Thursday, March 3, 2011

And the Daffodils Look Lovely Today...

Multi-colored  rescued Daffodils in full bloom.
When I moved from the ranch last year into my new home, here in town with Lee, I rescued every single bulb and tuber I could. My mother had other plans for my wildly designed garden beds. I came away with three large cat food sacks full of bulbs and tubers. I only got one of them planted last fall. I had no idea if anything would take, but as you can see in the photo, I had a bit of green thumb luck. Everything I planted last fall is either blooming (Daffodils everywhere), preparing to bloom (one white Iris), or sending up green shoots (multi-colored Irises and Belladonna Lilies). Just a couple weeks ago, I planted almost all of the remaining two sacks, and they also seem to be taking well and sending up late shoots. I feel a little bad that the poor things didn't get a chance to meet their full potential already, like their lucky cousins already in the ground, but maybe if I'm lucky I'll have a second round of Daffodils? In California, anything is possible.
The up-cycled snapdragon from last Fall.

That's why I've learned to love it here, despite the heat in the summer (something I always wanted to move away from.) You can practically garden year round. Annuals that tend to die off in traditional climates (where they actually have seasons) will stick around another year, sometimes more. I've had snapdragons and California poppies live for up to four years, their stalks growing thick and wooded like a shrub. Two snapdragons that I planted in one of the front beds last summer, who were no bigger than those spindly things you get in a six-pack at the nursery, were refusing to grow and flourish. I could only guess that the reason might be because they had to compete with some taller shrubs standing next to them for sunshine, so I replanted them in a more open bed near the front of our driveway early last fall. I figured they may as well live out their last days basking in what beautiful sunshine we had left in the year, except they never died even despite a couple serious frosts. As you can see in the photo above, they are much larger than those that you would buy in a gallon sized container, and they seem to be getting bigger every day. My secret for saving them? Just replant them in a place where they can hog the sun and cut off anything dead, including spent flowers.
The recent bargain rack snapdragon in recovery.

I'm a sucker for waifs and strays. If I see something that is a little lacking, from abandoned pets to cast away furniture on the side of the road, I will take it home, fix it up and give it lots of love. Same goes with the half dead plants on the clearance rack at the nursery. This is mainly because I feel sorry for things, yes, as crazy as it sounds, even inanimate objects and things without faces. I'll always pick the one I think others will pass up. I've been this way since I was a kid. However, I've procured many a garden bargain by picking up plants for pennies and working my green thumb magic on them, so laugh if you must. When out picking out fruit trees and vines a couple weeks ago, I couldn't pass up two more snapdragons, this time gallon-sized, who looked like they were about to kick the watering can. They've got a ways to go before they look the ones who grew all winter long in the ground and have already sent out legions of blooms, but they are already looking much better now that they are out of their pots.  Plant life never ceases to amaze me with it's tenacity and will to thrive and grow despite whatever conditions it may find itself in.

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