Monday, 30 April 2012

Foxgloves (30 APR 2012)

I haven't done much gardening recently due to the incessant rain - just waiting for the seedlings to grow. Canary creeper, lavatera and sweet pea are ready to plant out, there's no risk of them drying before they take root, which is my usual worry. The cacti seed packet said that they would germinate over a period of months, but it didn't mention what to do when the soil shows signs of becoming mouldy. The only other failures so far are the broccoli seedlings which started with a growth spurt, then withered except for one.




I took these pictures yesterday for The Patient Gardener 's End of Month View ...

 







I thought it would be a good idea to spend my gardening time trying to find a book to read for Sage Butterfly's Earth Day reading project. I searched the local library and bookshop but couldn't find any books that I wanted to recommend. I don't buy stuff off the internet unless absolutely desperate - as that wasn't an option, I searched on-line for a poem instead.

After all the wind and rain we had yesterday, this seemed appropriate : Earth Voices
A poem written by Bliss Carman, who was awarded the title of Canadian Poet Laureate - officially or unofficially, it's not clear from references. However today, it seems that he's not recognised as one of the great poets - according to critics, he wrote prolifically but his work didn't show much development through his career. I actually don't know the difference between a good and bad poem, I know there are some that rhyme and some that don't, hopefully Earth Voices is remembered as one of his better ones. I suspect it rhymes a bit too much, like a nursery rhyme, but I like the pictures of nature that it paints and how it emphasises that this planet belongs to the elements - what's taken needs to be returned.

 But the end of the month is today  ...



The views above don't show the foxgloves which are all that I can see. Now might be a good time to make some notes, before they get infested ...

Below on the left are self-seeded, second generation foxgloves in the woodland. I made a conscious decision to leave this area untouched after planting the first foxgloves here in 2010. A large population of babies started to appear soon after the parents finished flowering, I had to resist the temptation to thin them. Compared to plants on the right grown from packet seeds sown a few months earlier, transplanted into a nursery and thinned; there's not much difference in size. 
 











It was worth the trouble though, because it seems that "my creations" are going to flower first.
Below on the left is one of the plants from my nursery that was transplanted after thinning. On the right are my deliberately stalled seedlings, which have taken to their new home. Even though they still look tiny, it could be possible that they flower later in the year as they have been over-wintered. Possibly saving the best till last, as they were grown from seeds collected last year from my favourite foxgloves - lime-green with olive speckles and white with burgundy speckles.











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17 comments:

Indie said...

That is a beautiful poem. One foxglove that overwintered here has started blooming, and I have several seedlings as well. It has very much surprised me, as the soil is still so bad there and pure clay just a few inches down. I love foxgloves!

Christine @ The Gardening Blog said...

I LOVE your Cherry blossom ... that first shot is magical! Your foxgloves look great, mine are still tiny. Can't wait to see yours bloom. Everything looks so pretty with the pink petals on the ground.

linniew said...

Really wish I'd seeded foxgloves last fall, they are so special. You inspire me b-a-g. Next time I'll remember.

Mark and Gaz said...

That's a lovely poem, and those foxgloves will look great in a few weeks time!

The Sage Butterfly said...

I have some foxgloves that self-seeded, but I want to add some more. With these extreme fluctuations in temperature, they may not do well. They are one of my favorite blooms. I am looking forward to reading that poem. From your description, it sounds like something worth pondering over. Thank you for participating in The Earth Day Reading Project.

patientgardener said...

Thanks for joining in this month. I am looking forward to seeing all your foxgloves in flower

Donna said...

I never realized how big and interesting your garden is until I saw these overview images. I like the paved levels and see you have many areas to garden. Is that a cherry? It looks like it is snowing petals.

easygardener said...

Your Cherry blossom is looking very attractive. I have just planted out some Foxgloves I grew from seed. I know pink will predominate in the end as it always does in my garden but I am hoping for some other colours at least for the next couple of years.

Stacy said...

Your cactus will have gills when they come up...

It's lovely to see your garden in context, b-a-g, and to see where the "woodland" (which for some reason is always my favorite to read about) fits in with everything else. I love the way the foxgloves are hobnobbing so happily with the bluebells. It's interesting that the self-seeded/unthinned ones are so much on a par with the ones you transplanted. I read in some book or other on naturalistic planting that close/dense planting usually works just fine in "wild" settings but wasn't sure how much to believe it.

Donna@Gardens Eye View said...

Love the poem..your lawn with the standing water looks like mine after this rotten April weather...but you have so many beautiful plants growing....foxgloves have shown themselves and I hope to see them blooming again this year...

David Marsden said...

Sorry to see that big puddle on your lawn - an all too familiar sight at the moment. And I'm sorry to hear of your foxglove infestation (I think you mentioned before that it was aphid?) as they don't seem to bother mine. I wonder why. D

Alberto said...

I thought your garden to be much smaller than what it is! I like the shape it has: rectangles in rectangles, like the golden part.

I love foxgloves even though I find them a little fussy in my garden (too drought for them I suppose). The only foxglove I grow and that self-seeds is digitalis ferruginea. Veeery shabby somehow but I like it because it's a foxglove!

Crystal said...

I enjoyed the poem too.
I have quite a lot of self sown foxgloves, transplanted some of them in the autumn but they died in the drought. Transplanted some more in March just before the rain and they are thriving.
I've also bought a few cultivars this spring. Be interesting to see how they compare with the wild ones.

b-a-g said...

Thanks Indie - Glad you liked the poem. Foxgloves have surprisingly shallow roots considering their size.

Thanks Christine - yes, the cherry blossom petals on the ground are as pretty as on the tree.

Thanks Linnie, Mark & Gaz - I'll try not to blog about foxgloves every week!

Thanks SB & Helen - it was a pleasure to join in.

Thanks Donna GWGT & Alberto - I can't take any credit for the structure of the garden as I found it that way (except for the central flower bed in the rear patio, which I dug out). There weren't any foxgloves before I arrived.

Thanks EasyGardener - Pink ruled in my garden last year too. It will be interesting to see if the seeds of the white and limegreen foxgloves turn out pink.

Thanks Stacy - The woodland is my favourite section too. Maximum reward for minimum effort. I think I messed up with the cacti seedlings because I used ordinary compost with a top covering of gravel. I think you're supposed to use special cactus compost.

Thanks Donna GEV - The puddle had dried up by the next day but weeds are rife after the rain.

Thanks Dave - The foxgloves were infested with black bean aphids last year. There has been no sign of them this year so far, but I'm sure it takes longer than a year for a garden's ecosystem to balance out. From blogger's comments: it's likely that aphids were attracted to the soft-budded plants I introduced to a garden where there had just been shrubs and weeds before.

Thanks Crystal - Glad you liked the poem. Looking forward to seeing your foxgloves.

Kalantikan said...

Like Donna, i also think your garden is wide and you have lots of space to work on and experiment with. Are those seedlings on the left just a bit etiolated? They look spindly and might need a little hardening before transplanting. I wish you can send some of your excess rain to us, we are at the height of our dry season. By the way, I am inviting you to peep on my new blog, haha!...Andrea

Malar said...

Beautiful poem!
You have a big garden to do your experiment! ;)
Everything look so lovely!

b-a-g said...

Thanks Andrea - I am working on an experiment to determine the best growing conditions for broccoli seedlings. Good luck with your new blog!

Thanks Malar - Glad you liked the poem.

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