Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Gardening in the Rain

I was adamant to garden today after work. The first thing I thought about doing was driving to the garden center to purchase a hydrangea I saw yesterday but didn't buy. I also saw some beautiful roses. The one rose I attempted since I have lived in this house is still in the yard in the shade. Back then I didn't know about what conditions a particular plant required and that you just can't buy what you want and plant it anywhere and expect it to live and thrive. You can buy it but it's sad to watch it die. 

So the rose has never thrived and yields several red roses each year followed by black spot disease. In the spring her leaves are healthy and reddish green. The rose has been in the ground so many years I haven't yet been successful in digging her up. One lift of the shovel by a sturdy male hand may do the job. Maybe this year I will have it dug up and move it to a brighter spot out of the shade and see what it will do. I don't even know what type of rose she is; shrub, tea rose, climbing? I'm not up on my type of roses but I love them. Their smell if aromatic is wonderful. My mother told me she bought my sister and I something for Mother's Day. A new plant perhaps. I will be looking forward to seeing what it is. My sister's and mother's roses are beautiful. My yard is the only one without their flourishing blossoms in the summer. I am envious of rose growers.

An ambitious plan after work but I decided to come home instead, tired. It had started to turn breezy and cool down from temperatures in the 70's. The sky was gray with the threat of rain any minute. That didn't deter me from getting some gardening in when I came home. First stop, the back yard to look at the spring flowers in the drizzling rain. Tulips still alive and in bloom. More blooms on the bleeding heart. Such unique beautiful blooms. The geraniums seedlings I put outside without hardening off looked dead. Not upset. All the work it took and they were still tiny. By this time they should have been full sized. That's what the garden center is for. I like the red ones so I have some although they won't be the ones I grew this year. I also bought 2 ivy geraniums. I waited late and someone else likes them also because those were the last 2 at the garden center. I watered the geranium seedlings although it was a light rain. I don't know if we expect a soaking rain tonight and I want to see if the water will revive them.

Back to the front to pull up the spent tulips. As I stated in a previous post I didn't put drainage holes in the pots on the step before I planted the tulips because I couldn't find my drill. I put perlite and gravel in the bottom to hopefully keep water off roots although their roots are shallow anyway. Not smart. When the first heavy rain arrived the water sat on the top of the soil and had to be poured off. Today was the day to pull the tulips, empty the soil and drill holes. Guess what? I found the drill a while ago but it's not charged. Hole drilling and planting geraniums in the pots tomorrow.

On to the planter on the stoop. I pulled red tulips that bloomed but looked frost bitten. In their place I put 3 chocolate mint coleus and 2 begonia seedlings. The roots on the begonia were small. This probably explains why the geranium and other seedlings didn't do well. Fungus gnat larva probably ate the roots. I have to have a plan for the fall when I start seedlings. When I opened a new sealed bag of soil to repot my clivia it  was full of gnats. The house plants inside will have to be carefully taken care of during the summer so they are health and free of insects before I start seeds again. What amazes me is that I never see gnat in the house until amaryllis, paper whites and seedlings come into the house. I know the theory that they come from over watering but the gnats already have to be in the soil of plants and are drawn to fresh organic matter. They come from some where. Winter bulbs may be planted in pebbles and water this year. I'm undecided.

The coleus and begonia have been on the porch for at least a week. I hope the begonia does okay. Coleus has always done well in the past for me even if they fuss at first.  I have other plants to squeeze in like sweet potato vine when I go to the farms market in Center City to get them. A women who sells plants always has a nice variety for reasonable prices. I haven't been to the market yet since the weather warmed up. Not a day for picture taking. On the weekend maybe the window boxes can be planted?

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