Sunday, March 16, 2008

Winter boarder (3)

When I decided to grow impatiens from seed last winter (a year ago), I picked a variety that was supposed to be deep, dark red. The seedlings came up fine, and after a couple of months they were ready to set out in the shaded area beside the house. When they finally bloomed, I was chagrined to find that they were a bright, fiery neon red, not the more medium tone described (and pictured) on the packet. (So it goes with such advertising, as most of you gardeners know.)

This past fall, despite my lack of love for their neon hue, I couldn't let the frost get to all the impatiens. I brought one inside to grow under lights in the attic (and if it hadn't been for Randy, I'd have forgotten about it) (thanks, hon). Here's the lone survivor, still screaming vermilion, but face it: any color is welcome during this long muddy pre-spring tease. This year, instead of seeds, I'll take cuttings from this "mother plant" to start another row for the shade garden. They do brighten up the alley beside the house . . . I just may try another batch from seed. Maybe white. How could they lie about white?
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It was warm enough yesterday to scrabble around in the kitchen garden just outside the back door. I cut down the old stalks of perilla (the original plants were a gift a few years ago from Glynis, and she was right--it comes back doggedly from seed every year, in both our garden and our neighbors'), the dead geraniums, the frozen mint (new green shoots coming up already from that one). A small clump of columbines that reseeded last year are looking quite green and robust. I ought to dig them up and thin them out, but I didn't get that done. Oh, and I think the tarragon is coming back: very happy about that.
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We have new neighbors in the small add-on apartment in the back. Alas, they're smokers: it literally comes through the walls. My eyes are burning. And the smell, yuck. I hate that it gets into our quilts. We have a sizeable air filter upstairs but need a second one for downstairs now. Can't wait till it's warm enough to keep the windows open . . .

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