Not much gardening to be done–needless to say! But sitting by the woodstove with a cat and a flower catalog in my lap is my idea of winter gardening. I got the Jung’s catalog. I enjoy looking at the pictures but the only thing I ever order from them is gladiolas. They have a terrific collection of 60 for around 20 bucks. Every year I buy them, plant them and put in metal stakes, then forget to tie them up so they first flop and then bloom sideways. Even so, they are STILL beautiful in bouquets, but this year I decided I’m going to grow them in a row in the vegetable garden. I am also going to plant my dahlias in the vegetable garden, in a boring row, where I can water them and stake them easily. I order dahlias from Swan Island Dahlias in Oregon. I also have some from last year in winter storage. Last year I had some very nice Bishop of Llandaff dahlias. Two of the three tubers I planted came up. I really hope they make it through the winter.
I have had rather sickly, unhappy-looking delphinium for the last two years, after five years or so of glorious plants, all of them grown from seed. So I’m going to try growing another batch from seed this spring, of a variety of types. When they are ready to plant outside I’m going to put them in the cutting garden also, so they can grow in that sunny, protected, fertile area.
This is a kind of sad photo for me–from June of 2011–the rose was a monster that we finally dug up–it just took over the entire back yard, and collected Japanese beetles from the entire western hemisphere. Of course there are still shoots of it coming up here and there. The lily in bud in this picture also had to go–because of the red lily bug scourge. And this delphinium–we will see. I hope it will come back next season.
Why a cutting garden? Well, I really like taking bouquets to the Blackbird Cafe in town. But taking care of fussy or floppy plants is not my favorite activity. And especially the dahlias may do better for me and bloom faster if I can convince my husband the vegetable gardener to let me have the prime location–right up against the rock wall, where he likes to plant the peppers. I like the larkspur for delphinium-like blooms in the actual flower garden. And other plants that don’t need staking or special treatment.
Dahlias, delphinium, and glads–making bouquets that last a long time and travel well is easy with plants like these.