I've been growing voodoo lily (Amorphophallus konjac) for a few years now, getting my first tiny tubers from my friend Mike. I've got a few planted in the ground next to the pond (not the best spot for them) but most of them grow in pots. It's strange that I can say "most of them" because I really only had one potted plant until last summer when Mike decided he was tired of growing these and gave a few more to me.

Although cold-hardy to zone 6 when in the ground, I move the potted specimens into the garage when the autumn cold kills the foliage, then just let the soil dry out. The dead stem shrivels and dies at some time during the winter, leaving a hole in the ground that enables you to peek in and see the tuber -- I just leave them there all winter, until I dig them out in the spring.


Some bamboo cleanup

I started the great bamboo cleanup last weekend. Rather than tackling the bigger plants in the back, I began with the smaller ones in the front yard. (Clean up the part that everybody else sees first, right?)

Those sad, sad front garden bamboos, like this Indocalamus tessellatus whose big, bold leaves look great even in this color -- at least I think so.


Signs of Spring

The garlic in yesterday's post wasn't the only indication of spring I found in my garden. These others were just hiding a little bit.

The irises are pretty dependable early voices in the springtime chorus, peeking out at first, waiting for the warmth...


Finally some green: garlic

I have an alternate title for today's short post: "garlic is easy!"  In the end though I went with the "green" title, as there is so much brown around that any hint of the verdant must be celebrated.

So a quick look at my garlic, which although planted in late autumn has only recently started growing.


Bamboo browns

Continuing with my attempts to find beauty in all of the brown bamboo, it really does make for some striking combinations with the clear blue sky...

...at least it did this past weekend when it actually was clear. With a dusting of snow on everything right now, grey looks like it will be the color of the week.



I found out about a new organic seed company a couple of weeks ago, and it surprised me for two reasons. First, I was surprised to learn that new seed companies were still being created. Based on the amount of seed catalogs that I already receive, it seems to me that there are plenty of choices already in this market.

The second and more important reason I was surprised: it's located right here in St. Louis! SeedGeeks is its name, and I got in touch with owners Marc and Angela Adler recently to ask them a few questions.



I have two favorite times during indoor seed germination season -- which is now for me. My first is possibly obvious, but it's when the seedling breaks the "soil" surface and you get your first glimpse of green, confirmation that the seed did still contain life.

The second favorite time is when the first true leaves start to appear, and the tiny plants start to take on their mature characteristics. That time is now for most of my seedlings!


A little bamboo cleanup

There is much bamboo to clean up this spring. Most of it I'm not ready to cut down as I still have some hope that it is alive and will leaf out again, but there are still bamboo leaves that need to go.

This patch of Pleioblastus viridistriatus for instance. It gets mowed down every year regardless of how severe or mild the previous winter was, as the fresh foliage is amazing and vibrant. Any remnant leaves -- even if they were not dead -- would look terrible in comparison.


Wheelbarrow tip

Or maybe a better title for this post would be "Wheelbarrow no tip"? But I'm jumping ahead... If you're like me you've got loads of yard waste to haul around at this time of year: heaps of "hay" from the ornamental grasses that just received their annual pruning, sticks of all kinds, leaves, leaves, leaves.

It's all got to get to the compost pile (if you have one) and for me that means lots of wheelbarrow trips.


More cleanup stages

I recently remarked two things: first, that my spring cleanup has started. Not that spring is actually here yet, as yesterday's low of 19ºF (-7ºC) made perfectly clear, but the warm days are coming more regularly now, breaking up the cold, giving hope to those of us longing for spring.

Second, I noted that I approach garden cleanup in stages, in multiple passes. The first pass does a pretty good job but doesn't leave the beds "finished". I'll come back in a week or two (or more) and give them the finishing touches if needed. This past weekend I took first pass at my "prairie" beds, starting with the groundcover bamboo on its border -- its camera-blinding brightness in the sunlight got my attention first, and you have to start somewhere.


Good news, bad news

I was going to write this post as a negative piece, but my gardener's optimism told me that Monday morning should start in a positive way. So it's a good news, bad news post now -- and I'll start with the good news: I have a new bed I can plant in now!

