Sunday, August 1, 2010

The Brown Thumb Report

It has been more than a month since I planted, and posted about, my patio garden. (You can read that post here). At that time, I mentioned I don't have a great deal of success growing things.

I have been watering twice a day in this hot weather, I have fertilized with Miracle Grow as per the instructions, I have removed the dead blossoms daily........and this is what I have:

A sad state of affairs

Dying kalanchoe

Dying hanging basket

Dying fuschia

Ho-Hum fence basket

Ho-hum hanging basket

And more dying flowers

I learned, after the fact, that the planters I used on the fence should have been lined with plastic, at least at the bottom, and the cocoa fibre lining should have been submerged in water for an hour or so before using. Now why oh why didn't the instructions say that? So part of the problem getting flowers to grow there is that the water pours right through and there is no way to keep the soil moist. Live and learn.

Okay, things aren't quite as bad as those first pictures make it seem. They were taken about a week ago, and most of the plants have perked up a bit since then. Even a week ago, there were some vigorously growing, beautiful flowers on the patio:

I do have some lovely petunias :

And geraniums, too:

One of the baskets on the fence is doing pretty well, though the trailing geraniums on each end are neither trailing nor blooming profusely, perhaps waging war with the petunias when they might have prefered their own container:

The trailing geraniums which I planted with the petunias in the planters on the fence may not be trailing, but one flowerless potted plant (which I thought was also a trailing geranium but could be wrong) is trailing like crazy all over my patio. As you can see, it cascades down by the dog statue and then creeps along the ground:

The flowerboxes at the base of the fence are coming along nicely, though the white flowers I planted in the boxes have become suffocated by the red and blue ones

And the cherry tomatoes are doing well :

I've had some wonderful larger (Early Girl) tomatoes, too, even if the plant looks like it is ready for the compost at any time. I didn't photograph the plant - it is just too sad - but look at these:

My strawberries just keep right on blooming and berry-ing:

And, while not on the patio, my apple tree seems to be doing quite well:

The teacher in me says the project is running about a C+ right now - some good stuff, but some weak spots, and definitely doesn't reach the "outstanding" level. Enthusiasm and effort, though? Maybe that will bring me closer to a B. We'll see what it is like in another month.

Patio at end of first month


Caroline said...

I think you are doing quite well considering the fact that we forgot to remind you to water every day,lol

Karen said...

Do your fuschias have deep shade? They don't like the sun...your hanging baskets look like they got too dry too often, but otherwise things look pretty good. Because you're so handy, I'd suggest a drip irrigation system! I shouldn't be doling out gardening advice, I got totally lazy this year and have only one semi-ignored basket of petunias, and a hideously overgrown flowerbed.

Anonymous said...

I think it looks pretty darn good. Agree with comment that maybe they got dried out - they just don't seem to come back - like I know anything about gardening:-) A drip line would be an excellent idea. Petunias are a good bet and if you fertilize they get huge and look great! Bev B.

EvenSong said...

Your live plants look better than my plastic ones, Jean! (The wind has just decimated them this year.)

I have some sort of potted succulent that an intern gave me the year Kate and Maddie were born (so that's 2005) and I keep it on my kitchen window sill, and throw water at it occasionally, but just THIS MONTH finally got around to re-potting it from the little 4" store pot it came in! For some reason, it suddenly looks half way healthy again...

And I finally threw some 3-year-old "wildflower" seeds at the planter I created near the front gate--I'll have to post some pictures--lots of poppies, a few bachelors buttons (two of my favorites), and some other random colored thingies, but none of the daisies came up.

I've grown fond of petunias, but have a leftover-from-childhood hatred of geraniums. In the long run, give me self-seeding perennials, or bulb plants that take care of themselves, thank you very much.

Anonymous said...

I think the problem with the Kalanchoe may be that it is getting too much water. I think I remember from when Mom grew them that they like to dry out between waterings.


Jean said...

Karen, the fuschias actually hang from underneath the cover of the back porch on the northerly side of the house, but they do get the morning and evening sun, which has been pretty hot lately. I think they were probably rooted in very poor soil, which doesn't absorb water or nutrients well. I have now cut them right back, soaked the root ball, and they are beginning to come back to life.

Evensong, I am envious that your wildflower seeds grew. I scattered hundreds and hundreds of wildflower seeds on a recreational property I once owned, and virtually nothing grew over the three or four years I was there. So much for my dreams of fields of reds and greens and yellows.

Drip line.....I suppose I could try.....will have to look that up online to see what one looks like.

EvenSong said...

Jean, those wildflowers didn't get strewn just anywhere...I hauled buckets and buckets (tractor buckets!) of two year old horse manure compost up and piled it in an 8' by 20' planting bed, probably 2 foot deep, surrounded by old split locust(?) fence posts (hate railroad ties) and big rocks. Having those flowers come up has inspired me: I'm starting another bed on the other side of the gate right now (with last year's compost).