In the beginning

was the catalog photo… small stack of new catalogs

There is something about browsing seed and plant catalogs that doesn’t feel like work to me and without Gail here to say “it’s ok!” and “we need to get the orders in by the end of the month!” I’m inclined to put it off until the “real” work is done. (That only gets more complicated when I enjoy the “real” work so much that I put it off too.) It’s like waiting to have dessert until after dinner. Eat dessert first; browse catalogs now! Or first thing when Gail is back. For me it’s less productive to shop alone and a lot less enjoyable. I love settling into the quiet, chilly potting shed companionship of a browse with Gail. She’s always got the more interesting catalog in front of her and I’m forever craning over the table to see what she sees. And I need her to bounce off my “what about this’s?”. Half the time whatever I’m taken in by was tried before I got here with disatrous results (ie. infestation and/or “Julie doesn’t like it”) and the other half of the time Gail rewards me with a “ooh! I love it – put it on the list.” Guess what I live for! We haven’t gotten all of the catalogs in yet – the stack is usually at least 6″ thick and so slippery we’re constantly chasing landslides. I’m going to wait (maybe I’ll sneak a peek and dogear a page or two during lunch) but I promise to get right on task (and tell all about it) as soon as Gail is back at work. Do you browse catalogs alone or with a friend/partner?

Iris reticulata ‘Clairette’ emerging 1-2-08Meanwhile, for those of you who took Julie’s bulb forcing class last October – and anyone else who started bulbs this past fall, have you checked on them lately? The Iris (Iris reticulata ‘Clairette’) that Julie has been keeping in the cold dark of her bulkhead steps are ready for the light and we brought them home to the greenhouse this morning. more Iris reticulata ‘Clairette’ emerging 1-2-08For the first 3-4 days they need to adapt and should be keep cool (55-60 degrees F. – we put ours in the coldest house which can dip to the 40’s) and in indirect light. After that they can be given a warmer, full sun spot. It can take another 10 days to 3 weeks for them to start blooming. Keep in mind that temps of less than 65 degrees F. are best for prolonged bloom and they prefer to be kept even cooler than that at night. In a couple of weeks we’ll think about bringing the tulips up into the light…