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State of my garden.


By Raquel


So spring is here (or “sprummer” as the writer Leon Hale calls it – that Houston mixture of warm days with cool temps at night, where you want to wear a sweater and ten minutes later take it off because it’s too hot…) and taking advantage of spring break, I decided to “spring clean” my container garden…I bought red wax begonias, coleus, polka dot plants, a white impatien and burgundy petunias. I deadheaded the yellow rose and the geraniums, and cleaned out their dead leaves…I re-filled the birdfeeder and took out the grape tomato and left it ready for the summer plants…I swept, planted, watered and truly enjoyed my afternoon…it did take me from 4:00pm until 8:00pm but it was worth it…it’s so nice that the sun is already setting nowadays at 7:00pm…that’s one thing about Houston it is bright…lots and lots of light most of the time…
Here is the birdseed I bought and the 5 gallon bag of potting soil I got today (it’s almost ALL gone!!):

The “Dream Midnight” petunias were looking very scraggly and dried out, though still blooming:

What to do? I pruned them back a little bit and planted three more petunias in burgundy, hoping they will help fill out the pot:

I also put mulch on top and moved them to a spot where they will get plenty of sun but also some shade from the Boston fern…I recently read that they should just get morning sun in “extreme heat climates” and certainly Houston qualifies! So it’ll be interesting to see if they improve.

The grape tomato was out of control and very sickly as well, though it was flowering, so I decided to take it out:

The pot is now ready for the purple coneflowers later in the season, or the portulacas…won’t be too long now before it gets really hot and stays that way! I had to water the soil to keep the wind from blowing it everywhere:

This clay pot had Australian violets, but they had stopped flowering and were getting yellow…they do like to spread and they had no room in that container:

So I took them out and it’s now the home of a white impatien:

Just like this year I missed the pansies and the sweet alyssum because I lost track of the time, last year I missed out on the red begonias, so this year I snapped some up as soon as I saw them, I have “Super Olympia Red” (last year I planted “Super Olympia White”) and a bronze-leaved variety called “Cocktail mix”:

Here I set them out to see how I wanted to plant them:

The soil looked nice and dark:

And here they are in their new home:

I also planted the coleus “Wizard Mix” along with two tiny white polka dot plants I couldn’t resist – I don’t know if that was wise, but I guess I’ll see as the plants grow and the season keeps warming up:

After much searching I found the last ceramic pot I needed – it was for my yellow rose, to make sure it doesn’t get blown over in the wind:

Here is my salmon pink geranium, not as beautiful as last year but working on it:

These vincas I bought last year, cut them down to almost nothing in the Fall (winter) and they grew back – I’m glad to see the hot pink (magenta) one has more flowers now so the orange one doesn’t overwhelm it so much!:

And here is the birdfeeder, all ready and the water bowl set out for the birds – you can also see the length and width of my balcony:

That’s all, good night to you all – I have to continue grading midterms now! Have to turn them in tomorrow! lol

More blog posts by Raquel

Previous post: Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo

Next post: A walk to get fish and back.



Love all your work Raquel - have so many of the same plants myself. Especially love your choice of petunias - great colurs. Also love your geranium. The coleus and polka dots should do very well together - I have them together in my greenhouse garden. Nice to see the viola hederacea spreading around the world and you're right - it likes to spread. Your balcony garden looks fantastic - well worth the effort!

23 Mar, 2009


You have some lovely plants on your balcony Raquel. I like the shades of your petunias and it was nice to see your yellow rose is flourishing.
All the best, Hywel.

23 Mar, 2009


Interesting photos.
You've made lots of progress. :o)
Midterms all graded too ? Lol.

23 Mar, 2009


Thank you Bernieh! The petunias were difficult to choose - I wanted white ones but couldn't find one and didn't want to pale pink or hot pink, which apparently is all the rage this settled for burgundy, though my camera makes them look reddish pink..=0 Great to know I didn't mess up with the coleus and polka dots...just wobdered if they would get too big to co-exist...but from what you say it doesn't seem like it! I'm a bit sore today but I am happy with the balcony! Glad you like it.

Thanks Hywel. I am very happy and surprised by the yellow rose...unfortunately the other two aren't flowering! I love petunias...glad you like them.

Thanks TT...I've has to be done in spurts because I don't always have time...oh yes are you kidding TT?! My students would have mutinied if I hadn't returned them today...finished the last of them on the

24 Mar, 2009


A good job done Raquel. Your yellow rose is looking wonderful....It ihas filled out a lot since your last photo. If your other two aren't flowering, are they gettng enough sun? 6 hours a day is recommended for most roses. If it is very hot in the sun though you might want to give them afternoon shade as they wont flower as well in extreme heat. You have a lovely big balcony. Lots of room for plants.

26 Mar, 2009


Thank you Gilli. They are getting enough sun, they get the same amount as the yellow rose...definitely at least 6 hours, more in the depth of summer...they have lots of leaves and I fertilized them but no buds yet. It is not too hot yet do that can't be it. I don't know, maybe I pruned them on the wrong moon...! I have sprayed them with neem as these bothe suiffer from mites and whiteflies. But I haven't seen any yet. Will be on the lookout and see what happens...the balcony is pretty big but sometimes I think I will trip over my flowers! I think the newspaper lady hates me because she can't just throw my paper - once she did and broke a branch off a geranium - I complained...and now she hangs it on the doorknob (in comes in a plastic bag)...I will need to give her a nice bonus come Christmas!

28 Mar, 2009

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