A Gardening Year

The adventures and misadventures of an heirloom gardener

Monday, June 13, 2005

Heat Wave

May was so cold that at times my heat went on. June has been making up for it with 90 degree temps every day.

I grow mainly from seeds resulting in overcrowding. Instead of thinning out the seedlings, I have room to spread them out in the beds or move them to other beds where the flower seeds I planted germinated poorly or not at all. But I have only been able to sit back and watch helplessly as the seedlings struggle in the heat. I dare not move them.

A few afternoons we were blessed and cursed with thunderstorms. The blessing was that all of the plants experienced tremendous growth spurts and the ground was soaked enough that I could transplant the larger seedlings. The curse was that the weeds also grew tremendously. It became a race each afternoon after the rain to weed and transplant a few beds or in cases where the seedlings weren't large enough or the weeds were threatening to choke them out, I just weeded around the plants that I wanted to keep leaving the rest of the bed to the weeds for now.

What's blooming now? Pinks, pinks and more pinks with a few Sweet William. I used to have more Sweet William. I'm not sure why it died out. Since it is so easy to grow from seed, I will plant more next year. The mystery pinks that I transplanted from the Purple Garden into the Cosmos Garden have bloomed. They are semi-double and not particularly attractive. The Tiger lilies around the birdbath are blooming. They never cease to amaze me. Supposedly it is much too shady there for them, but every year they come back and bloom their fool heads off. This year after they die back, I'm going to move them to the Yellow/Orange garden. They will get more light there and have the Citronella lilies to keep them company. I am also happy to report that I have my first poppy blossom ever. I'm thrilled to have finally figured out how to grow poppies. I will be planting more next year.


At 10:00 AM, Blogger crazygramma said...

You gotta love the mystery plants in the garden I have two that I sort of remember planting last year. One has yellow flowers almost like a daisy and the other one is a purple bell shaped flower.

At 10:09 AM, Blogger Sylvana said...

I have found that there doesn't seem to be any rhyme or reason to poppies. I have them growing in mostly shade and in full sun. I have them growing just fine crowded in with other plants while others had died because of it. I do know that they do not like to get dirt on the foliage! The leaves that get dirt on them from digging nearby almost always curl up and die. I think the orange oriental poppies are the toughest. But once you get the hang of growing them, you should be able to try other colors. I would plant other colors in full sun and make sure that they do not get crowded.

At 10:14 AM, Blogger Kasmira said...

Do you grow your poppies from seed? I tried that this year and am not having much luck. (I think it is a perennial oriental poppy.) I will try sowing the bed directly this fall. (Maybe the seeds need a cold period?) If that still doesn't work, something else is going in the darned dirt spot!

At 9:19 PM, Blogger crazygramma said...

I heard that putting them into the freezer for two weeks prior to planting helps, but I just put mine in and water them alot

At 11:22 PM, Blogger OldRoses said...

Annual poppies need a period of cold. I've tried the refrigerator route. That didn't work for me. What finally worked was broadcasting the seed into the beds in March. It had been suggested to me that I could sow the seed as early as February, but there was too much snow on the ground until March (unusual for NJ). I have ordered a perennial poppy, Prince of Orange of course, to try. That I am assuming it will come in the form of a root.

At 2:05 PM, Blogger Sylvana said...

Seed packages from the store or catalog should be ready to go. It would be highly unusual if they needed any cold prep.

At 1:04 AM, Blogger OldRoses said...

Sylvana, annual poppies germinate best in cool soil like Sweet Peas. Some people try to fool them by refrigerating the seeds first like Southerners do to get their bulbs such as tulips and daffodils to bloom. Since I keep all of my seeds refrigerated until I plant them and I still wasn't able to get the annual poppies to germinate for me, I sowed them outside as soon as the snowcover was gone which was in March this year. That way I was assured of the cool soil temps that the poppies prefer.


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