Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Latest Doings

-- Planted some pass-alongs.
Grandpa wanted to clear out some plantings from part of his garden, and some things came here, including a couple of rose bushes (both white-flowered, we think), gloriosa lily (Gloriosa superba) tubers, a couple of types of elephant ears (sharper-pointed green and green-and-black), variegated monkey grass, and more purple heart, purple oxalis, and Mexican petunia.

Aunt Debbie and Uncle Jim also sent along butterfly weed (Asclepias tuberosa)-- which went to the Oval Bed-- and a type of weigela with pretty pink flowers-- now planted in a sunny spot along the north fence.   (Oops, forgot to take a photo of the weigela when I took the camera out last time... Maybe I'll remember to get a photo before it's finished flowering for the year.)

-- Planted some new plants.
Colocasia (elephant ear) 'Tea Cup' (which may or may not be the same thing as 'Coffee Cups') went down to the southwest corner of the fenced yard, in a new bed that's located roughly where our old "burn pile" spot was, a few years back.  (I also planted the pointy green elephant ear from Grandpa down there, as well as a piece of Curcuma elata.)

'Tea Cup' elephant ears (in photos I've spent far too much time ogling) are just plumb cute.  The leaves are different from the typical elephant ear.  They're held more upright and are shaped like (...wait for it...) cups!  When they fill with water, they tip down to the ground, empty themselves, then snap back up again.

When grown under ideal circumstances, they can get to a fairly large size-- up to six feet or more tall.  (I'll believe it when I see it.)  I'll be satisfied if mine grows to, say, 3 feet tall or so.  I just want it to get big enough that I can watch the cups fill with water during a summer shower, so I've tried to place it where we can see it from a window-- from way across the yard.  We'll see if it gets to stay there or needs to move once or twice this season... (Trying to guess and meet the sunlight/shade needs of plants is one of my very most favorite parts of gardening, surpassed only by such pleasures as dealing with ugly-buglies, hauling heavy loads of mulch/soil, and doing battle with torpedo grass.)

If it's happy, it might spread by runners (above the ground, in fall, from what I've read), and if that happens, then I will be happy, too, because I'll be able to take a piece or two and try it in some other, riskier spots closer to the house.  (Riskier because the soil is naturally drier and there may be more sun than it likes.)

'Tea Cup' Elephant Ear
{Colocasia 'Tea Cup'}

'Tea Cup' Elephant Ear
{Colocasia 'Tea Cup'}

Colocasia 'Black Ripple' is in the semi-shade garden, in the same spot where Curcuma elata ('Giant Plume' ginger) had been planted.  I was surprised by how dark 'Black Ripple' really is-- stunning!  I hope I can keep it alive and that it won't fade to a less impressive shade of dark green because it has too little sun.  (Maybe too little light won't affect the color but will "just" keep it small... or make it leggy.)  I can never decide how much sun is just right for plants like this.  There's conflicting information from different sources.  One says fun sun; another suggests that in the lower South dappled light is better.

In its most flattering photos, this variety of elephant ear is absolutely stunning, but even if it doesn't "ripple" quite as much as that, the intense color of the leaves is striking.

'Black Ripple' Elephant Ear
{Colocasia 'Black Ripple'}

'Black Ripple' Elephant Ear
{Colocasia 'Black Ripple'}

Regarding the displaced 'Giant Plume' ginger, I figured it would benefit from a move, anyway, so this was a good time to do it, as it had just started to emerge.  Transplanting now may mean no flowers this year, but that's alright-- especially since I grow it for the leaves more than the blooms.  The ginger came up in several clumps, so I planted most of it just a few feet over to the east, then tried the rest in a few other places around the garden.  Since I think it's best (in this climate) with some shade, options were limited!

Some new cannas found homes here and there, in sunny locations.  My goal was to add some interestingly-colored foliage, so I selected 'Wyoming', 'Russian Red', 'Pretoria' (a.k.a. 'Bengal Tiger'), and 'Intrigue'.

Most of them came as tubers, so I've nothing to show for them, yet.  'Intrigue' was sold with leaves, though they're looking a little sad at the moment.  I'm using an old beach umbrella to protect it from the sun for part of the day.  The plan is to gradually decrease the amount of protection so that it won't burn or be "shocked" too much.

Canna 'Intrigue'
{Canna 'Intrigue'}

A crinodonna lily (X Amarcrinum memoria-corsii) has made its home on the other side of the main entrance/exit to the covered patio, to balance the one I planted last year.

-- Moved indoor plants outside.
I'm betting that we're done with cool weather for a while, so a couple of houseplants have moved out.  (I wish they could be permanent outdoor plants, but they're just too tender.)

-- Planting daylilies.
I'm in the process of planting out the potted daylilies started from seed last year.  Some of them are tiny little things, but I think they stand a better chance in the ground, at this point.  I usually plant just a few pots at a time, toward the end of each gardening session.

-- Repotting daylilies.
This is also an on-going process.  As I empty the 2.5-quart (...I think?) pots currently "housing" last year's seedlings, I'm taking this year's seedlings out of their yogurt cups (and assorted other small pots) and into the roomier, recently-vacated pots.  Eventually, the goal is to move the "potted on" this-year seedlings somewhere with morning sun and afternoon shade, so these new daylilies can harden off.

-- Taking cuttings.
I've taken a few cuttings of Mexican bush sage and one of Salvia 'Pizzazz Purple'.  The parent plant of 'Pizzazz Purple' didn't come back, this spring, but one I grew from a cutting last year did, so I'm trying to get a back-up or two of that going.  The surviving plant is still small, though, so I didn't want to take more than one stem, for the time being.

-- Putting up a bird house.
Donald built a bluebird house for our garden, and he's in the process of making more.  The first one went up in this river birch along the western edge of the yard.  Maybe next spring we'll get lucky and have a pair nesting here.  We've seen a bluebird or two in our trees, this spring, so we know they're in the area.  (Plus Mom said they have some at their house, this year, just a short walk away.)

Bluebird House
{bluebird house}

Donald's also been cleaning the garage with the pressure washer, and he's started on the covered patio, too.

It's the busy time of year for gardening and outdoor chores.  There's always more to do than there's time to do it in-- or energy to do it with, whichever gives out first!