This week has been rainy and dark, but today the sun broke through in the afternoon. We’re just getting started moving all our perennial plants from their winter positions in unheated greenhouses to locations in our fields where they will grow until they are sold and shipped. Here are some nice 12″ Rosemary just moved out to harden up a bit.
We are also taking stock of the consequences of last week’s bitterly cold weather here in the Northwest. We had three nights with temperatures in the high teens – hard on crop in unheated space. At this time, it appears that the only significant damage was leaf burn on 2,000 10-inch Alstromeria that we are growing for a single customer. The Alstromeria plants are about 3 weeks from shipment, with buds just forming in the foliage. By the time that the plants are in bloom and ready to sell, the foliage will have grown past the damage. There may be some hand cleaning – leaf picking – to get them ready.
Here you can see a variety of crops, including the previously featured Bellis, out in the field. The space that they have occupied will be quickly filled with tray pansies, petunias, and other half-hardy annuals for other programs here at the nursery. We also grow all our early planters and many unheated baskets in our cold houses.
Here’s a crew of guys moving out some very nice mimulus gallons. Mimulus is hardy to about 27 degrees, in our experience, and grows really well outdoors in the early spring. These will be in flower in about three weeks, and give some interesting color to the retail bench. We are also moving out stock and calendula at this time.
Inside the heated houses, geraniums are thriving. We grow them very, very dry to help prevent botrytis and other humidity related diseases. These are Calliope red geraniums grown in hanging baskets for an all-summer display. We do not like to ever grow geraniums under a basket crop, but the cold February delayed our usual moving schedule. The geraniums on the floor will soon be moved to other quarters to finish.
Here are some ivy geraniums in another customer’s pot of choice. Ivy geraniums have been replaced by new vegetative annuals in many baskets – formerly, they were the only high-performing hanging basket for full sun. We still have market for them, although not for 4″ Ivies, and love their clean foliage and clear, bright colors. On the floor are 1-gallon zonal geraniums… only a bedding plant grower would be pleased that our November and February cold has probably killed every geranium west of the Cascades in Oregon and Washington…. it will be a good year for geraniums, especially if you are a grower.
Hanging here are our earliest crop of Ivy geranium hanging baskets. This will go to market this month – they’re usually the first baskets with any color.
Just for fun, I am including this shot of some hardy annuals growing in jumbo trays for use in early combination pots. In the middle ground are several varieties of stock. I’m not sure how this happens, but the dark green plants will have beautiful double flowers, and the lighter green plants will have less attractive – but still fragrant – single flowers. Hmmmm…….