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.
In just two weeks. This is how it happened.
During the Xmas Holidays we were sitting in the living room watching a television show called, River Monsters, which is essentially a fishing show but so much more. I’m really into fish and have kept freshwater aquariums on and off since childhood. Is there any geek hobby I haven’t tried? The answer is, no. But I digress. The host, Jeremy Wade, is a biologist and angler who travels around the world catching fascinating and fearsome freshwater fish (say that 10 times fast!). Each episode is an attempt to prove or debunk the myth of a supposedly man-eating freshwater fish. It’s a great show.
Fish ON! [Said with British accent].
While watching an episode that was filmed in Thailand, I turned to Davin and said, “Oh yeah, this reminds me that I got an email today asking me if I want to go on a garden writers press tour to Thailand. I kind of ignored it because it’s the Holidays and I’m trying to avoid thinking about work right now — I should take a second look.”
At which point I did take a second look, started to think about the possibilities, got excited about them, and sent in my pitch. Jump ahead a few months to just two weeks ago when we were given the go-ahead to purchase our air tickets to Thailand. And in another two weeks we are off!
Homage to Thalassa Cruso from Michael Weishan on Vimeo.
Lately I’ve been thinking about my gardening past: how I got into gardening and the first books, magazines, writers, and television hosts that inspired me. Coincidentally, just yesterday I learned about Thalassa Cruso, the” Julia Child of Horticulture.”
I’ve decided that she just might be my new gardening hero.
Through the late 1960′s Ms. Cruso wrote and starred in a PBS television show called “Making Things Grow.” She is described in the New York Times as a “… witty and acerbic Englishwoman…” and an, “Everygardener, a true amateur who drew her advice from personal experience rather than formal horticultural training.”
Sounds like a plantswoman after my own heart. Now, how do I get my hands on a copy of this series?
This is it. This is when it begins. It’s there now, but you have to look for it.
Be a detective. Turn your attention way down to the ground. Can you see it?
Today you might have to crouch down low or look up high to get a glimpse, but within just a few weeks it will all be happening so fast all around you, you will wish for it to slow down just a bit so you can catch your breath.
I’m at Disney World right now, where I will be giving talks on growing delicious and gorgeous food in small spaces until Thursday afternoon as a part of the Epcot Flower and Garden Festival.
Yes, you read that correctly. You are not hallucinating. Or perhaps you are? Or perhaps I am. Maybe those bottles of water our liaison gave us when he picked us up at the airport were filled with *Magical* Disney Water and everyone here is participating in a giant group hallucination. Our minds are moving around a giant 50 square mile theme park but our bodies are asleep inside womb-like pods in one enormous room. If that’s the case, it’s all very well constructed because those painful blisters on my toes are terribly convincing.
Regardless, it is a very warm, sunny, and plant-filled hallucination so I accept.
I am told that it continues to be cold and grey back at home in Toronto so I am soaking up as much sunshine, warmth, and colour as I can in the days that remain. Here are a few sights from the first day:
I’ve spotted several tillandsia on this trip — they infest many of the trees — I’m showing you the first because it’s always the most exciting.
This is pink trumpet tree (Tabebuia impetiginosa). Several other people informed me via Twitter that there is a yellow version, too. For desperate, colour deprived Northerners, flowering trees are a religious experience right about now. Davin and I flocked around this one on one of my breaks between presentations like it was one of Epcot’s biggest attractions or a Disney child star roaming the parks. Squeee!!! Eventually a little girl asked her parents what was so special about the tree. They were as confused as she was.