a week in the life of a container gardener : late January, 2013

musicbox sunflower, in bloom

musicbox sunflower, in bloom

Saturday, January 19 2013:
I didn’t mean to spend a lot of time in the garden today but I wandered out there and wound up spending more than an hour pruning, soap-treating for pests, fertilizing, misting things, shifting some plants around, and taking general stock of what’s going on. I need to move one of my passiflora and maybe Tom can give me a hand with that since it’s kind of a big job. Some sunflowers I planted ages ago are about to bloom and I want to move them into a more visible location.

Two of the hibiscus I ordered are on their way, so I was thinking a lot about where they would go. I feel a bit like a hibiscus glutton at the moment, but then I reminded myself that hibiscus are plants that will make it through the summers and require less maintenance than some of the other plants I have going, so it’s not TERRIBLE. Usually this time of the year I’m ordering seeds and starting pots and pots and pots full of seeds. This year I’ve just ordered a few live plants, instead. Seeds seem more manageable and simple, though, because when you start them they don’t take much room. But then you have to find a place for 30 new plants, and then tend to them, so ordering a couple of live grown plants makes more sense in the long run.

As usual, I’ve planted too many nasturtiums. I do it for color, I think. Last year all I wanted was red nasturtiums and I had ONE. This year, I planted multi-colors, a very balanced mix, and they are all blooming red. And yes, I definitely plant specific varieties. There’s a few reasons for the red- some of the mixes I planted that were supposed to be more orange/pink are definitely deeper versions of those colors so they appear red. Some of the red nasturtium seeds that I planted early on that *didn’t* germinate wound up germinating much later down the road. Etc. But I’m at about 50 nasturtiums right now, and yesterday I was OVERJOYED when I saw that one bloomed orange. I need to pare down, but I hate just disrupting a plant if it’s perfectly healthy because it’s not the right variety. So I wind up with this tremendous nasturtium count every year. I think I’ll shift some of them to the two plants on each side of the garage. They don’t enjoy being transplanted, but if its done carefully, it should be okay.


Sunday, January 20th 2013:
Another day in which I intended on just *checking* on the garden and wound up doing quite a bit of work. I misted again, both for whiteflies *and* hydration. I find that the mister setting on the hose (if it’s powerful enough) is the best pest control out there, as long as its done daily until the pests are gone. So whenever something crops up pest-wise, before I treat with soap or anything, I do the misting for a few days.

We moved one of the Passiflora (Lady Margaret) into a sunnier spot and I repotted the peony. The peony is interesting- when I got it for Christmas it was just a *tiny* eye of a plant- it looked like a red root poking out of the soil. Now it’s about 18″ tall with a huge bud on it. It’s not meant for my zone (10) but I am going to see if I can really baby it (and bring it inside into the sunroom in the summer) and make it work since it’s a plant I’ve always wanted.

phlox! planted in autumn, finally blooming. I love it!

phlox! planted in autumn, finally blooming. I love it!

Monday, January 22nd 2013:
Nothing big today- just some dead-heading and some pruning, and a little misting. The tomatoes are coming in nicely- we just need to remember to harvest them every day and actually eat them! It’s been about six months since we last had tomatoes growing so we forget they are out there. Also, we need to pick and cook up the eggplant- we’ve got two that are ready and a few others almost there.


Tuesday, January 23rd 2013:
Today I wound up messing with the Nasturtiums a bit. I’m trying very hard to not let them grow crazy this year, because when you grow LOTS of them in containers, they go from being insanely bushy and beautiful one day to being brittle, knotted, crazy messes the next. And if you cut too much off in one shot, the plant is pretty much a goner. So this year I am trying to tame them a bit at a time.

I’m seriously thinking about pulling a few out that aren’t doing well and planting fresh seeds. Plus, THEY ARE ALL RED. Again, this is ironic because red nasturtiums was what I wanted *last* year. But I would like a little variety- some pinks and oranges. Before I take any drastic action, I’m going to see if the trimmed ones bounce back. The ones that don’t, I’ll replace with Creamsicle and Cherries Jubilee (which is pink).

Still waiting for my two hibiscus to arrive! One is blue (purple, but with a blue tinge) and the other is a deep raspberry color.

sunflower at the very front of the garden...

sunflower at the very front of the garden…

Wednesday, January 23rd 2013:
The hibiscus arrived yesterday and I quickly repotted them and got them in the sunshine. I hope they take.I did some quick gardening before getting in the pool- mostly dead-heading the geranium and misting things down.¬†One of my other Hibiscus, a Cheri, is concerning me… even though it’s growing, its leaves are droopy and curled. I did some research last night and it troubled me, so before I start doing any of the “home grown” remedies suggested (soaking the rootball in a bleach solution!!!!!! <— sounds so scary) I am going to try getting it out of the direct sun and maybe repotting it and giving the roots a little attention and seeing if there’s anything going on under the surface. Hmmmm.

Thursday, January 24th 2013:
NOTHING today. I forced myself to stay away from the garden, even though I have a bunch of plants to repot and pruning I want to do. Every so often I need to really force myself to take a day off for either health reasons (I have very dry skin going on right now and mucking about in the garden tends to aggravate it, especially the skin on my hands, so I wanted to give myself a down day to let my hands recover!) or emotional reasons (start getting overly obsessive and overdoing the pruning, repotting, planting, etc.). So I took a down day, even though as I swam I longingly looked at the plants on my potting bench and wanted to go over and make them happy again by giving them larger new homes… but tomorrow I know exactly what to start with when I go out into the garden!

Comments 1

  1. Jeanne wrote:

    You always plant such wonderful thoughts of gardening into my life……..
    I am anxious for spring and to work in the garden again…………..Blessings my friend.
    Thanks for all you share.
    Flowers are food for our souls.
    Love Jeanne

    Posted 27 Jan 2013 at 1:39 pm

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