Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Visiting OPG (other people's gardens)

OPG is gardening nirvana in my opinion.  Flowers you'll never grow, varietals you've never seen, all there to be sniffed and ogled and then you get to walk away easily without pulling at the crabgrass bunch or wondering if those few small holes in the leaves of that exotic plant are portentous tidings of an all night leaf feasting orgy.  Those flowers are there, already staked and watered.  They have been dug and redug to find their perfect plot of dirt.  They do not remind you that if you don't deadhead they will not bloom again, and they keep their mouths zippered about previous bouts of pestilence and disease while company is around.  

They are just there for you, in that moment, for that moment.

I love them.  And like all love, you decide you want it all the time.  Every day.  Permanently.   Forever.  Despite indisputable ephemeral perfection, OPG in all its glory has to come live at home.   And hence, now we all have gardens too, don't we?

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Results Of Being Lazy

This houseplant (Tradescantia Zabrina), underneath, is in an 8 inch pot.

This is a picture of laziness.   I meant to put up the hanger outside my door within the week of getting 10 or so sprigs and putting them in dirt.  I meant to do it the following week too, when I actually moved the plant outside and put it in a semi shady area which used to be my holding pen area. 

I grew up calling this plant "Wandering Jew" and I can see where the wandering tag might have come from.  Anyone around here want some?

This blushing bride hydrangea was in a gallon pot.  This is another picture of laziness.  I bought 3 hydrangeas on the same day.  Hydrangea #1 was planted within a few days.  Hydrangea #2 took me about 3 weeks to get in the ground.  This hydrangea, over to the right - nearly 2 months.   When he did get out of the pot, he had to have the majority of his roots shredded because he was so pot bound that unless he was sitting in water he would droop.  Now he has no rootsystem to speak of, and its the hottest part of the year.  Therefore he looks like crap every day for hours and he is tiny compared to everyone else.   He called social services on me twice, and has refused to bloom. 

A picture of gross negligent laziness. (really bad)  Too much sun.  I knew there was way too much sun... kept saying "must get ladder out and move that plant."  As you can see it is still there, having died of heatstroke.  No amount of watering can make a plant who hates sun tolerate a dozen 100 degree days in the sun.  I am taking his corpse down today. I promise.  As soon as I drag down that ladder.  Maybe tomorrow.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Brugmansia Mania

Most of you who have read my blog for more than a post or two know I live in an area that can support tropicals for the most part, but that growing up north of here, I don't really have an affinity for the vast majority of them.    We all have our likes and dislikes, and some of my favorite bloggers *gasp* hate coneflowers, which is as difficult to comprehend as the infinite space of the universe for me.    Aside from houseplants which can grow back each year without coming inside, I only have one tropical love: the Brugmansia. 

It actually started in Charleston, when I was walking around one September and came upon this small tree literally coated in foot long tubular blooms.  The thing looked exactly like a Dr. Seuss tree in Seussville.   I wish I had taken a picture of it, but I didn't.  It looked something like this.

I somehow can also see each of the tubes playing like trumpets ala Alice in Wonderland.  I had to have one.

I bought the very first one I ran across, about 1 foot tall, and a tiny sprig of a tree, in April.   By May it was 4 feet tall, straight as an arrow, looking like a 4 foot tall woody weed.   A few cuttings were taken off for relatives, which also rooted easily, but no flowers, and no branches.   Then came July.  The base had sprouted out a new limb, and the main stalk, now over 5 feet tall had V'd.  Or more correctly W'd, and within a week of this happening I had 13 blooms on the thing in quick succession.

Mine was growing in the middle of my patio until early July when I decided that it had to move into some shade.   It was flowering, yes, but the leaves were also burning and turning a not right very light shade of green, despite DAILY watering.  So he's been moved until the end of September to the spot I have reserved for my statue that only exists in my imagination.    Now I only have to water him every other day, and the leaves are turning green again.

Here's a picture of a 4 month old Brugmansia (ignore burnt leaves please).  I can't wait til next season when I move him up a pot size and he becomes a real tree.


Thursday, August 5, 2010

MIA but not DOA

Well?????, you say...where the heck have you been?

I have been MIA, since June, I know.  I apologize to all those who wrote me and I have yet to get back to.   I am back now.  I have had a #*!$) of a summer.   New job, new relationship, massive family in town, out of town on vacation and I don't know what other excuses I can throw at you, but please add in any others you can think of.

The good news is, despite blog neglect, and moderate garden neglect, the garden is doing really quite well.  Particularly since it hasn't been below 90 degrees during the day since the last time I wrote in May, and I refuse to water regularly when I should because I've been so exhausted every day when I get home.  Plus its still 90 degrees out with a dew point of 85, and even 5 seconds out there with the hose equals a total sweatbath.   It apparently still doesn't matter, they are all still alive save for 1 pot which for a few weeks failed to drain adequately, and boom.  Everything dead.  Yet another example that overwatering can kill something 8.7x as fast as underwatering can.

I have learned some more from my first hot season as a gardener in the south.
1)Do not plant stuff that only blooms in the summer.  You *might* see it from your window but you will never get to enjoy it.   I am going to spend next spring and this fall replacing some of these plants. 
2)Beebalm is really mildewy.
3)David Phlox is awesomely NOT mildewy.  Even though it is right beside the beebalm, it is perfectly fine.  I am buying more next spring.
4)I have a major ivy problem.  If I were to leave the garden untended for 2 years, I am 100% sure that it would be entirely, ENTIRELY covered and coated with ivy.    I also have a passionflower vine and some other vine problem.   Oh, and the jasmines, which I actually planted, are slowly trying to permanently shut the gate.  Vines do really well here.
5)Full sun, in this climate, means death to most things. (not vines) Full Sun plants need partial shade.  The prettiest part of my garden this spring is the hardest part to keep looking 'alive'.  Angelonia seems to be thriving, but even the knockout roses are looking parched constantly.   There will be a lot more angelonia in my garden in those spots. 
6)While I haven't purchased any new roses, when they go on sale here in October, I'm getting some more.  They really are awesome plants.  My MAC rose (Madame Alfred Carrere) which was one stick and 4 leaves when I mail ordered it from Antique Rose Emporium in May, actually bloomed.  It is in a spot which I frequently ahem, forget, to water, and though it looks wilty during the day, it still is growing like a weed with rosebuds on it.  I have yet to: a)fertilize it, b)train it, c)spray it for any pests, or d)do anything really at all to it, and yet it is thriving.  It has grown 4 feet in 2 months of intense neglect.
7)It pays to pay attention to your plants, and when you take 2 weeks off because you are so busy you don't even have time to go to the bathroom, things like 'tiny bugs coating 100% of both sides of your elephant ear plants' happen with disastrous effects.   Then, probably too late, you go to spray them with something, anything that will get rid of the bugs that are now crawling up your arm, and you find that some neighbor has decided your insecticide was too good to pass up from the backyard potting bench, and stole it.  While leaving a $50 ceramic pot sitting there.   I guess when ya gotta have bug spray, ya gotta have it.  Anyhow.  My elephant ear (colocasia) is looking a bit compromised.  Its only been a week since this happened, so hopefully there will be recovery.

Okay, well here's a pic of the garden :)  I'll be writing more regularly again because my schedule has returned to 'somewhat' normal.   And I'll be visiting everyone's blogs again with my new found time.  I started last night! Missed ya'll.