Asiatic Jasmine Groundcover Cuttings

I stopped by a nearby garden center today and found in its clearance rack an entire flat of solid-colored Asiatic jasmine (Trachelospermum asiaticum) groundcover cuttings. Wow! I’ve been re-imagining my front and back yard garden spaces this year. The back yard will primarily be a food garden. The front yard has been more of a challenge. I have a few bushes, a shrub, and a tree, which are lovely, but I wanted to add an interesting element to freshen things up. The idea of having sometimg_3373hing fragrant felt right.

Having read elsewhere about the potential for this plant to become a weed, I decided a happy compromise would be to grow these cuttings in containers. I like the option to move this plant around as my garden design evolves. There is also topiary potential, which lights up my imagination! I am already envisioning a fragrant pathway to my front door. And why not?

I am very pleased that this garden center is so near, making budget-friendly gardens a reality!

CONSUMER ALERT UPDATE: The sap from this plant can irritate the skin. More information on the toxicity of this plant can be found here:

http://www.hortweek.com/trachelospermum/landscape/article/1078435

Tomato Hornworms

I was inspecting the last of my actively fruiting tomato plants when I noticed two tomato hornworms (Manduca quinquemaculata) eating away at one of my plants. This was absolutely appalling! And yes, these caterpillars will devour and kill your tomato plants if you don’t remove them right away. Their green color is a close match to the stalks and leaves of the plant so you do have to look carefully. They can be easily missed even if right in front of your eyes. If allowed to mature, these caterpillars will become five-spotted hawkmoths.

img_1604And then, there’s the indelicate matter of removing these things from the plant. They cling hard to the plant so you will either have to forcibly remove them by hand (I was too grossed out to do that) or by some other method. I opted to poke and smack them off with a small stick and then smacked them some more once they got to the ground so that they would not make a reappearance. A very hungry pile of ants quickly moved in for their unexpected feast. I found that yelling, “Get off my f***ing plant!” several times helped with the process immensely, to deal with the awfulness of the moment, kind of like that scene in the Harrison Ford film, Air Force One, when he, as the US president, is fighting off Gary Oldman and (spoiler alert), tells him, “Get off my plane!” and out the plane he went.

More information on tomato hornworms and their abatement can be found here: http://www.almanac.com/pest/tomato-hornworms

CONSUMER ALERT UPDATE: The non-fruit parts of tomato plants are poisonous if ingested. More information on toxic plants can be found here:

http://www.calpoison.org/hcp/KNOW%20YOUR%20PLANTS-plant%20list%20for%20CPCS%2009B.pdf

Chinese Flame Trees Stricken with Bacterial Infection

My area has been in drought conditions for a few years. The mandatory water restrictions that followed have stressed out the Chinese flame trees growing along my parkway, so much so that they started oozing sap. It didn’t help that some of the pruning that my city did this year were very close to the trees’ roots. I noticed honey-like sap coming from my trees a few weeks ago. I suspected some type of infection and today, the city’s tree expert called me and said that the trees are not in anyimg_1540 danger of dying (thankfully), but they do have a bacterial infection. He said I am to water the trees every other day for a week and to use a balanced fertilizer along with it. I will also be allowed to water more frequently henceforth. I asked him about the drought playing a role in my trees’ plight, and he said it was likely a factor. I suspect that the trees are infected with something called bacterial wetwood disease (https://extension.tennessee.edu/publications/Documents/SP631.pdf).

I am grateful to have caught this infection early and will treat it as recommended, particularly to help heal the vulnerable wounds that may become targeted by insects and/or birds that may worsen the problem, and in fact, these wounds are likely vulnerable to even worse tree infections. I hope that watering and fertilizing the tree will, indeed, be the right medicine for these fine trees.

Lemon Cucumber

Mildly sweet, this cucumber is wonderful straight from the vine. I pulled one off the vine minutes ago, scraped off the bristles, rinsed it off with the garden hose, and ate it in the garden. IMG_3372Very luxurious, and delicious! The vines are still in various stages of maturity, so I will continue to enjoy them over the next several weeks. Started from seed and grown in containers, I will be growing this heirloom cucumber in years to come!

Garden Wand Sprayer

After years of using a traditional garden nozzle sprayer, I replaced it yesterday with a garden wand sprayer. Although helpful to reach places that are  up high and/or far, I was primarily motivated to get a sprayer that would be gentler on my injured wrist and shoulder (in recovery). It provides more power with less effort. I like that the water sprays out with only a light squeeze of the trigger, that I can adjust the amount of water that comes out, the multiple spraying options, and the rotatable sprayer head. Gone (hopIMG_3368efully) are my days of garden sprayer calisthenics! One of the benefits of replacing older equipment (the nozzle I was using was leaking)  is seeing the improved features of better-designed tools. Gardening can be demanding on its own; might as well use better tools (when possible) to lighten the load!

