Monday, February 27, 2012

Premature pollination

My hyacinths aren't the only flowers blooming too early in the Northeast. According to this New York Times article, Much to Savor, and Worry About, Amid Mild Winter’s Early Blooms, flowers are coming up prematurely all over town.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Blooming orchid

While I await the spring planting season I am enjoying our orchid that just began to blossom beautifully. For nearly two years, the orchid has been bereft of flowers. New leaves, yes, but no blooms. We'd almost given up on it and then, a move from the bedroom to the living room, where the sun is more direct, and voila, giant white and purple flowers burst forth. Orchids are not easy to grow. You need special soil, pots must be sterilized, and watering is tricky. It's best to give them four or five ice cubes a week to avoid over-watering. The payoff is the long life of their flowers. We will enjoy these new blooms for at least two or three months. Then, of course, the wait begins all over again.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

How to recycle #5 plastic

A recycling bin at Whole Foods
I've been very frustrated with New York City for not recycling yogurt containers and other #5 plastic. Now, I find out that the items can be recycled at Whole Foods in Union Square. In fact, the eco-grocery chain has been doing this since 2009! I wish I had known sooner, but better late than never.

I already bring my vegetable scraps to the community composting site at Union Square Green Market on Saturdays, and I dump my old towels and clothes with the city's textile recycling program there. Now, at the same time, I can walk my plastic bags and other containers across the street to Whole Foods.
The Preserve program at Whole Foods

Whole Foods  also participates in the Gimme 5 program, collecting  #5 plastic containers and even Brita filters for Preserve, a company that turns yogurt cups into toothbrushes and other personal hygiene products (see my earlier post).
So, hitting Whole Foods will be part of my Saturday routine until 2013, when the city begins recycling these kinds of plastics.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Green toothbrush

Check out this post from a fellow urban gardener about buying toothbrushes and other items made from recycled plastic by a company called Preserve. And even better, a Whole Foods near you may have a bin where you can recycle your plastic yogurt cups so you don't have to throw them away!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Hyacinths bloom in February

Last night my husband said he noticed that my hyacinths were pushing up in our window box. In February? Are you sure? I asked, in disbelief. But with a walk outdoors this morning, in frigid temperature I might add, I saw for myself the green shoots among the weeds.
This is clearly not the proper timing. The lovely spring flowers are meant to come up in April, or March at the earliest. They are commonly in full bloom by Easter. But it's been so warm lately that the flowers must have gotten the wrong signals from Mother Nature. And now that it's freezing again here in the Northeast, I wonder if they'll be able to continue growing until they bloom. The temperatures are expected to rise this week, so I suspect they can survive a few freezing days. I also wonder if this freak event will kill the bulbs or mess with their rhythm for years to come. To me, it's just another sign of climate change and the strange new world we live in. Has anyone else seen early risings or other odd events in their gardens?