Roller Coaster Week

And we were off to the races this week! And what a week it was. Our first liners (small plants with a root ball the size of a quarter) came on a semi from California Monday morning. There were nearly 10,000 plants on that pallet and all were in beautiful condition. We were so excited to get our hands dirty!

But first they had to wait a day so we could get flats filled with pots and soil.

seedling trays (1)

Jeanie spent Monday getting started with the seeding. First the peppers, some of the herbs, marigolds to put in early planters. One of the heaters in Ruby’s House wasn’t working properly, but one night of cold wouldn’t hurt the freshly seeded trays.

Tuesday brought very cold temperatures. The high was a couple of degrees below zero and the wind howled from the west. Our propane provider loves days like this, as long as he doesn’t have to do any emergency furnace repairs!

cuttings

Jeanie’s next job was to take cuttings of the few stock plants we keep over. These are from plants that are hard to find (and tolerate our neglect over the winter!). We are careful not to take cuttings from plants which are patented. Most of the cool, new varieties are patented, so if we do propagate them, we need to pay royalties. The nice full tray on the left is our favorite scented geranium, Mabel Gray. She has the best lemon scent and is exceedingly difficult to root out. If there are 45 cuttings, we can probably count on 10 plants. That is why most commercial growers leave her alone.

Most of our geraniums also came in Tuesday. The FedEx truck and our staff had to plow their way through a nasty snow bank to get in and out of the yard.

liners

Wednesday was also bitterly cold. Lori and Cathy and Kaitlin planted up as many hanging baskets as possible, as well as some of the regular pots. Our scheduling is very awkward the first few weeks. It would be nice if everything could be planted as soon as it arrives. But because each variety of plant goes into several different types of containers, and we grow some of all of them in Rosie’s House and the extra go in to Ruby’s House, the planting gets staggered. Top that with the fact that the liners come from about 8 different growers, all shipping at different times, and we sometimes feel like we are herding cats!

frozen liners

So on Wednesday, all my best laid plans were challenged. We are not sure why, but one of our major suppliers (also from the frigid north) decided to ship 3 cases of tender liners ground in minus zero temperatures. In nearly 50 years, we have never received cases of plants that were frozen solid into the center of the box! That threw a monkey wrench into our plans in so many ways. These plants had been ordered in August so availability was an issue. We won’t receive replacements for what is available until the middle of next week. And the smell of frozen plants is nasty!

And today we received a case that had been shipped Next Day Air on Tuesday (also frozen). Did you know  that Friday is the day after Tuesday?

On the bright side, Thursday morning we woke up to minus 19 degrees Fahrenheit but it warmed up to 24 above! And today we saw 40 degrees. Spring is coming!

Janie Bright Marigold Seedlings (2)

One of the best things about running a greenhouse is witnessing the little miracles in life. This morning there was no sign of life in this tray of dirt. Janie Bright Yellow marigolds are reaching for the stars! This always makes me smile. 🙂

Don’t forget to sign up for our container workshops and Dirty Dining!

Fall Bulbs

Now is the perfect time to plant your spring blooming bulbs. This year’s bulbs are very nice, large bulbs. Pick them up this weekend when you join us for Oktoberfest at The Prairie Bistro or call 756-6072 to make sure we are in (we almost always are!).

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My personal fav is the Spring Green tulip!

To plant, dig a hole about 6 inches deep and at least 12 inches wide. Add a dusting of bone meal, place 3-5 or more bulbs in each hole, and cover with soil. Water well. Keep the spot moist until freeze up.

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Okay, I meant my favorite tulip. I think my favorite fall bulb is daffodil. They are deer resistant and seem to tolerate moist springs better than tulips (at least they out performed many other plants this spring 🙂 ). Use the same planting procedure as for the tulips.

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Squills are great naturalizers. Plant these little gems about 2 inches deep.

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Don’t forget crocus! Crocus need to reside about 3 inches below the surface of the soil.

Shockwave Phlox

Yeah, I know this isn’t a fall bulb, but I really couldn’t resist tucking this photo in. Shockwave Phlox is another favorite. This resilient soul is planted in a flower bed that got absolutely no extra anything this summer. Even before it bloomed, the foliage brightened up the landscape!