The bad news though is the reason for this available space: things are not looking very good with the Agaves. And by "not looking good" I really mean that even though things haven't warmed up yet I know that there's nothing left alive here. No chance.


Checking on the pond fish

It's the time of year finally when the snow and ice clears from the pond and I get to see how many of the fish survived. The water is certainly not pretty now...

...but the experience of two previous springs tell me that things will change quickly, greening up, teeming with life. First though, the fish...


Starting spring cleanup

With warm days mixed in with the cold, there is finally an opportunity to get some enjoyable springtime work done in the garden. For me that means cleanup.

Although I'm faced with decisions on all of the brown bamboo -- what gets chopped down, what gets a chance to leaf back out, and so on -- the only way to ensure that something gets done on a pleasant day is to start with the easy tasks, or at least the things that are bugging me the most.



I removed the covers from my veggie beds the other day, as I wanted any plants inside them to enjoy the two days of 70ºF weather that was coming. Toward the end of January I planted lettuce seeds on a warmer-than-normal weekend and covered that bed with plastic.

I'm a little disappointed that I didn't find rows of little lettuce plants when I pulled the plastic off, but at least some of them have germinated -- I would have been really disappointed with a barren bed.


Feeding sad bamboos

With a couple of days of mid-spring temperatures -- yesterday's high was 74ºF (23ºC) -- I've started doing some springtime garden chores. First on my list was feeding the bamboos.

As I've mentioned several times already, the bamboo took a big hit this winter, with cold, cold winds killing many leaves and probably lots of culms too. The plants will still need to feed though, as they'll be replacing leaves and growing new culms, so I filled a bucket with Milorganite and got to work.


Starting seeds

I've finally gotten some seeds started. I'm thinking I should have done this a couple of weeks ago, but the below-normal temperatures may have been confusing me. Looking at the calendar though, a last-frost date of May 10 or so (I usually just use May 1 as it's easier to remember), counting back 6-8 weeks means I'm right on time!

So I grabbed the seed packets, some plant markers, cups, and spread everything out on the kitchen table. Since I was going to be starting some perennial seeds too, I kept the computer handy so I could research germination conditions.


Stop ignoring me!

That's what the plants on my growing table have been saying to me lately. Especially the grasses, which - as usual - have taken over and are hogging all of the light.

Since I need to get some seeds started this weekend, it's time to stop ignoring these guys and get this plant table into shape!


Savannah trees

I was in Savannah last week, and Friday morning I finally had time to get out and see the sights a little. What I saw was trees.

Huge, magnificent trees, and they were everywhere!


Four-year Anniversary: Best of INWIG 2013

According to Blogger I made my first blog post on March 5, 2010 which means today is my four-year anniversary!  One of the main reasons for creating this blog was so I'd document everything I did in the garden, and I have to admit I've done a pretty good job of that. Did I list every detail of every task I did? No, certainly not. I missed lots of stuff, including some important details such as what exact varieties of veggies I planted, spacings, fertilization schedules, etc. but I also shared a lot of things that I would normally have just observed and enjoyed for myself, and have hopefully given some entertainment and knowledge to my readers. This past year was a bit different, in that I also heavily documented our two-week roadtrip to Yellowstone -- so it went way beyond my own garden.

Today, as I've done every March 5 since I started, I'm going to take a look back over the past year and list my favorite posts in chronological order. If you haven't seen them before please take a look. If you have seen them already, then take another look -- it's still fun! I did this type of post on my previous anniversaries too, and I really like the way they turned out. Expect it every year.


Savannah Sunset

As I hinted at yesterday, last week I spent a couple of days in Savannah. The first day was cold and rainy, but the second was sunny, allowing me to think it was spring!

Sure, it was fairly cold that morning (40ºF or so), but it looked a lot warmer. That's all that really mattered though, as it turns out I wasn't able to get outside that day.


Accidental window shopping: Wild Woolies

Last Friday I found myself wandering the streets of an unfamiliar southern city, soaking up the sunshine, enjoying the spring -- at least it seemed like spring to me.

Taking a different route back to the hotel after a late breakfast, this window display caught my eye. What were these whimsical, wooly wonders? Some sort of stylized stuffed toys? Piñatas?


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