Sunday, April 24, 2011

Hopelessly behind in updates, but not doing so bad in the garden for someone who is employed full time and is really good at signing up for extra-curricular options.

I was inspired to buy leek and celery seeds and an interesting cuboid sort of seed starter tray about 1.5 months ago. The choice of seeds because both seem to be rather slow growing and the new fangled seed tray because my friend who runs the nursery recommended it. The cubes resemble dark, dense foam of some sort or the other. Not sure of the brand as they came unwrapped as rather fragile sheets.

Typically, I'd order my leek seeds from Territorial in Oregon, but I was wanting instant gratification so purchased the only variety seed available at the local hardware store: Large American Flag Leeks and Utah 52-70 Improved from Ed Hume's seeds (a NW company that is appropriate for our area and reputable, but not the route I typically go).

The leeks are now about 3.5 inches tall and have been transplanted into larger containers in the greenhouse. The cubes were easily separated and the plants young enough that the roots were just showing through the bottom of the cube. About half of the plants are in a greenhouse/container version of a hot bed with a thick layer of relatively fresh manure below the layer of potting soil.
The celery are still in the house and are quite tiny, but do have true leaves.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Salix gracilistyla ' Melanostachys' or Black pussywillow is another nice shrub for late winter and early spring that does well in Sitka. The stems, especially the upper (younger) portions, have a warm orange red color that makes a nice backdrop for the black catkins. The stamens are orange-red as well, so the catkins in bloom are rather striking.
The two shrubs in the garden started as cuts stems purchased at the Seattle Garden Show about 14 years ago. I carried them home in a suitcase, plunked them in water and like most, but not all members of the willow family, roots started forming pretty quickly. One plant started out in what turned out to be too tight a spot and I had to move it when it was about 4 ft tall and 5ft wide. This turned out to be unfortunate, as the pre-move shrub produced many catkins and had a pretty nice form. It hasn't quite recovered from the move yet, this willow is not as forgiving as the rhododendrons which seem to be really tolerant of moving around the garden.