Thursday, April 1, 2010

Spring is Back!

Well I had stopped keeping this blog last year because there was no followers. All of a sudden, 14 followers just appeared, so I guess I have to get back to it!

Spring is back, and we had a pretty violent winter this year in Florida. I got married in February, and thought that would be the perfect time for an outdoor wedding. It hardly rains in February, and it's usually in the high 70's, low 80's. I expected to have a cool, comfortable, bright and sunny wedding day. ...And then we had this really mean winter and all the plants at my wedding venue took a hit from the freeze, and my wedding day was bitter cold and I had all my girls and I wearing strapless dresses for an outdoor wedding. It was in the 50's, and on the water...and the wind was coming off the water at 19mph, which made it feel even colder. I don't know what happened this year, but it hasn't been fun. And here it is, April 1st, and I was still cold when I went out to walk my dog this morning. I can't wait til we have our normal hot Florida weather back. (And then I'll complain about that! lol).

Anyway, on the Gardening end of things...let's see. The "garden" area thats in my backyard, doesn't look much different this year than last. But I didn't have much time for gardening while I was planning my wedding, so nothing that I wanted to do actually got done. Last night was the first time I went out to do some yard work in several months. I pulled a lot of weeds, but I didn't finish it.
My rose "bush" is still alive. It bloomed all the way through winter, which surprised me. It has some new growth starting in the middle there, right above that cluster of leaves. But it still looks pretty pitiful.
In August, I planted a Night Blooming Jasmine plant that a co-worker gave me for my birthday. He was always talking about how great they make his yard smell and I asked him to bring me a cutting, but instead, he just brought me a whole plant for my birthday. I thought that I might have lost it in the freeze, but it made it through. Yay!
My Frangipani tree is dead. I snapped off one of the branches last night to see, because it's been without leaves since even before the winter started. It's definitely dead. No saving that. So we'll have to pull it out. My husband didn't like it anyway, so I guess that's ok.

I cut back my hibiscus and now I need to go back in and weed it all out. But I didn't get in there last night because it's full of what looks to be carpenter ants, because it has scale again. I'm thinking about just ripping the whole thing out and replacing it with new plants. The plant just doesn't look healthy at all, so I don't know if scale is the only problem or if it's just that bad of a problem. I may take a walk around my local Home Depot and Lowes and see what plants they have to offer, and maybe find a local nursery as well, and see if I can find some easy to maintain plants to put in this area, and pull out all of the unhealthy stuff. Though I should probably treat the area with something, I'm my new plants don't get scale.

My confederate rose is doing great. I planted that in the corner of my backyard. The Banana Tree is still in the pot and still alive. The window sill planter and the herbs that I bought last year never made it. I will work on the yard some more over the weekend and take more pictures to post then. Thanks for reading and let me just throw out that if anyone has any gardening tips or suggestions, please feel free to comment. I do really want to learn how to properly care for my plants.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Tic Toc Tic Toc....

As you can see....not too much happening since I chopped my plants in half. It's very slow going, but there is some new growth coming in.

Now I know why I never could get into gardening. It's just such a slow going process that I just never had the patience! lol. I literally go out and look at my plants every single day after work, and there is little to no change at all from when I started this blog. lol.

The Confederate Rose clippings are doing very well. They are making the most progress. Every day I look and there is a new leaf.

The flower seeds I planted seem to be growing slowly, but surely...

I've got some basil, a little bit of parsley, and one chive. lol.

There is some new growth on my rose bush, so I am TRYING to patiently await some roses blooming soon. I forgot to do it today, but there is some parts of the rose bush I'd like to cut off, so that the plant can give more of it's energy toward new growth. I guess I'll do it tomorrow or Saturday. Sometime over the weekend I need to get in there and pluck out some of the grass that is growing around my rose bush.
I've decided that as soon as my roses bloom, I'm clipping them off right away. As I said before, this will be so that the plant can put more energy into new plant growth. I am also going to clip it down some, to force new growth toward the bottom of the plant, in hopes to make it busy, instead of stick-like. lol. We'll see how that experiment turns out.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

I Have Sprouts!!

One of my herbs is sprouting...but I'm not positive which one it is. I think it may be the Basil...but I didn't label them. I know I can tell the difference when they're all full grown, so I guess I'll have to wait!

One of the flowers that I planted is also starting to come in. Once again, not sure which one it is. There are 3 different types of flower seeds planted in that tin pot.

