Let there be lights, grow lights I mean

sun blaster

The new lights rejuvenated rosemary and basil, plus New Zealand flax

As winter closed in late last year I visited my local Sheridan Nurseries  branch to buy a couple of replacement tubes for my 15-year-old basement grow-lights stand, and met the light of my life.

Sun Blaster T5HO and I were introduced by the smart and helpful garden supplies manager Sylvia Szot. I liked him right away. He’s much slimmer than the old fluorescent tubes I’ve been using for years and his packaging is great… a compact fixture that fits neatly under one side of our basement cupboards. He also cost 40 bucks –way cheaper than a new grow-light stand. Continue reading

Knocked out by amaryllis

Jake the cat with HippeastrumJake isn’t usually this serene. He’s more often tearing around the garden or wrastlin’ with his brothers, Rufus and Eli, in the living room. I think the beautiful amaryllis has him gobsmacked.

My first amaryllis affected me much the same way. The big bulb was given to me by my Uncle Ren, my garden mentor, many decades ago, when they were so rare as to be almost nonexistent in my part of the world. Not like today, when every garden centre brings them in to be potted up for winter flowering indoors. (In tropical zones 9 or 10 they survive just fine right in the garden.)

They’re gorgeous, and well worth the investment (the best sell for about 20 bucks) because you can keep them from year to year for more blooms. Don’t even think of throwing them out! I did that with my first one because I was young and uninformed, but in the last few years I’ve wintered them over and had reasonable success getting them to bloom again (instructions follow) , although they’re never as spectacular as the year I bought them.

I buy mine from Dugald Cameron at www.gardenimport.com who sells beauties. Rather understandably, he thinks we should treat amaryllis bulbs as annuals and buy new ones every year. Continue reading