Monday, April 12, 2010

Now all I can do is wait...

... And water regularly. And remember to take these back in when it gets frosty again (which is still a distinct possibility given the volatility of Irish weather especially this year).

L-R (Back row): Chinese Lanterns (obtained before Christmas, in a very poor state as it was winter, with dead branches and two dried-up lanterns in a pot with very poor soil; nevertheless, kept indoors and kept watering and new leaves began emerging since early March; trimmed and re-potted and could finally be left outside this past weekend); Japanese Peony (obtained before Christmas, also in a poor state, just a stub really, no branch or leaves to speak of; nevertheless, kept indoors and kept watering and the stub slowly grew and then branch out and then new leaves emerging since February; re-potted and left outside this past weekend); Calamondins (old plant, a house-warming gift from mum, used to thrive but suffered a near-death experience last winter, after two years of flowering and yielding beautiful fruit; kept indoors and kept watering and now new branches and leaves are finally emerging, but it is clear the old branches are dead; trimmed, re-potted and left outside this past weekend); Calla Lilies (old plant, grown from bulbs from scratch, among my oldest and most loyal of plants so far who haven't given up on me yet; came back to life spectacularly last summer; and have started showing green shoots since March; a pot that I am very thankful for, but alas, I ran out of potting mix to re-pot it this past weekend!); French Lavender (old plant, obtained as a lovely fully-grown pot plant from The Bloom Festival two summers ago; had been thriving for two summers, but like quite a few of my old plants, I'm afraid last winter was just way too harsh for it and I'm really, really afraid that the frost and snow had killed it; I couldn't bring it indoors though to nurse it back to health as the pot is just way too heavy for me to lift; still need to weed it and will keep watering and monitoring its health); Green Gooseberry x 2 (obtained before Christmas, had only barren, spiky branches in two container pots with poor soil; kept indoors and kept watering, and have been growing new leaves as well as new spikes since January, thus the very first plant among the new ones I acquired before Christmas to show signs of life and in fact have been thriving since, despite the poor soil; I still haven't re-potted them yet because, as mentioned, I ran out of potting mix last weekend -- I used up not only my existing bag, which had half of the compost mix left, but also a whole new bag I bought just before Christmas and it's still not enough!)

L-R (Front row): Ranuculus Asiaticus (aka Persian Buttercup) (from bulbs -- that resemble tiny black bunches of bananas, rather like star anise actually -- obtained from Marks and Spencer); Ranuculus Asiaticus (again from bulbs available from M&S); Ranuculus Asiaticus (again from bulbs available from M&S -- there are 25 in the packet you see, and you're supposed to leave 10cm in between the bulbs so I was running out of soil fast, and there are still 3 of these left in the bag I haven't got around to put to bed yet. And yes I know I'm not supposed to use a gardening trug -- a freebie given to me by my local florist -- as a planter, but it's the one water-proof container -- it's lined with plastic -- I have that has a relatively large surface area relative to its depth, which is ideal for sowing); Tulips (from bulbs obtained before Christmas, I should have been putting these to bed before Christmas so I'm a few months late in sowing them -- in fact, I wasn't sure I could still sow them if not for the green shoots that have been showing on some of the bulbs -- hope they may actually survive despite my tardiness in planting, although it is a faint hope indeed); Ranuculus Asiaticus (yes, even more of these, I told you I had a lot. Although these are meant to be spring flowers, the M&S pack says that sowing time is up to May, and hopefully these spring-planted bulbs will flower in late summer as this site says they should); Cupressa Wilma (aka Lemon Scented Golden Conifer) (obtained from before Christmas, the healthiest of the plants I got on arrival, and have been doing very well since; attempted to re-pot this past weekend but it is during the re-potting of this plant that I ran out of soil).

Finally, there is a little cream pot at the very front of the picture. I don't know what is in it as it looked like some sort of weed (now why did I think that it must be a weed?) that just took hold in some left-over soil in the pot over the winter months, and now showing some lovely green leaves, and I didn't have the heart to take it out. Live and let live I guess is my gardening philosophy, so long as it doesn't start crossing over to the other plants!

L-R: Lily of the Valley (newly potted with rhizomes -- i.e. root stems -- obtained from M&S after Christmas); Lily of the Valley (growing from a sickly bulb with a tiny stub since before Christmas, have been showing leaves since March, and re-potted just this past weekend -- Christ! I only realise that all parts of the the plant are highly poisonous from Wikipedia just now. Thankfully I haven't been dead yet from handling the plant); Coriander (old plant, grown from seeds more than a year ago, have been sickly and re-growing very, very slowly after a looonnng winter); Unknown House Plant (old plant, gift from my mum, with me since I first moved into the apartment, it used to thrive, but perhaps my previous words jinxed its growth, now it's still surviving, but only just, having suffered a near-death experience last winter, and it is currently still a pale imitation of its former glorious self). These either require shade (the lily of the valley), or are just too weak and require nursing (the other ones), and so are all kept inside the house.

Close-up of the Chinese Lanterns. (I guess it would be a long time before I can see these leaves grow into a proper plant and eventually flowering and showing fruit.)

My gorgeous pair of gardening tools -- sturdy and well-constructed as well as beautiful -- from V&A Museum.

Another shot of my balcony -- I have lots of left-over pots, I just don't have enough soil. And I always thought that I would run out of pots before I run out of potting mix!

Other house plants not shown:
1 x Cactus (doing well for three years)
2 x Pink sunflowers (sickly but recovering)
1 x Orchids (two blooms left, will need to rest soon)
1 x Chilli (sickly but recovering)
1 x Basil (sickly but recovering)
4 x Bamboos (doing well for three years)

There are other plants I'm meant to grow as well, having already acquired packets of their seeds / bulbs / sets (e.g. the "salad mix" package from Marks and Sparks, which included tomatoes, onions, radishes, and salad leaves, but I'm only really interested in just tomatoes and the salad leaves), but I think I need to stop here or else I'd turn into a full-time gardener.

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At Tue Apr 13, 02:48:00 p.m. IST, Blogger laichungleung said...

My experience is sage is the hardiest herb I've ever grown. I just left them outside in freezing temperatures, wind, snow and whatnot and they still survive. I highly recommend. On a separate note, I really have a hard time, reading the text here, no doubt part of it is my failing eyesight, maybe it's the green on green small sized font size as well. Anyway. A month ago I think I saw a few snowdrops popping out from the soil, it's really the first spring flowers. But they very quickly disappeared.

At Wed Apr 14, 02:40:00 a.m. IST, Blogger Snowdrops said...

Thanks for your recommend. I don't really use sage in my food preparations but, if I were to get another plant (unlikely now since I've got way more than I could reasonably look after), I think it would be a good idea, esp. as lavender and sage are meant to go well with each other and I already have a pot of French lavender (well, if it does survive, touch wood).

Sorry about the text size, I don't like the Trebuchet font that comes with this old Blogger template and prefers the current one, unfortunately it IS a size smaller than normal. I may need to experiment a bit more to find the right font for my blog.

Re: snowdrops. Ah, now that you mention them, I feel so so so guilty. The reason I got plants before Christmas was because I had wanted to sow some snowdrops in time for spring this year. Sadly, after I got the bulbs I never got around to potting anything (I was extremely busy around Xmas and New Year, and could just about manage looking after existing plants), and I'm afraid I've missed their sowing time now, and I'm not sure if they'll survive as being kept as bulbs...

Anyway, good on you for having them. They are indeed the first and truly hardy spring flower, it's why I like them so much even though they don't hang around that long. Seeing their modest but defiant little stance in snow in the dead of winter is really worth it. Here's some more snowdrops:


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