Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Mary, Mary, quite contrary ... How does your garden grow?

Several weeks of light rains and high humidity and relatively warm temperatures have resulted in considerable growth in my container garden. Here are a few photos. I have even brought some of the houseplants out. I get a lot of plants as teacher gifts and I thought I'd repot some of them for backyard color. I put two of my geraniums and one primrose into one of those rubber black "kettle" planters. The geraniums are thriving but apparently the primroses have already flowered for the year though the foilage looks fabulous and adds a nice texture contrast to the geraniums. Once the planned patio extension has been done, I plan to make up a little rock garden up against the retaining wall. I'll transplant the primrose and a few "volunteer" violets to the rock garden for some Spring color next year and fill it in with some of my other favorites: wood hyacinths [another Spring bloom], sweet williams, pansies, Irish moss and impatiens [for Summer color]. Spring and summer is also the time to lavish a little extra loving on my indoor plants. I have brought out my bamboo plant which is looking very sad indeed. Over the weekend, I will have to get a new container and fresh stone and repot it in a pristine environment in the hopes of reviving it. The iron plant arrangement [which by the by is at least 10 years old and started as a small potted plant from a florist - a birthday gift] needs a new pot and a trellis for support - it is growing by leaps and bounds. I have a few other plants I'll be re-potting and bringing out as well - two miniature rose bushes and a Kalanchoe. There's also an aloe plant and another iron plant at work, both pot-bound, that need some TLC and roomy new homes. As things grow and thrive I find myself making plans for the future. Next year, I'll add a large strawberry barrel to the container garden ... I love fresh strawberries warm from the sun, perfectly ripened, plopped into my breakfast cereal bowl literally minutes after picking.

I have always loved gardening but when I returned to the work force when my youngest was old enough for middle school, I just stopped ... always intending to return once I adjusted to my new schedule. But that never seemed to happen. Now that I am an empty nester, I am returning to gardening in a manageable way: containers for vegetables and herbs, the planned low maintenance rock garden, a few pots of colorful flowers, bringing the houseplants out into the yard for the summer. It works for me ... satisfying the agricultural impulses of the Mediterranean side of my heritage. [I satisfy the creative impulses of my Celtic heritage by writing poetry, by designing stitchery and with the occasional foray into the arts.]

The Container Garden:

The fig tree has actually started to set fruit, I have plucked my first cherry tomato, some chives and basil and even a few blackberries from the canes by the fence. My one regret is that I never got around to planting some cucmber seeds and it is now almost too late for plants to mature before the first frost ... I'll try and plant some this week ... a bit of a gamble ... but maybe I'll get lucky! And, according to my Victory Garden handbook, it will also be possible to plant some peas in July to mature in the cooler weather of late September.

Considering that my little container garden looked like this just four weeks ago, I'd say Mother Nature has been doing right by me ... but I would welcome a little more sunshine, please! Nevertheless, I do believe my garden dragon has been doing a pretty good job standing guard on my precious plants. He'll have a harder time riding herd on them all soon, though. We are extending our little patio and putting in a center circle of pavers for a small table, some chairs and an umbrella ... think summer stitching, expecially in the cooler mornings and evenings ... so I'll be rearranging the containers. They'll have to move from their current central spot to lining the paver path from the main patio to the central circle. We'll also be dismantling an old decrepit shed, so I shall have to find another place to mount my birdfeeder ... but I won't have to worry about that till September. I feed the birds during the fall/winter/spring since there is plenty of food readily available in the summer. Next year, I'll replace the old and unsightly chainlink fence on either side of my yard with nice white vinyl fencing ... perhaps with built in flower boxes along the top ... to add some color to my tiny backyard which is just the width of my townhouse and about 1 and 1/2 times the size of my living room. I'd love to resurface the concrete retaining wall with a brick or stone surface treatment but I fear that would be too expensive but it would certanly make my little backyard so much more attractive. Maybe just a coat or two of white paint will improve its appearance.


Cole said...

Your plants look lovely! I'm always jealous of someone with thriving plants... I tend to have a "black thumb"!

Rachel S said...

Amazing difference!

My tomatoes aren't doing too well, but I have my first calla lily blooming!

Vicky said...

Your plants are looking great! Enjoy the fruits of your labour.

mainely stitching said...

Oh boy your gardening looks amazing! Wish mine was faring as well!