What’s Blooming at Queens Botanical Garden!

I started working as a Seasonal Gardener a few weeks ago and I love being able to see the daily changes in the gardens. There are so many weeds right now, but after one section is done, it is very satisfying to uncover the design layout. Here is one of my favorite gardens, the Unity Garden, designed by W. Gary Smith and Harriet Grimm. There are two sides of this garden; one part is shaded and the other part is full sun. I’ve noticed that the plant palette is mostly made up of native plants and both sides have quite different plants, but are linked by the Oakleaf Hydrangea.

Right now the sunny part of the garden is full bloom. Last week I actually thought one of the flowers was a weed until my coworker told me it was Queen of the Prairie (Filipendula rubra). Good thing I didn’t yank it out! I’ve always wanted to use it, but at my old job, most of the sites had low sun conditions. It’s so beautiful in person, like cotton candy on a stick!

Another garden I enjoy working in is the Perennial Garden. I like how the layout is made of 3 – 4 triangles. It’s going to be a lot of work getting it back to its former state…you can see the patch of weed seedlings underneath the Blue Fescue (?). Once it has been weeded some more, I’ll post more pictures.

Tree Pit Progress – Week 1 to Week 3

I finally got the chance to plant the zinnia and hollyhock seedlings outside during the last week of May when night time temperatures were looking pretty consistent. I was worried that people will steal the annuals and neighbors will pluck out the seedlings, thinking that they are weeds. So far none of that has happened!

Week 1 – Last Week of May
Week 3 – Second Week of June

I also snuck in some Cherry Rose Sunflower seeds (purchased from Seed Needs a year ago). I didn’t expect them to sprout in the second week! I though the squirrels might get them. Overall, I’m really happy to see the zinnias looking so strong and healthy! I thought that because they didn’t get much sunshine for two months, they would struggle outside.

The alyssum and dianthus are also starting to grow larger and spread. I’m hoping the alyssum will cover up the bare spots once the zinnias are ready to bloom. The small blue flowers (lobelia) may fade in the middle of summer and I may have to replace them with another annual, unless the alyssum spreads quickly.

Batch #1 Seedlings – Pansies growing fast!

It’s been cooler than expected here in New York. I was planning on keeping the seedlings outdoors at least 4 days a week so they will grow faster. It’s been about two months since I’ve started these seeds. Maybe in two more months I’ll see blooms.

Hollyhocks have been a bit weak looking. Perhaps they need more sun.
Some are in their 6th pair of leaves
Some are on their 9th leaf! I’ll stop counting leaves once they are bushier. They probably get the most sunlight in this east facing window.

These are the tulips I’ve planted last November at my grandma’s! I was worried I wouldn’t see them bloom since I was staying at home as much as I could. They were on sale at Lowe’s! It seems like the Angelique tulips didn’t come back this year. I’m glad the peony that I transplanted away from under the arborvitae (?) has come back just fine.

The limelight hydrangea seems to be doing well! I hope it blooms this year!

Batch #1 Seedlings – Surprise Hollyhocks

Two hollyhocks have popped out just a day apart from each other! They must’ve needed more than a month to germinate. I’m excited that there are now 5 hollyhocks in total (5 out of 9 germinated)! I’ll ask my apartment board if I can plant them in the sunny tree pit once the weather warms up.

Here’s an update on the zinnias and pansies.

Look at those leaves! Still not as big as when I seeded them outside last spring. But I’m happy with their progress. I’m surprised all the seeds germinated! I had the seed packet for almost a year.
I finally transplanted them since they were getting tall and leggy. Now they are working on their fifth leaf!

Since I posted a random arts and crafts project last post, here’s an embroidery project I’ve been working on. It’s an embroidery necklace kit I bought from yesstyle. This is the first time I’ve ever embroidered something and so far this kit is not as intimidating as I thought!

Batch #1 Seedlings – Slow Growth

Finally basking in some sunlight

Once it’s April, I would like to leave them outside everyday, especially since the seedlings aren’t growing as fast as before.

I’m so tempted to order soil online and start more seeds, but I know I shouldn’t until it’s warm enough to move Batch #1 outside. I have sunflower, milkweed, basil, amaranth, strawflower and more zinnia seeds!

Originally I was planning to plant them at my Grandma’s sunny backyard, but everything is uncertain with the current situation. For now the backup garden will be the small empty tree pit outside my apartment.

Zinnias working on third pair of leaves!
Pansies working on third leaf!
Hollyhocks now have their own pot and third leaf!
Not related to gardening, but I needle felted a turtle and the “plants” and baby turtle on its back makes me happy.

Batch #1 Seedlings – True Leaves

Lately it’s been getting wet and cool in NYC. Usually when it’s above 50’s, I will put the seedlings out on the fire escape until the sun sets. Hopefully the sun will come out soon! Watching them grow has been helping me cope with being indoors for two weeks.

I’ve also started some hollyhocks about two weeks ago. I collected the seeds from a hollyhock my company bought at Atlantic Nurseries. So far only 3 out of 9 has sprouted. The first one to sprout is showing their second pair of leaves! I’ll post an update in a week or two.

Zinnias have been repotted since they were getting leggy and growing lots of roots. This was taken 5 days ago! The zinnias and violas now their second pair of leaves.
I’ve never grown Hollyhocks before. Can’t wait to see them bloom. Picture was taken 5 days ago.

Batch #1 Seedlings – Progress

The zinnias were the first to pop up, 3 days after I sowed. I didn’t even notice cause I didn’t expect it to sprout until at least a week later. The next day one of the pansies sprouted. I noticed it in the morning. By the time I came back from work, about 8 more have sprouted! I was surprised how fast they grow.

Now I am worried that they are not getting enough sunlight because they are stretching. Perhaps next week I’ll bring them outside during the day and put them inside at night.

Late February 2020 – Update on my houseplants

This is my first orchid. A customer forgot their mini phalaenopsis from Trader Joe’s at my job. She was too busy to come back for it and gave it to us! That’s how I got into orchids. Anyway! It’s been about 4 years and it has a lot of keikis now. I’m going to water it more and hopefully it will bloom this year. Last year while I was moving, it had bud blast….
My aunt’s orchid. She gave me two of hers last year. They are doing well! I repotted them and gave them new mix from repotme.
A dendrobium nobile that my coworker gave me. It’s roots are growing out from under the pot already! I only had it for maybe 9 months.
A baby from the original dendrobium. I cut it off while repotting and wanted to see how it would do on its own. So far so good.

Mild Obsession with Violas

Ever since I noticed the viola seeds available at Floret, I’ve been paying more attention to different varieties of violas. They are so cheerful and perky. I’d definitely like to plant some as an informal border in the front yard. One time, I passed by someone’s small front yard and they had violas scattered across their lawn! I’d like to do that someday when I have my own plot of land.

Here are some pictures of the violas I noticed at NYBG. I recognized two of them since I have been browsing obsessively on the Floret website. I like how they are so tall and upright compared to the small violas I normally see at garden centers.

Viola Sorbet Coconut Swirl
Viola Nature Rose with Blotch
Viola cornuta Gem Heavenly Blue
Viola Nature Antique Shades