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On the perils of a long growing season...


By Raquel


I know most of you really would like a longer growing season, but I envy those of you who live in clearly defined 4 season climates…there is something to be said for the change in seasons, with certain flowers dying and being replaced naturally by the next wave of flowers/plants…maybe it’s because the seasons make the decision for you to get rid of certain plants and put in others.

Living in a climate like Houston, were seasonal changes are not so dramatic and most plants can survive the cold, means that when you decide to change plants you are most likely getting rid of a plant that is still very much alive and that is what I find so difficult to do. It might seem silly, but it really distresses me to just replace plants because I’d like to try something new…but it happens all the time in Houston. Just yesterday I saw how the gardeners at the apartment complex pulled up the perfectly beautiful purple alyssum and pansies that decorated the outside garden area…I almost wanted to scream and run to the gardener to give me some of the pansies but I was waiting for the bus and reason won out….what were they replaced with? White alyssum and salmon pink geraniums and red begonias.

So I battle with this because I do like variety and yet I have limited space on my balcony…but I have decided – with great difficulty and twinges of guilt – that the grape tomatoes are going to have to go, because the plant the sprouted again is weak and is getting sick – it has some white blobs on it and not even spraying it with neem controls it…I would love to have vegetables but right now I think I’m going to stick to flowers. That will give me another pot to plant something in. Maybe I’ll put purple coneflowers in there.

I am keeping the strawberries but after consulting my berry book I realize that they will probably not give me berries, however they are nice ornamental plants and seem to be doing well.

My aim for this year, once it’s warmer is to create more shade on my balcony by planting vines – I like morning glory – to twine around the railing…I would like to get some cascading petunias as well because I have a thing for cascading plants, the fullness of it just makes it seem opulent and full of life…I am going to get another geranium and if I find a nice rose, another one to complement the ones I have…

I also want to give the stairwell more attention…I want to see if the begonias I planted take and if impatiens will do well in the shade…I planted some violas in a pot next to my banana tree and they are doing OK, but have not bloomed again so I think I will get rid of them…it would be a nice pot for some impatiens…so I want to try my hand at some shade plants this year as well…the stairwell is just too ugly as is…

In terms of decorations I would like some small windchimes…the birds love the seed and today I peeked at them and saw four tiny birds feeding and down on the balcony a young dove feeding off the seeds that fell from the birdfeeders…they all looked puffy with riffled feathers, I guess they were trying to keep warm…I enjoy hearing them chirping right outside my windows…

I also need to buy one more ceramic pot to put the yellow rose in…it’s amazing how well they keep the roses and geraniums from turning over in the wind…

Well, this blog is more for myself I guess, to keep track of the things I want to do…we’ll see how much of it I actually manage to do!! =)

More blog posts by Raquel

Previous post: Walking in the cold

Next post: Happy St. Patrick's Day!!



Same situation for me Raquel. Once you find plants for your north Qld. garden that will survive little rainfall and extreme summer heat - there's really no changing them. They are there for years and of course the choices are a bit limited. The only places I can make changes are in two downstairs flower beds (where I usually grow my pentas, miniature ixoras and portulacas), in my greenhouse (where I can try various impatiens, coleus, pentas and have different pot plants) and finally in my courtyard (where I can have my flower pots - petunias, geraniums, pansies, violas etc - and my hanging pot plants). I think your impatiens will do well in the stairwell and maybe you could try some coleus plants as well for some colour. I like the sound of your ideas for your balcony.

14 Mar, 2009


This is a very well-written blog.
Lots of good points.
Raquel ~ well done.

Only thing I would personally not have is the wind-chimes ~
one of my dislikes ~ neighbours' discordant clanging wind-chimes. Lol. :o(

14 Mar, 2009


Oh dear TT....You wouldn't like my garden then....I have 5 windchimes throughout. Mind you, the neighbours have them too. :o)

Raquel, great blog. Well done. I think your idea of impatiens are a great idea for the stairwell. I'm sure they will do well. Lovely to have the little birds coming to feed too.

14 Mar, 2009


I know Bernieh, and because the weather can be soo hot you tend to stick to the plants that have portulacas too? I love them! Talk about a plant that gives cascades of flowers and needs very little And of course it's so nice so many of you have greenhouses...! I like the idea of the coleus...we'll see how it does!

Thanks TT...I can see your point about discordant windchimes, hopefully mine will sound nice lol I figured that I might as well take advantage of the wind that blows through my thrid floor balcony...since my neighbors don't garden (I'm the only balcony with flowers on this side of the courtyard) I figure they'll ignore the windchimes too. =)

Thanks Gilli...5 windchimes!! that sounds really nice... I love the sound of windchimes...we'll see how the impatiens do, last year they all died...but I have a feeling it was the soil they were in rather than the place... =0

14 Mar, 2009

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