This dainty little double-flowered aquilegia is a self-seeder over at my community garden. I’m not sure of it’s origin — we first noticed it years back and have been encouraging it to keep going ever since. Encouragement, when it comes to aquilegia is a breeze — it amounts to nothing more than transplanting them into safer spots away from high traffic areas and allowing them to produce seed pods. The plants do the rest. I have never started aquilegia seed indoors as some instructions suggest. They need a cold period to germinate, so it makes more sense and much less work to simply toss the seeds onto the soil in the fall and wait for them to pop up on their own when it warms up in the spring.
I have three types of columbine growing among the violets and wild garlic in the shadier side of my community garden plot, but I think this one is my favourite of the lot. I recently purchased seed for another ruffly, double, pink variety called ‘Pink Tower.’
This from a female who refused to make any associations with the colour pink for the first 30 years of her life.
These Lady’s-Slipper orchids are currently in bloom in my friend Barry’s garden. If you can make it to his garden open house this weekend you’ll get a chance to see these and a few other species in person.
When we think of orchids, we tend to think of those finicky tropical flowers that are so often difficult to grow without the benefit of a heated greenhouse. Amazingly, some species of Cypripediums are cold hardy and even fewer still are native to the so-called cold north. You can still find them growing in woodland habitats in protected parks across this part of North America. I was lucky enough to catch one in bloom on a trip to Lake Huron several years back. I didn’t even have to go out to a protected spot — the plant was growing in the lot behind our cottage!
I seem to like every spring-blooming flower within this genus. They have an elegance about them that I find appealing.
The first new radishes have been making their way into our salads over the last week — what a treat! First up is ‘Sparkler’, a tender, two-toned variety that reminds me of a flattened ‘French Breakfast.’ The later is long and elegant but only appropriate for the very deepest containers, while ‘Sparkler’ is short and squat, perfect for window boxes and smaller pots.
The trick to growing tender radishes in pots is to keep the soil moist, but not soggy. Dry soil turns out small, woody radishes. Deeper containers are easier to keep moist. If you are having trouble growing decent radishes, try supersizing your container and growing a smaller variety.
This year I am experimenting with a big wash basin that is about 8 1/2″ deep by 18″ wide. I made lots of holes in the bottom of the container with a big nail and a hammer before filling it with potting soil. I then planted the seeds in concentric circles within the container, spaced about 2 inches apart so the radishes would have room to grow. Approximately 20 or so radishes can grow in there at one time — I could have fit a few more had I not sown a patch of wild arugula in the center for the heck of it.
More About Radishes: