Thursday, May 31, 2007

On Growing Children

I've decided to indulge myself and take up some space on the blog with some musings on motherhood and nurturing a human being as opposed to or as is similar and different from a plant, as the case may be.

With the garden, I have an idea about the design, or maybe not, but can set something into the ground, prune another thing back to the wall, or yank a plant out alltogether, step back, or even step away for a few days or a week or longer and see what happens, how things are developing and at that point leave it be or change my mind again and modify.

Nurturing a child, as I have learned, and have been instructed on numerous occasions by the head teacher at my child's school, is not something to do by the seat of the pants, which rather sums up my approach to gardening. Instead it requires some serious thought about just what are your intentions.

In other words you should cogitate early on about what you do and don't want to pass along to your child, and then go about altering your behavior so that they won't pick up all those nasty habits. Or, it could have more to do with ensuring you impart the tidbits of wisdom that you've selected especially for your child, ones that will carry them through the years, echoing in their hearts and minds and helping them along as they travel their own journey.

One thing Henry Mitchell has to say in his book The Essential Earthman about gardening, which I have come to believe is as true about childrearing is that:
"Your garden will reveal your self. Do not be terrified of that. You have as
much right to live as--well, at least one may alwasy say, "nevertheless, here I
am." Gardening [and childrearing] is not some sort of game by which one proves
superiority over others, nor is it a marketplace for the display of elegant
things that others cannot afford. It is, on the contrary, a growing work of
creation, endless in its changing elements. It is not a monument or an
achievement, but a sort of traveleing, a kind of pilgrimage you might say, often
a bit grubby and sweaty though true pilgrims do not mind that. A garden is not a
picture, but a language, which is of course the major art of life. "

Friday, May 18, 2007

Bird's Eye View: March and Now

Most Clearly the Maple lights up the SW corner, but also the bed on the north wall is full of Dahlias and Nasturtium. It's as interesting to get a view from up on the roof as from down in the terrace outside the ground-floor apartment.

Succulents then and now

They grow slowly, but nonetheless, growth is evident. I killed off a beautiful leucadendron that I enjoyed all winter, especially with the western light illuminating the red leaves. It may have been the cold nights, but when I realized that both Leucadendron and Grevellia are both Proteacea family, I am wondering if there isn't some sort of blight or pest that is attacking these plants. They both suffered from dyeback right when they had new growth showing, and after months of thriving.
An Asplenium fern (Japanese Painted Fern) unfurling after a long winter's nap.
The Knifophia have finally bloomed along with a Columbine volunteer

Lillies are pushing up, but really want more sun...

The Canna Lillies may be competing with the Phormium

Anigozanthos are blooming and the Charles Grimaldi is making another set of buds. What a satsifying plant. The phormium 'guardsman' finally happy after having its root ball lifted significantly out of the ground. Seems I've been planting everything too deep, and may have been the cause of the desmise of the Grevellia redhooks.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Radical Removals, and other garden updates

I've been bad about keeping up, and know I will regret not having a more blow by blow of changes this season, as I am always amazed looking back to see how much the plants have grown and changed (or in some case suffered) over time. Here is a quick update and visual of what's happening today in the garden:

I finally succumbed and extracted the long-suffering Grevellia 'red hooks' from the western wall. I replaced it with the Abutilon 'nabob' that was languishing in the western planter next door, and a nice Altissimo rose behind it that will hopefully scale the back fence and flash it's lacquer-red blossoms through spring and summer.

On a whim I finally pulled out the Trachelospermum jasminoides (star jasmine) on the northern wall that seemed to do nothing but take up space and look diseased. Even the empty space looked so much better in that corner. I replaced it with another Altissmo rose, and found one, single sproutlet of Trumpet vine slowly, quietly making it's way up the trellis. I was so happy as I'd though I'd lost this plant for good, or didn't have any in my garden when I cleaned out the clipped vines from the neighbors pruned trumpet vine. I just left it there and hope it will coexist with the rose.

I've transplanted the poor, tiny mail-ordered Atissimo sprout to the Dahlia bed, and it seems to finally be flourishing, though it was way too small to have planted when it arrived in the mail.

The Canna Lily is pushing up leaves, and I just got some great advice from the new Flora Grubb garden center that opened down the street on how to divide it now so that I can move the shaded stalk to a sunnier spot.

Other new additions include the Lotus bertholii that is spilling down the western planter from where I pulled out the Abutilon Nabob (seen here to the right), three new succulents I used to underplant the Leucadendron after pulling out the overgrown fern.

Deciduous plants and bulbs that have come up include the Japanese painted fern, Canna Lily and other Asian Lilies.

Flower stalks are pushing up from the Knifofia and Aniganothus.

I had an arborist come by to give the final call on the Grevellia, and he recommended nitrogen ammendments for my abutilon hybrids that I though were root-bound in the southern planter. I used the prescribed dose of blood meal on the package and will see if that does the trick. I fed the Abutilons (yellow hybrid and megapotamicum), the Red cestrum, and the Aniganothus.