Sunday, February 15, 2009

GBBD: Fickle February

Eleven months ago I joined the world of blogging. On my second post I joined many other gardeners in celebrating Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day, which means that although I haven't reached my one-year blogaversary yet, I have posted a whole year of blooms! Just for fun, I looked back at all my Bloom Day posts and realized that 4 of the first 11 were pretty pathethic, stretching the meaning of the word "bloom." Today we'll make that 5 out of 12.

Remember the amaryllis I showed in January? It was just beginning to grow, and I had thought that it would be in beautiful bloom just in time for February's GBBD. But do you notice anything wrong with this plan? Although it has continued to grow and grow--the tallest stem is 25" from the top of the bulb--there is not a sign of a bloom. I'm not sure if I did something wrong in planting it or whether I just bought a dud.

My other plan for blooms this month have also fizzled. I had a few leftover bulbs from the fall and decided I'd try forcing some indoor blooms for the first time. Although these were potted up in early January, they have a long way to go before blooming . . . if ever. I don't even remember now exactly what I planted--I think there were 3 tulip bulbs in the nearest pot, a daffodil in the pot to the right, and who knows what in the other, seemingly empty pot. This was my first attempt at forcing bulbs. I hope next winter someone posts some tips on forcing bulbs; I'll be sure to read it carefully!

This month I don't even have a pretty bouquet to feature. I haven't had time to pick up my monthly bouquet from the florist, and Husband seemed surprised when I said "Happy Valentine's Day" yesterday. (I would have gladly settled for chocolates . . .) So the only plant truly in bloom is the poinsettia already featured the last two months. I'm actually surprised by this; I don't remember ever keeping a poinsettia in bloom this long before.

Like many of you, we experienced a February thaw the past week. Temperatures even soared up to 60 degrees one day, and it was easy to feel spring fever for a few days, even knowing that it is more than a month away. Just for fun, I poked around in the muddy garden. Pushing aside the leaves and mulch, I discovered a couple surprises.

New green shoots were peeking out of the wet ground! I'm not sure what these even are, because they are less than an inch tall. I'm guessing they are probably crocuses--I remember trying to finish planting bulbs last November as the weather began to turn, and finally digging a hole and throwing in the last of crocuses just to be done with them.
Correction: Thank you to Frances and Gail who kindly corrected me here--these are not crocuses, but rather daffodil buds. Of course, I should have known that! But it's been so long since I've had crocuses, I had forgotten that they appear as grassy-like leaves. It's pretty exciting to think a few daffodils already think spring is here, but now I am wondering--just where did I plant those crocuses??

The shade garden is even muddier, so I didn't want to disturb too much, but near the front of the garden the primroses are showing new life as well. I hope neither they nor the crocuses minded the new blanket of snow they wore this morning. Winter is far from over, but signs of spring are emerging. And now there is new hope for some real blooms to show here for March Bloom Day!

For more Bloom Day posts visit hostess Carol at May Dreams Gardens.


  1. Hi Rose, I wouldn't give up on your amaryllis yet. It will probably send up a flower stalk soon.

    Don't you just love to find those little green shoots signs of spring in the garden. There is hope after a long winter.

  2. "Digging a hole and throwing in the last of the crocusus just to be done with them" LOLOLOL
    Something I would do for sure:)

  3. Hi Rose, the outdoor surprises are so wonderful. I would say the bulbs are daffodils. Crocus foliage looks like grass, kind of. Almost happy blogaversary to you too. Your blooms will come!

  4. Not more snow?

    I'm amazed that you still have your poinsettia, too! Well done!

    It is great to see a few green shoots coming through, I agree. I have had just a few snowdrops, which have managed to fight their way through the perennial I accidentally planted on top of them. Oh dear!

    I definitely have some mini daffs coming through. Yay! Need to tidy up out there, though, and everywhere's wet and muddy!

  5. I'm with Lisa, keep watering that amaryllis and maybe one day, you'll see a bloom stalk. I was surprised that two of mine bloomed twice, happily surprised!

    Hang in there! Spring is coming!

    Carol, May Dreams Gardens

  6. No, not 5 our of 12 at all Rose. All plants are lovely-with or without blooms. And I am still loving your poinsettia.

    Tell hubby it is not too late to run out and get you a bouquet of blooming chocolate roses:) Just for fun! have a great day. I bet next month you'll have tons of flowers in your garden.

  7. Dear Rose, I think February is cruel to northern gives them a few warm days and gets the heart racing and excited for spring...then dumps snow on them. I remember living in St Louis! Soon you will be showing us your amaryllis and daffodils (I agree with Frances...those green shoots look like daffs). LOL! You and many of us dumped those last bulbs anywhere just to get it over with!

    Have a good day!


  8. Rose, I got a big box of chocolates. :} But, I have no blooms so were are even. I will say that amaryllis looks pretty pathetic. I'll bet one day it will bloom and it will be spectacular! I haven't found anything green outside yet. :{ Didn't this year of blogging go by quickly!?

