Small Projects Before Summer Arrives


Itoh Peony 'Bartzella'

Enjoying the brief but stunning season of the Itoh Peonies while working on several small projects and experiments.

 An experiment: seed-starting Italian Basil plants, for fun and for seed-growing practice.  

There they are!

Seeds planted 4/29, seedlings appeared 5/5.  Extras to give away once they have grown enough to look like basil plants.

Another experiment:  In the past, six-pack plants planted directly in the garden have not thrived.  This year, potting up from six-pack cells to 4" to the garden may work better.  More development of gardening skill and knowledge.

Project:  cleaning up, beheading/re-rooting as needed,  and repotting the small succulents on those shelves:

Hmm.  I totally forgot the beauty of Senecio scaposis:
This Senecio, native to South Africa's eastern cape, has been slow-growing, perhaps because it gets very little water.  The plant in the above photo is over 10 years old.  

 The plan for potted succulents. is slowly progressing. Planting all small potted succulents in the ground that will survive in the ground will be better for the plants.   A few though belong in pots, like this Senecio, and truly tiny plants like Lithops and Fenestraria rhopalophylla.  

I thought Haworthias were in that category also, but a couple of near-death victims of neglect, put into the ground to meet an unseen end, thrived.  One is now flowering.  Hmm.  How 'bout that? 

Experiment:  the garden Hippeastrums spring bloom is  nearly complete.  I saw something on line a few years ago and wanted to try it:  it appears you can display the cut flowers not just in a vase, but also by hanging them upside down and filling the stem with water.  

Yes, it works.   Several days on...

Needs the right location, however, to make sense.  

This does not:

The example I saw was a florist's shop window with cords hung horizontally and dozens of Hippeastrum stems suspended from the cords.  It looked very cool.  No doubt there are a perfectly styled bunch of images on Instagram. 

Better than this:

Project:  removing the Oxalis infested Dymondia patch on the east side of the driveway: 


Most of flagstones will remain, for access.  Plenty of plants available to move here.  The Dymondia on the other side of the driveway looks great and will remain.  Oxalis may eventually invade that, too, but hasn't yet.

Some lovely moments to enjoy while the experiments and projects go on.  One thing about gardening:  it's not really work with beauty all around, and the song sparrows in the hedge calling to the sky, and a mockingbird signing his heart out at the top of the house. 
The Senecio 'Everest' has grown.  It started as one very tall stem with the beginnings of side-shoots around it.  The tall stem flopped over and stubbornly refused every tactic to keep it straight and vertical.  Cut off and re-rooted.   Meanwhile the side-shoots have grown:
 While the pastel elegance of
pale peach and lavender blue 'Ambridge Rose' with 'Perle d'Azur' Clematis is enchanting...

...Alstroemeria 'Rock and Roll' in flower is wildly gaudy

 Somehow I need both.  Just not adjacent.  I read that if you have a plant that sticks out like a sore thumb, you plant multiples of them through out the space.  Then they look intentional. 

One great thing about Alstroemerias is that after each stem is finished flowering, you pull out the entire stem with a quick jerk.  When the flowering is complete, so is the clean up.  Wild, and tidy.

A Trachelium seedling planted last spring was eaten to the ground multiple times.  Blankety-blank rabbits.  It has endured and will likely bloom in a month or two.  

If you help them they will grow:

  'Queen of Elegance' is having a good "creep" spring.
Big-box daylily-in-a-bag is surprisingly pretty.  I've got the name somewhere. 
While not vigorous, deep violet Sweet Pea, ('Mermaid's Dream'), is still alive.  A gorgeous, saturated color. 
Dahlia 'Dracula Dark Angel' is awakened and growing well, even in daylight.  (Vampire joke!)
To end...for all Moms out there, best wishes and  bouquets:
Red rose 'Firefighter':
Creamy orange rose 'Valencia':
Is Froggie impressed by the flowers, or ready to eat them? 