Both of the Confederate Rose cuttings have new growth starting. The first one has a new little leaf (you can see it in the center of the surrounding leaves). And the second one just has a little leaf that is just starting to unroll on the right.

The naked tree is getting new leaves. When I went out to take pictures of this tree tonight...

I noticed that it looks suspiciously a lot like....this Frangipani cutting that my co-worker gave me!

So I started researching the Frangipani, and I found that it can either be a shrub or a tree. So I told my fiance about my "suspicion", and I added that I don't recall ever seeing any flowers on that tree. But he said it did have flowers on it at one point. So hmmm.... I highly suspect this naked tree to be a Frangipani tree. So I guess I will just have to wait until it grows back fully so I can find out. And I will be checking on it daily to see!

And here is a picture of the African Violet that I bought at Home Depot last week. It's not supposed to be outside, but there is no place in the house that I can get sunshine to it during the week, unless I pull up the blinds in my bedroom at 6:30am every morning, thus exposing my still sleeping fiance to the neighbors next door. I don't think he'd like that very much. So I guess during the week it will have to get some sunshine outside, and on the weekends I can put it in the east facing windows in my bedroom.

Friday, March 27, 2009

More Hard Work

Today I pruned down the hibiscus plants to probably about waist high. If I had bigger clippers I would have pruned them down more...but I only had little hand clippers. I gave myself a blister trying to cut some branches that were too thick. I also watered everything tonight too. Look at this crazy pattern the water made as it drained out of the garden into the grass. This was after I turned the hose off, this is all purely draining from the garden itself. Weird, huh?

Yes, our grass is all dead and brown. But it'll get better. Um....let's see...what else. I planted the banana plant that my co-worker gave me.

I also planted the aloe plant that he gave me, the frangipani that he gave me, and an onion that I had on my kitchen counter, that started sprouting. I read that if I planted it, it would bloom, and then I could plant the seeds from the flowers and grow onions. So I figured, worth a try. lol.

I also planted the two confederate roses that my other co-worker gave me.

And I don't know what this is, but it's in my garden, and I pruned it, so I thought I would see if it would root. lol.

And here is the herb garden greenhouse kit, and the windowsill flower garden I've started. Showing no sprouts yet.

So I'm still all "gung-ho" about gardening. lol. I want more plants. I think my fiance is going to shoot me if I bring anymore plants Especially if I can't handle it...and they all end up dying. Wish me luck!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Spring Cleaning!

So I spent about 3 hours working outside on this little garden bed. I finished cleaning out all of the weeds, raked out some of the dead leaves and stuff. I broke my rake because it kept getting caught on roots.

My little garden seems to be a nice haven for lizards. When I started working, they all ran out of the garden and congregated on the screen to watch me work.

I've come to the conclusion that Mexican Petunia IS a highly invasive plant. I believe a lot of the roots, including the roots that broke my rake, belong to what SHOULD be Mexican Petunia. There were little 3 to 4 inch stalks of Mexican Petunia all over the garden bed. I pulled most of them out. I left one bunch of 3 inch stalks...and if it develops into something, then I'll move it to where I want it.

I decided to cut off the parts of my Hibiscus plant that were covered in Scale. Then I sprayed all the plants with Listerine mixed with dishsoap. The Listerine because it has alcohol in it, which is supposed to kill scale, and dishsoap to make the Listerine slide down the plant. I'm considering cutting the plants down even more. I wonder if I cut them down a lot, if they will grow leaves and look like a bush again...instead of a bunch of wooden sticks. (Can you tell that I know nothing about gardening?) Here is a picture I took of one of the 3 blooms on my Hibiscus plant. This was after I sprayed it with the Listerine can see soap bubbles on the flower itself if you look closely. (Oh, by the way, pictures can be viewed full size if you click on them).

After I cleaned out the garden bed, I tested the soil. The pH is neutral, but everything else was very low.

Then I watered the whole bed, and even gave my rose some "rose food". Here's a picture of my rose "bush".
I did get some good blooms on it last year. And that was without taking care of it. I am hoping that I can get some more off of it now that I will be taking care of it. Here is a picture taken in July where it has some blooms. (You can even see that all of the plants had some foliage on them at that time, but they still weren't very healthy. But the Hibiscus were doing very well). And I forgot to mention that I do have some Purple Heart in there also. But that's died way back, so today there is maybe 3 little piece of it. I hope that comes back, but I don't think I will leave it in this garden.

