That wasn’t smart 7.0

It’s a new year and a new season and although one would hope for inspiring resolutions and the turning over of new leaves to happen, this dog has already finished trying to learn that trick.  In my opinion we might as well skip the introspection and self reflection and jump right into the new year with a fresh batch of poor decision making and questionable choices!

too late to plant bulbs

Option 1.  The temptation of clearance bulbs when both the thermometer and calendar say it’s too late.

In this neck of the woods after Christmas is too late to plant spring blooming bulbs.  Reason number one is that a week of snow and temperatures in the teens has frozen the soil solidly leaving no options for outdoor planting.  Solution?  Pickaxe a clump of compost, thaw it out in the garage, and pot up way too many bulbs for winter forcing.  I’ll let you know how it works out.

planting clearance shrubs

Option 2.  The temptation of clearance evergreens when both the thermometer and calendar say it’s too late.

Same deal with a ‘Red Beauty’ holly and ‘Butterball’ Hinoki cypress.  The holly was practically free since its clearance price was significantly lower than any other single item purchased on that particular trip to the DIY store, and the Hinoki (Chamaecyparis obtusa) also barely registered when dropped into the wagon during a Christmas Eve grocery run.  At $8.99 it was completely worth the eye roll I endured during checkout. 

in the green galanthus

Option 3.  The way below freezing forecast (and calendar) say this snowdrop is much too far along.

Snowdrops are hardy bulbs more than capable of enduring the next two months of cold in the wide open garden.  I’m a worrier though, so when my precious ‘Fly Fishing’ sprouted too eagerly I chose to opt out and just take the little guy inside and under the lights of the winter garden.  People say growing snowdrops indoors under lights and in pots is difficult,  I say running outside to cover a precocious galanthus every time an arctic blast threatens is worse.  So in it comes.

planting snowdrops in containers

My modus operandi for these snowdrop “rescues” is to completely rinse off the garden soil and pot up in a deep container with a loose, gritty mix of potting soil.  Not to point out the obvious, but I really have no basis for much of what I do.  Advice is always welcomed. 

‘Fly Fishing’ came inside the first week of December, so it’s been a month, but this transplanting “in the green” at what’s probably not the best time of its growth cycle seems to have done little damage.  Obviously you should take care with the roots while doing this.

galanthus 'fly fishing'

The flowers of Galanthus ‘Fly Fishing’ hang at the end of long pedicles.  Outside it sways gracefully in every breeze.  Inside it’s just as nice, and perhaps even better when I can turn on the lights and admire it at 8pm with an adult beverage in hand.

Anyone who has followed this blog for any amount of time knows that smart decisions, restraint, and resolutions do not come to mind when I consider snowdrops.  On clearance at $17 per 100 bulbs I could not resist a few hundred Galanthus worowonii bulbs even if it doesn’t come close to being a favorite species.  I decided that’s kind of ignorant though since I’ve never even grown the plant myself, so in an attempt to become a better person I bought and planted 300 outside with about 2 dozen reserved for pots in the winter garden.

forced galanthus

The first pot of G. worowonii under lights in the winter garden.  I find it promising that one is not showing the typical apple green foliage of the species, since it’s likely a ‘mistake’ mixed in.  I doubt it’s anything too exciting, but I do love snowdrop surprises!

So at this time of year I guess I am just like every other person out there trying to start the new year off as a better person, even if it means buying more snowdrops.  Not to sound threatening but I’m sure this will involve more snowdrop posts than any decent person would want since there are several more potted up for inside as well as several new ones which look very promising outside.  I’ve already admitted to having a problem, so please spare me any additional eye rolls.  The rolls wouldn’t make a difference anyway since over the years I’ve developed quite a high tolerance.

Happy New Year and all the best for 2017.

