Monday Magic – Iris Reticulata, Peppers and Osteospermums

Welcome to a HOT Monday Magic. Well, hot for February. In fact, right now it’s 15°C! There’s a lot to be inspired in the garden today, from beautiful iris reticulata flowers (variety Katherine Hodgkin), hellebores and crocus, to the emergence of the first pepper seedlings of 2017. Now, I’ve had GREAT difficulty with these in the past and have never managed to get more than a tiny fruit in 2016. I put the seeds in early this year to extend the growing season with the hopes I’ll get a larger harvest. So – California Wonder – if you’re listening, grow well, strong, big and give me LOTS of yummy goodness.

Meanwhile, the osteospermum cuttings I took last autumn have not only rooted, but are beginning to flower. Let’s be frank; getting these flowers to root is little harder than pushing a snipped piece of stem into some compost. BUT, it’s a welcome sight in February to see the arrival of flower buds. There are in a conservatory however, so the plants in the garden are far from flowering.

In the alpine garden, the iris reticulata bulbs have also exploded into beautiful colour. These fabulous plants come in a variety of colours, often of deep blue and almost purplish hue. However, I really love the soft, delicate pattern of Katherine Hodgkin as something a little different. It’s the first time I’ve ever grown these bulbs and they were SO simple. Placed in the alpine troughs with plenty of grit to stop the bulbs from rotting, they should repeat flower for several years before they lose their vigour and need replacing.

Iris reticulata (Katherine Hodgkin)

Just yesterday, the iris reticulata blooms were still in hiding.

Finally, I found quite a surprise in the shed today. I’ve been dealing with a mouse infestation for many months, and I heard some squeaking. Thinking, perhaps, it might be a new nest of these little persistent rodents, I scoured the shed…only to discover the noise came from a zebrafinch nest. And there, despite it only being February, were some teeny tiny chicks.

Spring is on the way for sure!

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I'm Geoff, and I'm a plant hoarder.

Like magpies collect bright shiny things, I can't resist plants. An exquisite flower, soft ferny foliage or a beautiful majestic tree - I love them all!

Here, I'll indulge in all things flora and share my passion. Join me as I develop my garden and hoard more plants without apology.