Saturday, June 28, 2014

Manageable Annuals - June

Blooming miraculous! I am so pleased to report that my small backyard planter of annuals are still alive, and even thriving, nearly two months after planting them. I've been keeping notes and taking progress photos all along, and as I did at the end of May, documenting their growth as we've moved through the month of June. Perhaps this beginner's gardening series is only interesting to me, but as I've written about my planting woes in the past, I'm really excited to share the success I've been having this time around.


This is how they looked on May 4, when I planted them. There are two fewer petunias and one less verbena now; they may have been crowded and weren't growing well. But the rest of the plants remain.


June 6 - the planter is filling in and some plants, like the geranium at the right, are beginning to spill over the sides a little. I've continued giving the plants Miracle-Gro every two weeks, and they've had their most recent dose on June 1.

Unfortunately, I've been noticing damage to some of the petunia flowers. It turned out to be caused by small green caterpillars who were eating them. I could tell there was something in there because I saw droppings, like tiny black poppy seeds, all over the petunias' leaves. I picked off any caterpillars I could see. I don't like using pesticides around my children, nor do I feel it's a good idea with chickens in the yard now. So I have picked the caterpillars off the plants whenever I see one. There haven't been very many, and as soon as they're removed, the petunias flower again quickly.

It's very hot and dry right now and I've been watering the plants every morning. They get a good soak with the "shower" setting on the hose-sprayer. They also get some water from the drip-hose, connected to our irrigation system, which I've placed in the center of the planter. They're growing well! I'm relieved and happy to have success finally.


June 13 - after about a week without petunia flowers, there are buds finally emerging. You can see a dark purple one at the left side of the planter, along the top edge. The caterpillars ate every petunia and they did it so quickly! I was annoyed. But I think it's under control now.

We haven't had any rain in several weeks and I don't want to be wasteful with water, so I've been using any water we have standing, whether it's from the kids' playing or leftover from cooking (when possible). I don't think the plants mind where the water comes from, as long as they get some. The verbenas, geraniums and lobelias are doing especially well. They don't seem to be attractive to the caterpillars. I'm so glad they didn't eat all my flowers.


June 21 - my plants survived while I was away on our trip to California! They were watered by the Bear's parents while we were gone. They had to come over to care for the chickens and they also watered my plants for me. The plants grew a lot in just a few days. I think they said there was a tiny bit of rain on one of the afternoons. The petunias have flowers again, you can see dark pink ones at the center of the planter. I haven't seen any more caterpillars lately.

I forgot a Miracle-Gro watering, which they should have had on June 15. I will give it tomorrow, the 22nd. I do think it helps. I'm sure the main feature of these plants' success has been just plain old watering, but I think the partial shade back here (especially in the morning through mid-day, when the sun is strongest) and the fertilizing have helped too.

I wish the reds and blues photographed better because they really look stunning. I'm loving the lobelia especially. It's lush and healthy and covered with hundreds of flowers on each plant. They all starting to trail more now too. I love the look of plants hanging over the edge of the planter. These are doing it nicely. I feel relieved, happy and proud! I'm getting the hang of this planting thing now, maybe...


June 28 - The petunias are going wild again! I'm so excited to have them back. Unfortunately, the caterpillars are back too. I don't think it's as bad as it was before, though. I've only seen a little damage and have only found one caterpillar so far. I'm sure there are more, though. They aren't long for this world, in any case. Get off my plants, you little jerks! (They make me a little emotional, excuse me...)

Both geraniums are very prolific, and I'm getting better at deadheading them before they look really terrible. I think the more you deadhead, the more they must put forth new growth because it's never-ending. I love it. The verbenas have gotten very lush, and they put out new flowers every day. The lobelia remains my favorite, though. I like to comb through it with my fingers after it's dried from the morning watering, to make the flowers stand up thick and lush again.

The daily waterings continue and they'll get another feeding with Miracle-Gro next weekend. I can't believe I've got nearly two months of care invested in these plants already and that they're doing so well. I'm determined to keep it going for the rest of the summer. Can I do it? I hope so.

For July - the monsoon should start up very soon. It looks, from the extended weather forecasts, like we're going to have above-average precipitation in July. I so hope this is the case! I love rainy days and thunderstorms anyway, but if they help my plants grow, so much the better. In the shorter term, there is rain in the forecast for the coming week and they think the monsoon pattern will get "fired up" this week too, hopefully leading to good storms. YAY.

I will continue watering some every day unless there is major rain, and fertilizing every two weeks. I hope there won't be too much hail with the potential future storms, but its always a possibility. I could maybe hang a tarp? We'll see. For now, I'm just looking forward to the change in the weather and the good things it can do for my plants.

July is often the month when the flea beetles really get going around here. I hope they stay far away. I'll use the dish-soap-and-water solution if I see any.

 ❀❀❀❀❀❀❀❀

I'm starting to really enjoy gardening, and not just the old-growth stuff someone else planted before I got here! How are your annuals doing now, if you plant them?

