Tuesday, July 25, 2017

balcony garden inside views

This garden is at its teenage stage.

The fountain isn't even filled with water yet.

The largest containers at both ends had the most planning to them and they are the two with the most mistakes and they are doing the worst. They've both been corrected three times and all three corrections did poorly. They look terrible.

This largest container shown first tucked into a corner I tried to protect because last year elephant ear plants burned in the afternoon sun. This year the elephant ears defy their protection by growing wildly around it. On both sides of the balcony. Back to drawing board, back to square one. More plants in this container are obscured by caladiums than show. Vines are growing a lot more poorly here than in full sun. 

I can rightly call this garden The Garden of Stupid Mistakes.

Then hanging vines growing well in full sun are seized by rapidly growing morning glories climbing upward and the morning glories obscure the hanging vine foliage with their larger morning glory leaves. So after all that it looks like the downward vines are not even there. I directed things away from each other at first to have distinct layers so the morning glories will climb the railing instead to form a wall of leaves to shade delicate shade flowers, but the plants have their own imperatives and I lost that battle. Morning glories are rampant and they'll do what they do. These all grew from a tiny portion of the seeds that were collected from blooms last year after the plants died and dried out. The seeds drop like black rain.

The rest of the morning glory seeds collected were given away, a small amount scooped into sandwich bags. The same amount as I planted here. The women who accept them and planted them love them. They give me enthusiastic updates as they grow. For they are horticultural dummkopfs like me.

But that still left 3/4 of seeds collected and those were tossed around the neighborhood randomly in cracks, near fences and poles, and in other people's window boxes, planters and side gardens. It was a mischievous activity to take up. I'm a grown man for Christ's sake. I see them here and there throughout the neighborhood growing to varying degrees of success. If those manage to bloom, die, dry out and drop, then the plants will run rampantly on their own. They're an invasive species.

Is that fun or what?

I'm figuring this out as I go. 

I learned several important things this year through fairly stupid mistakes. How not to plant caladiums, for example, right side up and not too deeply, not to leave a box of bulbs out there in the dryness and hot sun for a week unattended, not to buy live plants online again, not ever. 

There's something about buying live plants online that clues the delivery service to be sure to mess up. How they manage to single out live plants to go completely out of character is beyond me. It's all quite remarkable. It's happened with aquarium plants before too, always the same kind of mess up involving a weekend, and this year it happened with an expensive shipment of unique petunias with hearts in the center, and a variety of hosta plants. This one single time UPS bizarrely delivered to a locker that is not so near to me instead of directly to my home. An experiment of theirs to service customers whose working hours conflict. They made no effort to deliver to my home. I was at home waiting. On a Friday. So the plants would be in the dark locker somewhere I've never been for an extra three days. I had to find the locker, another bizarre location in a cafe inside a maze of hallways, and then drive there and get them myself. I paid for delivery but did not get it. And that only happened once. With live plants. That was the day I blew a gasket in my mind. UPS assumes I can find them, they assume I have transportation, they assume I can walk. They were correct in all that, but still, they assumed all of that. So that's it. New rule. No more live plants online.

Except I'm still considering buying starter clones for the aquarium. The plan to have plants without snails.

The blue ceramic container has an unbelievable number of caladium bulbs in it that did not grow. It's a major disappointment. My fault. If only I knew what I'm doing. 

I really dig those giant coleus. They keep blooming. And that's when they die. I think. But mine didn't do so well as others I see around town. I'll figure it out. I think there are only a few species. And their colors expressed depend on their conditions. I think. And you don't always see them in nurseries. Types I thought were giants were actually just large mature versions of regular coleus. 

Regular coleus. Pfffft.

Caladium bulbs can be stored but I don't know to manage that in climate dry as ours. And my garage is public. Maybe I can store them in my truck. But they're so inexpensive it hardly seems worth the trouble.


AllenS said...

You're living in a jungle.

Lem said...

Nice job Chip. Plants are people too.

rhhardin said...

If you have a house, balcony plants encroach from all over.

Birds spread seeds from all sorts of things.

One balcony garden trick might be just put out dirt and attract birds.

ColoradoJim said...

Are you still using the Aerogarden? Thinking of getting one for basil, strawberry, tomato and lettuce. I live in a garden level condo and the only things I have growing is a pot of aloe vera, and a canning jar kit of basil that I got on clearance months after normal planting season. The basil has grown pretty well and I think I can start harvesting it in about two or three weeks. Since I live by myself, I always end up having to throw away spoiled lettuce since the smallest amount that I can buy is still too much. Because of this I rarely eat salads. Basil on the other hand I would eat all the time since I can put it in an Italian inspired grilled cheese sandwich.

One time I planted some bachelor button seeds that were at least 10 years old that I got from junk mail from a realtor. Some actually did come up but they were really too tall for a potted plant.