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Posts Tagged ‘container plants’

I did it!  I jumped for a “garden” here at Horizon House! Actually, it’s a plot that cannot be gardened in the usual sense.  It has roots from a Japanese Maple that we like a lot.  We don’t want to cut out the roots, as we’d lose the tree!  Drucilla, who had that plot, was moved to a place where she could actually dig.  Now, what to do with that useless plot???

Just cover it with mulch?  Why not place some pots there?

We had just cleaned up the three (3) decks so they could be resurfaced, which meant that all the pots sitting on those decks had to be removed.  There was ample time for folks to claim their pots.  I didn’t really want to buy new pots, when all those unclaimed pots were just sitting in the storage room.  So I picked out a few, and pressed them into service!img_5586

Betty had a pot that she was not going to be able to use.  It had some geraniums in it.  I asked if I could use it in my “new garden”.  She consented.  At first I was going to remove the geraniums, but then decided to keep them.  I would lay that container on it’s side, and put the two other pots around it.

Charlie and August helped me bimg_5590y moving heavy pots, and filling them with wonderful new soil.  I trimmed back the geraniums and am hoping they will reach for the sun and begin to grow in that direction.  They will hopefully provide some color.  I planted drought resistant plants (mostly succulents) in all three pots.  I’m hoping they will require very little care, and after they settle in, should look pretty nice!img_5593

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Most of us are familiar with the Version 2geranium, which is formally named “Pelargonium”.   These geraniums are considered a hardy perennial, biennial or sometimes an annual, medicinal herb.  The herb is often used for aromatic oil.  (I have a hard time believing that, as I find their odor slightly offensive.)  But, that is not my purpose here today.

Today, I want to talk about the geranium with which most of us are familiar.  It is a very popular potted plant, usually associated with bright red, white or pink flowers.

In northern climes, they are considered to be an annual, although they can easily be overwintered, out of the ground.  Here in Seattle, our climate is temperate enough that they survive quite nicely in the garden. At Horizon House we can see them flowering happily, not just in garden beds, but on our balconies.

Audrey was having a few issues with yellowing leaves on her geraniums.  The plants seemed healthy otherwise, and she just removed the leaves.  That’s exactly what she should do.  Remember however, that this is a very drought tolerant plant.  It likes to be a bit dry, so over-watering can overwhelm it pretty quickly.  If the leaves on your geranium are yellowing, hold off on the water a bit.

Also, it could be that it is needing a little fertilizer.  Remember in your home-owner days when you fed your grass fertilizer high in nitrogen???  (The first number on the fertilizer bag.)  That fertilizer (nitrogen) is what kept the grass GREEN!  So, look for a fertilizer that has more nitrogen than other nutrients.  Maybe 10-5-5 or something like that.  The first number should be the highest.  Do not get too rambunctious with that fertilizer.  Less is probably better!  Here’s a link from Clemson University that tells you more than you’d probably ever want to know about fertilizers.  But you might find it interesting!  And it might just help your geranium!

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We are very lucky here at Horizon House.  We have 37 raised beds for ourIMG_2327 residents to garden.  There are other gardening beds around the facility that are cared for by our Garden Committee, including in Supported Living, where residents that are wheelchair bound, or hindered by dementia,  can go to relax and enjoy the benefits of a garden.  Bees, butterflies,  and hummingbirds flourish right here in the middle of Seattle drawn by the lure of our gardens!

WhaIMG_2314t is special about a Raised Bed for gardening?  There are mostly benefits, and very few downsides.  The only one I can really think of is that sometimes they dry out a bit more rapidly than a normal,  ground garden, but we have drip irrigation in most of our gardens, so that is not an issue for us.

The benefits however are MANY!

  • They are reachable, with little bending…maybe a bit of leaning occasionally, but it’s easier to lean than bend!
  • There are fewer weeds!  And when they appear, they are easy to manage.
  • All the wonderful odors of the garden are at nose level, or closer anyway!
  • And how about those who are visually impaired?  The flowers are easier to see!
  • Because they are of reasonable size, all care is easier.
  • You NEVER have to get on your knees!  Or get up!
  • They are wheelchair, and walker accessible.
  • Almost all  of our beds here at Horizon House have drip irrigation installed.
  • Our decks are clutter free, and orderly making it easier to work and enjoy.

Our gardeners are a cooperative group and love sharing their gardens wimg_2444ith other residents and visitors.  During the  Summer months we have “Sunny Mondays” when all residents are invited to bring their favorite beverage and a snack to share and enjoy the gardens and each others company.

Gardening is good for the body and the soul.  Our raised beds make that a real part of life here.  You ought to try it!

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I’ve decided to have my blog relate to all of my GARDENING friends here at Horizon House in Seattle, WA.  If others want to join in, that’s great…WELCOME!

One of our Garden Committee members suggested I forward an article from a local gardening center about “Fall Planting”.  After reading it, I thought, “Hey, I can be more explicit about this topic and aim it toward the needs of our 3 gardening levels!”  So, that’s what I will now do.

So, give these a try.

Fertilize your perennials and shrubsimg_3890 it will help them make
it through the winter.

To keep your bulbs in top-notch condition while giving you lots of flowers, scatter a 5-10-20 fertilizer on top of the ground above them.

Stop pruning shrubs. Pruning will encourage new growth, which should be avoided. Any new stuff will be nipped by frost which is NOT good for the plant!