28 comments on “That wasn’t smart 7.0

  1. Sounds like you’re starting the year off right. I chilled a bunch of hyacinth bulbs but the first ones I put on glass, well–let’s just say two are making roots and two are making mold, and none of them seem to be doing anything at the pointy end. My amaryllis have a lot of languid leaves but no sign of flower stalks. I do have one Christmas cactus going gangbusters, the one I “rescued” from my mom. Go figure, it’s the one that blooms no matter what the abuse. I should start growing snowdrops in my basement under lights. You make it look easy.

    • bittster says:

      My bulbs are kind of hit and miss as well! I guess as long as there are a few hits that will make up for all the misses I’m getting. So far the tulips look worst, but the hyacinths are shaping up now that their growing roots have stopped pushing the bulbs up out of the soil. I kind of cheated with a few though…. I gave three to my mother and since she also wanted them in glasses I pulled them up, rinsed them off and eased them into three hyacinth glasses. Hopefully they are none the wiser for their career path changes!
      Let me know if you get the amaryllis to flower at a decent time. I have a few from last year, and as of last weekend only two showed any signs of doing something other than just sitting there. Oh well. If worse comes to worse I’ll put them out in April and they’ll look nice on the deck 🙂
      The winter garden is starting to kick into gear now. I highly recommend it to all winter weary gardeners!

  2. It’s going to be a great gardening year for you, Frank, I can see. I’ve had little luck with snowdrops, so I admire your efforts. My winter garden indoors consists of three amaryllis at various stages and a hibiscus with no leaves that I’m trying to overwinter under a growlight. Happy New Year! P. x

    • bittster says:

      Your amaryllis are something to be proud of! I can only hope for the same from mine this winter…. although I think it will be closer to spring when they wake up again 🙂
      It’s all in the bulbs as far as snowdrops go. The common ones sold in the fall are often too dried up to ever establish, but if you can find them ‘in the green’ in the spring, or freshly dug in the summer you should have much better luck. If you’re not too fussy, the giant snowdrop (G. elwesii) does well from dried bulbs… but overall it’s not as elegant as the common snowdrop (G. nivalis).

  3. Eliza Waters says:

    I love your approach. Sounds reasonable to me!

  4. Pauline says:

    You’ve reminded me that I have some bags of bulbs not planted yet, I must bestir myself and put them in pots! G. woronowii is on of my favourites as it seeds itself around nicely here. I have it on a little slope so it seeds downhill and is forming a little drift all of its own! I started out many years ago with just one bulb, I must now have about 50 so you will soon have hundreds!

    • bittster says:

      Good to hear Pauline 🙂
      I’m looking forward to seeing the G. woronowii multiply, I don’t think I can ever have too many snowdrops…. and even if I do I’m sure they’ll be easy to give away!

  5. Christina says:

    Let’s me really honest here, Frank; what gardener will pass up a great offer on plants they want/need/just can’t resist (strike through those not applying). The snow drops will look amazing especially if they seed as abundantly as Pauline says they will. Happy 2017

    • bittster says:

      Happy 2017 to you as well!
      You’re absolutely right. If I’m given enough time I usually end up opting in favor of all the questionable plant purchases.
      To be honest I’ve never looked back and wished I didn’t buy that ‘on clearance’ plant…. except maybe an orchid I bought years ago. My mother grows them like weeds, yet mine went belly up after a long, drawn out convalescence. It’s probably the fact my mother saves them while I kill them, that’s probably what bothers me most 😉

  6. pbmgarden says:

    Be glad you you found the great opportunities! Love your enthusiasm. I still have a few bulbs I couldn’t get planted.

    • bittster says:

      Imo one of the best thing about gardening is that even your mistakes can be made into excellent compost and then just spread around the garden and forgotten. When I look at my bowls full of no-longer-with-me plant labels I realize how easily someone can be discouraged. When that happens you know it’s time to just throw out the labels 😉

  7. Peter Herpst says:

    No eye rolls from me. This sounds perfectly normal and I’m proud of you for supporting the economy and the horticultural industry in such a noble manner. At seventeen bucks a hundred for snowdrops, I think you showed remarkable restraint.