Linking in with Helen's End of Month View series.

44 comments:

  1. Wow! Look at your garden grow! I hope my planter follows in yours footsteps! Looks so gorgeous!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Gorgeous, Jennifer. A bit of gardening is such a relaxing and rewarding thing to do. I don't get around to it nearly as often as I'd like. My garden is still very green (like that's a bad thing) - would really like to get a bit more colour thing going on. Will keep you posted. xxx

    ReplyDelete
  3. I do love to see plants gradually growing over the weeks through photos as we forget just how quickly they are growing. Your barrel looks wonderful with all the plants gradually filling out and now overflowing at the sides. I can't believe how quickly everything has come together this year in my garden, I can't keep up with it all and can't believe there are still about two months of growing time left! Have a wonderful weekend xx

    ReplyDelete
  4. It looks fabulous. If you want the lobelia to trail over the sides, there's specific trailing varieties which you can buy. They're much floppier than the upright variety you've got there and will hang happily over the sides of the barrel.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Your planter looks beautiful, happy and healthy Jennifer, despite the pesky caterpillars' best efforts to spoil things! Keep the deadheading going and the plants will keep on giving. Have a great weekend.
    Jane x

    ReplyDelete
  6. It looks wonderful - so lush and full of flowers! I have a fuschia I have to deadhead too. It really makes a difference.

    ReplyDelete
  7. How pretty and lush your planter looks. I lost all of my petunia that I planted directly into the ground from slugs - ate every leaf and stalk but the ones in my planters are ok. Deadheading your geraniiums is good but if you nick out the centre bud, before it flowers, your plants will have a much longer flowering period and will also get bushier and less straggly. It sound drastic but it really does work. Take care in those monsoons. x

    ReplyDelete
  8. I have lots of plants going on the deck and enjoy them like you do. You should try wintering over your geraniums in the house.. my hubby puts all our geraniums and begonias in the basement and brings them out in the spring. If you get hail, perhaps you could stick and old umbrella in the pot to protect the flowers?
    ((hugs)), Teresa :-)

    ReplyDelete
  9. Hi Jennifer,

    Isn't it great to see your pretty flowers growing so well - yours look really gorgeous and make such a lovely show.
    I had some pansies growing in the south side of the house - it was too dark and they were not getting enough sunlight - I moved them to pots on the deck where it gets a lot of sun - they are looking so colourful and healthy, I am happy with them.
    Have a lovely weekend
    hugs
    Carolyn

    ReplyDelete
  10. Jennifer I adore your planter! I also think it's amazing that people actually know flower names like you do. I'm lucky to remember petunia and geranium! Seriously. I'm that bad. Your flowers look wonderful. You must have a green thumb. I hope you have a great weekend.
    Blessings,
    Betsy

    ReplyDelete
  11. You planter is looking beautiful Jennifer, and rewarding you for the special care you give it. Fertilizing every two weeks is really paying off for you - I should try it some time! Welcome back from California: I hope you had a great time!

    ReplyDelete
  12. Your planter looks gorgeous with a lovely mix of flowering plants. You should be able to keep the geraniums (pelargoniums) going as they are a perennial plant. Happy gardening.
    Anne xx

    ReplyDelete
  13. Your planter is gorgeous friend! The colors echo each other beautifully!!!! And the before and afters are fantastic!!! Wishing you a weekend full of garden happiness Jennifer! Nicole xoxo

    ReplyDelete
  14. Your garden journal is fun and instructive to view. Thanks for posting it, Jennifer. Your Lobelia is my favorite color...an intense purple-blue that somehow encourages, and delights me, and with the other beautifully colorful plants, the overall effect is stunning! :)

    ReplyDelete
  15. Beautiful planter, so bright and pretty. It must make you smile every time you see it.
    Marianne x

    ReplyDelete
  16. Such a bright and cheerful planter. I was watering some of my tubs last night and wondered how yours was growing! X

    ReplyDelete
  17. Your planter looks beautiful, really colourful. Well done!

    ReplyDelete
  18. I get such joy from gardening, in fact I'm sure it helped me heal during one bad flare up of MS, gave me a focus and strengthened my body. I can only do very small bursts now but I love to see how it grows and develops. Mine is sadly neglected this year as we've been concentrating on the house. Next year we hope to put a garden room in there, and revamp some of the beds, well that's the plan! I'm glad you're enjoying your first gardening experiences. I think there will be many, many more! :) x

    ReplyDelete
  19. I missed out on annuals this year; every gardening penny has gone to the rebuild, so it's lovely to see yours. I only got red geraniums, but they are blooming beautifully. I love the look of your barrel x

    ReplyDelete
  20. Beautiful and very dedicated! I would love to walk out into my garden and see this, so much colour. X

