Monday, May 18, 2009

Of Greenhouses, Herbs, & Flowers

Double impatien Fiesta Ole Peppermint

I hope everyone went out last night and covered newly planted vegetables, herbs, and flowers. The weather forecasted a hard frost and sure enough, white frosty ground greeted me this morning. A flannel sheet tossed over pots, too heavy to bring in, protected the plants. The two flats of seedlings, yet to be planted, came indoors. The importance of not getting too excited and planting too early cannot be overstated. It’s early folks…there’ll be plenty of time after the threat of frost to get plants in the ground.

A few vegetable plants not only withstand frost, but prefer cooler weather. My father tried to get his peas, radishes, and lettuce in on Good Friday. He grew from seed, not plants. If you’re tucking lettuce, radishes, or pea plants into the garden, make sure you’ve hardened them off first. Not sure what hardening off is? Take a look at a previous post, Hardening Gardening.

Plants to start in early spring outdoors:

  1. Beets
  2. Chard
  3. Kale
  4. Lettuces and Leafy Greens
  5. Peas
  6. Radishes
  7. Spinach

Yesterday, my sister and I headed for a Schmidlin Greenhouse outside of Delta, Ohio. The well-kept greenhouses await gardeners with lush plants ready to be hardened off and planted. I’m an herb lover first and a flower lover second… I know, in this economic climate I should be following the current trend and growing vegetables galore, but I digress. We wandered up down the aisles of the retail greenhouse ooing and ahhing over plants that made my heart beat a little faster, but when I spied the herbs on the far aisle, I couldn’t resist.

My backyard will be home to container-grown herbs, each pot dedicated to one variety. I all ready had sweet basil, so I picked up opal basil and spicy globe basil plants for early additions to cooking. In a couple weeks, I’ll sow basil seed in the elongated container ensuring I have basil until frost.

I adore lemon thyme. It’s one of my favorite herbs in the garden and in the kitchen. I have variegated thyme, but wanted a variety of thymes to round out the container I’m using. I purchased wooly thyme, an old time thyme that remains popular and just plain ole thyme, also called upright thyme. Instead of creeping, it grows upright.

Every front porch deserves to be adorned with a pot of flowers. The little front porch rests in the shade most of the day, so I looked for semi-shade annuals that look great in a pot. Use an interesting container to add a bit of pizzazz. A basket leftover from my now defunct herb & flower shop, Windy Corner, will be the container for a palette of pink, sky blue, and silvery gray foliage. Schmidlin Greenhouse offers an enchanting double impatien that looks like a miniature rose with variegated foliage. I chose “Fiesta” Olé Peppermint, a charming pink color, to be the centerpiece of the living bouquet.

Lobelia makes a statement as a filler in potted bouquets. The lobelia I chose is called “Sky” a clear blue the color of the sky on sunny days. Dusty miller adds the finishing touch of soft silvery gray to the feminine palette with bold pattern. The juxtaposition of soft and bold lends just a smidgeon of drama to the romantic look.

I highly recommend journeying to Schmidlin Greenhouse, Inc. The owners are Don and Becky Schmidlin. The greenhouses sit out in the country on County Road 9479-M north of Delta off Route 109.

Schmidlin Greenhouse, Inc.
Delta, OH 43515
Telephone: 419 822-3137
FAX: 419 822-0175

The rest of the week, I’ll be adding posts regarding thyme. The blogs will cover how to grow it, where to grow it, how to use it in the kitchen and in the garden, and the legend and lore. Whewww…by the end of the week you’ll know thyme well and I hope be encouraged to pick up a few plants if you haven’t all ready.

Now get out there and get your knees dirty!

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