Saturday, March 9, 2013

Welcome to Spring!!!

Dear Gardening Friends,
A seed starting tray.
Nicotiana Sylvestris, "Only the Lonely"
     There are less than twenty-four hours until we can say,  “Welcome” to Spring!!!! This winter, while I have been waiting, I have attended to lots of “pre-season” activities. A list of seeds for both the “potager” and the flower beds has been compiled and ordered. I started my first round of seedlings on January 21st, to celebrate the second inauguration of President Barack Obama, including a mix of vegetables and flowers. I started some Fish Peppers, since I know them to be slow to germinate, as well as lots of Lacinato Kale and some Portuguese Couve Tronchuda , (Collard Greens). I had hardly dropped their seeds into the soil before the Cosmos popped up.  Now, they are taller than the lights I have used to grow them! Nearly the same is true of the Nicotiana Sylvestris, Only the Lonely,” which makes me marvel at how some of the tallest plants come from the tiniest seeds. I am excited to grow for the first time, a beautiful flowering vine, Eccremocarpus, “Tresco Gold,” seeds for which were a present from my “California family,” Malcolm, Kiki, Campbell and Xia.
Scaled down lawnmower, 30 inches high
     In early February, New Yorkers, (and quite a few out-of-town visitors), were distracted from the cold by the 59th Annual Winter Antiques Fair, a benefit for Eastside House Settlement. Among the many desirable objets on display, was a beautifully preserved, scaled-down lawnmower, with silvered blades, perfect for the energetic six year old who wants to help neaten up the grass. My biggest thrill however, was interviewing my friend Barbara Israel, doyenne of garden furniture and ornamentation, who kindly described the pieces she brought to this years fair.
     About three weeks ago, on a warmish day for February, with temperatures in the 50’s, I had the thrill of discovering a cloud of my honeybees hovering around the entrance to their hive! I had been wondering if they survived the winter, but didn’t want to disturb them during the cold. Now, I am confident that they are there, inside, awaiting weather warm enough to stretch their wings and get about the business of pollinating the garden, gathering nectar and pollen and making honey.
     Flower shows in Philadelphia, Allentown and The New York Botanical Gardens Orchid show are happening or about to, and on Tuesday of this week, our crocuses blossomed, so start your gardening engines! The 2013 gardening season is underway!!!

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