Blooming now/Weather changes

J.E. Shields
Mon, 02 Feb 2009 12:31:08 PST
Hi folks,

It helps to get back somewhere near on topic occasionally!  Weather is 
always topical for gardeners, even greenhouse growers.  We have to worry 
about cooling our greenhouses in summer and trying to keep them warm enough 
in winter.

I'm in Indiana, which is in the wetter part of the Midwest, between the 
Mississippi River and the Appalachian Mountains.  In Indiana, we are 
nominally in USDA cold zone 5.  For several years, we did not fit that 
definition, being more like zone 6 (i.e., warmer).  This winter, we have 
been right on target for zone 5:  We had low temperatures down to -15°F 
(-26°C).  That was with no or very little snow cover.

A week ago, we had a snowfall that dropped 8 to 12 inches (20 to 30 cm) of 
snow in our general area.  That is the most in one snowstorm since around 
1996.  Our annual total snowfall runs from 20 to 30 inches most years.  The 
season isn't over yet here, so we could get more this month.

It is too early for us to see spring flowers outdoors, even if the ground 
were not covered in several inches of snow.  Inside the greenhouses, we 
have a few things in bloom:

Haemanthus pauculifolius in flower
Lachenalias of several sorts blooming with more in bud
Cyrthanthus cv., vigorous and floriferous plant with yellow tubular flowers
Scadoxus puniceus starting to show flower buds
Veltheimia bractreata in bud
Tulbaghia simmleri still in flower
Hippeastrum mandonii is blooming somewhat out of season
A few Clivia miniata hybrids are showing buds in the very heart of the 
plants, but the Belgian hybrids (also miniata) have been blooming for at 
least a month now.  A couple interspecific hybrids are in bloom already

Cooling my greenhouses in summer is much cheaper than heating in winter but 
is just as big a concern here.  My winter-growing bulbs need to be kept 
warm but dry in summer, and the only way I have managed that is by leaving 
them in the greenhouse.  Over-heating can be just as fatal as freezing in 

Jim Shields

Jim Shields             USDA Zone 5             Shields Gardens, Ltd.
P.O. Box 92              WWW:
Westfield, Indiana 46074, USA
Tel. ++1-317-867-3344     or      toll-free 1-866-449-3344 in USA

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