    ReplyDelete
  21. You are one dedicated gardener Jennifer. By now, my interest is already waning and the garden starts to have that feeling of neglect it usually has in summer. Your annuals remind me of the planters I used to have on my first floor balcony in Switzerland. The red geraniums are very "Swiss" indeed. Did you notice how they smell at night? x

    ReplyDelete
  22. Your lovely annuals look great! I've been lucky this year, mine also look great, lol. Usually the heat gets to them by July, so crossing fingers for some more weeks of beautiful blooms. Never knew caterpillars ate petunias, I'll be watching for them. Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
  23. The flowers look beautiful my friend. I found a caterpillar inside my screened in porch feasting on my amaryllis bulb/leaves I had planted and killed off everything. I was not happy. How did it get inside anyway?
    Hugs,
    Meredith

    ReplyDelete
  24. Your planter is a huge success, Jennifer! I'm sure you smile every time your see it! There is a brand of sprays for the garden called Safers. They are, as the name implies, safe to use, even on edible plants. I'm sure they have one that will discourage the caterpillars if you are interested.

    ReplyDelete
  25. Well done!!! Love the colors!!! Have a happy week!!!!
    Love
    AMarie xxx

    ReplyDelete
  26. Oh Jennifer, your annuals look fab, they've filled out the planter so beautifully! I'm so glad. Happy new week ahead, I hope the weather behaves kindly to you, x

    ReplyDelete
  27. I love this series of photos, well done you! I bet it was tricky moving from the north to the desert south, an entirely different world! Looks like you've been successful, and I bet you'll build on this knowledge next year, and the year after that...no stopping you now! Chrissie x

    ReplyDelete
  28. Beautiful colours, I love the way the colours change. I don't grow many flowers but you are tempting me to have a go

    ReplyDelete
  29. Wow, they look amazing Jennifer.

    ReplyDelete
  30. Beautifully done Jennifer, I've loved following your planting and seeing how it's all coming on. They've filled out beyond recognition, it's a lovely mass of flowers now. I find it really interesting to hear about your use of water as well, you clearly treat it with a lot of respect where you are. It's fascinating to see how plants that are familiar to me do so well so far as way too. CJ xx

    ReplyDelete
  31. My annuals are always in containers or baskets...so...they are doing great!
    Thanks for asking...
    Enjoy your week....
    Cheers!
    Linda :o)

    ReplyDelete
  32. Hey Jennifer,
    Your planter looks gorgeous! I enjoyed looking at its' progress through your photographs. I wish I had done that in my garden this year. A word of warning: the gardening bug, once it bites you, can be highly addictive ;) I can't wait to see what other plans you may have for your garden.
    Leanne xx

    ReplyDelete
  33. Hi Jennifer, Your planter is so full and beautiful. Lovely colors! xo Karen

    ReplyDelete
  34. Your plants are looking great - lots of colourful flowers. Ours are doing especially well this year too. If you want to have a look then pop over to my blog.

    ReplyDelete
  35. Hi Jennifer, thank you so much for visiting my blog, it's 'lovely' to meet you!
    Your flowers look amazing. :)
    V x

    ReplyDelete
  36. Your planter is looking so good, I'm glad it's giving you joy.

    ReplyDelete
  37. Wow -- your flowers are looking beautiful! It's fun to see the in-progress pictures. Sadly, my flowers in pots aren't doing as well -- probably due to neglect. Thankfully though, we've had ample rain this year, so the garden is full of good things and and weeds! {sigh}

    ReplyDelete
  38. The planter looks so colourful, Jennifer. Well done! :o)

    ReplyDelete
  39. I am so impressed. I am a shameful gardener, full of enthusiasm when I'm planting but then I forget all about them. I forget to water things. I certainly never use plant food. Honestly, it's like plant neglect round here. Someone should call social services. Your flowers are just stunning (especially given that you live in the desert!) and a testament to your hard work and dedication. You are right to feel really proud of your skills. x

    ReplyDelete
  40. Beautiful composition and colours, love it!! xoxo

    ReplyDelete
  41. Your flowers are just gorgeous! You are doing an excellent job taking care of them. A few of my plants are not looking so great with all of our high heat and humidity.

    ReplyDelete
  42. Yay! They are looking fabulous Jennifer and I am so glad all of your hard work paid off! I love it when you go away and come back, and your plants have suddenly grown so big! That happened when we came back from holiday. You are very good, I always forget miracle grow and thank goodness for the rain here as I would certainly forget to water. Those caterpillars can be quick, maybe you should research some organic / homemade pesticides? I am sure I read somewhere that you can use garlic in water (and a few other things) and that helps keeps bugs away from the plants? It will be safe for your chickens and children too.

    ReplyDelete
  43. Wow they look super! Well done. I haven't used any fertilizer on our pots this year...maybe I should!! At least I'm remembering to water them!!

    ReplyDelete

Thank you for leaving a comment. It's so good to hear from you! I don't always have time to reply but I try to answer questions when I can.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...