  9. Hang in there Rose with your Amaryllis, they can take a bit longer to bloom from what I've seen and read. Your garden is definitely showing some signs that winter will be over before you know it. Congrats on 11 months of blogging!

  10. Lisa, I'm glad to know there's still hope for the amaryllis. I was pretty excited to see anything green in the garden!

    Flydragon, I had everything carefully mapped out last fall--tulips here, daffodils there. And then it got colder and my back started aching, and the map got thrown out the window:)

    Frances, Thanks for the correction--of course, you're right. It's been so long since I've grown crocuses, I'd forgotten what the foliage looked like. I was just so excited to have ANYTHING green coming up!

    Mean Mom, it was just a light snow that melted by midday. Spring doesn't really arrive here until late March or April, so I'm being wishful in thinking anything will bloom soon.

    Carol, Thank you for the hope--your amaryllis was beautiful!

    Tina, Hubby said he hadn't been to "town" to get me something. Maybe now he can get some Valentine chocolates on sale:) I know that spring will be here soon; it's wishful thinking to think anything might be blooming here in February.

    Gail, Yes, February and March are often "teasing" months. Thanks for the correction on the crocuses--you and Frances are right about those being daffodils. This spring will bring lots of surprises, since I don't remember where I planted the last of the bulbs:)

    Beckie, Mr. P has had the last two days off--and then Monday, too, groan--so he didn't have "time" to get me something:( It's hard to believe it's been almost a year of blogging--what did we ever do before??

    Racquel, We can easily have another month to six weeks of winter, so I know I'm being premature in thinking crocuses might be coming up here yet. Thanks for the encouragement on the amaryllis--maybe next month's Bloom Day?

  11. Hiya Rose,

    Where there's shoots, there's hope :-)
    Would you believe the verification word was 'rosiness', in your honour. Honest.

  12. Joco, Hello! Of course, I planned that word verification on purpose:) Glad you stopped by--I've visited your Bloom Day post--so creative!--but was unable to leave a comment. I've had problems with several blogs that way. Just wanted you to know I did drop by.

  13. OK this is getting down right interesting...I too tried to force an amaryllis this winter and at least you got a stem...I have gotten zippo......what a hoot. we will definitely have to chat about that next winter!!!! almost a year of cool is that?

  14. Dear Rose,
    I force flowers every winter. The trick for me is to make sure the bulbs have enough time in the refrigerator before I slip them into the soil.
    Looking at your emerging daffodiles makes me want to go out and check and see what is coming up in my backyard.
    Happy one year of posting for Garden Bloom Day!

  15. Most of us northerners have trouble on bloom days during the winter! I get confused all the time when my plants are babies--it sometimes takes me a while tor ecognize them again, especially as I transplant so much in fall, and I forget in spring! :)

  16. Hi Rose, and thanks for the nice comment today. (we're in central NY, zone 5 btw). I too hope I remember where I planted my little crocus and iris reticulata. I can't wait to see them, but I think it's going to be a while...good luck with the big amarylis!

  17. Hi Rose - don't give up on your Amaryllis - they sometimes miss out a year if they still need to store up food in the bulb.

    And how lovely to have green shoots poking through your soil at last :)

  18. Neva, Another point in common:) Maybe somebody can tell us what we're doing wrong.

    Sherry, I thought that might be the problem with mine, although the box didn't say anything about refrigerating first. One more experience I've learned from:) Welcome back home!

    Monica, Thanks for the encouragement:) I think I will have lots of surprises this spring!

    Travelinbride, Hi, and welcome! I thought you must be somewhere similarly cold--we're zone 5, too. I guess there's still hope for the amaryllis.

  19. What exciting signs of new life in your garden Rose. Although we may be a bit further on bloom wise, the temperature has not reached 60 here since probably late October, so there are some positives :)

  20. You have little pretties popping up and the poinsettia is hanging on to give you some color until they open! I think they are working together on keeping you happy. Thats my plant theory. Lol Wow, a year does fly by quickly doesn’t it?

  21. Oh, Rose, I like this post. It's so down-to-earth (no pun intended). My amaryllis looks like yours - all leaves. It did bloom at Christmas, and now is shooting up more leaves - but no more flowers. Ah well.

    I still have my poinsettias around too. Sometimes I can't get rid of them! LOL. Yours still looks nice.
    What a nice surprise to find those daffodils peeking up through the soil. How exciting! Spring won't be far away now!!

  22. Hi,
    I was just commenting to someone that all I have is a pointsettia blooming.
    If you don't get a flower bud on your amarylis...don't throw it out. Keep it in your garden and fertilize it this summer. Here is a website to tell you how to care for it.

  23. VP, Thanks for the helpful info--I won't give up on this one then. Yes, I was excited to see those green shoots!

    Anna, I was very surprised to see them--it's really awfully early here to be thinking spring flowers yet.

    Skeeter, Good theory! I'm trying to be patient.

    Wendy, I remember your post with your non-flowering bulbs, and I thought, uh-oh, that's what's happening with mine:)

    Balisha, Thanks for the helpful link. I'm always learning something new, but then that's the fun of gardening, isn't it?

