Sunday, December 28

December Gardening Itch

What beautiful, warm days we've had this weekend! They've left me wishing that I could get out into the garden and do a little cleanup, get some dirt up under my fingernails for the last time in 2008, and generally sneak in a little garden therapy.

Today, I got home from work with a little bit of precious daylight left, so I put on my gloves (winter, not gardening!) and headed outside to finish up a few chores. First, I had some clearance bulbs to plant:


As I've mentioned, I like to take photos of the packages in situ as I'm planting my bulbs... so come spring I can look up last year's photos and know what to expect from the green tufts that emerge. I thought that I had finished up my planting very late last year... but looking back, I see that I beat this year's date by two weeks! YIKES am I late this year... :)

This blurry photo shows the Japanese gardening knife, or hori-hori, that I received at Christmas:


It has one smooth, sharp edge and one serrated edge, both tempered. It's great to use for inserting small bulbs of species tulips (above) and Dutch iris (below) into patches of small scale groundcovers.


(As you can see, anything brought into the garden must pass the strict sniff test of my Gardening Assistant. Once it is deemed to be not immediately edible--i.e., not a tomato, green bean, or strawberry--I am allowed to carry on with my business!)

I had a few other pressing jobs to do in the garden as well. While digging up a huge clump of deep-red-flowering gladiolus bulbs, I spied the little rosettes of new growth at the base of my 'Hab Gray' sedum:


I had neglected to keep my chocolate eupatorium deadheaded as well as I probably should have this fall... so I cut it back after documenting its beauty here:


I had plenty of free plants (thanks to my part-time job at a local garden center) to heel in also, including (3) 'Carolina Moonlight' baptisia, a few fancy heuchera and tiarella, some acanthus, 3 or 4 'Espresso' geraniums, many red sedums, and a couple of shrubs and climbers.

While walking back and forth to where they had been stashed for the past few weeks, I couldn't help but admire again the brigh orange pyracantha berries mixed in with Little Bluestem. I know that I've showed this before, that orange and pink (which I don't even like!) shouldn't mix, etc., but I just can't get enough of this little combination:


One other notable gardening thing: I am trying my best this year to make friends with daylilies. I still don't particularly want them in my garden, but I read something in one of the gardening magazines about unusual plants to force indoors, and daylilies were among them.

Frankly, anything is welcome in bloom indoors in the very early spring... even daylilies! So I picked up 'Bela Lugosi' (I would have bought him for his name only, but I also figured that he would have a lovely, dark coloring) as a freebie and have just now brought him inside to get him restarted. I'll let you know how my admittedly unscientific experiment with Bela goes as 2009 unfolds... Happy New Year, everyone!

37 comments:

Lisa at Greenbow said...

You are an inspiration today Kim. I have been inside getting next years garden journal ready to go. I didn't venture out. Probably should have taken advantage of this warmer weather too.

Blackswamp_Girl said...

Oh, I don't know, Lisa... I think that I probably should have been starting a "real journal" of my own instead of being outside playing! :) But I needed that.

Annie in Austin said...

Guess you're in a mild spell, Kim - planting bulbs in Ohio after Christmas sounds pretty unusual, even with the help of that dangerous-looking new knife! Wish I could remember who was showing Bella Lugosi last summer...that dark color made me covet it, too. Glad you had a Happy Christmas.

Annie at the Transplantable Rose

EAL said...

Bulb-planting on 12/28! I am impressed though I've none some who did it in January here. With the small ones, I imagine there is less danger.

Wayne Stratz said...

I have a hori hori. Not many teachers get to carry such things. They are fabulous. I did not go into my garden today though temps were in the 60's.

Gail said...

Kim,

We had some good garden weather, too. it was wonderful to get out! You do have some good plants going in! I also put in the deer resistant species tulips.

I bought myself a hori-hori knife...from Leonard when I ordered one for a friend...I love it. I am thinking about how beautiful your new plantings are going to be in your garden...very nice. What a pleasant way to end the year. Happy New Year Kim!

gail

Colleen said...

I totally slacked off on our 60 degree day---stayed in my pajamas all day and read. Now I wish I'd stolen a few minutes to get outside!

I had to look up 'Bela Lugosi,' and now I'm coveting him too. I read that same article about forcing unusual plants indoors (was it in 'Horticulture'?--I think so) and I think 'Bela' is going to look pretty stunning in your house.

Glad you had a chance to get out there and garden :-)

flydragon said...

Since you were in the mood, couldn't you have taken a little drive east and taken care of some garden chores for me too?

Kris at Blithewold said...

A new hori-hori is a lovely thing - I've had mine for going on 20 years now! (I panic more when I misplace that than when I lose my wallet.) And I love the pink(!) and orange winter combo - it may just be a matter of time before those colors appear at other times of year in your garden... Happy New Year and kudos to you for taking advantage of a warm weather garden opportunity. (I didn't...)

WiseAcre said...

Glad you got to scratch that itch.

I've been friends with daylilies a long time but have banished them from my garden. I hate feeding the deer who enjoy the spring sprouts then later come back for the flower buds. It will be interesting to see how the daylilies do when forced indoors.

Ottawa Gardener said...

This year was definitely not one of those that you could plant out bulbs this late but I love those dwarf bulbing iris, beautiful. You don't like daylilies? I think this was a plant that I came to late as well and mainly because it had an edible flowerbud. Now, I recognize its usefulness. It is also one of those plants whose foliage conviniently masks dying bulb foliage. Would it be great if there was a varigated foliage daylily? Is there...

Meagan said...

With the help of global warming, maybe your normal spring season really will extend into December.

