Sunday, January 27, 2008

Waking up the "Green Room"

Over the past week and a half, since our return from the big city of Atlanta, I have been working out in the "green room". For those of you that have been to our nursery you know what I am referring to, the old greenhouse area that was closed in and turned into our information/checkout/organics/tools area. We started calling it the green room for a couple of reasons. The first and foremost is the reality that it is actually green. The roof was made from some type of dark green poly plastic, and when you are in there the room actually takes on a green hue. Children walk in during the summer months, gaze at their hands, and tell their parents "Mommy, Why does my skin look so funny?". We have gotten pretty used to the color by now so it always elicits smiles when we hear this from the little ones. The other reason is the move that we made to organics seven years ago when we purchased the nursery. We think of ourselves as a "green nursery", and hope to encourage you in the use of organics also.

Back to the green room story. Most of you are aware that we turn the area into the "Winter Garden" each year around the first of November. Filled with Christmas trees, decorations and wonderment ~ it has been an annual tradition for the last six years. While we were gone to Atlanta the elves (Jamie, Linny, Kim & Cody ~ Thank you very much!!!) were extremely busy packing everything up in the room that remained, taking down the lights and decorations, removing the curtains and preparing it for the massive amounts of products that would be arriving when we returned. It takes an awful lot of product to make it through the spring in a garden center. Over the next two weeks we will start receiving everything and hopefully have what is needed when you stop by. The seed racks are already up and filled with the latest flowers, herbs and vegi's. The pre-emergents and dormant oil sprays take center stage this time of year, as we try and assist you with easy things you can do now to make the rest of the season a pleasant one.

The transformation of the room back to gardening always fills me with a feeling of joy. I love spring time and all the renewal it brings. The days are already feeling longer with the extra light when I head home, and the tulips I started in glass jars are just starting to poke their heads up. Pretty soon I will be taking cuttings off the giant forsythia out front and bringing the branches in to force for an early splash of spring in the gift shop. We have actually seen quite a few early gardeners over the last few days. With the weather a little warmer the last couple days, and the sun peeking out, I think everyone is as antsy as I am to get started. I hear there are more storms on the way though and everyday we get this moisture is another one that you won't have to drag your hose out to water those new plantings from last year.

Enjoy the day, and we hope to see you soon, Susan


Anonymous said...

I'm young and new to this game...

How exactly do you "force" cuttings in the spring and also bulbs. I always end up with rotten ones. What am I doing wrong?

Susan said...

Hi! Cuttings are the easist so we will tackle that first. Most trees and shrubs that bloom in early spring can be forced into blooming inside the house. The ones I have had great luck with are forsythia and flowering almond. I have also done my flowering cherry tree and crabapple with good results. All you need to do is wait about two more weeks ~ then go out and cut yourself some nice size branches. Keep in mind your pruning means less flowers in the yard outside, so don't overdue it :} . Then bring the branches inside...some people like to pound the end of the branch with a wooden mallet so it will uptake more water, I have found you really don't need to. Make a small fresh cut though when you bring them in (this will help them take in more water) and then just put the branches into warm water, place in a semi-sunny window and in about 10 days to two weeks they should start "forcing" blooms. They will last for weeks if you keep changing the water, and some like the cherry will smell wonderful.

As for bulbs, sometimes the best laid plans in the fall that you forgot to do work out in your this I mean I forgot to plant a bunch of my tulip bulbs. They were in the garage and just got missed. So when we returned from Atlanta I placed some in a soil less mix, and some in water. The ones in water have sprouted faster, and both are in a nice sunny window. They do require chilling, and lucky for me my garage was just right it seems.

Good luck, and if you don't have any forsythia, stop by the nursery if you are in the area and we will prune some for you off the huge one out front. It really is a lovely BLAST of spring. See you soon, Susan

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry to sound so naive but I have a further inquiry...

Do the bulbs float in water? I believe this may have been my problem in the past. I see some people use stones. Is this what you mean by soil-less? I think I should just come see you this week!!!

Susan said...

No, they are not actually floating. You place them into the glass container ( I like glass because you can see the roots, and also if it is needing water) so that they are touching but not crammed. Then I usually add some small pea gravel and a few larger pretty river rocks on the top. You give them just enough water to cover the bottom third of the bulb, but not the entire thing. While it works much better with bulbs like paperwhites, you can do it with tulips, as long as they have been chilled.

By "soil less" I mean most any commercially produced potting soil. Believe it or not, they are actually soil less. Consisting more of bark and forest by product. Hope this helps, Susan.


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