Saturday, February 5, 2011

Spring in the Solarium

It's been about 50 degrees every day the last couple of weeks.  I think it has to do with the return of the sun! Remember that the 42x12 foot space is not heated.  It is warmed by the waste heat out of the house that we lose out of the windows as well as the sun.  The sun beams warm the gravel and the water inside the solarium and the majority of the heat is from that thermal mass.

So I thought I'd share the things that are blooming and growing despite all the snow outside. 

This is the barley I planted last September.  Just like the energizer bunny!  It keeps growing.  (It was however the only seed to germinate out of 2 doz.) 

Looks like maybe I should put it in another pot.
 MINT-- I can't remember which kind, but it's been nice to have fresh mint all winter.  It's especially good in Mojitoes.  :-)  

It serves the dual purpose of repelling aphids.  So I have several types of mint around the solarium.
 May geraniums have always been hit hard by aphids, so I took most of them upstairs to the hot tub that doesn't work.  They are growing nicely up there, but these----planted in the center of the mint plants--- are continuing to do well down here.  We'll see if they can keep clear of the aphids, now that it's getting warmer.
 This is a begonia that was chewed on last summer by aphids.  I moved it outside to see if the aphids would leave it alone.  By fall it was almost completely dead.  But I started watering it and low and behold when I brought it in the solarium for the winter, and the aphids had all been frosted off of it, it decided it was spring.  So all winter this begonia has been growing and now is producing little blooms.  I attribute a lot of the success to the pot it's in----a recessed water space at the bottom, so it can draw water when it needs it.
 These I got last summer at P&M's nursery down the road.  They are yellow irises.  They never really died down over the winter, but you can see on the right where I trimmed one of the leaves.  This week I pulled the leaves apart and saw all of these little leaves coming up, so I trimmed off most of last year's and these are emerging.   

I really hope they bloom this year.  Last year they didn't.  They just got really really tall.  I attributed it to a moderate climate in the solarium.  I MAY have to move them outside to the garden to see their yellow blooms.
 Ah, my pride and joy.  I was told that the only way to get blueberries to grow on your property was to eat lots and lots of blueberries and then collect your own waste and plant it.  Rest assured, that is not what I did.  

Last fall Curt and I went up and hiked around the Matanuska glacier and dug up some blueberry bushes.  We planted them in my berry patch, but I took some of the branches that had come loose and just stuck them in the mud around the pond in the solarium.  Last fall they bloomed and I didn't know what to do.  Now they are leafing and I have a plan.  If I see blooms, I'm going to get a tiny paint brush and try to pollinate them.  Wouldn't it be cool to have blueberries growing in the solarium???


 These primroses have been so hardy.  They keep blooming at about 3 month intervals all year long!
In the back of that pot you can barely see the nasturtium hanging on to life.  The aphids didn't like nasturtiums either, so maybe that's what's helped this primrose?? 

 Even the marsh marigold is peaking out of the mud around the pond. 

Today is seed planting day, so I'd better get with it.  I hope to add new little germinated plant pictures soon!  :-) 

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