Sunday, January 20, 2013

January garden update

 Yesterday while Rob took the girls to Natalie's dance class, I spent some quality time in the garden, for the first time this year. Cedar fever and cold weather have kept me indoors so far this year. I was thrilled to get back outside.

Amazingly after all the freezing nights we have, the ginger and Turk's Cap I planted last year are still going, as is the row of plumbago that seem to be indestructible. All look a bit faded, and there are some browned leaf edges and a few ugly stems I'll prune away in February.
I'd like to transplant at least half of the Plumbago Jungle to a couple of beds in the backyard. I might break it up in the front yard with evergreen Japanese Aralia, as David Meeker of Porthole Design suggested.

The plumbago looks okay this year, but in several recent winters, it has died back to the ground. It always comes back, but leaves an ugly bare spot for a few months until it does. For 8-9 months, it is covered in pretty periwinkle blue blooms. Natalie and Rachel are fond of picking these and giving them to me. It's a good thing we have an inexhaustible supply.

 The loquat we planted at about this time last year (2012) seems to be thriving in the sunny spot formerly occupied by a diseased Mimosa (Albizia julibrissin) that Rob cut down the year before. It hasn't bloomed or set fruit, and perhaps it's too young--the ones I've seen blooming around the neighborhood are considerably bigger. 

 It's almost invisible in the photo above, but there's a Texas Redbud (Cercis canadensis var. texana) nestled up against the fence on the east side of our house.
 In the backyard, in Natalie's garden I ripped out a dead Cherokee Purple Tomato and a depleted and frost-damaged sweet basil and transplanted an overgrown oregano to make room for bare-root Brazos blackberry and a Heritage raspberry. I don't have high hopes for the raspberry, especially after I waited so long to plant it that the roots probably dried out.

The remaining green in this garden comes from an overgrown Buttercrunch lettuce, an artichoke in the back left corner that has yet to bloom, and a couple of garlic plants and shallots.

Natalie and I harvested a nice, fat Danvers carrot that she grew from seed. We had decent success with these carrots this year, which is saying something, considering I've never attempted to grow carrots before, and Natalie is 3 years old.


I opted to dig up a Snowflake leucojum bulb I had planted in November to make room for a Blanc du Bois grape along the NW fenceline, facing SE. I don't know if it'll make it as a potted plant, but I thought I'd give it a try. Here it is against a wall on the SE side of the house.

I gave the Senecio succulent hanging basket a haircut, and stuck the cuttings in some leftover potting soil from last year's long-gone plants. It's probably not the ideal potting mix, but this is such a hardy plant, I figured it was worth a shot, and besides, I have nothing to lose.

I added a cut stem of Kelanchoe, from one I stuck in the ground last year. It originated as a grocery store potted plant that Rob gifted me for a birthday one year. This little Kelanchoe has survived my worst neglect, even lack of water for several months during the Summer from Hell of 2011. We'll see how it tolerates cutting and replanting.

I trimmed back an overgrown Catmint and my little Butterfly Garden nook along the back fence -- Bougainvillea and Tropical Butterflyweed. I don't know whether they'll come back this year. Bougainvillea has always eluded me. I thought some pruning and a sprinkle of fertilizer might help. I cut back the Tropical Butterflyweed rather severely, after noticing that it has buds forming all over the stalk. I figured it might bush out if pruned drastically, and a bush form would be lovely.

 Rob gave me a couple of Cyclamens for Christmas. Plants are a favorite gift, of course, but often present a new challenge. I have nothing to do with his selections, and he often comes home with a plant I've never attempted to grow before. So it is with Cyclamens. I kept them on a windowsill and watered them sparingly for the three weeks or so since Christmas. They were looking so puny, I figured I'd have to repot them. I found this rectangular clay windowbox and it seemed like an attractive option, so now I am trying out the Cyclamens in the backyard, in a semi-shady spot near the Kelanchoe.

One of my experimental spots in the backyard is an impromptu bed I made from some languishing Vinca hanging baskets and wild Morning Glory that started as a weed when this was the trashy part of the yard. I bought the flower trellis, and last year the Vinca/Morning Glory combination was delightful. A few of the Vinca branches succumbed to recent frosts. The Morning Glory has died back completely, as I suspected it would. I hope it'll be back in the Spring.

Rachel loves to pick the Vinca flowers, which are white and pink and always blooming in hot weather.

 I have 2-3 cinder blocks I may repurpose as a sturdier border for this bed, until I can afford something nicer. Right now old chopped up roots and trash logs are doing the job.

No comments:

Post a Comment