Today was beautiful, sunny and in the low 50's, but even the television weather guy has expressed how "over" this winter he is. It seems as though we have just a taste of good weather for 36 hours or so, and then we're hit with another bout of clouds, rain, drizzle, and (OMG....) snow!
I was delighted when Alice called with her offer of letting me keep most of the plants if I would be willing to start some artichoke seeds for her. Since she only wants a couple of each cultivar, it seemed like a good deal to me! All of the varieties she purchased promise to produce in one season, and since the walled garden at the Big House retains such heat, I'm pretty confident I can overwinter them in the vegetable bed there. Planting 36 of each of four cultivars gave me a little confidence that summer is actually coming! I've been chomping at the bit to get seeds started, so I was thrilled to see that the artichokes actually need three months of growth before the first frost in order to produce this season. Just the names are enough to make me excited...."Violet de Provence,""Violette Precoce," and two others. (Quick, get in the kitchen and start the Gremolata!)
I also took some time to pot up the last of the rooted "Betty Marshall" brugmansia cuts that have been sitting in water since fall, and planted both Mignonette and Chinese Forget-Me-Nots (all three shown above). The last two are are typically planted outdoors in the fall here, but I'm hoping I can "push the ticket" a little bit and have them in bloom for the tour in mid-May. The mignonette is really not the prettiest of blooms, but the fragrance is incredible! The Chinese Forget-Me-Nots were free with my order from Select Seeds, and the color works perfectly with the blue patio furniture!