Wednesday, March 1, 2017

2017 01 March First Edition

The Second Half of February was So Warm
We Had 60°F / 15.56°C; but St. Paul was Also Totally Missed by a
Substantial Snow Storm!

The links for this edition are:
These links will help you follow along as you read the content below.

Opening Words 

Author's Current E-Signature Card
The months keep marching .... forward.  I keep meeting persons who I tell about this blog in passing.  As I tell them I also have to remind myself that my hosta garden is NOT a very big one.  When my mother was gardening I think she had about an one acre hosta garden with about 300 varieties at its peak.  My belief is that many hosta gardens have gardening space that are more apt to be on her scale of space.  In my case my garden is much smaller; only: 44 inches by 104 inches / 111.76 centimeters by 264 centimeters; and has 20 varieties.  I think of this space as what many might be found in England for private gardens (this may be a false stereotype).

I can remember telling one of the more prominent USA hosta growers online, some years back, that they were greatly mistaken when they told me that they thought I had thousands of hosta.  In hindsight ... I wonder if I told them that my cousin, three times removed, on my fathers side, probably has the several thousand hosta collection as he manages the family owned greenhouse: Kelley & Kelley.

What this comes down to is that whatever your garden size is and whatever hosta you might have for varieties in your garden it is always 'in taste' to have some pride in how you garden (as long as it's legal every where else).  I'm just a small gardener with a lot of pride.  Recently (the last 12 months) my pride has gone to having my own e-card/signature on my e-mails ... ...  I am hoping that White Feather survives our strange spring to present more plant foliage to update this e-card for the coming year.  And yes, if you can, copy the card (aka image to the upper right) and pass it on, and don't forget to create your own pride in someway for your gardening this year!

The Hosta Journal

I keep looking at the temperature forecasts and wonder when this will all fall back to freezing temperatures; but for the foreseeable future we have 40° to 50°F / 4.44° to 10.00°C high temperatures with no freezing at night.  It's not often February has these conditions.  I suspect it makes many gardeners feel at least a little uneasy.  US northern's have an adage: 'If March comes in like a Lamb, it will go out like a Lion'; and it's reverse.  St. Paul is about to find out what the Lion and Lamb will do this year.
February 16:
Today very likely will be the day when the last of the snow melts from the garden; at least for the first time this winter.  As I am not feeling well my roommate (AD) is reporting that there's still very small segment that has not melted yet.

February 17:
12 p.m.: with a high predicted of 59°F / 15.00°C that last sliver ought to be gone today.  While the computer information suggesting that it's just passing the 45°F / 7.22°C mark.  IF I take a quantum leap of faith, and assume that the freezing is gone then the spiking of hosta ought to begin at the very end of March for a very early spring. 
5:30 p.m.: I've begun to clear off the garden.  There is no sign of any ice or snow; and the ground is frozen at about 2 inches below the surface right now.  There are three more hosta that I need to clear off; which I hope to do tomorrow.  While I'm not going to diagram them - yet ... I think the following hosta have spikes at this early date:
  • First Blush (5)
  • Kinbotan (10)
  • Vulcan (13)
  • White Feather (6)
None of these are on the corners of the garden.  I am going to wait for some growth on these before they are diagrammed.  I've made bad observations before.

February 18 
5:13 p.m.: The garden is cleared off.  I await for the next event of this spring.

