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Garden Diary: April 16, 2017

Heirloom Amaryllis - Either Stargazer or Starburst, Not Sure.

I've been so busy working in the garden lately, I have had no time to write about it. The weather in the early morning is so beautiful and perfect for gardening. Soon enough, it will be too hot to garden,
so I'm taking advantage while I can.

Things are blooming left and right, such as the heirloom amaryllis I rescued when a neighbor moved. It was planted in a place where it would be mowed over by the yard crew, so I dug up as many bulbs as I could and put them into a 10-galllon pot. So far, I've had 5 bloom stalks from them. Once they finish blooming, I will dig them and move some out into the garden for next year, and leave one in a pot inside for my personal viewing on the patio.

Garden Surprises 

I've had a few nice garden surprises this year. Found this surprise this morning while digging to plant some coleus. thought I had hit a root, but when I tried to chop through it, it was purple and I realized it was a sweet potato. I had planted slips from one I found in the old community garden spot, but couldn't dig them last year due to roots, so I just let them become ground cover and ate the leaves as summer greens. 

I thought they were Cuban reds, but VOILA! They are purple! I've never tasted a purple sweet potato before, so this will be interesting. I got enough slips from the vines I pulled out to plant 10 more plants, and enough leaves for me to have this potato and greens tonight for supper. Yummy!

Another reason I'm sort of excited about this is that I can now make purple sweet potato chips with my new mandolin I found for $5 at Goodwill.

New Plantings And Seeds Galore

Dry Garden Bed for Bees and Butterflies

This is my new dry bed. Most of the plants are too small to see well, but it has lemon grass, cassia bicapsularis (for Sulfur butterflies), red tropical milkweed (for monarch butterflies), Hibiscus sabdariffa (for bees) and chaya (for all sorts of beneficial insects). I want to terrace this more, so the water won't drain out so badly, but for now, I'm just putting in drought tolerant selections. Eventually, I will go all along this fence with a terraced garden about 20 feet long.

Every year, I say I'm not going to plant any new seeds, and every year I do. This year, it's mostly ornamentals, but I've also planted a few new kinds of peppers.The first batch of peppers I planted didn't come up. I think the soil was too heavy, so I replanted them in seed starter mix and am hoping for better results. I planted:

  • Fish peppers (only two sprouted, so I'm babying them)
  • Grand Bell Mix (only three up, but didn't replant)
  • Giant Szegedi (old seeds, so may never come up)
  • Sweet Banana
  • Cubanelle 
New Ornamentals From Seed 

Sesbania punicea "Scarlet Wisteria"
Copyright Erica Asai via USDA Plants Database

 I fell victim to my lust for new flowers, so I ordered a few flower seeds this year. I'm going to have to literally cram the gardens full to plant them all, but that is also where the new garden along the fence comes in. I planted my new seeds and some old seeds from last year's gardens.

  • Triple Yellow Datura NEW
  • Double Purple Datura
  • Datura "Le Fleur Lilac" NEW
  • Datura Inoxia (old seeds - doubt they'll sprout)
  • Scarlet Wisteria (Sesbania punicea) NEW
  • Celosia - mixed colors NEW
  • Bachelor Buttons - double mixed NEW
  • Hibiscus acetosella (Cranberry Hibiscus) NEW
  • Hibiscus sabdariffa (Jamaican sorrel) NEW
  • Yellow Dwarf Marigolds NEW 
  • Cypress Vine NEW
Well, enough for now. Much more going on, but will have to wait for another day.

Happy Gardening!

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