Philoflora

pink climber at church 09
old picture of friend I helped this week

The job I was committed to doing in the church garden was deadheading roses. It took longer than I expected because in the years since I bowed out of regular gardening there, many more floribunda roses have been planted, and most of those needed a thorough trimming right about now.

The first day I put off driving over there until midday, and in spite of my sun hat I got hot and tired halfway through. So later in the week I started earlier in the morning and enjoyed my work very much. Some of the rose bushes are my old friends, and some other plants are, too.

Like this Phormium oP1100242r New Zealand Flax. I didn’t plant these, but on my watch, maybe five years ago, the plant in one pot died. I combed the nurseries in vain to find a replacement, and then I had a brilliant idea. Since these perennials grow constantly larger, I could “thin” and divide the two healthy plants and use what I cut off to start a new one in the third container.

It was a big project, but I completed it in a few hours one day. I spread a tarp on the concrete nearby, and after watering the pots thoroughly I managed to turn them on their sides without breaking them, and get the plants, dirt and roots dumped out. Then I cut and reassembled my plants and set them back in new planting mix. I must not have had my camera that day because the only pictures of the event are in my mind.P1100243

Now don’t they still look good? New Zealand Flax (not related to the Linum usitatissimum that we would call the real thing) doesn’t need much water, and in order to stay attractive it only wants old dry leaves pulled out or trimmed off from time to time. When I passed by these plants I noticed that this trimming hadn’t been done recently so I used my rose pruners and took care of them before I took their picture.P1100233

At home, where my tasks are more vast, I have run into problems. I put off adding horizontal support lines for the sweet peas until it would have been near impossible to get behind them to do it  — so they grew about twice as high as the trellising, and bravely reached for the sky, holding on with their delicate tendrils — to what? Only to each other. And then, still clinging together, they fell.P1100235

At this point the only rescue that could be accomplished was very crude and unpretty, but it should make it possible for me to get a few more bouquets of the flowers that are now on very short stems indeed, because of the heat.

seed bank crp

 

For my birthday a while back a friend took me to the Baker Creek Seed store near here, which is in an old bank building that they now call The Seed Bank. She wanted to buy me some seeds, but as it was a surprise I wasn’t at all prepared. What to get? I ended up with hollyhocks to plant next fall, and hyssop and fennel that I planted this spring, but I don’t remember what day. That’s flaky to begin with.P1090112

None of the seed packets from Baker Creek have much information onP1100253 them of the sort I’m used to. They don’t tell you how many days to maturity, or how deep to plant the seeds, or how many days they might take to sprout. Maybe they have that info online? If so, that’s too new-fangled for me; I don’t have a smart phone that I consult when I’m in the rows.

So I just watched my seed beds and kept them moist and saw that day after day nothing was coming up, except weeds and volunteer nasturtiums. One morning I decided it was time to face the failure and start in on the weeds – but wait! Those tiny two-pronged spikes I see when I put my face down by the dirt…. they just might be the beginnings of feathery fennel leaves! So I will wait a few more days. But the hyssop – I don’t think so.P1100252CA poppies yellow-pink 5-30-14

We put cages around our tomato plants, and I made labels to tape on the wire. Only about half as many plants as last year.

One successful  flower in the garden is this nice California Poppy in pink and yellow. I planted it last year from a mixed six-pack of seedlings, and it came back!

That’s my overview of the week’s Plant Love.

8 thoughts on “Philoflora

  1. This really is the time of year to be excited about plants and gardening. I know I am. A sign of our changing weather seems to be that the peonies have been blooming for several days so far and no wild rain/wind storms have dashed them to the ground. I’m delighted on one hand. But on the other I know this is not normal!

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  2. I LOVE the Seed Bank! I got some datura seeds there last year that we are trying to sprout. Turns out that they’re very tricky and can take weeks to come up. Here’s hoping!

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    1. I looked up datura and see that it is called moonflower vine. Did you read the novel The Moonflower Vine? My husband and I both loved it. I would love to have the plant, too, but I don’t imagine it grows here. The novel is set in the U.S. South.

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  3. You know as I was reading about you in the garden deadheading the roses, I could not but help think, what a pleasant job. I love to deadhead roses. Isn’t that a funny word for such pleasurable work…deadhead?

    The New Zealand Flax stirred my fancy…how striking.

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  4. That’s a lot of plant love. I must say, that seed store sounds fascinating. I love the idea of sweet peas and hollyhocks. I have a friend with too many foxglove plants, and we plan to thin hers and take some for us 🙂 I’m eating my very first home tomato TODAY for lunch! Hooray!

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    1. Baker Creek Seeds has a gorgeous mail-order catalog – or at least they did in the past. For a gardener it’s the finest coffee table book. Do you have more space for a garden at your current place?

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