  24. Give your Amaryllis some time, Rose. Those dearies would treat you soon. With the Spring coming I'm sure your next month's GBBD would glue my eyes onto the monitor. Good luck!

  25. Hi Rose~

    I have a few fickle Amaryllis myself that like to surprise me with a beautiful bloom whenever they decide to be ready. I like unexpected surprises from the garden :)

    I'm glad you liked the last 'Artists in the garden' interview. I've got some interesting artists lined up.

    Happy Bloggaversary!

  26. I'm sorry your forced bulbs aren't working for you. I think you started them too late. I potted mine up in November. My stupid forced bulbs decided to start blooming just as I was leaving for Florida. I had to shove the Tulips back in the garage to slow them down. I don't prechill my bulbs. I just stuff them in soil in a pot, water and close them in a cabinet in the garage (it's not heated). I occasionally remember to water them. When they start sprouting, I bring them in. That's it; it's really easy.
    How great that your Daffodils have started sprouting. No sign of mine yet, but soon, I think, very soon.

  27. Hi, Rose--I've been walking the gardens once a day looking for signs of spring--the warm weather last week was such a tease! We need another trip to Arizona, no?

  28. It is my eleventh month too! I can't believe I've been here for nearly a year, I wonder what I would have spent all this time doing if I hadn't been blogging?!! Perhaps better not to think about that!!

    Your picture of the green buds rising throught the compost is very beautiful (and full of hope )

    Thanks so much for your e, I know you are busy this week. I hope you enjoy it. :)

    S X

  29. It looks like a dud amaryllis to me! Surely the flower shoot would be up by now?

    Our poor pathetic little daffodil patches in our front garden have suffered at george's paws and we only have about 2 that look likely to flower!

  30. Just been to comment on your Guernsey pie post!

    I have A Thousand Splendid Suns on my bookshelf waiting to be read. I loved The Kite Runner but someone told me that Suns is even more depressing so I am waiting for the right moment to read it!

  31. Well at least you found out what is coming up in your garden Rose.

  32. Rose, in our part of the country we are at a disadvantage for winter blooms. Unless we have a green house there just isn't much that is going to be colorful before April.

    Maybe you got a very young amaryllis bulb. After it spends the summer outside it will bloom next winter.

  33. The fact that your daffs are popping up is a good sign! I had to get down and look really hard to find mine...and they are starting but only barely visible...not nearly as much as yours! And I'm in Virginia! I'm glad to read that others think your amaryliss will still bloom. It would be nice to get a treat later in the spring, wouldn't it?!

  34. Chandramouli, I hope by March to have something to show!

    Karrita, Thanks! Looking forward to the next installment.

    MMD, I thought I was probably late. I'm learning through all my mistakes:)

    Cosmo, Now would be a perfect time for me to go to Arizona, but not so perfect for Daughter. Very possibly March.

    Suburbia, I would probably have a very clean house if it weren't for blogging or maybe I would have finally written my great American novel, LOL on both counts:)

    Liz, I think I'm the dud on the amaryllis--I probably didn't plant it right. 1000 Splendid Suns is very well-written, but definitely more depressing than The Kite Runner. Worth reading,though.

    Susie, Sometimes it's hard to tell what the first green shoots are--I've saved many a weed thinking it would turn into a flower:)

    Marnie, I'm thinking from all the advice that it may take another year to bloom. You're so right that we don't have much until April.

    Jan, I can't believe I have something starting here where it's so much colder. I'd love to have the amaryllis bloom, even a month or two from now!

  35. It's not impossible for you to still get that amaryllis to bloom, Rose, but at this point it's doubtful.
    If it doesn't flower it's not likely to be anything you did! It might have been a dud bulb or it got too cold during shipment. Go to the store after Christmas and peek inside of the boxes of leftover gift amaryllis. The bulbs are in the dark, unplanted & unwatered and will still send up pale stalks with half-developed flowers. Those bulbs want to bloom!

    You don't want amaryllis to get cold, but the tulips need some chill. MMD stuck hers in a cool garage but one of the garden bloggers used to fill an old refrigerator in her basement with red tulip bulbs planted in clay pots. They chilled for a few months, an artificial winter, then came out, grew under lights and made a spectacular show.

    I hope I'm wrong about the amaryllis but at least the leaves are attractive!

    Annie at the Transplantable Rose

  36. Sorry you had no blooms Rose, but your early signs of life look very promising.

    I've had some amaryllis duds in my time - all foliage, no bloom. But as others mentioned, they also can just be slow. I hope yours blooms for you soon. They're so pretty!

  37. Sometimes I'll have an amaryllis do that, Rose. In fact, I have one right now. It may or may not put up a flower stalk. My advice is to keep it going as long as you can, then put it in your garden for the summer. Bring it in before frost in the fall, store it in a cool place for a couple of months, then pot it up again and I'll bet it will bloom next year. It might even bloom in your garden this summer, if it doesn't bloom soon now. Sometimes when plants are taken out of their native environment, they do strange things. Or at least do them at strange times.


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