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Bloom Day, January 2012

This Bloom Day is the coldest day of the winter so far. -4 degrees at 7 am. Still I have a few blooms to enjoy. This Christmas cactus is becoming quite magnificent and sits in the corner of our bedroom where it is one of  the first things I see when I wake up.

We are still a little disorganized from the nearly completed work on our kitchen so this Christmas cactus is sitting it out in the Sitting Room which is on a separate heating zone and very cool.  The small white cyclamen behind it that I bought for Christmas is really enjoying the cool temperatures.

The real surprise is this fuschia. I bought it in the spring and planted it along with a colcasia (elephant’s ear). I was potting them up in my new potting shed when I knocked a bag of perlite on top of the fuschia and broke off the main stem. I was so annoyed with myself, but planted what was left anyway. It took at least half the summer but new shoots appeared and finally in the fall it produced these blossoms. We had a long mild fall but finally I brought the pot in, minus the colocasia which had not done very well because I think our hilltop is just too cool. The fuscia continue to bloom in our unheated Great Room where it gets lots of sun, but very cool. This morning it is just about 32 degrees and the heat has automatically come on. The fuschia has been our great winter surprise.

For more blooms around the country visit clever Carol who thought up this great idea at May Dreams Gardens.

The view outside this morning

What Did I Do Wrong?

My records have failed me once again.  I know I potted up the tulip bulbs for forcing sometime in December. Brent and Becky sent pre-cooled tulips and I thought they would start to sprout almost immediately, but I am still waiting for most of them to get beyond this stage.   Although they were planted earlier than the tulips, this little pot of Muscari armeniacum “Christmas Pearl”, chosen because it was listed as a good bulb for forcing (needing  little winter cooling) is only now showing some bloom.  I potted up the muscari and miniature daffodils and put them in my basement, but it rarely get colder than 50 degrees there.  Too cold for my worm bin, but maybe not cold enough for bulbs?

When I brought the bulbs up out of the basement I put them upstairs in south windows. They grew very very slowly. Was it too cold?  We don’t put much heat upstairs because all our living is downstairs – near the woodstove.  The temperature in our bedroom this morning was 52 degrees which is perfect for sleeping, but maybe not perfect for encouraging bulbs.  That is a single Narcissus bulbocodium conspicuus or hoop petticoat daffodil blooming with the muscari.  I got the bulbs mixed up when I got to the end of the shipment and knew I had two kinds of bulbs in this pot, but not which – until now.

Frank in the sun

Thinking the cold temperatures might be the problem I brought some of the potted bulbs into the living area and put them on our dining table right in front of the big south windows. We all like this spot, for cooking prep, for meals, and for gazing out the window across the lawn and the fields. Frank likes to nap here in the sun and is not terribly happy to have to be sharing the space with all these pots.  I had visions of golden bouquets of miniature daffodils by this time. So far Baby Moon has not produced a single bloom. I just noticed that it is a late spring bloomer. Maybe I just have to wait a little longer. Minnow hasn’t bloomed yet either. It is listed as mid-season.  Should I have paid more attention to this information?

I have looked closely and I may yet have the little bouquet of muscari that I imagined in those dreary days when I ordered the bulbs.  I have forced a few paper whites from time to time  in the past and didn’t have any problems, but this was my first time to force other bulbs.  What advice can you give me for next time?

Muse Day March 2010

Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening

Whose woods these are I think I know.
His house is in the village though;

He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.

My little horse must think it queer
To stop without a farmhouse near

Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year.

He gives his harness bells a shake
To ask if there is some mistake.
The only other sound’s the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake.

The woods are lovely, dark and deep.
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.

by Robert Frost

We took our walk in late afternoon, on shank’s mare, as one of Frost’s farmers might have said. Most of these woods down the road from our hosue belong to a family who no longer live near, and rarely visit, but we have permission to admire and enjoy.

The snow is deep, so we stayed on the dirt road that has been beautifully plowed by our devoted town road crew.

The woods are lovely and deep, but the days are  getting longer, the cold is less bitter and the wind is quiet. For the moment. Time to turn home.

The cats, Frank and Holly, left us to our adventure, waiting for us to join them again next to the woodstove.

Thank you Carolyn gail for inviting us to share visits from the muses.