That Time of the Year

This post is about the ugly side of gardening.  As weather forecasts predict freezing temperatures, it’s time to say goodbye to flowers blooming and prepare to protect plants.

autumnchore9Strawberry Gompheras still hang on in the compost pile, but they too will succumb to frost.

aautumnchorePlants will be hauled into these two sheds.  We choose metal sheds for greenhouses because other structures would not hold up to the high winds here.

autumnchoreSo the process begins.  It takes both of us to lift the really large pots.

autumnchore1Load after load has filled up one shed.  It has an electric heater with a thermostat that is set just high enough to keep everything from freezing.

autumnchore2It has already been cold enough to effect the tropical hibiscus.  The humidity from watering will be a cozy environment for most of the plants.  Through the winter I only need to water every two weeks.

autumnchore3All of the plants have been watered.  The floor slopes to a drain in the center.

autumnchore5The second shed does not have heat but is also insulated.  Plants that cannot endure hard freezes but can take some cold are put here.

autumnchore6Yes, the shed is messy but functional.

autumnchore7Between the two sheds are some newly potted roses.  They are protected from direct northerly winds.  Hopefully, next spring these will be planted in new flowerbeds.

autumnchore8I may regret leaving this Umbrella plant out.  But some of the pots are just too heavy.  Notice that the Poinsettias from last year are getting some red brackets.  I’m hoping a little chilly weather will cause more red.

fallMay you have a wonderful holiday with family and friends.

“Grace isn’t a little prayer you chant before receiving a meal.  It’s a way to live.”  Jackie Windspear

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Container Uses

Flowerpots can be the solution to several problems for gardeners.

containersIf there isn’t enough shade in the yard, pots can be tucked under a tree, like this large Live Oak just on the edge of our backyard.

Plants like this Moon Flower or Datura (Datura Wrightii Regel) could not take the full force of the sun that blasts most of my yard.  It’s also known as Jimsonweed, Angel Trumpet, and Sacred Thorn Apple.  The species name honors Charles Wright who collected plants in Texas, Cuba, and his native Connecticut in the mid to late 1800s.

This semi-shady spot also addresses other issues.  Since I’m not sure Moon Flower can handle a freeze, being portable means it can go into a shed for the winter.

containers1Makes a peaceful setting, too.

containers4aAnother plant that needs shade or filtered shade is this Umbrella Plant (Cyperus alternifolius).  This came from a friend who gave me one umbrella top with a short stem.  The instructions were to place the top upside down in a jar of water.  When it rooted, it could be planted it in soil.  Weird way to root a plant, but it worked.

containers3Under this tree has also become sort of a plant refuge or hospital station.  Whenever a plant needs to recover, it goes here.  The Black and Blue Salvia (Salvia guaranitica)  came from a sale at a regional garden club meeting.  I didn’t know the seller and couldn’t ask questions.  As it turns out, not all salvia can survive our sun.  When it began looking sickly, I moved here it, where it has done very well.

containers4bIt has also proved to be a good place for Poinsettias to hang out during the summer.  The heat didn’t seem to be a problem, but direct sunlight is.

containers4cPots on a semi shady porch also work well for plants like Ice Plant.

containers7And Crown of Thorns (Euphorbia milii).

containers4Another helpful use for containers is when you buy a plant but don’t have a place to put it in the ground.  The White Plumbago (Plumbago auriculata) will probably stay in a pot and be carried inside during the winter.  The dark foliage Crape Myrtle will eventually go in the ground.

Notice that there are all kinds of pots.  Some people like all their pots to be alike or at least the same color.  I just enjoy variety in plants and pots.

containers5This Salvia Greggii will be planted in a flowerbed whenever we create a new one.  Can you hear my husband groaning?

containers8Sometimes, pots are testing grounds to see how a plant will do.  It can easily be moved to find the perfect conditions it needs.  So far, this Bamboo Muhley (Muhlenbergia dumosa) seems happy on a porch where it gets morning sun and afternoon semi-shade.

containers6aPlants that absolutely must go into the green house in the winter are in pots, like this Orange African Bulbine (Bulbine frutescens).  This one and another are 10 years old.

Behind it is Elkhorn (Euphorbia Lactea Forma Cristata) and an Echeveria hybrid (Echeveria ‘Blue Curls’) that are destined for the green house again this winter.

containers7aSometimes a spot of color can brighten a corner, like this tropical Ixora in the Rubiaceae family.  Great use of a potted plant.

containers7abSince we carry so many pots inside for the winter, we no longer use heavy ones.  Although I do love the look of expensive large ceramic pots, that just isn’t feasible.The light weight plastic ones have come a long way in performance and looks.

“You can’t get rich in politics unless you’re a crook.”  Harry S. Truman