a week in the life of a container gardener: early February

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Saturday, 2/1/14:
Our kitty, Ginger (the one who often comes out back with me to “assist” in the gardening (read: lick water off the leaves after I water things…), had an abscess and had to be taken to the emergency vet so any plans of gardening on Saturday were not to come to fruition.

Sunday, 2/2/14:
I didn’t think there was a lot to be done in the garden because of all the crazy rain we had late last week, but I went back there anyway and found about an hour’s worth of work to do. I pruned the coleus and some of the geranium, misted for pests, watered a few of the drier plants, and shifted a few things around. I have to remember to keep an eye on where the sun moves- as the seasons change, so do the light, and some plants need it a lot more than others.

The broccoli is getting huge and bushy, so I gave the planter much more space. For some reason, I’m fascinated with it. It’s a Romanesco variety, and I planted it mainly because I’ve been obsessed with the aesthetics of it for years (it reminds me of Mandelbrot):

image by WIRED magazine

image by WIRED magazine

but broccoli is a *satisfying* thing to watch grow. It just is a hearty, splashy, leafy plant. It reminds me that there are still things growing out back, even though it seems like the cool, rainy weathers put everything else in a state of dormancy.

I also spent a little bit of time with a snail- I found it in one of my planters and brought it out off the lanai. Instead of just putting it down and going back inside, I sat down and watched it for a while. I know snails cause a lot of destruction, but I think they are beautiful and gentle. After it realized I wasn’t going to try and mess with it, it popped its eyes and head out and then slowly went on its way. I know that sounds like a strange way to spend some time, but it was very gratifying. (If you are interested, I highly recommend the book “The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating”.)

Monday, 2/3/14:
I wasn’t going to garden too much today (sound familiar) but I decided to go back there with my iPhone and snap a few photos for this blog, and I found myself watering and pruning and sitting and observing. It looks like things may be coming back to life, which makes me happy. I hate when I go back there really WANT to dig my hands into the soil and work, and there’s literally nothing going on.

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One interesting thing I noticed- the BRIGHT YELLOW petunias I planted are not bright yellow, but an interesting variegated mix of pinks, red, and creams. The other bowl of them I planted grew bright yellow, so I’m confused but also *very* pleased. That’s one thing about the garden- it always find a way to surprise me.

Tuesday, 1/4/2014:
I decided to count the planters and the pots in my garden today, while I was swimming. There are 80. Not plants, but planters. Big change from the three I started with (mixed bowl of plants, most of which I still have, a geranium (which I still have), and a shrimp plant (which I also still have)). I remember when I counted a few years ago and got to 50 planters and was shocked. I guess I really do have a garden!

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Wednesday, 1/5/2014:
Did my usual water/misting/pruning. It took about an hour, which always surprises me. I hope the little changes in the garden mean spring is on its way.

It looks like my tomato plant is really coming back, so my plans to pull it out and replace it may have to be changed. I’m okay with that- I love it when a plant rallies.

I also find it interesting that both the smaller hibiscus and the plumeria have gone dormant. I know they are *supposed* to, but usually they keep growing all winter long down here. I know there are a lot of disagreements about climate change, but if you garden, you tend to notice the differences through your plants’ behaviors. And I am noticing a big difference, even from just year to year. This year is the first time I’ve really had my plants react from the unusually cold and wet weather. Maybe spring will be a riot of growth and color, after all.

Thursday, 1/6/2014:
Busy day around here so I’m not sure how much gardening will be done.

I wanted to share this (I will probably do a post on it somewhere down the line…):

febfog

This is a picture of the fog off the bay behind our house. But the tall branches you see coming out of the rectangular planter in the center of the photo started out as rose clippings from Tom’s mom’s garden in New Mexico. She passed away very unexpectedly in June of this past year, and when Tom was out there helping to get her things into order, he took photos of her garden for me. We hatched a little plan for him to get me some clippings of her roses, and they have really started to grow the last few months.

I’m very excited to see them bloom, but just having them grow and be there is *so* meaningful to me. They are a very important part of my garden and a symbol of how plants aren’t always just *plants*. Sometimes there are emotional stories and memories behind them.

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