I’m going to blame the late arrival of Spring this year in Minnesota for my sudden interest in gardening. I think I was Spring-deprived, which spurred my first plant purchase: a cactus.
This is Barry the cactus. I like cactus plants, but I also knew that having a spiky plant would prevent the animals in the house from attempting to eat it. Jack had one confrontation with Barry and he hasn’t gone near him since. Anyway, cactus plants are pretty easy to care for as long as you don’t over-water them, so I figured I had a good chance of not killing him.
In April and May, I bought a few more house plants (which are all non-poisonous to cats): a 4″ Dragon’s Breath, a 2″ African Violet, a 2″ Polka Dot, a 2″ Golden Club Moss, and a 2″ Fern (not sure what kind). The Polka Dot, Golden Club Moss, and Fern didn’t make it. And yes, I feel like a plant murderer. I don’t know what I did wrong. They were fine for about a month, and then they just started dying. The Dragon’s Breath plant is doing quite well!
This is Latrice. She is my faaaabulous Dragon’s Breath plant.
The African Violet is doing well, although it hasn’t grown any flowers since the original ones died. Does anyone know how I can get it to bloom again? I ended up having to re-pot her because she outgrew her tiny 2″ pot very quickly.
This is Alexis, my African Violet (with her little mouse friend).
So, there are three house plants left and they all seem to be doing well. Three out of six isn’t too bad.
Ever since moving into my townhome in 2008, I’ve wanted to put some plant boxes out on the back stoop. I never got around to it, but I thought that this should be the year I give it a go. After all, I didn’t kill all of my house plants.
I bought a Fuchsia plant, a bunch of Coleus plants, some Begonias, and some Impatiens.
This is Princess Bubblegum, the Fuchsia plant. This photo was taken about a week after I brought her home.
This is what she looks like today. The poor thing has endured a lot of stress in the past couple of months. We’ve had some pretty bad storms and wind that have knocked her over and damaged some of her branches (stems?) so she’s been slowly getting a little more ragged. The past few weeks we’ve had a lot of humidity and high temperatures, so she’s looking pretty rough. I trimmed off any broken branches and plucked off dead blooms, but she looks pretty sad. She’s not as full as she used to be, but there are a lot of little flower buds, so hopefully she’ll spring back. The weather has cooled down a lot and the humidity isn’t as high, so I’m hoping that will help.
This is “The Shire” — the flower box with Coleus, Begonias, and Impatiens. This photo above was taken a few weeks after they were first planted.
This is The Shire today. The Shire has taken quite a beating as well. Squirrels ended up eating the Impatiens to the point where there was nothing left of them, so I ended up pulling those out a few weeks ago. The big space in the middle is where the Impatiens used to be. About four weeks ago, something (or someone) managed to smash up the left side of The Shire so all of the Coleus that had grown tall were snapped in half. You can see that the few Coleus on the left side were pretty much chopped in half, but they’re starting to bounce back. The Begonias are looking a little brown, but they might fill out again. While I’m glad the Coleus are doing okay, I’m still really sad about losing the Impatiens. They were so, so pretty.
Two of the Coleus that we planted were sort of dwarfed by the other plants, so I bought an additional plant box and bought some more Begonias to share the plant box. The Begonias in the photo above are right after I bought them at the farmer’s market. Before I even planted them, two storms hit and managed to break off most of the blossoms.
I planted the half-destroyed Begonias with the small Coleus in hopes that they would all bounce back. The Coleus are really starting to grow, and the bright pink Begonias and the peachy-pink Begonias are doing well — especially considering they were pretty much smashed to bits after the two storms. The third Begonia — the yellow/orange one — just doesn’t seem to do well. It blossoms, and then if anything touches the blossom it falls off. I don’t know what’s happening with that one.
So, my shade plants are kind of in a recovery period right now. I think when I plant again in the Spring, I’m going to elevate the boxes somehow so squirrels can’t get to them and they’ll be less likely to get broken (hopefully).
My co-worker planted a bunch of seeds at the beginning of the year in hopes of having some vegetables to plant later on. Quite a few of her tomato and Hungarian wax peppers sprouted and she asked if I’d want some. I told her I would, since hey — I’m on a roll, right? Kind of on a roll…
My gardening self-esteem is still pretty low, so I figured I’d end up killing the seedlings. I bought one 12″ pot and planted them all together thinking maybe one of them would work out, and then I could re-pot it. What I didn’t expect was that all of the seedlings made it — three tomato plants and four Hungarian pepper plants.
This is all of them in one pot in mid-June.
These are two of the three tomato plants less than a month later.
And these are the Hungarian wax pepper plants less than a month later.
These are the tomato plants today! They’ve got fruit, and they seem to be doing well.
This is the biggest tomato so far, but these are going to be heirloom Beefsteak tomatoes, so these are going to get massive.
These are the Hungarian wax peppers today. I also noticed something when I was taking these photos…
…they’re growing little peppers!
All in all, the plants at home aren’t doing too badly. My plants at work have been a little crazy this year, too.
In March, I bought this tiny Kalanchoe. It lost its flowers, which made me pretty sad. I thought it was going to die because the leaves weren’t looking too great, either.
But then it started growing new leaves like crazy. There are no more flowers, but the leaves are just sprouting all over the place.
Also in March, I bought this grouping of succulents. One by one, they died off…except for the Aloe plant.
So, I re-potted the Aloe plant into the striped pot that my Pothos came in years ago, and the Aloe seems to be doing really well. I think the succulents had some sort of pest, because my co-worker also bought a similar succulent arrangement from the same place and hers had these little flies in it and then everything died. Hopefully by re-potting it, the Aloe will be safe from pests and will do well.
In November 2011, I bought this little Pothos plant for my desk. She outgrew the little pot and I re-potted her in a larger pot, and she just kept growing and growing. When my department moved to a different floor, there were some Pothos plants that nobody claimed and so I “adopted” them. I trimmed off the dying or dead parts and re-potted anything with roots into the striped pot. Anything else I put into a vase of water to grow roots. About a year later I finally re-potted the adopted Pothos plants into another larger pot.
These are the plants now. The one on the left is the “adopted” Pothos, and the one on the right is the same plant that was in the previous photo. This doesn’t quite show how large these plants are — these have grown tons of vines (which I’ve had to wrap around the plants because I just don’t have the desktop space for vines) and they just keep getting bigger and bigger. They’re really beautiful! I’m so happy to see that the “adopted” Pothos plants are doing well. They were really, really ragged when I got them.
If anything, I’ve learned a lot about gardening. I’m hoping all of the plants continue to do well.