Garden Update

I only have one draft post in the works and I’m not ready to post it, so I’m really feeling the crunch of “Aah! What am I gonna write next? I need to be writing!” Usually I sweat about it for a couple hours and then something happens and I go, “Hey, I can write about that.” I wasn’t planning on giving you an update on my (mostly dying) garden, but that’s what we’re doing today.

We’ve finally had just a little bit of rain the last week or so. It hasn’t been much, but it was desperately needed by the plants that are still clinging to an arid life. The big burr oak tree, technically in the neighbor’s yard but shading 75% of ours as well, is certainly stressed. It’s dropping premature acorns all over the deck, which Pippin doesn’t like to walk on. I don’t like to walk on them either, but I remind myself that every pea-sized acorn that drops now is one less golf-ball sized acorn that the squirrels can throw at me this autumn, and that is a relief.

If you’ve never encountered a burr oak and think I’m exaggerating, bear in mind that last October the men who delivered our new refrigerator picked up a few of the acorns and took them home to show their families.

This is a terrible picture, but I didn’t have any other pictures on my phone of the acorns because they’re so ubiquitous, why would I photograph them? No banana, so trash bin wheels for scale.

A lot of the rest of the yard is stressed from the heat and drought too, in spite of our efforts to keep things watered. Most of the hostas are at least a little burned, and half of the blackberry vines inexplicably withered and died.

I’m very grateful that the Blue Store had coffee cup elephant ears a mere week after I receive the bulbs I ordered, because the grown ones I bought are thriving and the bulbs did diddly. I suspect the one I put in a pot almost sprouted and was subsequently eaten by a squirrel. I shook my fist at the leafy boughs of the oak above and shouted, “Are not the monstrous acorns, the garden lights, the hibiscus leaves, and birdseed enough for you?” before putting plastic forks in all my pots with the tines sticking up, but the damage has already been done.

The surprise lilies are blooming, but not with the full show of years past, and I don’t know if they didn’t get enough sun earlier on or if the heat is getting them. It’s like that all over the neighborhood though. Normally I’d be glad to have fewer naked ladies sitting by the sidewalk, but the neighborhood brings what it will.

If that last joke didn’t make sense, another name for surprise lilies is “naked ladies” which I used to make a joke about the wide variety of characters residing in and passing through my neighborhood. Don’t feel bad, you’ll get the next one.

I don’t weed my flower beds as often as I really should, especially when it’s very hot outside, as I mentioned in my first post about the trumpet vine, but the last couple rain showers have given me a chance to clean up in cooler weather. I recently cleaned a lot of weeds out of the retaining wall bed and planted a few more coneflowers as well as a wildflower seed mix. I checked on them all today, and they’re doing well. I’m really bad at spreading seeds with appropriate spacing, so I know the wildflower mix is too dense, but it’s definitely sprouting, and we’ll see who wins.

I also found a surprise this morning, other than the surprise lilies. I have a small terracotta pot on my porch that has three mini hostas in it. The mini hostas were planted as little root bulbs back in May and have done very well. I guess I haven’t been looking at them too closely, though, because they have grown a guest.

Please ignore the forks; goodness knows the squirrels do.

Look at that little alocasia! I didn’t plant it, I don’t know where it came from, but I’m happy to see it! The plant identification feature in iOS on my phone can’t identify it any more specifically than that, just alocasia. And there are a wide variety of options. Last year, I briefly had an alocasia that I grew in a pot inside, but I no longer have the information tag that came with it. It didn’t survive the winter (sure, we’ll blame it on the winter and not my own failings), and I briefly wondered if this was a surviving remnant of that, but it’s a different pot, and while I do reuse my dirt, I haven’t touched this pot since I planted the hostas in May (except to put forks in it), and the tuber is right on the top. Also, the leaf shape and vein coloring is not quite the same. I also wondered if it was a happy accident when Breck’s packed the bulbs to send me, but the little chunk of tuber is large enough that I’d have remembered seeing it when I planted the hostas, and I think it would have sprouted earlier.

I’m going to pretend it’s an apology from the squirrels, perhaps even from Sparky. Maybe they even teamed up with the bees, who wished to thank me for the extra water and sugar nectar. Of course, neither squirrels nor bees use money, so that means it was likely stolen from someone else’s plants before it was deposited into my flower pot, but what can I do? I think “Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth” could just as easily be applied as “Don’t look a gift plant in the roots.” And it’s far better than the baby oaks, sweet gums, maples, and walnut trees they so often plant in my flower beds for me. So, thank you, Sparky; apology accepted, I guess.

Now I just have to decide whether I risk moving the new plant to its own pot or try to winter the whole thing inside. I don’t even know if you can grow hostas in a pot over the winter or if they really need that dormant period. I guess we’ll see!

2 responses to “Garden Update”

  1. We have quite a few hostas in our yard, all planted in the ground. They do fine where they are every winter, but in a pot they are more susceptible to freezing. It definitely depends on how harsh the winter is. I would be likely to bring them in for the coldest part of winter or plant them in the ground.

    1. I have a bunch in the ground also that do well over the winter, but you’re right, I bet in a pot they’d be more exposed to the cold!

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