"Gardening is about enjoying the smell of things growing in the soil, getting dirty without feeling guilty, and generally taking the time to soak up a little peace and serenity. " ~Lindley Karstens

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Amaryllis Confusion

This is my first year to grow Amaryllis.  I picked up five bulbs from the big box store early November last year.  They were labled as: 'Apple blossom',  'Oskar', 'Christmas Story', 'Star of Holland' and 'Susan'.  

'Apple Blossom' and 'Oskar" were the first two that bloomed.  Their posts are here and here.

'Christmas Story' is supposed to have all-white flowers, but when it bloomed at the end of November, I found it was the same as 'Apple Blossom'.  I think they must have mixed up the label during the packing.

While I don't mind having another 'Apple Blossom', I did buy five different bulbs for the varieties.  Especially I would love to have an all-white amaryllis around Christmas time. 

The following is the one labled as 'Star of Holland',  bloomed on Christmas Day. 

And, this week, the last of five bulbs, the one labled as 'Susan' also bloomed.

To my untrained eyes, I hardly can tell the difference between 'Star of Holland' and 'Susan', can you?  And make it even more confusing, I think it is almost identical to 'Oskar' too!

Here are two old pictures of 'Oskar' (as labled).   Let me know if you do see the difference!

Can anybody tell me if any of my Amaryllis is correctly labled, or not?!  So much for the varieties, and it is sad that it is not something I can conrtol.

For now, I guess I will only see those Amaryllis varieties from my blog friends posts. 

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

One Year Blogversary and A Rain Splashed Garden

The 14th day of this month was my one year blogversary day.  I started a post draft a few days before that day.  The day came and went, and I did not get time to finish the post for the day.  Actually, struggling to find the time has always been the common theme in my one year experience with the blogging.  With only 79 posts to the day, obviously I am not a prolific writer, but how glad I am that I made it to my one year blogversary!

We had a good day of rain several days ago, which was much needed in my area.  I would like to present you some foliage and blooms in my rain splashed garden along with my one year blogversary rambling. 
Delicious Cordyline fruticosa 'Kiwi'
Hawaiian Ti is showing its bright pink new leaves of the season

As lots of my readers might have known,  English is my second language.  I know most of my blog friends can  flow their thoughts naturally through their flying fingers without the need to think about the grammar, spelling or the organization of the sentence.  For me, I need to look up the dictionary to make sure I am not saying something I didn't mean to. Not to mention the grammar, spelling or a common English saying. Although I tried to check as much as I can before I click the "Publish" button, I am sure there still have been lots of mistakes in my writing. Thanks to all my forgiving readers for the encouragement you have given me over the past year by reading my blog and leaving the comments!  I still could not believe my blog got nearly 7900 visitors from all over the world, and more than 21600 hits within one year.

Christmas Cacti
Together with the writing, it is also a year that I learned to take pictures of plants. I use a Cannon EOS Digital Rebel XTi as my viewfinder. I have to admit that I still have not read the manual yet. All of my knowledge about this camera are from my husband, who is the real owner of this camera since it was gifted to him several years ago. I really need to take some time to read the manual since I believe there are still something about this camera I am not fully taking advantage of. 

Snapdragons  (saved from the distressed rack in the big box store)
I never took so many pictures in a year, and 98% of them don't have people in it.  Thanks for the invention of the digital camera.  It made it possible for an amateur like me to choose a presentable picture out of numerous blurring, not well-exposed, or unbalanced pictures for my posts.  My family is now used to seeing me rushing out in the morning before work to capture some flowers in the soft morning sun.  Sometimes, I wonder what my neighbors think about me when they saw me in my apron taking pictures in the front garden during the late afternoon time. That was when I had dinner cooking on the oven, and wanted to take some pictures before sunset, and forgot I am still wearing apron!

Various bromeliads, one of my favorite collection in the garden!
Of course, the main driving factor for me to start this blog is to record my garden progress I started around the time we bought our house about one and half year ago.  It helped me to record my gardening lessons and fun as a beginning gardener. So many of you have endured my whining since very beginning, and shared the excitement and joy with me every time a new bloom was unfurled, a new plant was acquired and a new garden bed was opened. Thanks for all the tips and plant identification help you have given me along the way.  I guess many of you are now used to seeing me asking the questions in my post!

Loving this swan container full of double impatiens blooms!

Lemon Lime Warneckii is now blooming

Angelonia angustifolia
 Now one year has passed, and I definitely want to continue my blogging fun.  Please bear with me when I could not post frequently, response to all the comments you have left, or visit your blog and leave the comment as much as I would like.  I do enjoying reading every single comment you have spent time to write.   I felt I have made so many friends in this blogging world, and learned so much from all of you.   I deeply appreciate the help you have provided to me in various ways, and I know I am growing up both as a blogger and a gardener because of all of you precious readers and fellow gardeners.  Thanks for the continous support!

To end this post, I need to ask "the question of the post" :)  Could anybody identify the cultivar of the hibiscus I have in my header picture?  I got two cuttings over one year ago, and now they are both blooming.  One has been identified by Floridagirl at "Peace in the Valley" as "Jane Cowell", and the one in the header picture is still unknown.  Thanks!

Friday, January 7, 2011

Late Coming of Christmas Cacti

My Christmas Cacti bloomed late this year.  They were full of buds around the Christmas, but just opened last week, just on time for the New Year. 

I bought different colors of these Christmas Cacti about two years ago, each came in small size.

Two years ago, I was a no gardener at all, but could not resist these beauties when visiting the garden center. After they were done blooming that year, I read as much information from the web about the care of these plants as possible. I followed those instructions diligently about watering, fertilizing, and trimming. I also used those cuttings to try to propagate more free plants for myself. I obviously did not do all right, some of them started rotting and dying, and some constantly have the branches broken off. At the end, I only had several colors left, and had very few flowers opened last year.

Earlier December last year, I found some of them showing the buds. They were brought back to the spotlight only then. Some of them still are showing the sign of root rotting. However, I am grateful that they even bloomed for me without any care from this gardener. I think this time, I want to try to put a little bit more care to them, just don't overdo it. Hopefully they can grow healthier and fuller next year.

Here are two of my best Christmas Cacti this year, together with my blooming paperwhites.

Obviously these two "best"s are not that good compared to those that are full of flowers in the store.  I know I still have not found the secret to grow them.  Anybody has any great tips to grow Christmas Cactus??  How often do you water, fertilize them?  What kind of soil medium do you use to increase the drainage?
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