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Today’s challenge–can I write an entire post in half an hour? That’s just about how much time I can afford to spend on it today. Seems doable; six quick, random topics, right?

Let’s start with some African violets today. Last fall, I purchased ‘Ma’s Jamaica Farewell’ from a mail order company. I was very pleased to receive a very healthy, albeit small plant. Happily, it has bloomed twice for me!

‘Ma’s Jamaica Farewell’ has frilly double blossoms.
It also boasts variegated foliage. As the leaves grow and mature, the variegation fades, but doesn’t disappear completely.
‘Ma’s Jamaica Farewell’ African violet

The best advice I can offer for growing African violets is to always water from the bottom and give them bright, but indirect light. Mine do well in an east facing window where they receive sun from sunrise until about 9:00 AM.

Four out of my eight violets are blooming now. The big purple one on the left is a descendant of a violet my grandmother grew.

In March, I wrote about my unhappiness with my Dracaena marginata ‘Tricolor’. Many of the leaves had fallen off its trunk, and the cat had nibbled at some of the top leaves. I decided to try to propagate new plants, so I cut the stalk into pieces, stuck them in dirt, and sealed them in plastic bag greenhouses. Two months later, neither of the stalk sections has rooted, and one has become moldy. However, the original stalk has sprouted three new shoots! One of my complaints about the original plant was that it was merely a single stalk, so I’m happy that I’ll now have a branching Dragontree!

New shoots on Dracaena marginata ‘Tricolor’!
Must find a place where the cat can’t reach this!

I also planted tomato seeds in March, and I’m the proud mother of several large tomato plants. They’ve lived under lights on a heat mat in the basement until this week. Now I keep them in a window that gets afternoon sun, and I’ll start hardening them off by taking them outside for increasing amounts of time over the next two to three weeks before it’s finally warm enough to plant them in the garden! These are ‘San Marzano’ and ‘Brandywine’. I also have five ‘Sweetie’ cherry tomato plants.

‘Brandywine’ and ‘San Marzano’ tomatoes, lovingly brought up from seed.
Yes, that’s my good Pyrex lasagna pan holding the tomatoes. Guess we won’t be eating lasagna again until at least June, lol!

Outside, rhubarb season has begun! This is but a small patch, but it gives us just what we need, especially if I keep it picked. A friend gave me a division of her rhubarb when we moved to this house, eighteen years ago. I try to put a shovel full of manure on it once or twice a year, but some years I forget.

My small rhubarb patch is just enough for our family.
There will be rhubarb pie next week!

One of my new daffodil purchases last year was Narcissus ‘Garden Opera’, which, since my daughter and I are big opera fans, I chose admittedly for its name. It is a jonquil and boasts three flowers on most of its stems. It stands about a foot high, and its bright yellow flowers average two inches wide. Its corona is slightly darker, with an orange tint, than the perianth. It has a very light, unremarkable scent.

Narcissus ‘Garden Opera is a later blooming jonquil narcissus.
‘Garden Opera’ is pretty, but I don’t think it will become a favorite for me.
Each stem of ‘Garden Opera’ produces three, or occasionally more, flowers.

We’ll end with a tulip. This is ‘Hocus Pocus’, a statuesque, single late tulip. It stands between twenty-four and twenty-eight inches high and its slender, lily-like blooms are roughly five inches tall. It is bright yellow with narrow red flames.

Tulip ‘Hocus Pocus’ just before opening
‘Hocus Pocus’
‘Hocus Pocus’ in the garden, towering over mature ‘American Dream’ and not yet open ‘Nightclub’

So, the answer is no, I cannot write a post in under half an hour. If you’re keeping score, this one took thirty-nine minutes! Thank you to The Propagator for hosting this weekly meme! Check out his blog and the others linked to it to see what’s happening this week in gardens around the world!