July 31, 2014

You Can't Keep a Good Neoregelia Down and other Bromeliad Excitement

When the two oldest Neoreglias gave up their pups for potting, I tossed the near-dead old plants aside and ignored them, meaning to take them to the compost bin. Today I noticed that one lying on its side on the ground had some still-pink leaves.


Further inspection revealed a pup.

Dear to a grower's heart.
I set it up and gave it a drink. I'll leave the mother plant until the pup gains size.

Some of these were repotted this week.
There are 8 smaller pups potted up and growing.
Whatever will I do with all these, come winter?

Fortunately I decided not to separate the pups on my other Bromeliads.

I repotted the cluster of 3 Guzmanias into a square pot today.

Tillandsia cyanea, also a group of 3, has bracts. As the quills 
grow, they will produce blue flowers eventually.




July 30, 2014

Update on the Poor Little Cycad

I found the caudex (structure just above the root) with one leaf attached, flung in the yard and abandoned by whatever tried to destroy it. Likely a squirrel. I figured he had eaten it; probably sensed that it was poisonous. I could now account for all the pieces, just can't put them back together.

I scooped up the caudex and attached leaf and gave it a little pot of soil in which to rest. A good sprinkle of water and it's over on a shelf to see what develops.

I realize now that I should have used Perlite. Since I don't have any that was moot.

The pot with the roots is still sitting there. Eventually I'll pull out the roots, replace the soil and plant the Guzmania trio in that square pot.

July 27, 2014

Barely Inside the Greenhouse

Peeks into the greenhouse are of little interest these days. I mostly go in to turn on the vent fan, start or stop the mist system and do things with water.

This is my hope for tomatoes in cold weather. 

Started from a tiny sucker in the axil of a bigger tomato plant, it sat around rooted, waiting for a home. I finally put it in a big nursery bucket. Too hot now even outside for fruit to form, it should start to put on tomatoes come cooler weather.

There are a few plants left inside that never joined their friends summering outside in shade. Every little piece of succulent material is saved and set to root.  

Yesterday when I checked on the post garden, a squirrel had dug into the pot of Burro Tail on the left below. I have BIG pieces to root now.

Sedum morganum could go back inside. With ample water they can tolerate the high temperatures hovering around 100 degrees at time inside the greenhouse. 
Maybe the cat can keep squirrels out.

I keep looking at containers and wondering just how many will fit in there.
I can give the Firecracker Fern (Russelia equisetiformis) a haircut. Some years it blooms all winter. Long stems on Graptopetalum in the pot with it could stand breaking off and re-rooting with shorter stems too. On the other hand I kind of like the sinewy shape the stems take.

I made a mistake, moving Calla lilies to sunnier spots outside the greenhouse. Some leaves are sunbleached. I moved them back to shade. 

Inside the greenhouse, I pulled out a great bale of purple alternanthera that was reaching for the rafters. I pulled the front half of the south side; much more remains. I think it helped some with shade but shade was beginning to crawl to the center of the room.

While the days are so hot I tend to stay in the house, only going out to water and check on things. There's a heat advisory today. Temperatures are not predicted to get to triple digits, but the heat index may approach 109º because of the humidity.







July 25, 2014

Death and Destruction on the Patio

Remember the cycad I grew from a seed? I was so proud of it.

It is no more.

Something, and I am blaming a squirrel because they are abundant and destructive, pulled it from the container, broke or bit off the leaves and tossed them under a tree. 

I couldn't find the seed pod that was still attached, nor the roots. I guess squirrel ate them. I hope he didn't develop a taste for cycad and doesn't start digging up the bigger cycads.

I had great plans for this little plant. When it grew up it was going to sit in a bed of Sedum acre in the summer. I pinned a picture of how it would look, just like the big Cycad in Martha's Garden sitting in a bed of succulents.

Sigh. 

I'll put a Guzmania in the square pot. 


July 22, 2014

Dreaming of Violas, Snapdragons and Iceland Poppies

When the weather is hot and sunny, I like to think about the winter garden, just as we dream of warm gardens in the dead of winter.

