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Bluebirds, Daffodils and Orchids, Oh My!


The weather outside is still a tad frightful, but the sunshine and the longer daylight this past week seem to have triggered Mother Nature. A pair of bluebirds showed up Saturday morning in our backyard where they explored one of our birdhouses. More bluebirds on Sunday morning flying from another nest box in our front garden, into the woods across the street. But indoors, spring has already arrived. Since my last post, Hope Springs Eternal, where you saw the bulbs in a window box, those daffodils emerged very quickly. Once the plants finish blooming, I’ll let the leaves turn yellow but will keep them barely moist. And when the ground thaws, they’ll go into one of the garden beds.

It’s still too early for that, so I suggest a great late winter fix — a trip to the Chicago Botanic Garden for the awesome Orchid Show. The show runs from February 15 through March 16. Click here for more info.

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questions

I start ‘Dragon Wing’ begonia from seed under grow lights. What other begonias can I use to cross-pollinate with the ‘Dragon Wing’ so I can collect my own seeds?

With all the emphasis on growing fresh vegetables, I think I should use a cold frame but I am not sure what to do or how to go about it. Any ideas?

I have a Japanese maple that was hit by frost. Some of the leaves are curled and brown. Will they fall off and new leaves grow? Is there anything I can do to help the tree? What is the best method to prevent this from ever happening again?

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