Post # 177 Garden Updates Including Outdoor Plants

October 11, 2013 at 3:32 PM | Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Post # 177 Garden Updates Including Outdoor Plants

I’ve never really been much of a gardener.  When I was a kid, my mom tried to get me to work a vegetable garden for her.  But that’s what it was, work.  Especially in the Arizona in summer.  So now, we move back to Arizona and there’s a great garden plot already set up.  I’m a different person now, well aware of the work a garden takes and how hot Arizona gets.  The idea of raising my own vegetables suddenly seems appealing and easily accomplished.  The front yard is landscaped in gravel and pebbles and no work there except whatever plants we choose to put in the big pots on either side of the doorway.

Funny way reality has of intruding on daydreams.

We started with the front and the plants we wanted to have there.  Someone gave us a huge beautiful Asparagus Fern.  It was large and heavy in its hanging basket.  But I didn’t want to give it up because it was so nice looking.  I knew we were going to have to get large nails or hooks to make sure the basket’s weight didn’t pull it out, but I wasn’t sure the wood would support it.  After thinking about it for a couple of days, I finally hit on a good solution.  I got some decorative chain and put it over the wood so weight was evenly distributed and hung the basket through the loops at the height I wanted it.  The best part is that there are no huge nails or hooks to remove or mar the wood when we leave.  Well, that got us thinking.  Why couldn’t we do that with all the plants we wanted to hang?  Well, of course, we could.  So at the opposite end of the porch that faced the neighbor’s driveway, I hung two baskets and planted Morning Glory seeds.  My goal was to loop the vines around in such a way that they created a screen.  I hung the basket high in the hopes that the vines would drape down.  Yeah, no such luck.  So I moved the baskets down and watched the vines climb the basket chains, the chains the baskets were hooked to, and then up onto the porch rafters.  Then they started climbing back down, and intertwining with each other.  All through the process, they kept putting out the prettiest flowers.  At one point, there were over two dozen blossoms.  People walking by stopped to ask what they were.

morning glory

My hope is that one day soon, they won’t look so scraggly.  They’ll turn lush and green and beautiful.  It was a hot summer and they endured so I have no complaints.

The two big pots in front of the door were a different matter.  I’ve tried at various times to plant pots and keep things growing but never been successful.  So Partner/spouse said, “We’ll plant carnations and Elysium.  They’ll do great.”  During Spring, they did great.  Then the heat hit and things in the pots pulled back.  I deadheaded the carnations so we only had the gray-green pointy leaves.  I watered every day, making certain they had all they wanted to drink.  Something wonderful happened about two weeks ago.  The both came back and said, “Howdy!”

Ellysium

The white and purple flowers are the Elysium, and the gray-green are the carnations.  I don’t know what the carnations are going to do so I’m just going to baby them for a while.  The Elysium started out as small plants about the size of a teacup.  Now they’re overflowing both pots.  I just texted Partner/spouse an hour ago saying that I had the front door open to get the wonderful breezes blowing through and the smell of Elysium was filling the living room.

These are two other plants that are doing wonderfully well, too.  The first is chocolate mint that grew through the bottom of its basket and is now touching the cement.  I notice today that it’s sending tendrils back UP the plant into the pot again.  Crazy.  The second if called a Coral Fountain.  I don’t know what kind of plant it is but it has doubled in size since we got it.  It sends out branches straight up then they bend.  As they bend, they get small coral-red blossoms.  Guess what they attract?  Hummingbirds!  We’ve had dozens of the little monsters hanging around.  If they start nesting, I’m starting to kill some.  They’re nasty birds.

chocolate mint (2)

coral fountain

Now, the garden I stopped taking care of about a month or so ago.  Maybe a little longer.  I was sick to death of tomatoes (yeah, I know, and now I’d kill for a fresh tomato) and couldn’t even give them away.  The volunteer plant turned out to be a cantaloupe and we got about two dozen of them.  I don’t like them, and neither does Partner/spouse.  FiL does, but only ate three.  All the rest had to be given away, and I couldn’t find any takers!  I felt like walking out to a busy corner and chucking them at cars.  “Here!  Take the damn thing!”  If it was something I liked, that would be a different matter.  We got two full crops of radishes and enjoyed the heck out of them.  The carrots were wonderful, too, although I only made one stew out of them.  I just didn’t make enough, or else they didn’t grown big enough.  The tomatillos never materialized.  No idea what I did wrong, but there you are.  Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t.  So once I grew tired of it, I stopped.  It was a lot of work.  I stood back and waited for the plants to die so I could pull them up and put them in the trash dumpster in the alley.

Guess what?  They didn’t die.  Buddy, the puppy, ran into the house a couple of days ago with an immature cantaloupe he’d been chewing on.  The vines in the middles are dead, but the vines on the outer edges are still putting out fruit.  The tomatoes are doing the same thing.  Tons of blossoms and tons of tomatoes that spoil before I can do anything more than marvel at them.  But they’re still there!  And the basil!  That’s an OMG situation.  The one that started from seed is only five feet tall.  The one that started as a plant is over six feet tall!  AND the seeds have started other plants in the garden.  I was looking at something the other day and noticed what I thought was a weed.  When I picked a leaf to smell it, BASIL!  Then, today, when I was looking at the cantaloupe, I saw another basil plant about three feet tall and already going to seed.

basil (2)

It’s like the thing that wouldn’t die!  It’s the desert, for crying out loud.  When you stop watering things, they’re supposed to wither and die.  Not my garden!  I must be a better farmer than I thought.  So, I’m going to wait for about another couple of weeks to see what happens.  Then, I’m pulling everything up by the roots!  I’ll need a shovel for that, though.  My guess is that the roots go pretty deep.  I’m going to keep the basil, though.  I like basil.  Then, I’m going to start planning the garden for next year, and start earlier.  I’ve got an experiment I want to try with cilantro.

Enjoy!

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