Saturday, May 5, 2012

Greenthumb 2012 Picks: Peppermint and Alcea

Sucker!  I bought an orchid, a small peppermint, and a giant alcea -- Vietnamese  hollyhock -- at Greenthumb last week!  Sound like the beginning of a bad joke?

The reason why peppermint doesn't grow for me in Fla is because the air temp is too hot for it!  It's like my husband Marty!  It wants to go to North Carolina during the summer.  I'll try putting it in a nice pot and keeping it in my kitchen for the duration. Bethia can grow it in a pot in her backyard, but her backyard has that giant oak tree lowering the air temp by 10 degrees.

And that gorgeous alcea?  I was wary when Robby looked at it sadly and said, "Oh, we killed ours."  Many of the buds have turned brown and dropped off and a few of the leaves. It's supposed to grow in full sun all over the US, but when they say that, they aren't talking about Florida full sun in my experience.  It's supposed to be drought tolerant but it needs to be watered twice a week, which in Florida is not drought tolerant. Update: alcea is dead as a doornail.

The orchid? Unbelievably gorgeous. People look at it and say, "Is that real?"

What have I learned from this?  The orchid came out of a local nursery. I have bought less than healthy plants from local nurseries before, but usually local nurseries don't specialize in bizarre and delicate  foreign refugees.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Bamboo Gardens

March 10, bought two beautiful bamboo graecilis plants from Island's Bamboo in Pinellas Park.  I hope they do well in the shady location where I've placed them. It's wonderful looking out the window at their pretty leafiness. The people at Island's Bamboo were very, very nice, and I saw the fencing of my dreams there -- bamboo framed out in redwood.  Really gorgeous.

2013: They're taller than my house, and the three little stalks in each clump have multiplied so nicely. My window now looks out onto a garden instead of a fence.  

Friday, March 9, 2012

Planting calendar.

Sprout robot is an adorable website that tells you what to plant -- by zipcode! It'll even send you the seeds -- for a price.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Mid February

Yesterday, heavy rains. Today, a perfect day for gardening. The air was cool and moist on my cheek, the soil soft, and the weeds unsuspecting.  I was sad that Nov, Dec and Jan had left me so uninterested in the Great Outdoors. But no, as a good peasant, I was just busy laying low -- making new brooms and whittling nutcrackers -- until springtime.

Since we're having such a mild winter, it's safe (I hope!) to prune back all the dead coleus, the blue porterweed (and to weed that blue porterweed) and to try to come to some kind of conclusion about the beach sunflower which promises to overrun the front yard.  Potted up some brugmansia (???) cuttings that very obligingly rooted in just three weeks.  Planted out some nice pink Mexican petunias that I hope will do OK in our damp soil. If I remember to water them.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

After so long....

I didn't even want to go outside, much less think about gardening. Yesterday, though, I had to do something about my compost pile. The barrel was too full to turn anymore, and by the second week of letting old tomatoes, coffee grinds, and rotten bananas wait in containers by the sink, one's housemates begin to find The Organic Way a bit trying.  I filled two buckets with some Free City Compost, some rainwater from my own barrel, and started shoveling in that black gold from my barrel.  Hmmm, what to do with it?  Well what a treat it would be for this poor potted plant.  Plop.  And for this hibiscus. Plop. And why not the orange tree? Plop.  And so it went, and then enthusiasm built and I was NO LONGER an urban professional but ONCE MORE a happy peasant tilling my soil according to the seasons.