|A SOUTH AFRICAN BULBS, MASSONIA JASMINIFLORA, SLOWLY EMERGES ITS TWO LONELY BUT QUITE BEAUTIFULLY PATTERNED AND TEXTURED LEAVES, AFTER BEING DORMANT ALL SUMMER UNDER GLASS.|
Now that the heat of the summer has ended, the plants and bulbs that have spent the summer under glass, hot and dry, not unlike the lands from which they come from, are beginning to emerge – sometimes even before they are watered with their first fall soak with the hose pipe.
In an effort to avoid getting the call from Joe while at work one day – that “we’re gonna get killing frost tonight” call, I have been slowly bringing plants back into the greenhouse. Anyone who has a greenhouse or who keeps their collection under lights for the winter is familiar with this annual task. Many feel it is laborious and sad, but I look forward to it. When I was a child, I would help my parents move tubs of agapanthus and Angel’s Trumpets into our stone cellar, and then help my mom pick every blossom in the yard – even the marigolds, which we would then place in tin buckets on the glassed-in porches, providing cut flowers for the house for at least a few more weeks. The scent is unforgettable – sharp marigold, that unique scent of chrysanthemums and even the scent of sticky nicotiana.
|CAMELLIA POTS LINED UP ON A GARDEN BENCH FOR INSPECTION. SOME NEED TOP SOIL, OTHERS, A LITTLE TRIM. THEY WILL REMAIN OUTDOORS UNTIL HEAVY FROST THREATENS, BUT A GOOD EVALUATION ALLOWS ME TO EDIT THE COLLECTION, AND CHECK ON BUD FORMATION.|
|IN 1805, A PROPER NEW ENGLAND ESTATE GARDENER WOULD LIFT THE MANY TUBEROSES WHICH WERE PLANTED IN APRIL OUTSIDE, LIFTED FROM THE GARDEN, POTTED INTO LONGTOMS, AND BROUGHT INTO THE PROTECTION OF THE GREENHOUSE UNTIL THEY BLOOMED.|
My Tuberose Project that I wrote about earlier, was essentially a failure, but I did get two plants to blooming size. If you remember, In January, one of my antique gardening books from 1805 outlined details on how a New England gardener ( on an estate) would plant Tuberoses ( The Tuber Rose) in rows in the kitchen garden, and then dig them up in September, potting them into long-tom pots and placing them in rows in the glasshouse, were they would bloom in October and November, perhaps even until Christmas, providing cut flowers for the home and conservatory. Clearly, I would have lost my job as a gardener back in 1805, but my excuse is that any gardener in 1805 would have far more free time to focus on their task at hand, and not having to write a blog or work. That said, I can’t wait until my two lonely tuberoses bloom in a few weeks, and with 24 plants still in the garden, their roots will have become stronger should produce more flowers next year, after being dug and kept cool and dry all winter.
|OSMANTHUS FRAGRANS, A SCENT OF FRESH ALMONDS, SO TRADITIONAL IN MANY OLD NEW ENGLAND GREENHOUSES DURING THE FALL AND WINTER|
Ferns and tender cutting of succulents are moved in first since any temperature changes can affect the tropical ferns, and cuttings root better with some warmth.