Friday, January 20, 2017

First Order

This is the time of year when we begin to feel trapped inside by winter. We are therefore easy marks for garden catalogs.  Our resistance is up this year as no plants have been ordered yet.  That situation will soon change since we do have new ground ready for plants.

These new pots were ordered with a specific use in mind.  Every spring some Cardinal Flower plants are potted up so that they can be moved indoors when late frosts threaten.  The process has always started with a frantic search in our mountain of used pots.  This year will be different.  Two trays holding a total of thirty new pots stand ready.  That is a slight exaggeration since our order was one pot short.  A previously used pot filled the open spot.

We have never placed thirty Cardinal Flower plants in pots.  There is no plan in place for that many new plants.  Two different wild locations are under consideration to see if we can establish nongarden stands of this native plant.  There was a price break on fifty pots so some control was in place.

The vacuum formed trays are as flimsy as expected so we will use two trays nested.  They will still likely break as we move them but doubled up they may not dump their load.  These trays do show a design improvement.  An earlier order for similar trays were short on engineering savvy.  Individual pots fit snugly into the square receptacles but there was no room at the top for the adjacent pot.  Since the trays are useless they really need to find the trash.

Snowdrops were planted alongside of the memorial bench that marks the final resting place of Becky's parents.  This location may be perfect for the snowdrops.  Left alone, they now cover several large areas.  On a recent walk here, I was disturbed to find a good sized clump fully exposed.  Even the yellow and white parts of the stems could be seen.  Nearly all of these plants grew from seed that simply dropped onto the surface of the ground.  How those seeds develop underground parts suitably deep in the soil remains a mystery.  I am not the first to raise this question.  John Burroughs observed that Trout Lilies will not form flowers until the bulb is more than six inches below the soil surface.  He found the process that each year moved these bulbs ever deeper mysterious.

Our weather has been somewhat bizarre.  Recent days have seen temperatures that remained near or above freezing overnight.  Even exposed ground remains frozen and I am looking for some modest snowfall and slightly lower temperatures.  It was surprising to find that seventy-two year old gloved hands quickly begin to ache on what was seen as a beautiful January day.

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