Monday, July 07, 2008

Flower Power

[Warning! This is a long post about flowers and gardening. Not interested? Time to go look at kitties!]

Remember how I said gardening led to woodworking? Well, it still does.

A trellis? For me? Thank you!

I'd been planning on what I was going to do with the big pots for a long while. After getting so many other things done for sale, I was finally ready to put the big pots together, where they would live happily-ever-after on my deck. However, there was a sticking point: some of the plants I wanted to put in there to attract hummingbirds (Cardinal climber and Hyacinth bean vine.) would require a trellis. And a trellis would require building. By Eric, of course. You can't buy the kind of trellis I want (Of course.), instead, I designed it out of 1 x 2s boards. So after bugging him incessantly asking him nicely for weeks, he finally put it together. In order for that to happen, we needed to make some space on the deck which is always a wreck by the end of the year. Thankfully, Heather helped me to clean up my deck and with a lot of shuffling around, my pots finally had a home.

Not that I want to block the view of my lovely street that is now revealed in all its glory after removing my weedy trees, or anything. Ahem.
First blooms.

In the first pot, I have Dahlia 'Arabian Night', Cardinal climber, Hyacinth bean vine, Salvia 'Purple Volcano', Portulaca 'Sundial Peppermint', Dichondra 'Silver Falls', Agastache 'Purple Pygmy' and Lavatera 'Twins White'. I grew all of them from seed. I'm still waiting for the smaller ones to catch up and fill in, but it's really just a matter of time at this point. Unless, of course, the dahlia takes over the whole pot, which is also a possibility and if it does, I'll learn from it. Also, next year, I'll start them sooner than April.
Close up.

Extreme close up.

Growing the dahlia in a pot seems like a great way to get up close to them and pay better attention to their needs (And avoid earwigs. Bleah!). I'm too afraid to pinch them back like mad in order to get a "dinner plate" sized bloom, but I'm pretty happy with the 5" blooms it's sporting now. Maybe if I can get it to overwinter in the basement will I be willing to mess around with serious disbudding next year.

As Thomas Cooper said: "A garden is never so good as it will be next year."

I keep looking forward to next year. One day I might even get to "next year's" garden.

Second pot, different from the first.

The second pot is a trial of Dahlia 'Procyon', butterfly weed, more Cardinal climber, Portulaca 'Sundial Gold', and Scarlet sage, again for the hummingbirds. I'm counting on a lot of hummingbird action at some point this summer! Haven't had a single one so far. Only the sage and portulaca are currently in bloom, but the dahlia should open up any day now. It will be yellow and red, tying together the yellow portulaca and the scarlet sage and vine. At least, that's the plan.

Cardinal climber in bloom. Heeeeere hummingbirds!

After setting up the three big pots, I determined that I really needed something else to fill in the spaces in between them, so I relocated a pair of pots that had volunteer climbers in them. In the first, Morning glory 'Grandpa Otis', which has purple blooms. The first of its blooms opened yesterday. It ought to really enjoy being able to scramble up the 8' high trellis.

Grandpa's gettin' up there.

In the second, a completely volunteer pot, filled with Agastache, Scarlet sage, Portulaca and one Cardinal climber, that I volunteered for duty. I have no idea what that pot will look like as it fills in, other than what it currently is: chaotic. Perhaps I'll pull a few things out and pot them up separately, but I have enough work to keep me busy, so that is a pretty low priority. Neither balanced, nor planned, it seems pretty happy.

Mutt pot.

Finally, I decided to spend some money on a purple Cordyline 'Red Sensation', just to see how the other half lives. The "Other Half", you see, doesn't grow their container plants from seed. They just go out and buy wild, luscious potted beauties. Me? I have to do it the hard way. Around the Cordyline are Agastache 'Golden Jubilee', Agastache 'Purple Pygmy', Salvia 'Purple Volcano', Portulaca 'Sundial Peppermint' and more Dichondra 'Silver Falls'. Unfortunately, I started this pot later than all the others and I used up all of the runts of the plant litter, as it were. So we'll see if this ever fills in as the summer wears on. Or if I just have a giant pot of Cordyline.
Grow plants! Grow!

Then there's the mish-mash of assorted other potted plants that roam around the deck.
Herbs: rosemary, tarragon, summer savory, thyme, purple basil, stevia.

Pot of potentially flowering mish-mash.

Waiting for them to fill in.

Moving on!

The front yard currently looks like this:
Xeric garden, July 2008.

The Bees Below Your Knees garden has filled in nicely in the last two years. There are one or two empty spots where a non-xeric plant died and where Eric ran over another plant (Poor Blue Hills Sage! I knew him, Horatio!). If I can remember to do it, I have plants in the backyard that I can move to fill in those blanks.

You know, in my spare time.

Or maybe it will all just have to wait until November when the Market is over.
Keeping the bees below your knees since 2006.

Close up shots in three parts.
Left side.


Right side.

Finally, the remaining potted plants have been growing despite my attempts to forget to water them regularly. When last we met, the plants in this pot were a lot smaller! What a difference a month makes!
Needs more purple.

I noticed the Hens and Chicks in my succulent pot are starting to flower. I think that may mean the end of those particular succulents, if I'm not mistaken! I've never seen one flower before, and now three of them are flowering! Hopefully the chicks will survive the death of the hen.
The pink flowers is the first of the flowering Hens.

Since I was in the mood for succulents, a few weeks back I picked up two more Sempervivums. One is 'Blue Boy', pictured in the center here and the other is Bronco, pictured further below. I rather like them. Realistically, Sempervivums are my replacement for Echeveria, which I really liked on my trip to Vancouver (See the picture of the fantastic chair in this link.), but they won't survive our winters. So, Hens and Chicks it is.
'Blue Boy', surrounded by Sedum spurium 'Tricolor' and Sedum pachyclados 'Rosette', along with a couple of portulacas, to fill it out.

time, I'll get the sedums into the ground in the fall, or at least protect this pot better than last year.

I hope.
Sempervivum 'Bronco' surrounded by Portulaca from the seeds I'd saved here. Did I mention that I have a lot of volunteer Moss rose?

Considering the sheer amount of work represented by all of the plants above, I still haven't found the time to weed that one danged bed. However, my deck looks pretty nice and floriferous.

Now if only those hummingbirds would make their grand entrance!

1 comment:

Kimberly said...

Your garden is breathtaking! I'm jealous. The color is balanced and it's filled in so nicely.

Nice job with all the pots too.

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