Early Spring in my garden, 2007

When I first came to Southwest Georgia, I passed a veterinarian's office in Cairo. There was a glorious planting near the street of white Snapdragons, blue Pansies and Iceland Poppies in shades of orange, yellow and cream. One of the Plant Ladies had worked her magic there.

I never quite achieved the glorious garden I saw there but I've had some stunning pansies, some sweet Iceland poppies and spiky snapdragons; they just never turned out in the same bed.


Plant Ladies were among my role models for planting in a hot and humid climate. When I used to spend time over there, I had opportunity to see Astilbes die under the shade of Crape myrtles in front of the hospital entrance and judge just how long a Delphinium lasts before it is toast.  A Plant Lady introduced me to Pentas. It was mid-winter and the tops were dead but I could tell it was something I had to plant. 

Small-flowered Pansies and Violas are more impressive than the Giant Pansies. A great host of small blossoms are more impressive than 2 or 3 big blooms.


All photos are from previous years here.

 Violas have a constant stream of flowers. If one is damaged by the weather another soon opens. They're more resistant to cold because of their alpine species heritage.


Dark colors can make an impact when wisely chosen and carefully sited.
.


I gave up the darkest Violas because I thought they looked like black holes from a distance.



Of all the pansies I've planted, I liked these best.
I wonder if their name is written somewhere?





Next month is time to start Violas, Snaps and Iceland Poppies from seed in moderate climates.  My plans do not apply to areas that get snow and continuous hard freezes. If I don't get seed planted I may wait until January to buy flats of plants during a warm spell. If I happen across any Snapdragons this fall, cuttings of Antirrhinum are easy. 

Meanwhile, I cut back Verbena bonairensis that flopped all over the front lawn and saved a bowl of seeds. Before I was done, a butterfly was nectaring on the short stems with blooms that I left. Tithonia and Lantana are plentiful now , so I felt comfortable with cutting away some Verbena on a Stick.

Verbena on a Stick back in May.

July 18, 2014

Brugmansias just Get Better and Better

I decided this one is so big and lush because it is in a southwest-facing corner and was more protected than the the others.



The light was different when I faced a different direction. 


More buds open each night.


These two away from the house are slower to get going.

The Brugs out in the Upper Garden are all short and slow to bloom. 

I noticed two blooms on Duranta today. One of the plants has tiny stunted leaves and needs to be cut back and allowed to recover from whatever stunted it. Two of the cuttings I took have rooted, 2 of 3 isn't bad. I would like to have them blooming indoors this winter and put them out for an early start in the spring. 

White Lantana rooted; 75% of the cuttings that I took. Earlier cuttings that I planted out have not grown much nor started to bloom. 

I was wondering what I could plant with Gulf Muhly Grass to bloom with it in the fall, something that looks better with pink Muhly than the Tithonia that clashed so beautifully last year. A clump of lavender Lantana crawled over to the Muhly from where it grew last year in the center of the bed. All the center died out and this one big piece just cozied up with the Muhly Grass. I didn't make a pic. 

There are some huge Graptopetalums in the Greenhouse. I need to think of a good use for their pretty rosettes, the only succulent that I grow except for Burro's Tail Sedum. Oh, and Kalanchoe. There is an abundance of them, also easily rooted.

I'm already thinking about where everything will fit this winter. I put a rooted Tomato sucker in a large nursery pot. It grew straight up. It takes a full gallon of water to water it. Many of the tiny rooted pieces may have to bunk in together in a single pot. 

Ike the Cat ate one of my greenhouse lizards today. Ike is kind of vicious sometimes.   


July 17, 2014

Tagetes and other Unfamiliar Names

Tagetes -- it sounds more like a disease than a flower. I was thinking about botanical names today and remembered that most of us say Marigolds referring to French or African Marigolds. Then there are the Pot Marigolds, Calendulas.


My only Tagetes bloom. Four went in an open space in the Yellow Rose Bed. This is the first bloom. I was, of course, hoping for yellow from a packet of mixed colors.

