Thursday, April 1, 2010

Spring Has Finally Sprung!

While this leaves my poor husband at the mercy of the pollen and allergens filling the air, it also means that my plants are starting to bloom and sprout new growth!  I was worried about them after the harsh winter we had down here (hey now! it was harsh by Houston standards), but most of them survived and are starting to flourish once more.  And so, for the first time in a while, I am pleased to present a post about my garden!!!

First I'll look at my indoor "garden of one".  My mom and dad gave me a beautiful ivy for Valentine's Day.  Unfortunately, I'm beginning to thing I've killed it.  It started out so healthy, but I think I over-watered it, and now about half of the leaves are yellowing.  It is still putting out new growth though, and there are still a lot of healthy leaves, so maybe if I start properly caring for it, it will recover.  Ivy and I don't have a supergood track record though, so I'm a bit concerned.  I hope it will be ok.

Outside, the two plants I worried over the most this winter were my baby orange tree and my pygmy date palm trio.  I covered my little orange tree, but pretty much left the palm trio to fend for itself, hoping that its own fronds (both living and dead) would provide the core with enough protection to keep it alive.  My orange tree managed fairly well, losing only a couple of branches to the cold and several leaves to frost damage.  Now, it's already putting out new growth!  I would say it has gained about an inch in height due to the new leaves, and the trunk has gained respectably in girth.  The trunk also has a woody appearance, as opposed to the green stem it once had!  I am so proud of my little orange tree--it was a gift from Ethan and Julie and arrived at our house as a sapling in pot.  We let it grow up a bit and then transplanted it into the yard.  Last year I put in a citrus spike, and I put in this spring's spike in February.  I am loving watching my tree grow!

The pygmy date palms' fronds did protect the trio's cores from the cold, but at the cost of their own lives.  That said, most of the fronds were only dead about three-quarters of the way in.  This past Saturday, I looked up pygmy date palm care, and carefully trimmed the dead parts of the fronds off, to let the green core and the remaining green stems have access to the sunlight.  The smallest palm of the trio fared the best.  It only lost one frond, due to the helpful coverage of the fronds from the largest palm.  I have to say, trimming those pygmy date palms was one of the most hazardous gardening jobs I've done yet!  The fronds all have thorns on them, the smallest of which was a full INCH!  On top of that, I, smart girl that I am, was working without my gardening gloves!  There was quite a bit of "ow"-ing and no lack of cursing under my breath. 

While I worked on that project, Bryan and Bouncer and Alicia spread mulch (I helped after the palm was trimmed--I also went and got lunch and BEER!!!).  You know you've got amazing friends when they're willing to spend most of their Saturday helping you haul and spread mulch in your flower beds!  Never fear, we'll return the favor this summer when the time comes to mulch their flower beds again!

Of my other plants, we lost four of the pretty hot pink/pink flowering bushes in the front.  I'm not sure what they are exactly, but am endeavoring to find out.  Once Bouncer dug them up though, I was no longer surprised that they hadn't survived.  Whatever contract landscaper put them in originally left them so root-bound that their roots still looked like the pot they came in!  At this point, I'm surprised the others are doing as well as they are:  two of them are blooming, one has all its leaves, and the other two are putting out new growth!

My orchid seems to be happy, and has no less than four new buds getting ready to open in the next couple of weeks!  I really do need to do some research on orchid care--pruning and feeding and such--but I think its a little late right now (except for maybe feeding), since it is the growing season.  It's the favorite resting spot for my garden's lizards, so leaving it a bit overgrown won't hurt anything.

Bouncer identified my small green bushes with the white flowers as hawthornes and I finally figured out the purple-leaved pink-flowered shrubs are called loropetalum.  The loropetalum have already had their big bloom--it was so pretty!  They looked fuzzy with their pink flowers!  There are still a few blooms left for us to enjoy, but the hawthornes are the ones blooming incredibly at the moment.  Bouncer did say that they had a bit of fungus on them--nothing too horrible--and offered to let me borrow his fungicide.  I'll probably get it this weekend.  It's good to know that hawthornes are NOT supposed to have purple leaves though!    We have a TON of these pretty plants in the front, and three in the back under the magnolia tree.

My mini camellias are doing ok.  The one on the right side of the garage bloomed spectacularly, but the one on the left has only produced one flower so far.  I'm a bit worried that the cold might have affected it more than the other, but seeing as it is putting out new growth still it might just be a matter of giving it more time.  I think it bloomed later than the other one last year as well--just not by this much.  Oh well, even if it doesn't bloom, it is a very handsome green plant, and there's always next year.  I'll probably get them some food too.

Speaking of the back yard, all of the plants there are doing very well.  I pulled up some grass-like plants that look nice, but were being shut away from the sun by the ball tree/bush.  I need to pull the ones out front too, for the same reason but because of a different plant.  I'm also thinking about pulling up some of the yellow-flowered grass-like plants (still trying to find their name too!) in the front because there are just SO MANY bunches of them!  The shrubs, front and back, came through without much frost damage, and the trees are doing well.  In the back, the small orchids are doing ok, but I'm thinking of pulling them up.  They don't bloom much, and the dogs have pretty much trampled the smallest one.  I feel bad, since they've lived this long, but I think we might be able to put something a bit hardier there.

Also, my azaleas are blooming!  At least, I'm pretty sure they're azaleas.  The look gorgeous, if I do say so myself.  I feel as if I should research care on those as well, but honestly they've done just fine with me only weeding, watering, and trimming.  I will probably look up the best time of year to trim them back, and maybe try a food next year, but they do so well on their own that I really am not too worried about it!

My newest edition, my bougainvillea, is doing well.  After the wind blew off all of the blooms while we were in Costa Rica, it's starting to bloom again!  Since it is a desert plant, I don't need to water it as often I had had been, so I've backed of to once every couple of weeks.  I'll probably back off more than that, but for now that's my pace.  Bouncer said the man to whom he spoke about bougainvilleas said that "torturing" the plant results in the best blooms.  I'll find my own water balance, and maybe try a bit of food, but until summer (when I will cut it back a bunch) I'll mostly just let it do its thing.

I love my garden all year round, but the spring is especially exciting.  Seeing the flowers is always lovely, but I also get excited to see the new growth my plants put forth.  It's also the perfect time to learn more about my plants and how to care for them--which will be the material for many more gardening posts!  On that note, I'm going to go play with the pups for a bit (including Lindsay's Tiberius) and play Final Fantasy: Crystal Bearers (I beat Twilight Princess finally--wonderful ending!) which is a fantastic game!  And I intend to fully enjoy my three day weekend, starting with a girls day with my mom (and Alicia for mom's hair appointment) tomorrow!

1 comment:

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