Earlier this Summer, the small Firesticks succulent (is it a cactus? I think so?) made its annual migration from indoors to outdoors. First...staying in the shade for a couple of weeks. Then, moving to a little bit more sun. This container-grown cactus lived in the basement all Winter and seemed to come out the other side in decent shape. I barely watered it and it barely grew. But...When I moved it outside and gave it some water, it started to take-off again. The last time that I captured a photo of this Firesticks succulent was more than a year ago - February 2022 . It continues to grow and the current state is below: It is easy to see that there is a ton of new, fresh growth. Those yellow-going-on-red tips are the tell. It seems happy in this small container and I'm not in a hurry to move it to something bigger since I'm seeing so much growth. I suppose that's something that I need to start to look at and figure out if it would benefit from a larger home. It
Showing posts with the label containers
Like (almost) every previous growing season, I planted some Elephant Ear bulbs in our containers in an attempt to add a (slightly) tropical vibe to our patio. These bulbs come from Longfield Gardens and are carried by Costco each Spring. This year, I put a couple in both the wood box at the corner of the patio and the larger, glazed container. And, both of them have put up leaves that are getting bigger by the day. See below for first the wood container followed by the glazed one. I'll monitor these for size - here's the mark to beat leaf-size-wise (from 2021) .
The way that I think about gardening is that you have to have a systemic approach to planning and planting that is paired with a secondary, supplemental approach to zhuzh'ing things during the growing season. That systemic approach means trees and shrubs and even perennials. (I need to do more evergreen shrubs....just a self-reminder.) But that supplemental zhuzh'ing is something that I've mostly done through division and some bulbs. I suppose that's the difference between a landscaper and a gardener, right? A landscape gets it all planted and is satisfied. A gardener will work the garden all year long. A plantsman? That's for another post. One of the things that I've talked about over the years is how to use annuals in the landscape. The only place that I've successfully planted them is out front in the porch beds. In the back? Nothing. Last year, I included the idea of using shade annuals and dark foliage . But, I really didn't move on it.
Nothing like a deadline to get you to fill your containers, right? We were hosting a little Easter party earlier this month and that meant that Nat wanted our front porch container full of something. What's that something this time of year? Normally...pansies. Like these: When I was at the orange big box store, I also saw something more interesting: ranunculus. In a spectrum of colors including orange, red, yellow and pink. I was, naturally, drawn to the orange ones. Here's how things ended up: 12 pansy plugs in purple (let's call it blue, ok??) and six five-dollar ranunculus interplanted. Last Summer, I went with pink and green .
I've been TRYING to do more with tropicals outside over the years. One of them that I've had the MOST success with - in multiple years - are what I call "Elephant Ears". Colocasia. I've grown them in containers a few times and even had some pretty big (or so I thought!) ones like this one in 2021 . The folks at The Growing Place sent out an email that included some new/interesting plants for 2023 and it included a look at a Colocasia . But...not just any. This one is "gigantea". It is also know as the 'Thailand Giant'. Below is a photo showing this giant elephant ear off via The Growing Place ( Source ): That sure is...something. Pretty big. Walters Garden has this to say : To say that this plant will dwarf any plant you already own would be putting it mildly! ‘Thailand Giant’ is much larger than C. gigantea. Its glaucous green leaves can measure a whopping 5' long x 4' wide each. Full grown plants typically reach 9ft tall,
We didn't get Christmas blooms out of this Flamenco Queen Amaryllis bulb, but the wait was worth it. I last posted a photo of this plant at the very end of 2022 and showed the stalk had shot up with a bud at the tip . Today? It is wide-open. And has two of the most-striking flower blooms on opposite sides of the stalk that we've ever grown. See below for a look at the Flamenco Queen with red and white-striped petals and a lime-green center. Below is a photo showing that 'opposite' set of blooms. And the two more that are on their way: This is also - by far - the tallest, lanky-est Amaryllis we've ever grown. Even after we 'poisoned it' with an alcohol mix in December. How tall? It is showing blooms that are 25.5" above the top of the bulb. See below for the measurement: It has started to lean, so I stuck in a plant support that you can see below. The hard part with these Amaryllis bulbs and plant supports is that the width of the bulb forces
