The new yard came with violets… lots and lots of violets. They’re blooming now and even though the yard continues to look like the excavation site of a dead body on a television police procedural…
I’m in heaven.
I have longed to have the space to grow enough violets to make cheerful springtime jellies. A few years ago I set about making this dream real by installing white and purple violet plants into a shady corner of my community garden plot. I began growing them in a large trough on the roof, too. Then we moved here and I inherited a yard of them.
Between all of these locations I should have more than enough to candy, make my jellies, and eat fresh in salads. I like the young leaves, too. Of course, we are currently in the process of digging up the yard, but I’ve been careful to dig around the violets and set each one (barring a few casualties) for replanting. I plan to carefully extract the plants from the grass that is growing around them, and replant them into their own swath along with the three other colour varieties I have collected over the last few years. You think I’m crazy for taking so much care with a plant that spreads like a weed, but I can’t wait for you to see it.
Man, do I ever love having a yard.
Remember months back when I wrote about lampascioni, the Italian wild onion bulbs that are really a muscari (Muscari comosum) that I purchased at my local greengrocer? Click here for a refresher and more details.
Well, here they are! Aren’t they fantastic? I love their feathery plumage (the tassel in their common name, Tassel Hyacinth) and the earthy-brown bells that flank the lower part of the stem.
A few of the Fritillaria michailowski blooms are now fully open for business. I took advantage of the sun today and grabbed a couple of snaps before I head out to Milwaukee tomorrow and miss my chance to capture the plant at its peak.
Although the blooms are not quite fully opened, I could not resist posting a picture of my Fritillaria michailowski in bloom just this morning. I’m really excited about this plant! It’s the one I was most concerned about at planting time, so I figure it’s all smooth sailing from here… at least where the fall bulbs are concerned.
I planted the bulbs back in the late fall and placed the pot in our unheated, south-facing covered porch, aka “The Greenhouse.” Fritillaria michailowski is a cold tolerant flower from Turkey that likes very well draining soil and sun. I opted to grow these in a pot rather than in the ground because I was concerned that they would be lost in our empty backyard given their diminutive size (about 4″). We seem to have inherited soil that is on the loamy side of sandy, which is a pretty excellent texture for bulb growing. If you’ve got heavier soil, I’d suggest going with pots.
I’m considering transferring the bulbs to the backyard garden later this year once it is up and running and the beds have been defined.
Growing in Pots
I used a commercially prepared cactus soil and topped it off with a gravel mulch. The gravel I used is leftover from a freshwater aquarium that I shut down and sold off a few years back.
The pot (6.5″ deep) is made of something like a soft terracotta and is meant to look like stone. I bought it for $5 at a used items store and drilled holes in the bottom for drainage using a masonry bit.
I purchased the bulbs from Garden Import, but I no longer recall how much they cost. There were five bulbs in the package at planting time, but only four came up so you can see this growing experiment wasn’t a total success. Regardless, four out of five gorgeous, healthy plants is good enough in my book.
Last fall we bought $80 in bulbs and planted them literally days before the first snowfall.
I set some of the smaller bulbs aside to plant in pots, as I worried that they would be lost in a yard that is still so blank. Together, Davin and I planted the pots and placed them in our very cold, but covered, south-facing, unheated porch (what we optimistically refer to as “the greenhouse“) and watered them on occasion.
Today the first of those bulbs bloomed!