We’re into another warm spell, with temperatures predicted to peak at a balmy 50F (10C) this afternoon. I would pull out the shorts and T shirts, but the weather forecast also has a low of 5F (-15C) listed for Wednesday, so maybe I’ll wait another week. For now the indoor garden will have to do while we wait for the snow to melt. Cyclamen coum are at their peak.Sure they would be hardy outdoors under the snow, but to see them blooming now is twice as nice, even though they have suffered more than ever this winter under my neglectful care. Most are unnamed mixed seed, but the darker, smaller bloom is from the Meaden’s Crimson seed strain.I have some whites outdoors, but only this one under lights. It’s got nice foliage, a decent sized flower, and a nice blackberry smudge on the nose. Also, according to the original listing this seed comes from a wild collected plant of cyclamen coum ssp. causasium, which to me means its mom comes straight from the wilds at the edge of the Black Sea near Turkey and Western Russia (and may also be slightly less hardy than other c. coum). A cool pedigree as far as I’m concerned, but based on the mixed variety of colors and forms that came from this seed batch I’m guessing dad was a local.This one is still my favorite. No fancy reason, just like the color.The snowdrops (galanthus elwesii) which I potted up in December from a late Van Engelen order are doing fine, but just not as well as last years order. There’s just not as much variety in bloom shapes and markings this year, and to me this says it might be time to move on from my bulk snowdrop purchasing days. I’m sure I’ll still pick a couple up here and there, but no more bags of hundreds. Just the other day a friend suggested I try Brent and Becky’s since they usually supply a higher quality and larger bulb…. (so maybe I’ll still have to try one more year of bulk orders) Eventually I hope to bring in a pot or two of my own garden’s clumps and force them indoors, but for now my clumps of just one bulb aren’t ready for that. So until then I’ll have to take what I can get.You might recognize the pinkish primula vulgaris ssp. sibthorpii from my Far Reaches Farm order in January. It’s lookin’ good! I can’t really take any credit for this since all I did was keep it warm and under lights, but it’s a nice treat here amongst the permafrost. Rumor has it that sibthorpii should have a white ring around the yellow center star or else it’s a mixed hybrid, but since mine has been grown under artificial lighting, it may not yet be showing it’s true colors. To save on indoor light space I placed another dormant primrose in a cold spot near the door to keep it asleep…. then the polar vortex and little vortices came through and before I knew it the poor thing was a block of ice. After a slow thaw I have it under the light too, and other than a few freezer burned rosettes of new growth, I believe it will be fine.Another objet d’hope is this group of overwintered geraniums I potted up last week. I had a free afternoon and the strangely bright sunshine made me antsy to get something growing, so after another 25 pots of seeds were sown and placed outside to get a taste of winter, I took pity on the stray geranium cuttings sitting in the dark garage, repotted them and set up the second shoplight.I had been of the opinion that my tropicals under a shoplight experiment was a waste of lighting, but last year’s hanging pots of geraniums look much better for having been under the light. I suspect this will be the year of the geranium (pelargonium) since I now have room for nothing else (other than this sad looking cane begonia- which believe it or not will recover very quickly from this wintertime abuse).The succulents are much less bother. Dim lighting, a cup of water in January, and they look as good today as when I brought them in. As long as they only get enough water to hold off death, they’ll be fine until May.
May sounds good right now, but I’ll be happy enough when March gets here. It’s scheduled to come in like a lion, but hopefully by the end we’ll see some signs of life outside. Onion seeds were planted last week so even if the ice outside says winter, the calendar will soon start to argue that…. I hope.