I planted an ornamental grass in one of our back patio containers this Summer and seems that I failed to document what the variety was/is when I installed the rest of the flowers. Here's a link to a Summertime post showing the labels from a bunch of the plants in the containers, but it didn't include the ornamental grass in the center of the large, round ceramic container. Based on poking around online, I'm *pretty sure* that it is a Mexican Feather Grass - Nassella . I'm posting about it, not just to document it in the [garden diary], but rather because of the state it is currently in - post frost in late November. See below for a photo of the container including this Mexican Feather Grass still showing a lot of green blades: Nassella Mexican Feather Grass is hardy down to just Zone 7 , so perhaps I'm wrong with the identification. Listen...everything else. Literally EVERYTHING ELSE in my garden (aside from the Autumn Ferns) have shriveled up and reacted to
That (above) is our front porch seasonal flower container for Summer 2022. Earlier this Spring, we planted this long, rectangular container with pansies that were cold-hardy. Last month, I finally got around to planting this with Summer annuals. Last year, we went with a more bold and wild container , so this year, I went a little more subdued. I don't love pink flowers in my garden, but when I was the Big Box nursery, I found a few pink things that I thought might work in our front porch box. This is a pretty shady spot - it gets a tiny bit of morning sun, but is in the shade for 98% of the day. What's in here? First...there are a pair of Fiber Optic grasses. I dug those out of the back patio container since they were being swallowed up by the Petunias . They won't be missed. Then there's a purple Sweet Potato vine, some simple shade Begonias and pink Polka Dot plants. All the containers are below. The Polka Dot plants are something that I've wante
Last year, I planted a fountain grass in the big cast iron urn. It was a Pennisetum - but named 'Fireworks '. This year, I brought home another purple fountain grass and put it in a container. Just...it was a different grass AND a different container. The grass is Pennisetum setaceum 'Rubrum'. See below for the nursery container. And...importantly, you'll see that when it comes to hardiness, it goes down to *just* 30 degrees. That means...for me (Zone 5b), this is an annual. I decided to put this in - by itself - a white container that lives on our back stoop. A full sun spot. I planted it about three weeks ago. How is it doing? Seems to be happy. See below for a look at the first flower plume that has emerged from the crown. Nice, gently arching stem that I hope more will follow.
I've lusted after the green Versailles Orangerie planter boxes that you see all over Paris filled with trees in gardens and parks. I've posted about them a couple of times here on the blog and even thought about trying to make one on my own . While were were trouncing around Paris this Summer, we certainly saw the original ones with upright wood slats. But, I also was tuned into a new version: made from metal. Here, below, is one of them I saw on a side street in Paris. It has a scrubby tree/shrub in it, but feels fairly underplanted. And, below, are pair of them (unplanted as well) in the park leading to the Eiffel Tower. A closer look inside these shows they are two-piece containers with an interior 'cage' that seems it can be 'lifted out' (see the corner hooks below). I'm guessing that two-piece setup is intended for Winter as they can leave the planter in place, but take the tree to the Orangerie for overwintering. The other thing (see below)
I came across these planters in the town of Val d'Elsa in Northern Italy this Summer (photo below) that are what I think are municipal planters that serve as both traffic deterrents, pedestrian protection and beautification in one package. See below for the photo showing the pair that feature concrete bases, metal uprights (that keep the container centered) and cylindrical terracotta containers. Pretty neat, right? I was really drawn to these - I like the containers - but also the ingenuity. They're heavy, so they can't be moved. The containers are also protected by the iron pipes. I've drawn some gardening inspiration before from European gardens, so I'm adding this to that list.