Denise said…
I was in town briefly last week for doc visits and did a lot of garden cleanup. Oxalis such a pest! The contrast jolted me a little -- such incredibly benign spring weather, not too hot, not too cold. No need for jacket...or shoes! Cleaning up the potted plants when they're outdoors 24/7 is a job I walk by and postpone -- finally doing it feels so virtuous! I'm seeing peony leaf growth up north. Well done with your Itoh! Fab sweet peas this year, and the roses look very happy.
danger garden said…
I am curious why the Senecio scaposis needs to remain in a pot? I would think it could be very happy in the ground in your climate.

As for that oxalis, I feel your pain! I don't have many weeds but that one is a nightmare...
Hoover Boo said…
@danger, that Senecio wants winter dry/summer water. Much easier to do in a pot. Also, it's little! In my garden little easily gets lost.

@denise, thankful for mild, because miserable heat is no doubt on the way. enjoying the mild while we can. I love rain. I miss it.

Kris Peterson said…
Kudos on your basil seedlings. I'm trying to grow more from plants seeds myself but I've also given up on the so-called "plantable" pots in favor of reusing some of my abundant supply of small plastic pots - I have zinnias and sunflowers sprouting. I also sympathize on the Oxalis problem - that's a never-ending issue here too. Are those Tillandsia xerographica I see alongside your succulent shelves? They look outstanding!
Horticat said…
Lots of lovely things happening in your garden. 'Rock and Roll' is a show off indeed - have never seen it here. Froggie definitely impressed by the flowers. Had I grown that gorgeous yellow peony, I would share his facial expression! Good on you for getting stuck in to the oxalis. Sounds like it's universally maligned! - Horticat
Always enjoyable to follow along as you tackle various chores. Any tips on how to get oxalias out of dymondia? I have a major oxalis infestation in my dymondia.

My Senecio scaposus is in the ground and isn't a fast grower there either. It's larger than any of yours, but not big by any means.
Hoover Boo said…
@Kris, I tried "plantable" pots but perhaps because of this garden's drainage being so instantaneous, the pots do not decompose at all. I do as you and reuse plastic 4"-ers. "Plantables" better in a climate where it rains???

Oxalis--grrrrr! T. xerographica, yes. Growing Tillies on the stumps close to moist(ish) soil has proven to be a great success--low down the air is humid enough to keep the Tillies a whole lot happier.

@horticat 'Rock and Roll' was available for about 2 years here--have not seen it for sale since. Thrilled with the peony--flower-time is brief, but memorable! There are ornamental oxalis that are quite nice. The ones that grow here are WEEDS.

chavliness said…
Oh, Goodness, the oxalis infestation clean up makes me shiver. It's ridiculous how difficult it is to fully 'clean up'.
I love a Dahlia with black foliage and already own a few planted in the ground, but not a diminutive variety like your dark angel. Does it live in a pot year round?
Hoover Boo said…
@gerhard, my solution to the dymondia/oxalis problem is removing it all, as I'm doing in this area. I can replant in future, once sure the oxalis is COMPLETELY GONE--just could not see any alternative.

@chavliness, yep, around here we really, really don't like oxalis. I just bought the 'Dark Angel', so not sure yet where it will live longer term. The foliage is gorgeous--enjoying that already! Lots of black foliage scattered around this garden--makes a great accent.
Diana Studer said…
I am so behind with blog posts. I see what you mean about struggling to comment. Had to use the Name / URL option to comment on Kris today.
However ... your blog seems to work?
What beautiful and intriguing plants you have ! .. the watering experiment was something I have not seen before either .. got a chuckle over the vampire joke I love a little Halloween in a post ! LOL
Hoover Boo said…
@Diana Studer, yes, it worked. No idea what is going on with it. 🤔
Annoying not to be able to reply to individual comments.

I'm way behind on blog reading also, and writing--gardening like mad before it get too hot to garden for 2 or 3 months.

@CanadianGardenJoy, the water in the upside-down Hippeastrum worked perfectly--flowers lasted for 10 days, and they were not newly opened, either. Ha! Glad someone liked the vampire joke. Thank you!