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Garden Diary: July 4, 2018 Fat Plants, Skinny Plants, Plants That Grow on Rocks

Got this gorgeous white pentas on half price sale at Lowe's.
It really stands out in the garden. 

Hello again. I've been so busy gardening, I haven't had time to post. I think about it a lot, but then I end up just going over to the Florida Gardening Forum on Gardenweb and posting there.

So much happening! I've been slowly adding some flowering plants here and there; yellow marigolds I grew from seed, vincas that I grew out from volunteers, a few grape colored vincas I got for 50 cents each at Lowe's, and a nice white penta I also got for half price at Lowe's.  Of course, I keep cuttings from my coleus every year to replant, and they're doing very well now, and adding some summer color while most of the flowering plants sleep in the extreme heat. As you can see, the cold didn't kill the Little Ruby alternanthera. I don't think anything can.

I picked up a new red canna for half price at WalMart this spring, and it's started to bloom. I don't know if it's a dwarf, or if it's been sprayed with growth retardant, and just needs time to grow out of it. The yellow cannas multipled like crazy over the winter, and put on quite a show this spring.

The rain lilies didn't have a chance to show their stuff last year, with so little rain, but this year they went mad, blooming incessantly for weeks during the May rains. I have tons of seeds that I've planted here and there in the garden and also have sprouted some in water, which I will be potting up soon. These bloom a deep pink, but quickly turn to white with pink tips. I found some white ones growing wild down the road, and have been meaning to go rescue some of them.

New Plantings

My purple sweet potatoes are still growing out of control in the South facing bed, where they are so tangled up in roots, I can't get them all out. I pulled a few vines and put them up by the fence, but as you can see, I'm either going to have to train them to grow up the fence or enlarge the bed.

 I finally got the elderberry that I grew from a cutting out into the garden. I decided to plant it under the dead hibiscus bushes so I can have some shade over the Peacock gingers and wandering Jews when the sun gets hotter later on. I had started some morning glories, but snails got a lot of them, so they aren't filling in fast enough, though they are lovely. I thought all the red ones had died, but they came up, and they're not red, but a beautiful red-burgundy. The deep purple ones are also growing and blooming, but I haven't seen a blue one yet.

You may remember I cut down and took out a large banana and planted its corm out by the fence. It put out four pups, which are bigger now, and are in the process of being dug and put into pots to sell later on. My neighbor pointed out that if I left them there, they would cover his apartment number on the gate. I wanted to suggest he move his number to the other side of the gate, but decided not to start anything, so I'm going to have to dig these all up. I'll put the corm out at the edge of the woods where it can grow to its heart's content.

These are my newest beds. The pots are covering red sweet potato slips and the smaller one has banana pups coming up that will also be sold, but not potted. They came from an old, rotted corm I found when I dug the other banana. I dried it, cut it into four chunks, each with an eye, and planted them.

These are the rooted Charles Grimaldi brugmansia (angel trumpet) cuttings I bought on eBay. I got 22 cuttings, and have 16 rooted plants. Some are too small to be transplanted, but the larger ones are going to go into 1-gallon pots soon. I still have several of the seedling brugs to put out or pot up.

The butterfly garden was quite a hit, with a Monarch and Queen butterfly showing up to lay eggs.  I spied several larvae, but unfortunately, the lizards ate most of the babies and and a nasty wasp stalked the last three. I thought they were all dead, but then today, I saw a newly hatched queen butterfly hanging on one of the milkweed flowers. She was so beautiful! Her colors were still stunningly bright and the underneath of her wings was sparkling silver in the sunlight.

Since the milkweed didn't get stripped, it's now blooming in beautiful red, orange and yellow and acting as food for the butterflies and moths. Unfortunately, army worms have started invading the butterfly garden, munching on my pink brugmansia leaves, so those are going to be taken care of later today.

The garden I started last winter up by the fence is doing very well. I planted some red sweet potatoes and several of my seedling brugmansias there, as well as a couple of other blooming plants just to see how they would do in the shade. The soil there isn't very fertile, but I'm fertilizing and things are doing pretty well. I'll take more pictures when it's larger, because things are too small to show up well now.

Plants That Grow On Rocks

Four years ago, I planted some coontie seeds I found underneath a plant near the house I roomed in when I first moved to Gainesville. As you may know, coonties grow EXTREMELY slowly, and these babies got no special care, other than an occasional hit of liquid fertilizer. I had always planned on making one into a bonsai, and attempted one last year, only to have it rot. This year, I tried again and it looks like I may have been successful. I'm hoping to take this baby with me when I start living in my van. Since it grows so slowly, and doesn't need much water, it will likely do well in the van, as long as I can get it enough sunshine. Since it was left outside all year, it only has its new leaves from this year, but I sorta like it. If you look closely, you'll see the caudex is lying on a rock above the ground. That's how it grew -- sideways -- so it made a great bonsai. The bowl is one I found out by the dumpster when someone was moving. Electric outlet for scale. :)

Well, that's all for now. I'll do some more catchup posts later. Hope your gardens are all doing well. Feel free to leave comments about your own achievements.

Happy Gardening!