IAVOM and more…

Please don’t say, “Oh no, another Hippeastrum!”


Hippeastrum ‘Ambiance’

Well yes, but it’s the last one. Besides, it’s so beautiful with its clear white and clear red feathered together to create a blazing star. Unfortunately, the flower has no fragrance. The bulb does, however, have two bloom stalks, so it get’s a gold star for productivity, as well as this highlight for In a Vase on Monday.


Wow, what drama! Notice the very fine line of red outlining each petal.

Ordered just before Christmas from Brent & Becky’s Bulbs, ‘Ambiance’ has taken it’s time, but I think it was worth the wait, don’t you? Even though many value these flowering bulbs as holiday embellishments only, I enjoy them best in the slower months of winter when I have time to savor their day-by-day growth and fabulous blooms.

One other note about these photos before moving on. I often complain about having too much shade (all shade really) in the garden, but you can see why my husband, Tim, and I fell for this home the minute we walked in the door. Though this sunporch was added just last year, we have similar views from the kitchen and bedroom. Since the land slopes away from the back of the house down to the river, we have the effect of living in a treehouse, with fabulous views (especially in winter) of the park-like golf course on the far side of the Reedy. It’s not only a beautiful setting, it’s also a wildlife haven. Blue herons and a variety of hawks are frequent guests.  Coyotes, deer, and raccoons are not uncommon, and we’ve even spotted owls, wild turkeys, otters, and beavers.

Here’s something else happening on the sunporch.


‘Chantilly’ seedlings under the grow light.

Tim has fixed a clamp to the window frame for a grow light, as I’m attempting to grow ‘Chantilly’ snapdragons from seed for an early April flower show. The seedlings get a short period of early morning light (as seen here), plus about 16 hours from the grow light each day, and are fertilized with dilute fish emulsion once a week. They look awfully spindly to me, though. Any suggestions?

I’m also registered for the Photography portion of the event, Class 2, Flowing Water, “A monochrome photograph of flowing water in any form.”

I’m having trouble deciding.  Which of these images do you think is a winner?


Beach Walk: Sunrise on Pawley’s Island


Winter Reflections: Ashmore Heritage Preserve


Solitude: Glacier Bay, Alaska


Fresh Catch: Bald Eagle in Clover Passage, Katchikan, Alaska



61 thoughts on “IAVOM and more…

  1. Julie

    Hi Marian, you probably need to pinch your snapdragons out to encourage side branching and bushier plants. Maybe too much feed at this stage? Bottom heat, rather than top heat? But the pinching out although alarming may work best. I like all of your images but Winter Reflections is my favourite. Good luck!

      1. Loretta

        Marian, it’s difficult when you are new with seedlings and many people are giving you advice. You’re doing a good job with the snaps. They are growing and look healthy. If leaning is their only problem, you’re in good shape. I’m offering more advice. 🙂 I suggest you not give them bottom heat. Bottom heat is used when starting some (not all) seeds. Once the plant is growing bottom heat is seldom, if ever, used. I hope someone else will weigh in on this and let us know if I’m correct. Meanwhile, carry on.

  2. Judy H

    Ted Stephens might recommend lime for the snapdragons. My favorite of the images is Beach Walk, it is endless and peaceful.

  3. Sharon Lanier

    Absolutely, FRESH Catch!!! Love, the eagle photo. Vann and I have seen eagles here off our deck twice in the past week. First, a solo one, then another day there were two searching the water for dinner!

  4. Gloria Ballard

    Beautiful Hippeastrum — you can never have too many!
    Snapdragons: You could also try putting them closer to the light. In my experience with growing tomato seedlings, the light seems to need to be just a few inches above the plants.
    Flowing water: Tough choice, but I think I like Fresh Catch.

  5. Loretta DeMarco

    Your snapdragons are spindly because they are too far away from the light. They should be within 3-4 inches of the bulb. They are stretching to get more light. Pinching them out won’t help. They will continue to stretch.

  6. Regina Monteith

    Fresh Catch is a once-in-a-lifetime photo. You had to be there at that instant to capture that catch. The other photos are good, I especially like the one of Glacier Bay, but not nearly so compelling or exciting.

