This one and three others are chlorotic and have been given some acid fertilizer. Hopefully they make it. Amazingly this tiny, anemic hydrangea is budding as well.
Annabelle has been least happy in the basement. One that I planted out last weekend already has been chewed to the ground by something, probably a dastardly rabbit. I think I'll wait to put the others out when more is up and green for them to chew on, and hope they confine themselves to the lawn. Liquid fence is my friend and I may get out there with it in the next day or two (if the rain ever stops.) The bunnies seem to be ravenous and have been wreaking plenty of havoc, even eating hellebore blooms. It's probably pregnant females nourishing more spawn to eat more garden. They probably noticed the new veggie bed and are getting ready to enjoy the free salad bar with the kids.
Double impatiens cuttings were started in January and the largest is budding. Several susceptible plants in the basement were attacked by spider mites including these and the hydrangeas. I think they hitched a ride inside on some once-gorgeous sweet potato vines - I've read that spider mites are a problem on them indoors.
Live and learn - I won't be overwintering them next year unless it's just the tubers. Fortunately I think the mites are under control now. I did a lot of showering of foliage and wiping of larger leaves and plant stems. I even resorted to an organic pesticide to save a few of the worst-infested plants. I hated to do it - organic or not I never use pesticides. You can see the mites even went after the impatiens, but they're recovering and looking good in spite of the attack.
I overwatered the Christmas cactus and it rotted. Before it was completely lost I rooted cuttings, and they're doing fine. Off to the right, you can barely see some veggie seedlings. There are several varieties of peppers and tomatoes growing happily under my industrial-strength light. Since the light is so powerful they're growing fine even down on the floor.
This is a gardenia with sentimental value. It was a gift from the Lawn Man when were dating. I knew it was pot bound and tried to get it out to repot it, but it was stuck so I gave up. Over the winter, the roots were rotting and my once-beautiful gardenia was dying. I performed surgery, cutting it out of the pot. I found the drain holes were blocked and the soil was sodden. It really looked dead, but I didn't give up on it. I pruned the roots and branches and repotted it. A month later, the patient is slowly recovering. It's a shadow of it's former self but I'm glad it survived. The new growth is glossy and green.
I've never tried starting cucumbers and squash early, following conventional wisdom to direct-sow the seeds. But it's fun to experiment so I've got a few of them started. Here's a Kuri squash that's outgrown it's original peat plug. It's in a 4 1/2" pot now. I'll bump them up as needed, and compare their performance with the ones I'll direct-sow later this spring. Experimenting is part of the fun of gardening!
There are five hanging baskets overwintering in the basement. All the plants were removed, cut back, and root-pruned a few weeks ago. Reducing their size will help insure the baskets don't dry out too much between waterings over the summer. Everything was replaced into the baskets after renewing the soil and adding some mushroom compost. I killed the variegated begonia over the winter - probably too much water, but it paid off overwintering it the first year and was beautiful last summer. I'd like to find another one - they're great in baskets and very tolerant of dry soil.
The sixth hanging basket was my beautiful fuchsia. Another casualty, it may have succumbed to the spider mites. We've had a hanging-basket fuchsia all five years I've lived here. The last one overwintered happily in the basement last year, but I wasn't so lucky this time. There WILL be another this spring - they bring hummingbirds to the patio and I'm determined to capture them on film this summer. They love the fuchsias. The garden attracts them too, but I like them up-close-and-personal on the patio. They tease me by flying off if I make a move for the camera. If I sit perfectly still they'll entertain me for quite a while as they're enjoying the fuchsia's nectar.
There are a bunch of double impatiens started from cuttings here, (seedling veggies are to the left, blackberries and raspberries to the right. The berries weren't propagated - they were actually purchased(!) but it was too chilly to plant them out before now since they're already leafed out. It should be ok to get them out there shortly. I've been pinching the flowers and will do that for the next two years to give the plants time to concentrate on maturing before fruiting.
There's lots more in the basement waiting for warm weather - willow cuttings, lemon balm, elephant ears, geraniums, Diamond Frost euphorbia, caladiums, iresine, Persian shield, ornamental oxalis, begonias and others, and that doesn't include the plants overwintering in sunny windows in our living and dining rooms. I enjoy playing with plants in the basement over the winter, and am thrilled at the start the veggie seedlings are getting. I wasn't sure how they'd like the light, but they seem to be doing fine even all the way down on the floor.
I hope you enjoyed the basement update. I'll be enjoying the fruits and vegetables of my labors and the money saved by keeping lots of tender plants safe over the winter. In spite of the spider mites and a few losses this winter, overall, basement gardening adventures and experiments are proving fun and worthwhile!