Cuttings and seedings

I plan on populating the new garden bed cinder block wall with oregano and thyme cuttings. I divided the newest thyme (elfin) in 2 and already planted them in 2 blocks. I took golden oregano, variegated oregano, variegated lemon thyme, and lime thyme cuttings yesterday. Oregano, especially the golden variety, tends to be a very tricky plant to take cuttings from, since they are very sensitive to disturbance. Both the mother plants and baby plants suffered serious wilt. I decided to bring the cuttings indoors and keep them under artificial light. I’m not sure that the golden oregano will make it. The variegated oregano had tiny white flowers when I divided it; unfortunately, the mother plant is not doing so well. The cuttings however look as fresh as the day I took them. Too bad I can’t grow these things from seed.

I did take some verbena cuttings as well. I have one big mother specimen that survived the last two summers that I’d like to increase. The purple bed looks especially lovely because of them.

8/14/2012 Cuttings and Seedings (1) 8/14/2012 Cuttings and Seedings (2)

I decided to sow my Toy Choy and Guy Lan seeds today. It’s about the right time of the year for the fall harvest season. I hope I get to feast on Chinese broccoli and baby pak choy ┬áthis coming October. I also started Bride Eggplant and Red Rubin basil indoors. I need some ornamental pepper seeds to grow in time for the October/November holidays.

Freeze alert

After deceptively mild weather for the Thanksgiving, it was evident that we were experiencing our last patches of warm weather before the cold front hit this weekend. My holiday shopping weekend was cut short by sudden drops in temperature, and I knew I would have to bring in my plants for the last time this year.

11/29/2011 Freeze Alert (1) 11/29/2011 Freeze Alert (2)

I missed the opportunity to bring in the eggplant yesterday, so I had to rush it into the bathroom greenhouse to see if it could be rescued. I’m not sure if the fruit will make it. It’s pretty short for what I’m used to in Chinese eggplants.

11/29/2011 Freeze Alert (3) 11/29/2011 Freeze Alert (4) 11/29/2011 Freeze Alert (5)

Outdoors, the damage from the overnight frosts has manifested into dead/wilted potato and basil plants. The traditional large leaf basils like Red Rubin and Genovese experienced the most damage. The lime, Pesto Perpetuo and Thai basil display browning less so. One of the Thai basil specimens appears to be laughing off the cold; but sooner or later, all the basils will be done.

11/29/2011 Freeze Alert (6) 11/29/2011 Freeze Alert (7) 11/29/2011 Freeze Alert (8) 11/29/2011 Freeze Alert (9) 11/29/2011 Freeze Alert (12)

The succulent planter seems to be hanging on. Whereas the petunia/caladium planter bowl shows signs of receding.

11/29/2011 Freeze Alert (10) 11/29/2011 Freeze Alert (11)

I found a surprise greeting me at one of the asters in the blue bed. A few blooms hid at the base of the plant, near the mulch line. I believe this one was Aster novi-belgii Believer.

11/29/2011 Freeze Alert (13) 11/29/2011 Freeze Alert (14)

Pansies, violas, ornamental kale, petunias, miscellaneous herbs, foxtail ferns, loropetalum, are all still hanging in there. The dusty millers must be enjoying their new location and this cool weather; they have doubled in size since I moved them from the front flower bed. I guess they prefer the protection. I expected the lemon verbena to die back down since it’s considered an annual, but it seems to enduring in the mixed planter box along with the chives, golden oregano, and aster cuttings. (Those are the remaining vincas hanging over from a neighboring planter. And a Red Rubin basil hiding out as well!)

11/29/2011 Freeze Alert (15) 11/29/2011 Freeze Alert (16) 11/29/2011 Freeze Alert (17) 11/29/2011 Freeze Alert (18) 11/29/2011 Freeze Alert (19) 11/29/2011 Freeze Alert (20)

Day 34: Ouch!

One month of straight 100+ degree weather. The paucity of blog posts here is directly related to how much time I’ve been spending in the garden–which amounts to the least number of hours possible.

The man and I did spend a few hours this past Saturday morning weeding and cleaning out the front flower bed. We took stock of our ailing azaleas and parched lawn, gave them all a good soaking, before going back into hiding. However, it seems that soaking every other day is not helping our plants or our lawn. Though I’m loathed to see our water bill for every day sprinkler watering, that may be our only recourse to keeping things alive. That, and more cedar mulch.

So after weeding, I took stock of our garden and found that the heuchera are all dried up, the Autumn Embers azaleas extremely dehydrated, and my once-thriving rosemary plant with one foot in the grave. Of course the rosemary suffered due to an over-abundance of watering, spawning a fungus killing off its roots. One of my salvia greggiis (Royal Raspberry) wasn’t immune to the poor weather either, having lost most of its top growth.

My poor Salsa Asiatic jasmines have turned brown with leaf burn if they’re not already dead. Because of their young neighbors died off in the heat, they lost some valuable shade in the process. Other potted plants fare well only with daily watering. They would prosper if I increased their watering to twice daily, but my reluctance to stand in the heat has seen me outside only once a day.

Yesterday as I was watering the courtyard, I did find that the Shu ornamental pepper had begun dropping its fruit, one of the golden oreganos in the cinderblock wall had gotten burnt, and the aster in the blue bed has started blooming sporadically. Also, the eggplant has retained its one flower so far, but I’m not sure if I should expect any fruit.

The upside to this extreme weather is that I haven’t gotten bitten once. Mosquitoes must be thrown off by all the ambient heat and lack of human CO2 to find a host to feed on.