First I went into the greenhouse and took pictures of the seedlings coming up, because they make me happy.
Some are mine, for the Garden and the Plant Sale, and some are Andy’s, for Agronomy.
Then I looked out the window and saw Louis taking the cover off the overwintered perennials, so I went outside. I was glad to see that not only are the plants alive (I’m a worrier), but have even been thriving out there, under the blanket (which is now off).
Once I was outside, an advance scout for Spring caught my eye. Hands freezing, eyes tearing from the cold, I walked around the Garden. I found just a little bit of color to share with you.
Today is the Spring Equinox, Happy Spring! (just a few minutes ago, on March 20 2014 at 12:57 pm for latitude 41.47.) It IS warmer today, but the advancing signs of Spring are not where we usually find them on March 20th. OK, no more complaining about the long cold winter. Since the usual flowers are not blooming yet, barely poking their noses out of the still frozen soil, I will show you pictures from other years.
Snowdrops, March 13, 2013
Dwarf Iris, Winter Aconite, March 15, 2012
Scilla, March 22 2011
Hellebore, March 17 2010
You can see that we have a lot to look forward to! As soon as there is something besides grey and brown out there, I will let you know. In the meantime, I marked the Spring Equinox this morning by balancing an egg on its end. What are you doing to celebrate Spring?
Here is the “Shrimp Plant”, Justicia brandegeeana, blooming in the Conservatory. I’ve never seen it looking so good!This Justicia is native to Mexico. It likes soil with lots of organic matter, lots of moisture, and partial shade. It tends to be leggy and brittle but responds very well to pruning to keep it in shape. As an added bonus, the pruned cuttings are easy to root.
The flowers are the thin white petals with maroon speckles which you can see hanging from the very showy bracts. (Clearly the bracts are what gives it the name Shrimp Plant!) The Shrimp Plant will bloom on and off all year round. It is not hardy here in Rhode Island but makes a good houseplant since it does not need full sun and tolerates a bit of neglect. It will also grow well outside in a large container, where it will attract hummingbirds.
The Shrimp Plant is in the Acanthaceae family. The genus Justicia is named for James Justice, an 18th Century Scottish horticulturist. The species honors the American botanist Townsend Brandegee, who lived from 1843 to 1925.