I planted 4 or 5 in the Herb Wheel, where Petite Marigolds grew to gigantic size in rich soil and so far have one bud in the lot. The Herb Wheel has not been an overwhelming success. Oregano and Parsley are hanging on. I have potted seedlings of common Thyme and Rosemary cuttings for replanting in a better season.

Later on, I'll plant Calendulas for the first time in years. Pot Marigolds.

When I plant Calendulas, I also plan to have Tropaeolum majus. Nasturtiums. Like Calendulas, Nasturtiums are cool season plants here.

Can you tell I've been drooling over the  book Annuals with Style again? I love their photos and descriptions but when to plant as given in the book has nothing to do with gardening in the hot and humid Coastal South.

They use many flowers as annuals that are perennial in my garden: Cannas, Lantana, Sweet Alyssum.

I love this line: "If garden Zinnias were only harder to grow, they would be much more fashionable."

The book was not furnished to me for review. I bought it.

July 15, 2014

An Uncommon Zinnia for Bloom Day

Considering its lowly origins, this is an uncommon Zinnia, both shape and color.


A packet of Giant Cactus Mixed Colors Zinnia seeds cost a quarter at the dollar store. Started early indoors, planted out in a bare spot just right for a tiny row of Zinnias they'll bloom until frost. 


First to bloom was a lovely golden orange, followed by this and now shades of yellow and a bright pink.


Butterflies are mostly ignoring these in favor of Lantana, Tithonia and Pentas but toward fall Zinnias will be a favorite as the tropicals fade a little.

Happy Bloom Day. Join the fun at May Dreams Gardens.

July 10, 2014

Dog Days in and out of the Greenhouse


There's not a lot to peek at in the greenhouse this time of year.

Water from the misting apparatus collecting on the bench below grew some interesting fungi.

A rooting rate of 75% for Lantana cuttings taken a couple weeks ago. I had to remove 3 that never came out of a wilt. I always need a few more chartreuse alternanthera. Two of three Duranta look as if they'll root. Duranta is a good blooming greenhouse plant for winter, so one or two small are good to have.

Outside, Schlumbergera, Rhipsalidopsis, Kalanchoe and Calla Lilies are in light shade on a little patio with a little morning sun. Some are on makeshift benches.  



Cycad seedling

Epiphyllum oxypetalum has buds. There's been some bud
drop but we'll have open buds soon if I can keep the 
watering schedule. 

I potted up a single tomato plant for the greenhouse, grown from a tiny sucker off a Better Boy plant before it was planted in the garden. I didn't take a picture; maybe when it has little tomatoes I will.

We spent much time late yesterday finding tomato worms that were eating my tomatoes outside. I know they grow into a lovely large moth, but they strip the plants in a very short time and have to be removed in a no-spray patch. Some fat larvae were four inches long and very green, easily hidden by arranging themselves along stems. One that had eaten nearly half of a small tomato was a little fellow slightly more than an inch long and still brown. Imagine how many leaves and tomatoes he would eat before he reached 4 inches long.

I'm watering the beds on either side of the greenhouse. I hope by next year they'll be mature enough to show off in the manner of Claus Dalby's greenhouse beds with white flowers, my inspiration. 

July 03, 2014

Thursday Throwback: Tillandsia cyanea


Tiny Tillandsia cyanea in a 3" pot, Early December, 2012

May, 2013 after the bloom bract died, tiny plants commenced to form among the leaves, unlike some bromeliads that have pups around the base next the root.

Eventual repotting gave the growing plants room. In the interest of conserving greenhouse space I left all four in a single pot after I read that was okay.



Early June, I moved them out under trees. Yesterday I was wondering if they were happy there. I looked closer and discovered a sure sign of happy, happy.



 Three of the plants have bracts forming.

Pink bracts have blue-purple blooms when they reach maturity.


 If this is an ideal spot, then of course I moved the Guzmania out there, too.


No sign of a bract here. 

Maybe I should bring Neoregelias over here, too.

The long container of Persian Shield and Purple Heart kept blowing over so they are moving elsewhere to plant in shady soil where they should be happier too.

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