Angela (In the Cottage Garden) said...

I soooo want to get out there and finish planting my bulbs. I've been stymied by all the unseasonable snow we've had. It's finally melting and the beds aren't clear yet, but maybe by next week. I was determined to get them planted before Jan 1 this year, but I don't think I'm going to make it!

~Angela :-)

Ketzel Levine... said...

Hey you, thanks so much for stopping by my garden in exile! I've visited your blog quite a few times since starting talkingplants so I was delighted to get your note. Don't be a stranger.

Ketzel Levine www.ketzel.com

Ann D. Travers said...

Hi Kim. Forcing daylilies! Wow. Something right up my alley. Glad you mentioned this in your post. Will give it a go. Great blog by the way.

Pam said...

What fun new plants! That's always a nice thing to do - especially on a nice day in December. (I love all of the Baptisia's especially - and I need to think more about sedums - yours always look so interesting).

I hope that you're having a nice New Year's Day - and best wishes for the year ahead.

oh said...

I love the orange berries and pink plant stems, too. Why doesn't this combo work in clothing, too?

Pat Leuchtman said...

It's hard to imagine you are still able to dig. Not only is the ground frozen here, it is covered with six or more inches of snow. I am fascinated by your mention of forcing daylilies. I never heard of such a thing. This is what I love about the blogs - there is always something new to learn.

Cosmo said...

Hi, Kim--And belated Happy New Year! I KNEW you had to have a combo with pink somewhere in that lovely garden--and who says it doesn't go with the orange? I'm enjoying three weeks in sunny AZ, but I miss my garden so it was nice to share some time with yours.

lisa said...

Wow, your warm spell last weekend was a lot warmer than ours! I got outside, but just kicked around a bit (our ground is too frozen). Forcing daylilies? I'd never thought of that one...I'll be anxious to see how it goes for you! (BTW, once you get hooked on daylilies, I can be a serious enabler with numerous divisions of my plants if you wish! ;-)

Kylee said...

You are going to LOVE that knife, Kim! My mom got me a Leonard one a couple of years ago and I can't do without it.
I have a feeling you are going to feel differently about daylilies one of these days. They have a way of capturing your attention and before you know it, you've bought 'just one more'. LOL.

Liisa said...

Happy New Year, Kim! I think I may have to add that hori hori to my wish list. : ) I have just started to warm up to daylilies. I despised the darn things for so long... I am going to try out 'Alluring Peach' this year. Love your photos!!

Thanks For 2 Day said...

Kim, I am on my way out to purchase a hori hori today, perhaps Dick's Sporting Goods? I still have some bulbs that I haven't put it (naughty me)...and it's decent weather today so, I'm going to try it! Your post is very informative, see? It gave me an idea! Thanks so much:) :) Jan

Mr. McGregor's Daughter said...

Happy New Year! I think I'm going to steal your idea of taking a photo of the bulb package where I'm going to plant the bulbs. My memory is starting to get a little off. You will love your hori hori (or as I call it "hari kari") knife. It's just the most useful tool. The Little Bluestem & Pyracantha berries work because the Bluestem is an orangey-pink, not a blue pink. I hope your Daylily experience isn't like that Bauhaus song from the 80s: "Bela Lugosi's Dead."

westcobich said...

Dear BSG - Stop over at my "place" to check out an Award I've given you. You may (or may not) wish to continue the cycle (sheesh, it's a lot of work) but above all, please know that I so enjoy visiting your blog - it's like fresh air and color and ... well, all the things a garden is!
Enjoy!
signed, Oh at http://westcobich.wordpress.com

Randy Meyer said...

This entry and its photographs are proof that Fall does indeed have its own kind of beauty.

Randy Meyer said...

This entry and its photographs are proof that Fall does indeed have its own kind of beauty.

Randy Meyer said...

This entry and its photographs are proof that Fall does indeed have its own kind of beauty.

Wayne Stratz said...

just stopped by through your profile and need to say that is a cool list of movies you have there. Have a good day.

Kerri said...

I thought I commented here, Kim, when I read this post at the beginning of the new year, but guess I didn't.
That knife looks handy, if dangerous :)
That brief warm-up is just a distant memory now. We got about 3 inches of new snow overnight and it's still snowing. Looks pretty this morning.
I'll be interested to see how Bela Lugosi does inside. An interesting idea! You know how I fee about daylilies :) I have one about the same color. Love it!
Wishing you happy gardening and many blessings for the new year.

Jan (Thanks For 2 Day) said...

Kim, WHERE can I get one of those Hori Hori knives? None of my local stores seem to have them. I haven't gone on ebay yet, but...
Thanks, please let me know, if you can:)
Jan

joey said...

Welcoming you into this frigid New Year, dear Kim ... please tell me, can I use that Japanese gardening knife, or hori-hori, in my kitchen as well as the garden :)

Stratoz said...

you have been recognized as a dear friend... stop by Stratoz

Layanee said...

Missing your posts, Kim. Hope all is well! Cabin fever here with snow, snow and more snow. Good for you but not good for the gardeners.

A wildlife gardener said...

Wonderful choices you have made there. I love to see all the new plants coming to life as well :)

dig this chick said...

Haven't been here in a while and happy to see you have great posts awaiting my perusal. *Jealous* of your japanese knife. Super cool.

cheers, dig

Garden Furniture said...

Wow! That was quite the story telling! Im quite amazed at all the things you've done! No wonder your soo happy! Well I hope you had your fun and excitement. In the mean while, as winters kicking in right now, we might be expecting some change! A change in weather hopefully to the better, it either has to rain or not! Mother nature is playing games with us :}
-Much LoVe

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