Wednesday, August 5, 2009
Do As I Say, Not as I Do, and Other Random Thoughts
This sorry looking sight is a direct result of not doing what I should have done. I DIDN'T READ THE LABEL!! You know how they always tell you to do that when you're handling chemicals in the garden? Well... a couple of weeks ago I brought two tomato plants home from the farmers' market. These will be my fall tomato plants. Unfortunately I saw that they were covered with spider mites, not surprising when it's hot and dry. So I went to the shed to get my insecticidal soap. But I didn't have any. The plants were a little too small at that time to shoot them with a garden hose so instead I grabbed a "3-in-1" organic spray that I had used on my roses some time ago. It's supposed to take care of spider mites (although I used it on my roses for fungus). I sprayed the first and worst of the affected plants and then something in my brain said "stop!". I then read the label. Its active ingredient is sulfur, and spraying sulfur on plants when it's over 90 degrees is NOT a good thing! Sure enough, within a day it had shriveled up. Fortunately for me it survived my stupidity and as you can see below, both plants are coming along.
This plant however, is not coming along so well. It's a variegated purple fountain grass, Pennisetum setaceum rubrum 'Fireworks'. Or supposed to be. It's being eaten by something. My two suspects are "graveyard" grasshoppers or cats. But I've never seen either one near the plant. So the mystery continues. UPDATE - I finally caught the neighbor's cat chowing down on this plant. So I moved it but unfortunately that may not stop the cat!
We have had a very strange summer here. From the beginning of June until the middle of July we had no rain and extremely hot temperatures. Then all of a sudden it started raining. And the heat let up. But it kept on raining and soon I was having to move my potted succulents under the shelter of my patio. Here's a few of them sitting out the temporary sun.
I'd like to showcase this little succulent number, Portulacaria afra 'Variegata', also known as "Rainbow Bush".
It's a form of the South African "Elephant Bush", so named because it's loved by elephants (although I think elephants eat just about anything). I like it for its mahagony stems and variegated fleshy leaves, which are not really shown off in this photo. It spreads laterally and kind of trails down. It was an impulse purchase this year (my Big Box store has way too many nice succulents). I'll have to protect it from freezes but I'm more than willing to do that!
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Jean: Thanks for id'ing that Portulacaria yadda yadda plant as I have one and have been going to look up the name for well, weeks now. You have saved me the trouble and I do like it quite a bit. Maybe not as much as elephants.ReplyDelete
Jean, I have a hard time passing by the succulent displays at any big box store or nursery. I can always find room for more. Now that I've moved them out to my courtyard, I could even hang them on the walls. If it ever cools down enough for me to work out there, that is.ReplyDelete
Yes, it does look like your tomato plants are going to make it. The idea of "fall" tomatoes is foreign to me. We'll have frost by early October.ReplyDelete
All of your potted plants are so beautiful. We can never seem to remember to water ours properly.:-(--RandyReplyDelete
LOL, you are ready to teach gardening classes once you have mastered the "do as I say, not as I do" principal! ;-) Though reading labels is important and something I do (and stress in class). But as a seasoned gardener you take liberties you would not recommend for beginners, you see. Also, I learned by accident, tomatoes re-sprout. Earlier this season a small tomato broke off at the stalk about an inch above the soil line, so no foliage left really except the stalk... I thought all was lost but I left it in the ground and it has re-sprouted quite well, about to make flowers!!!! I also love your tomato cages.ReplyDelete
Hi Jean, I'm glad the tomato survived. You just be getting fruit a little later than planned;)ReplyDelete
Love your succulents, especially the elephant plant. I don't have a place to overwinter them or I'd have dozens.
I've never seen a variegated spekboom (elephant bush). I am envious. Did you know you can eat the leaves, sparingly, in salad? Taste sort of lemony.ReplyDelete
You have a beautiful collection of succulents! And I can see why you're so taken with that portulacaria--it's lovely. I haven't gotten into succulents just because I don't have a good place to keep them indoors over the winter. Of course, now that youngest daughter is moving out, her bedroom with the south-facing windows might make the perfect plant room:)ReplyDelete
I am wondering if any place in the country is having what used to be a "normal summer" for them? Does not sound like it no matter where I'm looking, including out the window at my own garden.ReplyDelete
We have had a very strange summer, too, here in Kentucky. I think I hear my potted succulents bubbling out there and going down for the third time.ReplyDelete