December Catch-Up

Like my garden, this blog always seems to go into a partial hibernation in the winter.  There are still things to do, though: I have plans to take up more gravel, there are greens under the cloche tunnel, cuttings and winter sown seeds to take care of.  I also, at some point, need to put up the new roofing felt for the shed as the bad winds we had just before Christmas tore half of it off.  As well as the outdoors work of the garden, there’s also the indoor things – planning what will go where, seed inventory and ordering, pot washing.

There’s still some green close to hand, though, as I’ve expanded my indoor jungle quite a bit this year!  I think, looking through my photo archives, that there were a few more of my violets ready to flower at this time of year.  However, most of those which did have been re-potted or restarted within the last few months or weeks and likely won’t be giving me a good display for a few more months or so.  One of my violets, ‘Rob’s Shadow Magic’ has decided to peek up and say hello, and my oddly white ‘Jolly Orchid’ is still giving its best but the rest are slumbering away.  There are a few tiny buds on some plants,  but I don’t expect to see much more from them until maybe late January or February.

On the other hand, the little seedling AVs are getting greener by the day – I’m up to 27 seedlings, now, with most of the older ones showing their typically gesneriad single-cotyledon expansion.  I can’t see any variegation for sure, yet, but I think that it will be less obvious on these ones as ‘Mum’ has a more buff variegation to my eye, with a little red, rather than a bright white like some other plants.  I’ve been peeking at them through my loupe, but it’ll be hard to tell until they mature a little.  Hopefully I’ll be reporting soon on some true leaf growth!

This year I also have a small bulb collection on the windowsill to brighten things up – though they’re also only sluggishly awakening.  One hyacinth is showing off spectacularly, with a lovely, gentle scent, and I’m expecting the ‘amaryllis’ (hippeastrum), given to me by a kind folian in promise of some AVs when the weather is warmer, to open any day now.  Lined up are, hopefully, the other hyacinth and a second amaryllis gifted to me by Andy’s mother.  I had to laugh when I opened it, as we’d just given her an almost identical bulb – great minds and all that… It’s a lovely double flowered cultivar called ‘Nymph’ and the bulb is massive.

I also took part in a European seed swap via Folia – I sent seed to Belgium and London and received some from Belgium, & Holland.  There was an interesting mix – quite a few plants I’ve never even tried before – chamomile, wallflowers, tulbaghia, and giant scabious, amongst others  as well as more varieties of amaranthus, to add to the ones I bought earlier in the year.

I also went a wee bit mad when I found out that Chiltern Seeds do gesneriad seed for sale and bought some Streptocarpus cooperi (an annual streptocarpus which produces one huge leaf and flower stalk) and some mixed Episcia hybrids.  I also grabbed some Drosera spathulata (sundew plant) to have a go at.  The sundew is currently in sphagnum in the propagator along with the african violet seedlings.  Once those are a bit bigger and ready to move on I’ll try the others!

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