1 My gardener, Ryan McCallister, has been busy starting seeds in the greenhouse.
2 We try to grow all the vegetables and many perennials from seed. That way, you grow exactly what varieties you want and the plants tend to be better quality than nursery stock.
3 These little seedlings are artichoke Green Globe and Violet de Provence, two varieties that grow well here in the northeast.
4 Amazed by how fast all the seedlings are growing, Ryan has a lot of repotting to do. He's transferring the artichokes into peat pots.
5 He removes several plants from the seed-starting tray, creating an assembly line.
6 One by one, he places the plants into their new accommodations.
7 The artichokes now have more room to grow bigger and stronger.
8 My Medinilla Magnifica is beginning to bloom. Native to Southeast Asia, this plant, with its incredible pink cascading flowers, is becoming very popular with plant enthusiasts.
9 Perhaps you recall a recent blog posting about the major winter project of repotting my large orchid collection. Well, it was so worth the effort because they are growing so beautifully.
10 There is plenty of new root growth.
11 And many new leaves are emerging.
12 This orchid is oncidium Sharry Baby 'Sweet Fragrance'. It has four amazing long flower stalks.
13 This beauty is so unusual because it has a strong fragrance of chocolate.
14 Repotting also proved beneficial to the Phalaenopsis orchids because, they too, have gorgeous blooms, like this one.
15 And this one
16 The begonia table is a sea of pale pink and white blooms.
17 Just outside the greenhouse is the berry patch - currants, gooseberries, raspberries, and back raspberries. The black raspberries have recently been tied and neatly secured to their wire supports.
18 A closer look
19 Just below the greenhouse, on the edge of the wetlands, is the grove of mixed pussy willows.
20 Pussy willows, with their furry catkins are very early bloomers and true harbingers of spring.
21 Last winter, these pussy willows were given a severe pruning back.
22 Pussy willows need to be pruned to control their size. When left unpruned, these bushes can reach heights of twenty-feet or more, making harvesting quite difficult.
23 It is very pleasant to walk past the citrus hoop house because the air is so fragrant from the sweet citrus blooms.
24 Nagami Kumquat loads its branches with bright orange, delicate, tart tasting oval fruit. The rind is sweet and therefore usually eaten whole.
25 A closeup
26 This tree is Trovita Dwarf Orange.
27 The fruit is juicy and sweet.
28 Citrus limon 'Striped Lemonade' - This unusual tree is especially beautiful from its variegated leaves and fragrant blossoms, to its striped fruit - lovely!
29 The highly fragrant flowers of Meyer Lemon
30 This is a Parson Brown Orange, an incredible juice orange.
31 Another look
32 The clivia collection along one length of the hoop house is vibrant with color.
33 Clivia is a genus of durable shade plants in the Amaryllis family, native to South Africa.
34 Although there are four species in the genus, it is the Clivia miniata that is most commonly found in cultivation in the United States.
35 The flowers are arranged in umbels, or clusters, upon a single long stalk called a peduncle.
36 Clivias grow best where they receive bright daylight but little or no direct sun, as they burn easily.
37 These are the Asiatic lily beds, which were trimmed back the other day. After a good cleaning, a beautiful layer of composted mulch was spread over the tops of the beds.
38 The mulch was transported from the compost yard using the John Deere loader.
39 It was transferred into wheelbarrows.
40 And then spread evenly over the beds
41 And then raked smooth
42 Another hopeful sign of spring - purple crocus emerging through pine bough mulch
43 And delicate little yellow winter aconite