are now ready to bloom! Amazing plants! I’m glad your Tullips are doing well. Wow, you have a lot of Crocuses!

  3. I was withAlison at the sale and, surprisingly, there were some sun breaks between the showers. However, it rained on us while we were standing in line to pay for our purchases. Squirrels are not supposed to like c. tommasinianus. I sure hope someone told your squirrels.

  4. Squirrels won’t eat crocus. Some crocus are a lot later than others and sunlight or amount of shade and micro climates can make a lot of difference. Yes…trying to stay away from sharp objects…Still a lot of snow and frozen ground in my yard.

  5. It looks like you are about a week ahead of us this year. When I was gardening professionally I always removed coir fiber pots. Some plants do fine planted with the pot but others’ roots aren’t strong enough to make it through them. Also, they will wick moisture away from plant roots if any part of them are exposed to the air, so the top rim should be torn off at the very least.

  6. I got a couple of small beds and one medium sized raked out yesterday. I still have around nine large ones left so I’ll have plenty of opportunity for exercise. Here in NH we have a lot of branches down this year because of high winds so there is also a lot of picking up to do. Ah, Spring – I’m not complaining because it is not white and I don’t have to shovel it.

  7. I planted about half the stock in my holding area on Saturday afternoon (where plants go when I shop and then don’t have time to get them in the ground). It was amazing how quickly I amassed a tall stack of black plastic pots. I’m lucky, because I have plenty of friends who want them (small nurseries and groups that sponsor plant sales), but its mind boggling to think how many must go into the landfills.

  8. To avoid the upper 20s F wind chills on Saturday morning I hit a few nurseries. Well, I didn’t really avoid it since it was double fleece and windbreaker weather but garden shopping always makes any weather feel better. Pickens are still slim as most nurseries have just recently opened but I scored big at one that was closing out all leftover 2012 plants for half price.

    Saturday afternoon and Sunday it was all garden, all day. I planted all but one of my Saturday acquisitions, transplanted some perennials and shrubs and pruned Callicarpas, Lespedezas, Caryopteris, Clems, Physocarpus…we’re getting there!

  9. I have to say, I love the idea of not having MORE plastic pots to dispose of (or, more honestly, sit in piles around my house)! Spring is definitely underway here, I spent most of Saturday moving around plants that just weren’t happy where they were…and just as I finished, it started raining! All in all, it was a good day 😉

  10. I am very accustomed to bio-degradable pots because much that is planted from the wholesale nursery is in such pots because as you noted, it is environmentally friendly, but also a time saver for installers. Nothing to un-pot and clean up to dispose makes their job more efficient. Another factor for them, there is less loss due to better drainage and aeration to the soil. The plants are healthier as a result. When trees are balled and burlapped (also bio-degradable) if not in these containers in the first place, they can be displayed on site by mounding gravel around them. This keeps them moist and the roots cool. It is a supporting too so the plants remain erect. Just a few more things to say this type of pot is a good thing.

  11. I will follow Donna’s comment above. We have a lot of those coconut husks in our farm just left there to rot by the elements. But i sometimes use them for the epiphytes like orchids and hoya. They decompose fast here so using it like yours will be putting in a lot of man-hours in maintenance.

    Those violet crocus are always my favorites from the bloggers spring posts. I have personally seen it only once in the mountains of Turkey, together with snowdrops, and I didn’t forget them ever since. Re:your question about jackfruit, it is Artocarpus heterophyllus, so you can search the images.

  12. Nice to see your dwarf bulbs and thanks for your helpful comment on my own recent post on naturalised bulbs

    ps I am not sure my friend in the village would agree that squirrels do not eat crocus, as one of your commenters mention, he despairs of the grey squirrels

  13. Interesting to hear your experience with Bluestone’s coir pots. I have been less than thrilled with them, I have to say. I bought some phlox in those pots and most really suffered. The pots didn’t break down and the roots weren’t able to grow through. Oddly enough, I had given many up for dead last year, but this spring they seem to be up and about. So maybe it just takes a really, really long time.

  14. Good to see that spring has finally set foot where you live, we’re still waiting… Thanks for the info about the pots. Nurseries are trying various ways to improve their products and it’s always good to hear first-hand experience from gardeners as to how effective they are.

  15. Hi Jason, things are looking fine in your spring garden. I was excited to see you have one of my favorite small trees in your garden: the spicebush. I have to say there’s another variety I like even more called Lindera Obtusiloba. I hated to leave my last house in Seattle because I had to leave that tree behind. It’s a subtle well-mannered but dreamy specimen. Check it out if you like, you won’t be sorry. And thanks for the well wishes about my tooth, it gets pulled this Tuesday…ugh. Tom

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