  7. Christina

    I think fresh catch but love the others too especially the reflections of the trees. Good luck. Your views are lovely, I can quite see why the house had to be your home.

  8. Jan Bowman

    Hi Marian! For the snaps, the stems do not appear strong enough to hold a larger plant. I would lessen the hours of the grow lamp, ensure that the room is not too warm for the soil, effectively slow the upper growth to allow the nutrients to strengthen the roots and stem, and less light for a week. It’s not balanced.

    Let us know how they’re doing in a month!

    Jan Bowman AAMG 864-236-7323


  9. Cathy

    Yes, although hippeastrum blooms don’t last long they are always a delight to see. I agree with Julie about pinching out and ditching the feed – perhaps potting on will help too? Oh, and ‘Fresh Catch’ is my favourite 🙂

  10. rickii

    Winter Reflections gets my vote. Those are all stunning photos. In reading through the comments, it becomes obvious that personal taste plays a big role in making a choice. We often marvel at how fortunate we are to live where we do…isn’t it wonderful to feel that way? Your sun room is a treasure.

  11. Kris P

    Wow, fantastic photos! I understand your quandary. I fell in love with Beach Walk on first glance but Fresh Catch is also intriguing. Best wishes with the snapdragon seedlings and the photography event.

  12. Margaret McDavid

    Marian, I really enjoy your hortitopia reports, and was especially interested to read about the signs people are putting up about English ivy. I live in old Lake Forest area, near Lake Fairfield (or rather mud hole), and it always distresses me to see how much ivy is covering large areas of the landscape. Much of it surrounds houses, on private property, and many of the trees are completely covered. I’d like to start a community campaign to educate people but don’t quite know how to start. Where are people getting the signs? I’d appreciate any information you can share.

    Margaret McDavid

    1. Marian St.Clair Post author

      Margaret–Thanks for your input about the ivy. I had several emails about the column, so evidently it pushed a lot of buttons! I’m don’t know who is responsible for the signs. I’ve seen them in Asheville too. I’m sorry to say I don’t know a particular group working on the problem, but you might try the Upstate Native Plant Society. Here is the link to their website: http://scnps.org/. Look for the contact page.

  13. Eliza Waters

    Gorgeous hippeastrum, Marian – worth the rave! For the snaps, if the light isn’t too hot, I’d suggest you place it 12″ above seedlings. If you aren’t after a single large bloom, pinching might help fill them out, and adding the light breeze of a small desk fan will strengthen the stems.
    Photo: Bald Eagle – hands down. 🙂 It’s a great shot and has the most drama.

  14. Martha Strain

    Marian, I vote for the Pawleys shot. Not only is the water “moving,” but the light through the clouds is ethereal!

  15. Gail Elfert

    Difficult to choose from these 4 stunning pictures. You know how I love Pawleys and the Winter Reflections picture is so serene, but the Fresh Catch picture is so unique because you caught it at exactly the perfect moment.

  16. jackie corley

    Definitely the eagle. Saw one on our cruise in Alaska also. A breath-taking sight!!
    By the way – my dad’s family is also from the Muffresboro, NC area – Pendleton.
    You mentioned this area in the Christmas ham post.

  17. Frogend_dweller

    My favourite photo is the Beach Walk, but for the subject I would choose the Bald Eagle. Very nice work! Since you’ve dealt with the light, might your seedlings just be too hot (if you heat the room too)?

    1. Loretta

      That’s a thought Frogend.dweller. I had not thought of that. They’re cool weather plants here in Philadelphia PA so I know they are in Georgia also. Depends on what temperature the room they’re growing in is kept. I keep my seedlings growing at 60 degrees until I put them outside. But then I keep everything at a cool 60 degrees because that’s the year round temperature in my basement. No thought went into that decision. It was a necessity. 🙂

      1. Marian St.Clair Post author

        Loretta–I had them on bottom heat for a few hours and then started to worry about it, so turned it off. Since its a cool-season flower, I think you are right about the heat.

  18. Brenda

    I’m too late to comment on the photo pick, but I can’t resist saying that I likely would never leave your sun room. That’s a view that would never get old.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s