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Archive for June, 2007

Well, that is, when it comes to my indoor garden vs. my outdoor garden. Take, for example, my Africanafricanvioletsblog.jpg violets. I know that many folks feel that African violets are difficult to grow, however, I have no problem whatsoever with them. In fact, as you can see, some of my African violets are currently experiencing a flush of bloom and some, even though they are in desperate need of division, still bloom though somewhat less profusely. However, when it comes to my outdoor garden, success is mixed with a few more failures.

My Deck Garden

It does seem that if I can “pot” my plants as though they were houseplants and keep them on my deck, then I have a reasonable amount of success. For example, I’ve planted geraniums and marigolds for the second season in a row in long pots that fit snugly over my deck rail. This combination has worked well in attracting hummingbirds and butterflies. I’ve also got a large pot of yellow colored pansies that are doing quite well. But here, I must admit, is a case where I’ve not been completely successful. You see, I had also planted blue colored pansies in the same pot yet they all died! Go figure, I guess. deckrailblog.jpgFinally, I keep a couple of patio tomato plants on my deck too. If I try to keep them anywhere in my garden other than on my deck, crows will puncture each and every tomato just as they are ready to be picked.

Beyond My Deck

It’s beyond my deck that real trouble sets in! Take, for example, plants such as my wisteria. I know that they can take many years before they begin to bloom, BUT COME ON! It seems like it has been at least a decade now! Well, probably not. I’ve really lost track of how many years it has been. Still, I have a ton of green growth but not a single blossom in sight even though I stir in superphosphate just as I’ve been advised to do. And then there are my poppies. Oh! Let me tell you about my poppies.

Some time ago, I planted a few poppies near the “front” section of my flowerbed. Now, not everyone likes poppies because, supposedly, they spread like weeds and take over your flowerbeds. Well, I can only wish! They bloomed droopingpoppyblog.jpgfor a couple of years but then I just got the green, hairy leaves and even those were few and far between. But then this year, as I searched in vain for some wisteria blossoms, just below the wisteria plant, were a small bunch of poppies with flower buds ready to burst open! I could hardly believe my eyes; I never expected to see poppies in this part of my garden. Now, whether it was wind or birds or even one of my many resident chipmunks that had done the “planting,” it really did not matter to me, I was just thrilled!

Of course, poppies need sun and sitting under the wisteria was not exactly the perfect place for them. I had to wait and wait then wait a little longer for them to bloom. I watched poppies in other people’s gardens and was envious that theirs were in bloom but mine seemed to stay in the bud stage for eons. Finally, the first poppy opened up, its head so heavy that I had to ask my mother to hold it up so that I could photograph it. Like a proud parent, naturally, I had to record the first poppy blossom in my garden in years! Still, no doubt, it wouldn’t be long now before the other blossoms would follow.

The next morning, taking my cup of coffee with me while “inspecting” my garden, that first poppy blossom was minus one petal. I said to myself “but I thought they hung on to their petals longer than one night!” I was disappointed but just as I had expected, the other blossoms appeared to be ready to open up soon enough and one “flawed” flower was hardly a major catastrophe! By the next morning, however, that first blossom was petal-less and even the other blossoms now making their appearance were somewhat tattered. What’s going on here? I can’t believe I’ve waited all this time for the poppies to open up only to lose them one at a time each night!

Okay! I Know It’s My Own Fault

Well, as it turns out, I know I’ve got myself to blame. Not that I don’t have a green thumb, it’s just that it’s more than just hummingbirds and butterflies that humbirdblog.jpgI love to attract to my yard. Yup! I’m a bird lover and some of my feeders are within “perching” distance to the wisteria, ergo, now the poppies too. Apparently, as much as the goldfinches appreciate my thistle seed offerings, they’d much prefer to “harvest” their own fresh plantings of poppy seeds!

