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State of the garden.


By Raquel


The blog that Spritz wrote about her experiences in the garden with the flowers this past summer have left me thinking about mine.

What flowers do I want to plant next? How did my plants do?

Well, I would have to say that overwhelmingly my plants did very well this year so far – there are some plants I keep year round (the geraniums, the roses) and others I change periodically (the petunias, the impatiens, the tomatoes, the white wax begonias). Not sure where the vincas will fit in. It could be that it will get too cold for them, eventually, but at the moment they are still blooming nicely.

I feel this summer was particulalry hot and it affected the geraniums quite a bit – the leaves turned yellow and spotted and either fell off or I eventually just pruned them off. But the lovely thing about geraniums is that they bounce back.

One of my gerbera daisies just didn’t make it, it flowered once and then never again, and eventually died in the middle of the summer as I could not keep up with its water needs. The other gerbera did just fine, in fact it’s still blooming, so I have to wonder if the container had something to do with it.

Death also met the pink and light purple petunias I planted in the Spring. Like the gerbera, they seemed to need more and more water, and even though petunias are sun-loving plants, wilted under the sun. That really surprised me. The only thing I can think of is that and this will sound silly, maybe – the sun this year was hotter and more intense than usual (I had no porblems last year when I planted white petunias and I put them in the same spot!) and that the plants were already weak and straggly when I bought them…perhaps they never quite recovered. I can usually bring plants back into a good state, but I never managed with these petunias. A good lesson not to wait so long to buy the plants you want and also to not buy weak looking plants, even when they’re on sale!

The vincas did beautifully, and they do indeed withstand drought and direct sunlight quite well, though they can also wilt a lot quicker than I expected. Nothing beats the portulacas for sheer endurance, though, so next year I definitely will be planting portulacas again. With lots of bright colors they will make July and August easier on the eyes.

The strawberries I raised from seed survived and even flowered, but have never given me fruit. This might be also because there probably is a pollinator missing in my microcosm of gardening – or it could be that it’s just too hot for them even now. I might buy seedlings next year though and see how it goes. It would be nice to have strawberries at home!

The grape tomatoes where going the way of the strawberries, with lots of flowers and no fruit, until I started hand-pollinating. Now it looks like I will get a small but nice crop of tomatoes!

This lack of pollinators has distressed me, and I’ve decided next year to plant flowers that will attract bees and butterflies. Echinacea is one I definitely want to try.

I also want to see if I get a vine-type plant, maybe a morning glory, to grow against the railing of the balcony and thus making it “greener” and maybe shadier and cooler!

I loved the white begonias, but next year I’ll be looking at the deep red variety. I just love how they look in the sun as their leaves take on an ever deeper red color!

If I find a miniature rose with interesting colors or flower shape I might buy one, but so far they have disappointed me. I haven’t seen anything interesting.

As for the birds, I do plan to buy a birdfeeder. So we’ll see how it goes!

More blog posts by Raquel

Previous post: Fig Syrup.

Next post: Silly vegan woman.



rachel you lost some plants to the heat and i lost some to the rain lol cant win eh?
you really should get a bird feeder, hrs of enjoyment watching them come in to the garden.

2 Nov, 2008


Interesting to hear what your plants did 'over there'. I'm not surprised that Vincas wilted in the sun, they much prefer the shade. I should think that Morning Glory would do well - just look at what Flcrazy grows!

When you say 'Geraniums', are you talking about the hardy ones - or Pelargoniums? I'd be interested to know. You say that your temps. will get too cold for them, so I'm assuming you mean Pelargoniums. Over here, we can't leave them out, one touch of frost and they are gone. Mostly, we take cuttings from them and over-winter the plants. We have to treat Petunias as annuals, and just compost them when they get tatty.

You'd love a bird feeder! Irish is right - we may not have quite such exotic birds as I've seen in some of the USA photos, but some of ours are really pretty - like Goldcrests and Bluetits. If we didn't feed them, we'd lose a lot more in the winter cold over here.

2 Nov, 2008


Well you got to much sun & over here we got to much rain,so if you get to much sun next year, please send it over to us lot. As for feeding birds you can get lots of enjoyment from it, i've got lots of different bird feeders & food for the birds in my garden as like Irish i can watch them for hours through my windows, then at the end of january i do a bird count for the RSPB for 1hr. so it helps them to know if any certain birds are disapearing.

2 Nov, 2008


You had that hurricane to contend with aswell as the heat so I think you did well with your plants this year.

3 Nov, 2008


Thanks everyone for your comments, it is fun to watch th ebirds and I've noticed they seem to go more for the birdfeeders and not for the seeds scattered on a flat surface.

Spritzhenry, I have zonal geraniums - and actually the do quite well in winter, they survive handily and bloom quite a bit - I think pelargoniums are more delicate but I don't have any of those...What they hate is the heat of summer, especially July-September...The vincas here are touted to love the sun and mostly they do but they have to be watered quite often...if they aren't, their leaves curl up, unlike the portulacas which can go for quite a long time without watering...

Clarice & Irish I'll send you all the sun you want!! Sometimes a little cloud cover and rain would be nice (though it was raining most of this week!).

Thanks Hywel, all things considered you're right the plants did well.

15 Nov, 2008

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