The past few years, I've used a tricolor combination in the 'corner container' on our back patio that was inspired by beds in Luxembourg Gardens in Paris. Red, Orange and blue/purple. Last year it was marigolds, salvia and petunia . Along with an Elephant Ear tucked into the corner for a little tropical flair. This year, I went a different route - with a monochromatic scheme. Well... actually since the foliage is green and the flowers are all white, this might *technically* be a complementary scheme. But, I'm going to call it one-color. I went this route with both the corner wooden container and the larger clay pot that we've had for 10 years or so. Let's start with the corner container. I planted this with a combination of white flowering annuals and some foliage plants. First, the flowers: 16 Catharanthus roseus - annual vinca. Those are the white flowers with red centers. And 16 Easy Wave White spreading Petunias. I also tucked in a pair of As
I've been known to garbage pick. At the curb. Not in dumpsters and other what-have-yous. You know the move: people put stuff out on the curb on their garbage day (or very often...on Saturdays or Sundays when they've just done a clean-up project) and if someone doesn't grab whatever the thing is, it goes into the truck on pickup day. I posted about an organ late last year and when we lived back in Elmhurst, they had this wonderful, annual all-city-wide amnesty day. You could put anything you wanted on the curb and the garbage guys would take it; no stickers needed. That was always a fun hour of driving around seeing what people were tossing. Mostly, you find junk. And, this time, I think that's what I found: junk. It is metal. So, the most likely picker is one of those guys in the pickup trucks with wood boards that extend the height of the bed and have all sorts of metal objects tossed in there. I call them the "metal guys". They only focus on
I'm calling it: our Amaryllis season lasted until February 23rd, 2022. Early February showed this Lemon Star Amaryllis in full bloom and today shows the last flower in decline. Our 2020/2021 blooms were last documented in late January 2021 . The Star of Holland Amaryllis from 2019/2020 season was in FULL bloom in mid-February , so I'm thinking that season lasted longer than Feb 23rd. And, our 2018/2019 season went the longest - with this full-double-bloomed flower all the way late on March 3rd, 2019 . My plan is to leave this Lemon Star bulb to leaf-out this Winter/Spring indoors and then move it outside to the patio come Spring/Summer and attempt to keep it for next Christmas. 2022 to-do list should include bulb management and reuse, right?
In late January, I tried a succulent propagation experiment with one variable: cutting vs callus'd-over pieces of Burro's Tail. I used rooting compound and went about planting two small containers of little pieces of succulent. In the green, plastic container, I planted segments that I sliced in-to and then applied the rooting compound. In the clay pot, I left the segments with their calluses and just rubbed rooting compound on the surface. The little white post-it note says: "Uncut = Clay". (I keep an offline garden diary of sorts, too...) Four-or-so-weeks later, here's what those two containers look like: What has happened? The cuttings on the left - the ones that I sliced into with a knife BEFORE applying the rooting compound have just melted away. On the right - the ones that I left intact? Many of them are still there and doing just fine. Lesson learned: when propagating succulents, make sure they have completely callused over before attempting
'Tis the season for documenting our house plant collection in the [ container diary ], it seems. I've done Nat's large Fiddlehead Fig tree , my wire vine plant that we brought in from outside, my only (for now) Staghorn Fern and my Maidenhair Fern that I recently repotted . However, I have a potted plant (a cactus) that I've had longer than any of those - in fact, it might be the oldest house plant/container that we have on hand: a Firesticks Cactus Succulent. Seems that I've long called this a "pencil cactus", but that's not accurate. This is a succulent and officially named: Euphorbia tirucalli 'Sticks on Fire'. I posted some photos of this succulent when it arrived in March of 2018 - almost four years ago. I had it in an orange container that I've moved on from - I think it cracked - because the current container isn't much larger than the original one (hence...I don't think I sized-this-up). What does it look like fo
It was a little bit over a year ago that I posted some photos showing the successful reinvigoration of a wire vine that I had brought in from outside but had suffered some indoor, Winter neglect. I give it a haircut to get rid of all of the dead/dry vines and it bounced back. We kept this container in the screened porch almost the entire year - until it was brought inside in early January. It went upstairs to our extra bedroom - which is where good plants go to die. This vine was in great shape when it went up and it was, as expected, promptly neglected. And dried out. The humidity we have inside the house isn't high enough to provide the ideal environment for most container house plants. So, I decided to bring it down and try to give it some life. That meant that I submerged the entire container in a large bowl of water for about 45 minutes to completely saturate the soil and roots. A day or two later, the dried, brittle fronds had bounced back a bit. It wasn't com
My reasons for keeping my own [garden diary] are the usual ones: get smarter (make better choices) and to document changes over time (appreciate wins/losses). I've taken that same approach to some of our indoor house plants . I'm interested in understanding what they look like during different seasons - seeing if they're growing, if they're in trouble, etc. That's covered my Staghorn Fern , my Standing Mickey Topiary and even one of our umbrella plants . Just this past week, I documented my re-soil'ing of my Maidenhair Fern . But, I haven't tracked - via my [ container diary ] the largest houseplant we have: Nat's Fiddlehead Fig Tree. I don't exactly know how long we've had it, but I know it was introduced in our new house - at some point. It sits in a room that has southern exposure and has just grown and grown. This isn't a plant that I tend to - at all. This one is all Nat. She waters it. Feeds it. Cleans it. Turns it. Al