Still hiding indoors

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.hardy cyclamen coum indoors under lightsSure 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.meadens crimson cyclamen coumI 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.white cyclamen coum with blackberry centerThis one is still my favorite.  No fancy reason, just like the hardy cyclamen coumThe 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) forced snowdropsEventually 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.galanthus and primulaYou 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. primula vulgaris sibthorpiiTo 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.frozen perennial primroseAnother 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.overwintered geraniumsI 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).overwintered geraniumsThe 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.overwintered aloe

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.

21 comments on “Still hiding indoors

  1. Chloris says:

    You have a wonderful selection of Cyclamen coum; great colours. I particularly like that purple-nosed one. I adore any sort of primrose, Your P.sibthorpii is looking gorgeous.

    • bittster says:

      Thanks Chloris, the cyclamen isn’t as noticeable outside, but when you’re desperate for color and cooped up in the house you start to take note of all those little things and look a little closer. I can’t wait to get the sibthorpii outside and growing into a clump, and divided, and spreading all over!

  2. Amy Olmsted says:

    Your Cyclamen are looking glorious and I especially love the white one with the blotch! We should trade seed this season! My C. pseudibericum that I got from John Lonsdale a couple years ago is all budded. I’ll post a photo when they open.
    Also that Primula is just wonderful to see! It’s so nice and compact and full of flowers! I so can’t wait until I get my order from Far Reaches!!

    • bittster says:

      hmmmm, you’ve just motivated me to do a little pollination and see if I can get a few seed pods started under the lights. I’ve been on John’s website a lot lately. So many cool plants!
      Now I just went there again to look at C. pseudibericum… that might be another one I could try here, his pictures have them all outdoors.
      I’m a bit envious of your Far Reaches order that’s still to come. I’m trying to be good but will surely crack soon if the weather stays cold 🙂

  3. The Editors of Garden Variety says:

    Your plants look great. I love the snowdrops and succulents!

  4. Pauline says:

    Fantastic selection of cyclamen in so many different shades, it’s hard to choose a favourite! We have had a mild winter so far and I noticed today that my P.sibthorpii has started flowering, lovely little plant.

    • bittster says:

      Argh! I can’t believe yours is already beginning to bloom outside! Such a treat…. and such a difference from this ice-locked continent 🙂
      I was just telling someone the other day they needed to check out your blog for the fritillaria meleagris pictures. Not that I’m rushing the snowdrops and hellebores, but the snakes head frits (and of course more primula) are also something to look forward to!

  5. pbmgarden says:

    Like the previous commenters I really like your Cyclamen. In fact you have quite a colorful, indoor garden.

    • bittster says:

      Thanks Suzie. I wish it were happening outside too but the snow and cold makes it just that much more special. I enjoyed being out there last week and was wondering why I hadn’t been out in the garage more often.

  6. A remarkable indoor collection! I like the primulas especially. To me they looked more lavender than pinkish. I was interested when you said the name causasium indicated to you an origin in eastern Russia (Siberia). I have some knowledge of Russian place names and was wondering how you reached that conclusion.

    • bittster says:

      Thanks Jason, I reached my conclusion by putting my East Russia right next to Eastern Europe… that’s me screwing up my East West! The cyclamen is from the Black Sea area and the Caucus Mountains -nowhere close to Siberia or China, I’m correcting it right now and I won’t mention how long I looked at a map thinking “I don’t get it, how can those mountains and that area not be considered Eastern Russia…. maybe he means southwest would be more accurate?” and then…… duh…oh yeah.
      Thanks again, my grammar mistakes are bad enough but this one really makes me redfaced.

      • Ah, I was wondering i you meant the Caucusus – a region that has given us many garden flowers. Don’t be too redfaced, I’m great at geography but I still mix up my right and left sometimes.

  7. Cathy says:

    I think long-term you need a proper “winter garden” under glass with space to spread out these lovely treasures you have blooming in winter and where you can enjoy them without having to go out into a freezing garage! The primulas look very happy though, and the cyclamen just go on and on – wonderful!

    • bittster says:

      Thanks Cathy. Someday I hope to have the proper winter garden. A cozy spot in real sunlight with a lemon or two or maybe a camellia would be awesome. One of the problems though is that a winter garden would never get approved unless it came along with a master bedroom/ master bath addition, so the cost is about triple what you would think!

  8. Annette says:

    Your indoor garden is most enjoyable, Frank. I can’t get over the size of these cyclamens! What have you done to them? They were so tiny a while ago. I had mixed success with my snowdrops too. One variety -Hippolyta- didn’t produce any flowers. All these flowers should easily carry you over into spring 🙂

    • bittster says:

      The cyclamen probably appreciate not having to face this years winter cold unprotected! The ones outside look far worse, in fact I’m worried that there may be more than a few casualties.
      I thought your snowdrops looked great, the viridapice especially. Considering how well they do in your snowdrop wood I suspect you will see flowers on all of them next year, it just may take a year longer than expected. Even ‘fat baby’ will become a fat clump 😉

  9. Inside is the place for plants to be right now since outside is impossible, love the snowdrops and cyclamen.

  10. I agree, inside for the plants in this crazy weather. I was curious what you meant about climbing the Falls ice. I never saw anyone do that here. The gorge walls are steep and no one is allowed at the base of the Falls in winter. Were you in Canada on your climb? I don’t know their laws.

    • bittster says:

      No way would I climb that! It was a figure of speech for the way the cone of ice climbs higher and higher as more ice accumulates, it was late, I was tired, my comments don’t always make as much sense as I think they do 🙂

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