|Here they come! Iris danfordiae|
Some seed had been waiting a long time and has clearly finished stratifying, such as Tulipa Turkistana, Fritillaria Whitallii (it lost its label to the winter wind but it's definitely a Frit, I can tell by the seed cases still stuck to the end of the grass-like shoots, and I only sowed that, acmopetata (why?) and graeca var something or other and they still have their labels, ergo...). Narcissus serotinus and Rhododendron yunnanense also fall into this category, ie sown in autumn and tucked out of the way till this glorious moment.
|Two to three years later|
What amazes me are the ones that have been out there a month at most and many even less such as the red Delphinium nudicaule, Clematis Ladakhiana and Lathyrus aureus. They're joined by Iris attica, Dianthus arenarius, Primulas laurentiana and alpicola (the white form, I think) and, very excitingly, Digitalis thapsi (sprouting like cress). I say this firstly because it looks like a plant of great merit, combining the best aspects of the flowers of purpurea crossed with a Penstemon, with a more pleasing bushy habit than the former and secondly because it's so crowded up there that I kicked over a pot of thapsi seeds while trying to manoeuvre a sack of compost and hadn't realised I'd bought and sown it twice, such is my voracious appetite for propagation (stop sniggering at the back).
|Look, you try taking a sharp macro photograph of nothing specific when you have impaired vision, it's raining and your bursting for a wee! Tiny Digitalis thapsi seedlings. There are about 100 more already. I only want one!|
There is also life in the Cyclamen pseudibericum pot but on closer inspection I don't think the seedling is what it said on the tin, being a dicot and having no Cyclamen-like characteristics whatsoever. There are others but I'll have to go out and check when it gets light (I've already bathed, traipsed to the Post Office depot, got second place in the queue and picked up a couple of parcels; infuriatingly I was briefly on the roof taking pictures when the mail came yesterday so it meant a chilly walk in the dark or spending the rest of the morning in a queue there).
But back to those seedlings: of course it does mean a huge amount of that most relaxing and meditative of horticultural tasks: (sarcasm, Americans) pricking out. I spent most of last Sunday afternoon doing the Lewisias - 29, all but the biggest few not really needing it but i'm hopeless at what the packet so casually describes as sowing thinly and evenly. Especially when the seeds are black and would happily pass through the eye of the finest needle. So before they grew into one big clump of cruciforms I got my domestic fork out and went for it. I'd better get lots of yellows, peaches and oranges for my efforts.
|One down, 28 to go...|
Fortunately bulb seedlings should remain undisturbed for two years because there are literally 100 young Gladiolus tristis in their tray, I think every single seed must have germinated - no wonder it can become a weed in warmer climes. The tray's not really deep enough for two years' life but with their remarkable zest they'll find a way. It will be interesting to see what comes up in the Lily pot, which is deep enough (about 15cm) besides the few true leaves and odd cotyledon already there (a lot withdrew during the winter but will hopefully return). I suspect I might get another flush of juniors, as often happens with mixed bags.
Speaking of bulbs, I've managed to work out that Calochortus flower after their leaves mature. Which would explain all the thick, grassy leaves and distinct lack of bloomage. While C. 'Cupido' has been outside all winter and looks none the worse for it, C. venustus is slightly more tender and spent the winter at the bottom of the stairs, an area we don't heat and where all efforts at insulation and draught exclusion have been met with a shiver and is, as my friend Roger would say, as cold as a witch's tit (apologies now to witches everywhere, it was a quote taken out of context and I will not be offering my resignation. Some of my best friends are witches). It is, nonetheless, in rude health with leaves about 10cm high so I've been hardening it off, bringing it in at night. Exactly the same treatment has been given to Gladiolus byzantinus and the thrilling Dichelostemma ida-maia, a proper exotic! Both are showing a couple of centimetres of growth.
|From those, should come...|
|...Something like this. Surely too beautiful to be hardy in the UK?|
|Mina lobata. Something to look at when the Lilies have passed - and hopefully cover the stems too because they must be left to build up a bulb for next year|
|Montiopsis sp.#42 (unfortunately it's the purple one, not the intriguing cream flowers)|
|So I ordered them too, they're called Olsynium frigidum but look a bit like Caucasian Tulips|
|Now that's fungus!|
|Then the Freesias...|
|No, not raisins, Anemones. Don't bother trying to work out which way up they go, it's impossible. Just spread them evenly over the compost, cover, water and wait.|
Primula euprepes SDR6036, it's still with us. I thought i was going to lose it to rot, and the central rosette did require whipping out but there are several very healthy ones clustered round it. And just to prove it...
Sorry this post was so long in coming, I'll try to keep them more regular but it's a bit weird spending your days off doing your day job!
Start sowing, keep growing and ENJOY YOUR GARDEN!