16 June 2010

Garden Ramble: In the Weeds

I find I have more to say on the matter of gardening.

I have window boxes affixed to the railing of our front porch; originally they held petunias that were meant to grow thick and lush, spilling down the sides to be an attractive component of our otherwise drab city porch. The petunias baked as the morning sun heated the brick of our house and tore the moisture from the air. I later tried numerous alternatives from my flower seed stock - I currently have an interesting mixture of seed planted in the front boxes that I couldn't recount, only to say that it was in my seed box and is about as likely as not to sprout anything. What I have done in the third box, however, is embrace weeds.

There is a weed that looks similar (though much less corpulent / robust in shape) to the jade plant, but with a reddish tint. I think it's a portulaca variety. I've been yanking it out of the cracks of my sidewalks for years, but always thought it looked nice. I have decided that since it is so hearty I will let it grow, heck, I'll water it and cultivate it, to see the result. So far the result is promising. I'm keeping an open eye for other interesting looking weeds that I might wish to cultivate. I recently learned that the blue flower I've seen growing from pavement cracks and abandoned lots for lo these many years is actually chicory! I am very excited to obtain a sample for cultivation and cooking (and drinking with / in place of) coffee. Any other weeds I should know about? If the "weeds" prove to be truly attractive, I will pursue that in the other boxes as well. The portulaca is appearing in other outdoor pots as well, so I may choose to cultivate it indoors as well.

In established plant news, my rubber tree plant has new sprouts at the base of each trunk, this is a sign to me that the plant is thriving, and I feel like it had kittens or puppies or something! The resurrected pepper plant is likewise flourishing, and I am hoping to have a pepper or two to enjoy this year. This plant is on my list to be moved to a new pot from its current plastic abode, since it appears that it will become a perennial.

I made a decision recently to more carefully curate the pots what hold my plants, as I move to a more container-based strategy ahead of our impending move. The Mrs. and I want the containers to be as decorative and pleasing as the plants. The plastic pots I have been using will be replaced with ceramic, metallic, and whenever possible inventive containers. That said I have a large collection of gently used plastic pots of varying sizes that have suddenly come available. So let me know if you need one.

I did use a chunk of those pots - 8 identical pots I bought some years back - to plant cuttings from my Swedish ivy. Keeping them moist, by Christmas I will have 8 wonderful little gifts to give! I might add in a snake plant cutting to the pot at some point, since I feel the two plants work well together: both require minimal water and can withstand a variety of lighting conditions.

Along the lines of pots and cutting, my sister's husband recently indicated that he wanted to add some house plants to their home. Luckily I heard him and let him know that I would provide him with cuttings to prevent an unnecessary expense on their part! I need to tackle that project ...

Finally, just when I thought it was safe to cut the grass, I took a walk down through the yard, and a volunteer tomato and a volunteer vine of another variety (cucumber, by the look of it, maybe cantaloupe?) has sprouted and grown with great speed. I intend to let them grow, and see what we get out of it. I won't provide much in the way of additional watering, but I also won't attack them with the trimmer. I can't do harm to those intrepid botanical treasures.
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