Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Bring on the empty snorkels!*

This sight does not thrill me. At all. Standing water is the death of non-aquatic plants (if you're wondering why hydroponically grown plants don't drown, it's because their water is oxygenated).

The good thing, perhaps, is that this water is not draining because the rest of pot is still frozen solid. So the plants' roots are not yet suffocating. They're frozen. Still, I stand the pots on their sides and tip the water out.

Our thaw has been rapid and dramatic, starting on Sunday, with the time change, and with full day and night temperatures above freezing. Earlier last week it snowed a good 4". And I have seen March blizzards, before. Anything is possible. But next week is also predicted to be warm, so these snow pictures may be the last of our record-cold season.

The blueberry above - one of three - is not so bad if it's swimming, as the plants have evolved as bog dwellers. But the roses? Raspberries? And the poor boxwoods?  I think the cold may have done the beautiful boxwoods in. Their leaves make that sinister (to a gardener) rustle that is papery and lifeless, and they are pale and curled. They were a wonderful gift from Virginians Paul and Sonya, last summer. A lifetime away.

This was March 5th, just five days ago. It's a lot messier now.

I am very glad that I lifted all the lily bulbs - the first time ever. They would have rotted.

If they continue to store well - above - they will be planted in mid April. The Lily Garden's Judith Freeman sent me some good storage advice late last year: "...pack them in peat moss, wood shavings, vermiculite, etc. in plastic bags with either just-a-bit-loose tops (like staples but not tightly sealed) or a few pencil-point holds if you use ziplock bags.  (Packing in peat for early-dug bulbs is too damp, but it's fine for now [November], since they have all died down and they aren't too fussy.  You can put them in the fridge or a place that's cold enough (below low 40's) but won't freeze hard. A note of caution--exposure to light can cause them to sprout too early, so don't pop them a vegetable crisper and then pull it out every day...or just put them all in a black bag or something like that."

I used peat, individual baggies, and left them open, in the crisper drawer, with a paper bag over the top to shut out any chinks of light. So far there is a little mould one large Silk Road bulb, but I cleaned that off. Hopefully they will stay healthy.

This is a good time to order lily bulbs, by the way. Order ye lilies, while ye may.

* And David Niven's second memoir is not a bad read, if you're looking for uncomplicated escapism. And who isn't (says the woman sloughing her way through Moby Dick. And yes, I mean sloughing - it's a good book for scrapig off the layers you want to get rid of)?



  1. It's true that boxwood detest wet feet, but Justin should be hardy to -10F. Rustly and papery doesn't sound good though. It was a lovely evening - you two are exceptional hosts and we still cherish the visit :) Come to VA and we'll get you back in box. I'll trade you even up for a few posts of flowers from your upcoming trip. Wishing you safe travels!

    1. I think it was the cold. We had one -11'F record, that I know of. I even wiltpruf'ed them. I'm really sorry, after the trouble and expense you went to. Our Harlem terrace is like the kill zone, apparently :( This year will be the year of the annual. Hey, that's kind of a pun. I will do my best to post good flowers.

    2. You don't have anything to be sorry about. You enjoyed the plants and that's enough. We got dinner and the High Line and Wave Hill so we made out like bandits! No worries. In all seriousness, if you want to give them another try in the hope that next winter can't possibly be as lousy as this one, come on down and we'll hook you back up. It is always a pleasure to see you and Vince :) And Monticello is right up the road...

  2. The pending is here as well, supported by ground still frozen underneath the upmost layer. 50-60s all week sounds like trouble. Don't get me wrong, I'll be out to enjoy it. But my garlic (lilies) are out there too.

    1. Ha. Never write comments on a phone with autocorrect. The ponding.

  3. Maybe I should plant some lilies this spring... My terrace roses and hydrangea safely spent the winter inside on the dark, cold bottom landing of the back stairwell. I am waiting to see how the plants in the garden proper have fared, which will hopefully be revealed by the end of the week as the last of the five feet of snow melts away.

  4. It's unseasonably warm here in the Twin Cities (54°F in St. Paul this afternoon). The drip-drip-drip of snow melting into standing puddles on lawns and sidewalks. There's a pre-spring tension in the air. I anxiously await the first sprig of green.


Comments on posts older than 48 hours are moderated (for spam control) . Yours will be seen! Unless you are a troll. Serial trollers are banned.