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Dallying In The Dirt, Issue #408- It's a very early spring and visit the Philledelphia flowe
March 09, 2024

We have been adventuring since the last issue of Dallying. I’ve always wanted to go to the Philadelphia flower show but there has always been a conflict. Not this year. Some friends were driving down to visit grandchildren and see the flower show and we readily agreed to accompany them. This picture is the big display as you enter the building. The clouds are great bunches of, what looks like, Limonium that may have been coloured to get that wide range of pastels. Behind and below are twelve large Japanese Flowering Cherries that have been forced into bloom in time for this show, an amazing feat of horticultural timing. In front and out this frame was a large pond with several large containers filled with a variety of blooms. After being dazzled by this for several minutes we wandered through ever growing crowds to see many more amazing exhibits, all filled with an unbelievable array of trees, shrubs, perennials and even vegetables in full bloom. Of course we managed to wander through the large market area and exhibited great restraint only acquiring a new gardening hat to replace the old one that had become a mixture of crumbling raffia and duct tape.

This Hellebore has been showing coloured buds since mid January and it has finally decided to open although according to my, rather spotty, records it is still about a month early. The whole garden is early but the lack of snow all winter is not really a good thing. That blanket of snow is great protection for the perennials and a significant source of groundwater that should help us through the hot days of summer.

These Crocus are also at least a month early but I guess we should just enjoy them and put away the skis for the season.

Now here’s some early arrivals being really appreciated. If you look closely at these emerging Daylilies you will notice that the rabbits have been enjoying them. We know that some parts of Daylilies are edible and some parts are quite toxic to cats. Apparently the cat toxicity problem is no problem for my rabbits. I hate to wish any creature ill but!

Late last summer I was showing you pictures of the giant Begonias, Red on Chocolate, that were taking over my front steps. Each plant was over a metre wide and always covered in flowers. Begonias have some of the smallest seeds and this variety seem to be even smaller. These seedlings were sown about three weeks ago and it’s hard to believe what they will do in the next months. That’s a straight pin in there for scale. Never mind angels, how many Begonias can dance on the head of af pin?

Now this is scary! The Roses are even starting to break open their buds. We really don’t believe that spring is truly with us and another significant freeze won’t be kind to those swelling Rose buds.

The roads are easy to drive on as I am travelling around sharing my various presentations with hort. societies, garden clubs and corporate presentations for lunch and learns. I would love to come and visit your organization. Check out my web page at for more details on topics and availability.

If you have any gardening questions just “reply” to this emailed newsletter and I will attempt to answer them and then share them here if they are of wide interest.

Shuyee Asks? My Annabelle hydrangeas flop over almost to the ground. How do I keep it knee high, upright, in full bloom. as the ones outside condo bldgs. and beside the road?

Ken Answers! There are three main types of Hydrangeas and those short ones you see are not H. Arborescens, the Annabelle type but rather they are H. Macrophlla, big leaf hydrangea. Prune yours to the ground in the spring and that will keep them a bit shorter but they will still get rather tall and floppy.

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