I usually get all excited about the garden right in the springtime, after I've rearranged and tidied up. I delayed it this year for a couple of reasons you probably don't care about (where's the art, lady??).
1: I didn't get to go plant hunting this year due to everything suddenly surviving.
2: The real exciting stuff happens after spring, because I never grow actual flowers.
I'm trying to accept my mostly-shade situation, and am gearing toward more coloured or exciting foliage (I get sick of green).
This is the first year of the self-watering containers and they are a hit! My twig of a lavender grew into a ratty collection of twigs. I'm staking it now to see if I can topiary it. But what is really great this year is how well the calamondin (center) came back after mostly dying. It's almost a normal green colour, with no scales, and this recent heatwave triggered its first flowering in several years. I'M SO EXCITED.
Watering the hell out of this planterbox, combined with the heatwave, is bringing the creeping jenny back to life. Not much good has come for the juncus grass though. It looks awful. Major surgery is scheduled soon. I'm thinking of chopping it in half. Should it be quartered?? Where will I put its other half??
This year I learned that "Coprosma" literally translates into "poopstink". Ha ha ha. For the record, there is no stink on this plant. This plant which started out as a 4 inch baby last year and is now a 2.5 foot beast. It looks way too pale, but the leaves are still so dang pretty on this one. Chose this one for the red foliage (to battle the greens), but it only feels like making yellow-green this year. Next time.
Only one of the old strawberries (center) survived my negligent, dry winter. But it is breeding up a storm regardless. I'm pretty sure there are 5 in there now. On the right is the purple smokebush I've desired for so long. It's looking pretty alive, not too happy... and also NOT VERY PURPLE, LIKE WWHYYYYY. I'm trying to fight the greens, guys. What are you doing to me. It needs more sun exposure. There are a few purple leaves, but that's all I get until we move somewhere sunny. Hang in there, smoky!
Last year I also decided to give up on succulents. They don't grow much and they shrivel out of existence in the winter, even when I bring them indoors. Even the sedum, which is supposed to be the easiest, doesn't like me. The jades, however, are such a delight. They've grown at least twice their original size. I'm hoping they grow and grow forever because they are pretty darn rad.
Turning the too-dry strawberry tower (right) into a weed tower was mostly a success! They drape nicely all the way to the floor. Seeds everywhere. Every once in a while, a pot will die back, but there's usually another weed growing in another container. I just rip it up and throw it in the tower and it re-roots there. That stubborn bastard is working for me now. That blueberry on the left still does nothing but looks gangly and kind of dumb.
Finally, this is the most exciting and new thing this year: polka dot. I bought it on a whim, just because it was pink. Then I learned that it is a much-hated plant that grows to be ugly. They were right - it was a struggle to get through his awkward teenage flowering stage. Then I learned it would die over winter anyway. But then it did this! It got big! And even pinker! And it looks so damn healthy! And now I want it to stay! We're zone 9, I think, so there's a chance he will return next year. Pink!
In conclusion, this year it seems as though everything responds favorably to more heat and more water. Shade be damned. I did not spend any afternoons on the balcony this year. And I also learned that most of the fun of gardening was hunting for new plants. And that the calamondin is looking so fantastic, after it completely died back and I got the chance to properly shape it. Watching that tiny blossom grow everyday is such a thrill. I highly recommend it.
Hello! I'm Melissa, and here you'll find some behind-the-scenes footage of an artful life. Won't you join me?