17 October 2023

Lessons from Gardening

First overnight freeze of the season is in the bag, and tomato plants and most flowers are all done for the year.

What a perfect time to write down what I've learned in 2023 so I can do better in 2024!

Everything on my porch shelves was planted from seed this year - except the volunteer grape hyacinth, spider wort, onions and cosmos I dug up from where they aren't supposed to grow.

Almost all the volunteers I dug up this year survived! In pots on the porch. !!!

Most of the pots on the second and third porch shelves never grew. I used those dashed dreams to plant more volunteers I dug up, and most are thriving. Some of the baby spiderwort plants even bloomed! In their first year!!!

Raccoons, chipmonks and squirrels limited my success with cucumbers, strawberries, blueberries and even red sunflowers in pots on the porch.

Hail stripped my unprotected hibiscus plants, and although both thankfully recovered, neither bloomed this year.

My raspberry bush did not survive again. Last year's got fried in the backyard by summer heat. This year's plant, all summer long on the shaded front porch, unexpectedly died overnight, cause unknown. Raspberry bushes throughout the neighborhood are thriving in the outdoors, many overgrowing wild and stripped of fruit each year by bears and other critters. I've been trying to raise raspberries in pots to prevent them from growing wild and attracting bears. My best guess is that raspberries must not like pots and/or porches.

My ghost pepper (purchased from a garden center and transplanted into my raised-bed garden) never flowered, second consective year on that breed.

Oregano, sage and mint help keep critters out of the ground raised-bed gardens.

Tomatoes must be picked and ripened in the window as soon as they begin to turn any color other than green when squirrels are hungry.

Expired sunflowers left in the ground for the sweet goldfinches and grossbeaks (and migrating songbirds) will cause squirrels to become full-time tenants.

Cosmos pretty enough to be photographed should be cut and placed in vases first thing in the morning because the petals apparently are a delicacy for grasshoppers.

Amaryllis don't produce as many flowers past their prime. (I knew that, but I couldn't help but hope.) Amaryllis propogated from seeds take too long to flower. Amaryllis offsets are fun to watch grow, but they take many years to produce their first flower. If they ever produce flowers. And the person who said amaryllis bulbs like to be tightly packed... You must be growing different varieties in different conditions at a different altitude.

Iris tubers from seed also take too long to produce flowers. But they do grow...

Russian sage volunteers from the neighbor's spectacular display cannot survive if dug up and transplanted the first year. Second-year test ongoing...

Lilac volunteers may or may not thrive in a new setting; but they appear to take years to blossom, too.

Potted light blue Mother's Day hydrangea will make new stalks and beautiful leaves every single year, even if ignored, but will not flower unless the wood survives the winter. Wrapping the wood in newspaper and/or mulching does not help the wood survive the winter. (At least at the foot of the Rockies in central Colorado...)

Trimming and pruning the Charlie Brown Rose of Sharon that came with the house turns it into the most lovely and hummingbird-attracting flower-covered bush!

Neighborhood hibiscus that somehow survive the deadly hail bring tears of jealousy and feelings of covetousness in late August and early September. But I still have neighbors asking me if I will build a garden for them. I may not have everything I want every year, but, boy, do I have beauty!

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