When It Rains, It Pours

After a slow start, everything is burgeoning (including the green aphid population)! Look at the difference!

Ornamentals – 5/23 and 6/18:

IMG_20140523_130358_868

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

IMG_20140618_085734_940

IMG_20140618_112831_701

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

IMG_20140617_151925_433

IMG_20140618_095019_023

Vines & broad-leafed edibles – 5/23 and 6/18

IMG_20140523_133522_893

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Non-vining vegetables – 5/23 and 6/18

IMG_20140523_125927_209

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Close-up of the zucchini 6/10, 17, & 18

IMG_20140610_110242_466

IMG_20140617_151900_541

IMG_20140618_085919_417

And the German chamomile – late May and today:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

IMG_20140618_090018_883

Finally, a photo of the the first & last time I saw a gardenia: May 11th, fresh from the nursery. I have low expectations with this plant (sustaining it all summer is one thing, getting it to flower is another, and successfully nurturing it indoors all winter is yet another, still), but you’ve gotta try, right?

20140511_194033

I’m beaming about the plentitude – despite the pests and the curious lack of beneficial bugs. Excitingly, even my Panama Passionfruit Melon and Kajari Melon have begun to grow. Enticed by the romantic notion elicited by the words “botanical exploration”, I couldn’t help but try them out. Knock on wood for them to spite the aphids, the limitations of their containers, and the extraordinary environmental conditions, and thrive!

 

Advertisements

Lilac Boom

4/22

20140422_155101

 

4/23

20140423_183205

4/26

20140426_165451

The above, plus the burgeoning of other foliage and the springtime warming of the weather, enticed a bird to stop by. I googled it and learned its name: the brown thrasher. Check out the range of sounds it makes: http://youtu.be/JsDQBAfKhD8

So interesting: by putting a few plants on a patch of unshaded white cement, I’m learning that such a variety of wildlife, too, lives in the big city. The brown thrasher’s range is the whole eastern USA – and still, like me, here it is. Something for everyone, indeed, in the “concrete jungle”.

The harmony of the elements

Since Losar, I’ve had prayer flags outside. Everyday, I wake up to the elements – rain, haze, breeze, heat… – and their emblems – green, white, red, yellow, and blue flags – undulating in the spring air. You can see them in the headline image, past the yellow bamboo.

It’s interesting: all winter, the bamboo has been a strong green, but now, while the deciduous shrubs begin to sprout leaves (see the lilacs below), it has become a washed-out yellow.

20140405_130526

20140405_130717

Apparently, bamboo yellows, sheds leaves, and replaces them with new green growth each spring. I guess they’ll turn green just in time to complement all this abundance:

20140405_131215

20140405_131142

20140405_131157

From bottom to top, that’s the burgeoning elephant ear and a bushy little lemon verbena; passiflora incense and clematis from Brushwood Nursery, orange ranunculus from 28th Street, bougainvillea flowering hot pink off to the left, and the foliage-rich hibiscus; dahlias, German chamomile, turmeric, chilis, lemongrass, eggplant, lantana, basil, tomatoes, and my indoor yucca. It’s my first experience with ranunculus – check out how gorgeous:

20140405_131109

It’s a good lesson from a tall grass: shed and refresh for optimal health. It complements the idea of the flags in the wind – that balance between the elements yields an experience of the essential nature of existence. For more on this, check out the programs and exhibit at the Rubin through early September – pretty amazing curation.

Sitting quietly, doing nothing, Spring comes, and the grass grows, by itself.

A haiku from  Matsuo Bashō on this first official day of spring. The seeds are all growing well, except for the gypsy tomato (which came free with my seed order, and consequently, may have been old) and the Ping Tung eggplant. Actually, the eggplant was one of the first set of seeds I planted in early February; it germinated and unfurled its legs, but then withered and died. I recently planted a new set of seeds but they haven’t yet emerged. I suppose I’ll sit quietly, doing nothing, to see if they will spring into life.

Here are the pics from inside and out:

20140317_120714

Ornamental pepper (Capsicum annum ‘Black Pearl’) thriving from last year.

20140317_120835

Last year’s sweet basil in between new tomato sprouts. I have 2 types of cherry and one regular – Black Brandywine. Can’t wait to see what that looks and tastes like!

20140317_120927

Thai Lavender Frog eggplant and chilis in the wine crate, tiny elephant ear in the black plastic pot, and minuscule lemongrass sprouts with Naga Raja, the Ghost Chili, and turmeric.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Lilac Sunday

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Brite Eyes Rose

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Honeysuckle – such a pretty color, no?

Finally, a confession: though I bombed everything with neem 2 weeks ago, I found what was essentially an urban center of mealybugs around the roots of my passionflower. Sprawl was also occurring: I found a few bugs on a neaby bougainvillea, and on the curtain  (btw, for those interested in urban sprawl and suburbs, a fantastic old book is Edge City). The research seemed to say that organic treatments would have limited effect and other plants would perpetually be in danger of infestation. I am sorry to say it, but I went chemical. My humblest apologies.

The struggle continues…

My seeds are growing! And mealybugs are attacking. I’ve seen them on my Mexican petunia, passionflower, kalanchoe (which also got attacked by aphids this winter), and mandevilla. I’m bombing everything w/ neem again today but if they come back or spread further, I might… try a chemical solution (Ah, the selling out of ideals… but I don’t want them killing my ornamentals or, worse, spreading to my edibles). So as not to leave on a note of discord, here are the pics:

20140223_Broccoli

Broccoli

20140223_AsaGawa

20140224_AsaGawa

Oxalis triangularis

I’ve also got eggplant, cauliflower, and chilis growing. In fact, I just discovered and planted the 3rd hottest chili pepper around – Naga Raja or Ghost Pepper (1MM+ Scoville units). Perhaps, as with pepper spray, I can use this to knock out my mealybugs…

Abundance

While I love snow, the spring-like 49 degree weather of Super Bowl yesterday was more fitting for my 1st weekend of gardening in 2014! If everything I sow grows, the terrace is going to be overflowing with abundance (here’s the idea: Summer2014)!

For those interested, I thought I’d pass along Garden Web recommendations for online seeds and nurseries: Baker CreekSeed Savers, and Brushwood (for vine cuttings). And post some ice pictures from 2/5/14…

20140205_104057

20140205_104117

20140205_104144

20140205_104254

20140205_104357

Happy gardening!

Snow on Heathers

I have never read the book “Snow on Cedars”, but I find the name so simply romantic, that I have entitled this post a far less romantic “Snow on Heathers”. Far less romantic, that is, until you see the concluding photograph.

What follows is a photo-update from late Sept through today, 12/16/13.

September: Pepperoncinis

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

October:  Short-lived mums & asters

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

November: the winterized terrace, new heaths and heathers, and a “flowering” taro?

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

December: progress on the taro and heather (Calluna vulgaris) in the snow

20131214_103149

20131215_105159

Quite interestingly, my last turmeric has sprouted! It’s 5 1/2 months after I planted it (and indoors), so I find that spectacular. I have a lot to learn about plants!