Friday, April 24, 2015

Recent Doings

I forgot to mention last time that I'd planted three elephant ear bulbs.  They didn't come with a lot of information, but I think they're the Colocasia form.  I hope so, at least, as it sounds like that's the best fit for our climate.

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I've put some of the various and assorted seedlings into flower beds and pots, including more purple coneflower, blanket flower, Cupid's dart, blue bedder salvia, butterfly flower (ahem, weed-- Asclepias tuberosa), and some annual flowering vines (moonflower, morning glory, and Spanish flag).  No bets on how many of them will continue growing.  Some of them (coneflower and moonflower, for instance) seem hearty enough, others were sickly-looking.  Probably should've transplanted them earlier.  Well, live and learn!

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We've added plants to the brick-lined bed by the garage.  There are still three dianthus left over from last year.  They're looking a little ratty right now, but maybe they'll bounce back and put out another flush of bloom.  I think I've read that they're really better suited to winter in this area, but I know Donald bought and planted them as summer annuals last year, so... Some of the gladiolus he planted last year have returned, too, but that's about it.  No sign of the dahlias (not that surprised by that), and the fuchsias were also a total bust (not a surprise, either). 

I had another tiny yellow Knock Out rose still to plant, so that went into the center of the bed.  There's a cherry tomato on one side (spillover from the raised vegetable beds), and I balanced it out on the other side with a daylily transplanted from another (too-shady) spot.  A couple of little plants fit in front of the tomato-- and I'm calling that one done for now.  We'll see which things do well and move on from there.  

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Not a "doing", but a planning:
There's a variegated hydrangea growing on the north side of the house.  It's been there for several years, but has never thrived.  I think it's only bloomed once or twice, and while it puts out new leaves ever spring, it never gains much in size.  It needs a new location, clearly.  Granny L. bought one at the same time I did (if I recall correctly), and hers got wonderfully huge.  Of course, she probably fertilized hers more consistently and gave it better soil, but it also gets quite a bit more sun than mine does.  I'm thinking of pulling it out further from the house-- still on the north side, where it gets some shade. 

Not-Very-Happy Variegated Hydrangea

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Mom gave us an English ivy she no longer wanted, a while ago, and I finally got around to planting it yesterday.  I re-potted it, because I'm keen to keep it under close control.  I don't know how well it will do in a pot, but if it's not happy, it can find another home, I guess.  I'm definitely not going to just plant it directly in the soil.  It's in a shady spot, woven through the lattice that makes up a "wall" on the east side of the patio. 

I wonder if this ivy is the same type we have growing on the trellis... It could be, but it certainly looks different.  Thicker, woodier stems.  Of course, that could just be a sign of an older plant.

I really don't know much about ivy.  It still feels a little taboo to me, to be honest.  Ooh, you planted ivy.  You're living dangerously, girl!  ;o)  You know that stuff ruins masonry, right?  It'll eat your house!  And it's an invitation to rodents!  ...Thus the insistence on keeping it in a container and closely monitoring its every move.

New-Old Ivy from Mom

The ivy on the oh-so-imaginatively named "Ivy Trellis" put on some lush growth this spring.  It then proceeded to lose many of its older leaves.  Maybe that's something I should expect, every spring.  It still looks healthy enough-- better when I pick off the brown leaves.

In fact, I'm a little concerned that it's trying to put on too much growth behind the lattice, reaching toward the brick wall.  I may have to do some snipping... (And just hope that snipping doesn't make it even more determined, back there.)

Ivy Trellis, Butterfly Ginger, Nearly Wild Rose

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I finally planted two of our shade-loving plants from Plantasia.  (It should've been done long ago, I know.)   The Southern shield fern is on the other side of the patio lattice wall.  I must remember to keep it watered during this first summer.  I hope it will be happy and multiply.  I love the thought of a ferny, shaded spot!  Maybe some moss-grown hypertufa "sculpture" sticking up above the fern fronds...

Southern Shield Fern

The other shade-lover, I couldn't decide where to plant!  Though I read online that it can live in either wet or dry soil, the locally-produced plant tag seemed convinced that it wants "moist to wet" soil, and the parts of the yard that are more consistently moist are too far away from the flower garden.  (I'm not making a new bed over on that part of the yard.  I'm trying very hard to keep the yard and flower beds within a reasonable limit, considering that I know how lazy I can be and how very sincerely I hate hot, humid summertime yard work.) 

The plant tag also indicated that it's an excellent container plant, so I decided to let it stay on the patio.  Plenty of shade there, and it's easy to keep those containers watered, since there's a spigot right there.  I divided one very full pot of Japanese sedge (Carex oshimensis 'Evergold') between two containers.  If it does well this summer, I may try to divide it again next spring and plant some directly into the soil.

Japanese Sedge 'Evergold'

...However, I read something a little scary on Dave's Garden about someone's cat eating it and having serious problems as a result (couldn't vomit it up because the leaves are barbed?).  At least if I keep it in pots, I can move it out of reach of the dogs, if they seem too interested in it.  Of course, there's only so much you can do... I know there are probably many plants in our yard that can be toxic or otherwise dangerous for dogs to eat, but they're not usually plant-eaters (~knock on wood~), and they aren't often outside without people who can keep an eye on them...

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I planted my first hosta (Hosta undulata albomarinata, I think...).  I'm not feeling totally confident in its chances.  It's one of those dry little ball of roots that you buy in the bag.  I've had mixed success with those in the past.  Earlier this year, I tried two more of them-- the blue sea holly and red-hot poker plant.  They were $1.98 each, and they were both plants on my wish list, so I decided to give it a try.  Both of them came up and are still looking good, so I decided to take a $1.98 bet on the hosta, too.  However, I bought the hosta a bit late in the season, and it sure looked withered... Well, it's planted.  Now we'll wait and see what happens.  (If anything ever does.)

Granny's garden has hostas, if I'm not mistaken.  If she could grow them, I ought to be able to get them to grow here, too (even if not as well as she did), but I get the impression that hostas are not foolproof in the hot and humid South. 

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For a few weeks, now, there's been a pile of stones just outside the back door, dumped there "temporarily".  Today, I finally did something with them.  First, I put down a layer of landscape fabric and scraps of asphalt shingles.  Then I covered it up with stones and a few potted plants (or pots planted with portulaca that has yet to take hold).

It doesn't look amazing, but at least it looks intentional, I guess.  It's no longer just a messy pile of rocks.  I may go back and tweak it at some point in the future.  If nothing else, I should rearrange the pots or add new ones.  (The aloe is awkwardly placed because I'm trying to protect it from sunburn.  Baby steps until it's ready for full afternoon sun.)  It will keep (most) weeds from growing in that difficult spot (sandy soil that gets pounded by runoff from the roof). 

New "Rock Garden"

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 This is getting too long, so I'll save the rest (mostly photos) for another post.