February 19: 
[early AM]: A good gardener always has one eye on the forecasts; and one eye on the garden.  Tomorrow (Monday) we're supposed to get rain, and on Friday we're returning to the freezing temperatures with snow probably followed by ice again. 
When gardeners talk about spring time rain, snow, and ice the order of events is important since it suggests that the plants (in this case hosta that might have pikes) could be effected differently  Thus at this point freezing temperatures might:
  • cause freezing rain which in turn might cause the plants to take water in and then be frozen out leaving me with nothing left behind.
  • by themselves occur before a snow and in turn might protect the plants as the ground would be dry and simply refreeze.
  • set the conditions where there is a wet ground where the plants might go to rot, and with rot there is a very small chance that the plants might still survive.  As it has been stated before that survival from rot is a very hard fight for any plant. 
Experienced gardeners are aware of these conditions and watch carefully for the order that precipitation occurs in.  They sometimes have to respond quickly to this conditions to protect their gardens.  You might see your neighbors running around frantically trying to protect their plants during fall or spring. 
The age of the plant also might be a factor to consider for survival.  Vulcan and Kinbotan have been in my garden for more than 2 years.  They have better rhizome systems and might withstand a little more abuse.  First Blush and White Feather were planted last year and as such may not have the development needed to withstand those same stresses.  If I recall those two plants, each having two divisions, alone cost me $100; and considerable amount of hassle I might add.  Would I replace them if they fail ... I don't know yet as we have to see what really happens out in the garden. 
Noon: As obsessive as I am; the current price check suggests that both of these might be purchased for a total of under $100 from different vendors (three divisions of each) who also seem ... reputable.  So prices seem to be coming down on these varieties.  This still means that I have to see what really happens out in the garden.  I've gotta be patient.
February 20:
It rained most of the day.  The forecast says in four days it turns cold again.  Will this water evaporate fast enough to protect the plants; or will the water become the plants death?  In the summer I would recite the Hosta Waltz: Water, rest, rest, Water, rest, rest, Water, rest, rest.  But as the ground below is still frozen (2 inches or so below) I have to hope that the fourth day will give it the extra time it needs to dry out. 
Gardeners who have better luck with Hosta say there ought to a be an 100% success annually for hosta.  I've never had that happen. never.  I've gotten it to a 96% percent survival, but never 100%.  Mind you historically my high with hosta varieties in this raised bed was 36 varieties.  I am reaching my current goal for downsizing to about 17 to 15; but I would rather have it on my terms what goes and what comes rather than on what Nature wants to come and go.  Having this garden level out at 20 varieties for a few years would be acceptable right now. 
If I had unlimited funds I'ld build a North American Hosta Arboretum (NAHA) which would home to 11,440 hosta in display form; not landscape.  Temperature control would be one of the central debates during its design and development process.  But that's just a dream, and as such in this real world I have to face the real dynamics of precipitation and temperatures against these plants.
February 21
Today we're supposed to get 60°F / 15.56°C; I won't be enjoying it as I will be asleep trying to get over what ever this illness is that's going around.
February 23
I get weather alerts from WeatherUSA.  The last one they sent out (dated 2/23/17) read in part, "... Snowfall totals between 12 and 15 inches are expected ..." and that's in south central Minnesota along the Interstate 90 corridor.  St Paul will probably get about 10 to 12 Inches or less.  The forecast also suggests that the rain has been omitted from the cycle.  This suggests that the spikes only being effected with the rhizomes not being disturbed.  Still not feeling well; the doctor's appointment is scheduled. 
11:00 p.m.:  The storm forecast suggests that it will be held south for the evening because of the upper level jet stream pattern leaving the twin cites with only 2 hours of snow tonight, the plants get a slight reprieve for the moment.  This forecast also suggests that the entire storm maybe held south at this point.  St. Paul; along with Minneapolis, and Bloomington; may get a firm snow but nothing near to the predicted 12 to 15 inches that southern MN will be getting; might I speculate under 4 inches ...?  Another warming cycle next week but nothing as dramatic as last weeks 60°F / 15.56°C.
February 24
A lot of watches and warnings, but not a flake of snow!  Tuesday the 26th is the next day for precipitation on the forecast, its suggesting rain.

The first days of March are forecasting warmish temperature, but no rain or storms.  March it seems to be coming in like a lamb and might go out like a lion.  I'll watch what happens over the month!

... And yes, I am feeling better, but still not out of this illness entirely ...

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