Armenian Cucumbers, Garden Debut

This is my first attempt growing Armenian cucumbers. Some I’ve grown in containers (as shown here), with tomato cages, and others I’m attempting to grow in raised row gardens. I only planted the seeds in the raised row gardens over the weekend. I started all of these plants from seed … which I’ve kept in an unopened packet for over a year! Be sure to keep those older unopened (and even opened) packets of seeds, because they may still be good. A type of muskmelon (as are cantaloupes, which I’m also growing in a raised row bed garden, from seed), I am very eager to make some wonderful salads where these cucumbers will be the star attraction!IMG_1536IMG_1537

Dragon Tree, “Blood” Resin

One year ago, I removed a few branches from my large dragon tree. One of the cut areas is now showing a small amount of the very dark “dragon tree blood” resin. It is so very striking, a very deep red. The tree is very healthy and robust. This is the first time I’ve seen evidence of the famed “dragon’s blood.” One of my beloved tree’s mysteries has been revealed. Stunning.IMG_3367

Rescued Thornless Raspberry Plant, Fruiting

While one of my rescued thornless raspberry plants seems to have stopped fruiting for the season, one of the other two plants is now fruiting, which is a happy surprise! These rescue plants were not in the best shape when I found them in the clearance bin (with a few dead canes and leaves), so I tempered my expectations that they would start fruiting perhaps in the next season.IMG_3366

After about six weeks convalescing in its new home, it seems to found its vigor and well on its way to producing perhaps a modest quantity of fruit (if the birds don’t get to them first). It is enjoying the full sun of my garden. The third plant I am keeping an eye on. It is producing new leaves (all three are producing new leaves), which is encouraging. I would be very pleased if it, too, produced fruit before the season is done, especially since I’ve sampled the fruit from the first plant, and they’re very sweet and delicious. A great way to start the week!

Angel Face Roses in Flower and in Bud!

It’s been about a month since I rescued four Angel Face rose plants from the clearance bin, and I am so pleased that each of these plants is covered in flowers and/or buds. What a short wait to be graced with these blissfully lovely flowers in my yard! The scent is very sweet and the color is wonderful. Sometimes when I take a chance on clearance bin plants, it may take a year or more to see the potential of the plants realized, mostly because of some rehabilitation that’s needed to restore them to good health. But these roses were clearly in tip-top health, only needing a permanent place to call home. A dream come true!IMG_3364

Rescued: Angel Face Roses and Thornless Raspberry Bushes

My local home improvement store has a gardening center with an outstanding clearance section, with plants of all sorts at amazing discounted prices. Their inventory of clearance plants has recently increased so, in the foreseeable future, I will be visiting at least once a week. Yesterday, I was very fortunate to have made my weekly visit and came away with 4 Angel Face rose plants, a floribunda that I’ve wanted for my home for the past several years, but finally got around to doing something about.IMG_3354IMG_3355
I also am the caregiver of 3 thornless raspberry bushes. I love to make homemade raspberry jam and now I have a wonderful resource to do it! The plants were all in reasonably good condition, although I will have to do some light pruning of a small bit of dead vegetation. Easy. One of the raspberry bushes has some young fruits on it – very encouraging!

I replanted them in larger containers (saved from years of gardening projects) and will be looking forward to many happy years with these wonderful new plants. What is seen as refuse by the store (and most people) represents a great opportunity to bring new (sometimes unexpected) plants into the garden, for a modest price. These plants have already uplifted the energy of my entire garden!

More information on Angel Face roses: http://www.helpmefind.com/rose/l.php?l=2.238

More information on thornless raspberry bushes: http://www.monrovia.com/plant-catalog/plants/3466/brazelberries-raspberry-shortcake-dwarf-thornless-raspberry/

Garden Fairy Farm

Organic gardening and the preservation of biodiversity

ICI & LA NATURE PICTURES

Walk and Bike in France. www.icietlanature.com

Garden of Eve

Growing my own, from garden to table.

Photo Nature Blog

Nature Photography by Jeffrey Foltice

moments clicked

Some of the best moments captured

villagegardener

Living and Gardening on Cape Cod

The Stay-at-home Scientist

Science, Gardening, Work-Life Balance

Sunny Sleevez

Sun Protection & Green Info

keri's orchids

blogging my orchid obsession

Earth Citizen

Spreading peace by dropping Truth bombs

Arthur in the Garden.

Gardening and Cooking inside the beltline in Raleigh, North Carolina.

jardinerialarcon

Jardinería en la costa del sol

WordPress.com

WordPress.com is the best place for your personal blog or business site.

%d bloggers like this: