Winter hints at spring
February at Montrose Garden left us feeling as if we were in the midst of spring. Blooming magnolias, narcissus, primroses, and bloodroot gave us color and worry. March roared in at the end of last week bringing with it “normal” temperatures, rain, and wind. It's the time of year to prune the shrub roses in the sunny gardens so we removed dead wood and excess growth in the center of each plant. We cut back the longer healthy stalks just above an outward facing bud to direct its growth outward, leaving the center with plenty of air flow. Lastly, we fertilized with Rose Tone. A cold but gentle rain gave us the perfect conditions for planting primroses. These plants were grown from seeds set by us in the spring of 2016 and sown in early fall of that year. The seeds germinated quickly and when transplanted into individual pots, grew into vigorous plants by the spring of 2017. Ideally, we would have planted them in the fall of that year but because we were in the midst of a serious drought, we left them in a shallow cold frame until last week when we selected the best colors and forms for sale and for our garden. Now we have a real primrose path with masses of flowers. With luck, this cool weather will remain with us for an extended period and the new planting will lead us to visit this section of the garden daily so that we will begin the process all over and pollinate the best of each type. We also pollinated several narcissus species as well as the delightfully fragrant roman hyacinth, Hyacinthus orientalis. We started working in the sunny gardens and began to clear off each garden while also thinning the spring blooming annuals so the remainingseedlings can grow into better, stronger plants. We have also been working on repotting and dividing potted plants in the cold frames to get them ready for sale or to be planted in the garden. We divided many species of the terrestrial orchid, Bletilla. Some bulbs were potted for sale while others were saved for stock and some were planted in the garden. Trillium seed that had been sown in 2013 had finally made many tiny, healthy looking plants that were also potted to grow on and sell.
Below you can find the process of dividing and repotting Bletilla 'Innocence',which we grow here at Montrose Garden.