    • bittster says:

      Thanks outlaw. I’m glad you appreciate the restraint involved in not buying more snowdrops than I did. 500 sounded like a nice round number, but I drew the line at 300 and feel pretty proud about that.
      …even though 600 would have been twice as nice I bet.

  8. I’ve already placed my first plant orders, including crazy expensive yellow snowdrops. I am ready to read all your Galanthus posts.

    • bittster says:

      I love my yellow snowdrops, they’re some of my most treasured goodies of the spring garden and I’m sure you’ll love them as well.
      As long as we’re confessing plant purchases here, I may as well admit that I have ordered a few other crazy expensive snowdrops which aren’t even yellow. They’re quite average as a matter of fact and I hope someday I will snap out of this irrational snowdrop phase.
      Or not.

  9. Cathy says:

    Happy New Year Frank! I shall look forward to some snowdrop posts as I don’t have many in my garden and they are quite late here anyway. Good luck with those you are growing indoors. 🙂

    • bittster says:

      Thanks Cathy! Your snowdrops will be up before you know it, as well as all the other goodies which show up in late winter.
      I’m sure the sun is feeling stronger already 🙂 lol

      • Cathy says:

        Sun? What’s that? !!! 😉 Hope you are getting some sun at least Frank. We had one sunny day last week, but it’s grey and foggy here again!

  10. Chloris says:

    Seeing as it is confession time, I still have tulips waiting to be planted. Bring on the snowdrop posts, there are plenty of insatiable Galanthus enthusiasts out there who can’ t get enough of snowdrop talk.

    • bittster says:

      Oh my gosh, I wish there was a snowdrop fiend in the immediate vicinity. Probably better that’s not the case since I think I would really go on far too much for even a die-hard enthusiast.
      Trust me, assuming we have a decent season there will be more than enough snowdrop posts, and of course I’m hoping for the same from you!
      Get those tulips planted…. or get them on the compost 🙂 no sense in having them lie around garnering guilt each time you pass by.

  11. Wow, you really keep busy during the off season. I used to be so diligent but that faded in time due to health. I planted and forced and seeded and rushed the season like you taking the plant inside from outdoors, or covering them up. I admire how you keep it up year after year too. The snowdrop obsession grows and grows… no eye rolling here, only complete envy for your endeavors. Next spring the labors pay off.

    • bittster says:

      The winter garden looks like far more work than it really is. I do pop in to look at things on an almost daily basis, but because of the cooler temps, the plants don’t really need much water or attention.
      I am considering far fewer annual seeds this year. The vegetables look much better at the farmstand and there are plenty of flowers which selfseed or are just easier to buy. Even my trusty coleus have been ignored this winter and most of the cuttings have rotted away.
      Oh well. Always nice to give new things a try!

  12. Always ignore eye rollers, that’s what I say. Also, introspection is highly overrated. The people who get the most of what they want are all extroverts with not a shred of introspection (see our president-elect, for example). Anyway, Snowdrops are harmless at worst, and delightful at best, which is most of the time.

    • bittster says:

      I’m working on my presidential demeanor, it’s going to be amazing. I’m going to garden in ways that haven’t even been discovered yet and it will be great for everyone. really.
      In the meantime I will enjoy my snowdrops and not speak of the dark side of my addiction. My checkbook balance really doesn’t have anything to do with this blog anyway 😉

  13. There won’t be a snowdrop in sight this summer but I wish you’d come to the Fling! I do love your passion and ‘to hell with it all’ attitude! I’ve already annexed my seed starting from the basement to the rarely used dining room table and don’t think that’s enough room for all the seeds I “must” grow!

    • bittster says:

      Go for it! I can think of many things worse than seed addiction to fill your winter downtime with.
      The idea of sneaking away for a few fling days sounds awesome, but I think the guilt of leaving everyone else behind would do me in. I suppose they could come along and enjoy a few days exploring DC -which we would like to do anyway- but honestly I’d want to ditch them most of the time and that might not be the best family thing either!

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