If you haven’t divided your herbaceous perennials, such as daylilies, irises, hostas and peonies, get it done soon. Remember the soil is still nice and warm even if the temperature drops at night. It allows the roots time to settle in and establish themselves before winter sets in! This is what makes fall such a good time to plant!

Allowing hips to form on your roses tells the plant to harden off for winter. IMG_2212.jpgSo, you should probably stop picking the blooms for the table!

Water your peonies and shrubs heavily. It may have to last
until spring.

Dig up your gladiola, dahlia and tuberous begonia corms.

Poinsettias should now be put in their dark corner for at least 16 hours each day in order to set up their bracts to be colorful by Christmas time.

IMG_0044.jpgStart preparing your indoor plants to come back inside. You need to be sure they don’t have insects hiding anywhere. You also want to clean off the pots, especially if they were sunken into the soil for their summer sojourn!

BULBS! PLANT THEM!

I hope you will enjoy following along.  If you’d like to be notified every time I add to this blog, just go to  the “Follow the Transplanted Gardener” to the right of this message, and click on the button that says “Follow”.  It’s that simple!

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It happens everywhere.  NO WATER!  This time it’s not a drought, it’s broken, or leaking pipes; it’s the construction work interfering on our gardening levels; it’s hoses malfunctioning; and even vacations happening for a few weeks at a time during the growing season.  It’s frustrating as a gardener, to see our gardens wilting and not being able to help.  But, isn’t that part of what it means to be a gardener?  We have to learn to deal with all kinds of adversity.  Lack of hydration, OR too much water; bugs; disease; inconsiderate people; the list continues.  We know it all, but what can we do?

This week the big issue is the water being turned off due to a leak that must be repaired in a pipe leading to our gardens.  AAARRRGGGHHH!  It doesn’t help that the weather has turned hot and dry.  For Seattle, that’s also a bit frustrating.

So, what do we do?  We wait patiently for the pipe to be repaired.  In the meantime, our plants are drooping.  Perhaps it’s time for drastic actions:

  • carry water from the closest, functioning tap.
  • MULCH-lay mulch around the plants.  It will keep the soil cool, and keep the moisture from evaporating out of the soil so quickly.  (If you click the link, it will take you to a grand definition of Mulch!)
  • You could even try laying wet newspaper around the plants.  It may not look very pretty, but it may also help.  It is a form of mulch.
  • (I removed the idea of crystal polymer beads, due to the many drawbacks.)

So, there are some suggestions that might help.  Other than getting the pipe functioning again…just using these techniques might help your garden “in general” anyway!

Good luck, and happy gardening!

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IMG_8928I just received  an advertising email from Molbaks.  It addresses cold weather veggies.  They are decent looking!  Maybe it’s something to think about when the tomatoes are done.  Rip them out and plant some cool weather, good looking veggies in their place.  Check out the Molbak’s link here.

About.com has a wonderful article about flowering annuals for cooler weather.  It would be worth a look at their site.

Another About.com posting deals with cool weather perennials.  Perhaps you’d prefer them?

Here’s a link to the University of Florida Extension Service that provides a list of flowering plants, as well as veggies that do well in cool weather.  It might help give you some more choices as well.

This is just a quickie posting, but I hope one that might give you some ideas for your gardens as our weather begins to cool down.

If you want to know when I do another posting, be sure to “Follow” me by clicking the link on the top right hand side of this page.

 

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My Master Gardening skills are coming into play more and more often, which I love!  Even though my certifications are from New England, and lots of stuff is quite different out here in the great north-west, there are SOME things that are easy to transfer!

Today, I got a question from Sue P. here at Horizon House about some kind of insect damage IMG_2762she is seeing on her plant leaves…so I went to work.  Even though the climate is different and SOME insects vary, most of the time you pretty much know what is causing the damage…whether here or in New Hampshire!

As you can see there is something nibbling on the leaves she brought for me.  They are not sucking sap; or burrowing between top and bottom of the leaves (miners); and the damage is rather small…signifying to me that it is not snails or slugs, who tend to gobble up the entire leaf!  I also don’t think it’s leaf cutter bees because their damage is VERY rounded, not irregular like these.  There are also no bugs, trails, webs or spittle to be seen.

My educated guess is that it is some kind of nocturnal insect that comes out at night and eats to it’s heart’s content only to disappear into the soil, debris or other protected places as soon as the sun rises.

Some possibilities include beetles (and their larvae),earwigs, weevils, caterpillars, or cutworms.  Here is an extension page from The University of Arizona and the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS) that does a pretty good job of explaining about these critters.

Now, what do you do about them?  As a Master Gardener, I frown on chemicals in the garden, so here’s my solution.

You won’t see nocturnal insects in the daytime, because they are only out at night.  I don’t imagine you’d want to spend an hour or so out in the garden at night!  What you actually can do is trap them!  As explained, they hide out in the daytime in dark, humid places…so…

Get a newspaper and roll it up, putting it in the garden under the affected plant.  Then in the morning, take that paper and unroll it, and more than likely you’ll have a trove of night-time eaters napping their day away in that handy bed you provided!  Dump them (or the whole newspaper) into a bucket of soapy water and do it again, and again, until you don’t have so many any more.  Your plants will be happier…as will you!  You might be surprised at what you’ll capture!  Or, you can use a small board, just laying it in the garden overnight.  In the morning scrape off whatever you catch into a bucket of soapy water.  An up-ended flowerpot would also offer some temporary comfort for them.

This technique is a little labor intensive Sue, but I think the satisfaction of controlling a nasty insect without chemicals,will be it’s own reward!  Good luck and Happy Gardening!

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