***

Well, as much as I wish my outdoor garden could be as successful as my indoor garden, I love the birds too! They just add so much life with their songs and their antics. So, I guess I’ll just have to grin and bear it, which, in my humble opinion, is really not all that hard to do. 🙂

 

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Never in my wildest dreams did I expect to be writing an update about my azalea, especially such a positive one, so soon after writing about its apparent demise at the hands of my procrastinating ways. Instead, I expected to be writing an update in another few weeks, say about mid-summer. I would describe the ways in which I had given it my very best effort to save the plant but, alas, to no avail! I had already described the severe pruning I had given it, finding little if any green (life). But, determined to keep a promise, I would describe how I had even watered the dead stems with Miracle-Gro Miracid® plant food even though I felt pretty darn silly doing so.

Much to my excitement, however, not to mention some relief, my azalea is showing the slightest signs of life! Okay, I agree that you need a pretty strong pair of magnifying glasses in order to see those signs of life; nevertheless, they are there!

Now, I know that I did promise to plant it in a place of honor should it actually survive, and I sincerely intend to keep that promise. Still, I think to do so too soon might be too much of a shock (transplant shock that is). So, although I expect many of you are thinking, “there she goes again, procrastinating,” I’m still going to wait just a little longer to plant it in my garden. Maybe until I no longer need that magnifying glass!

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I’ll bet that title caught your attention. But hey, before you get the wrong idea, please let me explain.

You see, early last year, during late winter, I received an azalea in full bloom as a gift for my birthday. Being a much more diligent indoor gardener than an outdoor one, I placed the plant in my bay window, fed and watered the azalea then watched it quickly outgrow its pot. As soon as the warm weather had arrived, I repotted the azalea and placed it outdoors on my deck. The plan, you see, was to nurture it along there until I had time to plant it in my garden.

Well, much as I hate to admit this, I am a procrastinator extraordinaire and never did get around to planting that azalea in my garden even though I had an entire summer to do so; even though I knew that when September arrived, it would be time for me to go back to Tufts University to attend my final semester as a non-traditional age undergraduate student (Resumed Education for Adult Learners [R.E.A.L.] Program) and that I would have even less time for anymore gardening.

But when cold weather arrived, guilt and a little panic set in. I thought, now what do I do with this beautiful azalea plant? It had come so far and I really didn’t want to lose it. I know that all woody plants like azaleas and rhododendrons require a dormant period and so I couldn’t put it back in my bay window; it would not get cold enough. Besides, the plant, already quite large when set out on my deck, had grown a great deal more over the summer. There was no way that it would even fit in my bay window. I should not have procrastinated; I should have planted it in my garden and maybe even covered it with burlap for protection. Well, it’s too late to think of what I should’ve done. Maybe I could put it on my porch but it gets pretty warm in there too during the winter. I decided to leave it on my deck in a protected corner, believing that it would get cold for dormancy but not damaged by snow and ice. Well, as I’m sure you’ve guessed, that turned out to be a bad choice. As springtime arrived and other plants began to leaf out, my azalea did not. The stems were brown, there was not a bit of life. It did not appear to have survived, that is at least, to my eyes. My procrastinating ways had killed the plant and feeling the guilt, I knew the now dead azalea was destined for my compost heap.

Still, it seems, the lesson was not strong enough for me to mend my ways. Being the supreme procrastinator that I am, the azalea remained on my deck and I continued to ignore it; saying to myself there’s no rush now. Then, one day last week, while checking out my pot of pansies (another story indeed!), I happened to glance over at my dead azalea and couldn’t believe my eyes. The plant had made an attempt to bloom! There were five or six partially opened flower buds. The plant was not dead after all. Now, I really felt the guilt! Shame on me I thought, not only had I abused this plant but worse, I had given up on this plant yet, quite admirably, it had not given up on itself! This time, I must do something to help this plant! I can’t just toss it on my compost heap. Not now! Not after all of its effort to survive and bloom. I mean, really, talk about the will to live!

***

There are a number of lessons in here no doubt. Still, in all honesty, I think that my azalea is still past any real chance of survival. I’ve cut it back severely and found some green but really very little. But I promise, if it shows even the slightest sign of life, I will procrastinate NO MORE! This time, I will plant it in my garden in a very well deserved place of honor!

 

 

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