I think the previous owner planted this bed all wrong. He planted the plants too close together for one thing. And then, he planted a small palm tree behind 3 Hibiscus plants, which get very tall and full when they're healthy. The purple heart is growing under the red Hibiscus plant. Mexican Petunia is growing like and there and all over the place...but not where they were planted. I found the tag still attached to the yellow Hibiscus plant. It's called Fort Myers Hibiscus. And as I raked, I found tags for various plants that are not in the bed. Which tells me that he planted them at one time, but they didn't make it. I think the garden was not well thought out, and not well maintained. But I'm going to change all that. As soon as I've nursed all these plants back to health!

After all that work today, I was very itchy, and one of the plants (not sure who the culprit was) gave me a 3 inch long scratch on my left arm. After I showered I stayed inside to plant some herbs. I planted basil, chives and parsley in a little greenhouse kit I bought yesterday. I have to take the other greenhouse kit back to the store, because even though it was supposed to have 3 different herbs in it, all it had was basil. So I'll take it back, and probably won't get a new one until I see how I do with the one I planted. I should have only gotten one to begin $6.99 each. I don't even know if I will be able to grow anything....or even maintain it if I do. I also planted some flowers; Lobelia, Marigold and Verbana. We'll see how I do with those.

My co-worker emailed me today and told me that she has my Confederate Rose there at work. I may leave it at work for a while, just so that if I need her help, she's right there. If I bring it home and start having problems with it, then I'll have to bring it back. But if I can maintain it on my own at work for a while, then I'll feel confident enough to bring it home.

I can't wait to go to work tomorrow so I can see it. lol. More to come soon. I hope that in the next couple of days, I'll have some little sprouts of herbs and flowers to show.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

My Newest Venture

I have always had an interest in gardening...but have never been able to keep anything alive. I kill pretty much any plant I come into contact with. Over the years, I've managed to kill a Venus Fly Trap, several cacti, various houseplants given to me by other people, an orchid from my fiance, and tons of others.

But, more recently, for the first time ever, I have managed to maintain a Lucky Bamboo given to me by a co-worker for my birthday a year and a half ago...and a Seagrape seedling given to me by a co-worker 5 months ago. Because of this, I feel very motivated to try some more plants. The co-worker that gave me the Seagrape is going to give me a Confederate Rose that she has rooted. And another co-worker is going to give me a banana tree.

Today after work, I stopped at Home Depot, and I bought myself two little mini greenhouse kits to grow herbs...a little mini window sill flower garden to grow from seeds, and an African Violet. I also decided that it is time to clean out the thing I call a garden in my backyard. It looked somewhat garden like when we bought the house over year ago, but now just after a long winter, it looks awful.

So after I got home, I grabbed my garden gloves, and I immediately began to pull out dead weeds, live weeds, dead plants, dead leaves. I clipped off some dead roses that were still hanging on to the twig I call a rose bush. By the way, if anyone knows what that naked tree is on the right, please let me know.

In this garden, we have 3 hibiscus plants, one yellow, one red and one peach. We have an unknown rose bush, that naked tree that once had leaves on it...and is beginning to sprout new leaves on it's "nubs".

There was some Mexican Petunia....that never did grow full and bushy. They have always just remained weed-like.

I'm not quite sure how to get these darned things to grow. I love the look of them when they're full and bushy. But I could never grow them that way, even though I hear that they are the easiest thing to grow and take practically no maintenance whatsoever. They're supposed to be an invasive plant, but mine never seem to grow at all, let alone wander! But this is basically just an introductory post. I'll post more about my Mexican Petunia ordeal tomorrow.

There is also some kind of palm tree and some kind of red and green leaf plant in the back of that mess that I have yet to identify. But I'm working on it. The tallest of the plants that you can see shooting up there are my hibiscus plants. Tonight while cleaning out the mess of dead stuff, I noticed that my Hibiscus plants have a bad case of Scale. After hours of research online tonight, I found that Scale is basically sucking insects attached to the plants sucking the life out of them. And because of that, they are infested with ants. Apparently, ants enjoy the taste of the "honey dew" that these sucking insects secrete after feeding off of the plant. This "honey dew" is basically bug pee. Yes, the ants enjoy this bug pee so much that they have been known to actually HERD aphids in the same way that we herd cattle! poor Hibiscus plant looks like this:
That is so not healthy. Tomorrow I will decide whether to tackle one of the remedies I read about to get rid of the scale, or to just rip out the plant and get rid of it. The scale doesn't seem to be affecting the plants around's only this Hibiscus plant. Poor thing. I wonder if I can take a clipping off of a healthy shoot and root it? Guess we'll find out!