Let's reverse the order. First: The "Something New." This is called Erodium 'Sweetheart." Erodium is also commonly known as Heron's Bill. There are a lot of reasons why it's so great and you should have it. It blooms late spring to fall. Already I'm sold. It thrives in full to partial sun and it's hardy to zone 6, so in most places, it's going to come back. Yay! The blooms are tiny and pretty, and the plant is just the right size to squeeze into those nooks, edges, and corners of a container where not much else will fit.
Now for the "Something Old." You've seen this here before but it keeps getting better every season. This rose is called "Quietness" and I bought it a couple of years ago online from the Antique Rose Emporium. It bloomed like crazy this spring and the fragrance was amazing. Had I known it would climb so well, I would have planted it with a trellis. Instead, I've had to use stakes after the fact. It's probably about 5 feet tall now and is branching all over the place. I love it. You will too.
Here's an assortment that I bought a couple of weeks ago--most of which I ended up putting in the same container. When creating a mixed planting, that is, a combination of plants that will all go in one pot, I choose plants that have similar requirements when it comes to light and water. All of the plants here need full sun and about the same amount of moisture. Also, all of these plants are annuals, meaning that they will die once it gets permanently cold. You can mix perennial and annual plants, but the thing is you have to pull the annuals out when they die and then replace them the following season. Also, if your pot isn't big enough, the perennial eventually grows large enough that there won't be any more room for annuals after a couple of years.
So here's what's in the picture: Chives, Italian Parsley, Basil, Eucalyptus, Calibrachoa (Double Deep Yellow and Dreamsicle), and Ivy Geranium (Pink Variegated and Burgundy Bicolor). It's fine to mix flowers and herbs--I do it all of the time because we use a ton of herbs for cooking so one pot with herbs isn't enough. I have them sprinkled among all of my mixed plantings.
I've grown a tomatillo plant before, but never a tomato plant. Yet we found ourselves eating so many dishes last summer with tomatoes that I thought it was just silly to keep buying mealy, bland, or otherwise suspect tomatoes in the supermarket. I decided to grow a yellow teardrop shaped tomato and a grape tomato. So I planted over Mother's Day weekend, and wouldn't you know it, the temperature dropped to the low 40s the following night. I had to wrestle the heavy pot indoors.
I used an organic vegetable planting mix, my usual Osmocote timed release fertilizer, and earthworm castings (aka earthworm poo). I planted my two tomato plants, one chive plant, and a couple of basil plants all in the same pot. The red wire cage will support the tomatoes (I hope) as they get taller. I really have no idea how they will fare in this pot--I'll just see what happens.
All of the plants require full sun and plenty of water. But that's where I draw the line (I say that now anyway). If you're a regular reader, you know I have a low maintenance philosophy so I will not be using any special tomato this, that, or the other to try to get this fruit to grow. I really hope I stick to my guns.
A little more info: I'm pretty sure that both tomatoes are of the "indeterminate" variety. That means they will continue to grow and produce until killed by frost. Whereas "determinate" tomatoes ripen at the same time (within a 2 week period or so) and die. I've read that certain indeterminate varieties can grow up to 10 feet high. That might be a problem. Stay tuned.
It was great while it lasted. My lilac bloomed beautifully this spring but that beauty was fleeting--I only got to enjoy it for a few weeks. Despite its name, Bloomerang, and all that it implies, it only bloomed once last year. However, I read online that I should deadhead those blooms and by doing so maybe I could get it to rebloom later in the season. I didn't do that last year, but I will this time around. I'll report back. Meanwhile, enjoy the pictures. I wish I could electronically transmit the amazing fragrance. There's not a manufactured perfume out there that smells half as good as this.
This lilac is hardy to zone 4 and it's about 3 feet tall now in its 4th year.
I've been there. I've tried to divide plants with a butter knife (seriously, I have). I've labeled seeds with markers that fade under the hot summer sun so I can't remember what organic version of pepper I planted. I've pruned roses wearing regular garden gloves and still have the scars on my arms to prove it. Let me save you the aggravation, disappointment, and Neosporin. Here's a list of my favorite garden tools and supplies:
1) A kneeling pad. I garden out on my deck and am either sitting or kneeling on the hard, sometimes splintery wood. My husband bought me this kneepad. It's great. Get one. Your knees will thank you.
2) Gauntlet gloves. These are what you need when you're dealing with thorny roses and blackberry bushes. They can take a beating. I left mine out all winter.
3) Wilcox All-Pro transplant trowel. This is one of those times when the brand makes a difference. You can't destroy this thing. You can try; you will fail. It's stainless steel, has depth measurements stamped right on it, and it's made in the USA. Cheers for the home team!
4) Metal plant markers with pencil. What you write on these will never fade. I tried scrubbing an old one to reuse it. Ajax wouldn't even get it completely clean. I write stuff like what I planted, when I planted it, what its basic requirements are, when it will bloom/bear fruit, what color it's supposed to be, etc. Order a bunch.
5) Felco pruners. Another time when brand makes a difference. I'm not saying there aren't a bunch of pruners out there to choose from, I'm just saying I've tried a whole lot of them and found these have never let me down. You can see from the picture, I don't do the best job of maintaining them. And yet they keep doing the job they were meant to do. You can even get a holster so you can really look like you mean business.
6) Joyce Chen scissors. I bought my first pair about 12 years ago in the kitchen department. Yes, they're great in the kitchen, but I found they are fantastic for the garden. I use it to snip herbs, deadhead flowers, and prune scrawny branches.
7) Stretch garden tape. I use this to train my climbers on a trellis or to tie plants to a stake. The tape is soft and it gives so it won't dig into the stem of the plant.
Make your hands happy
8) Felco saw. This is what I got to replace that butter knife. It has cut through some of my most stubborn, root-bound plants like nobody's business. And it's great for pruning more mature branches.
9) Hand cream. Sweet relief. Even when you wear gloves, your hands somehow manage to get beaten up. Sure, any old lotion will do. But why not spoil yourself a little?
She may sound like high-maintenance royalty but the truth is, she's anything but. Daylilies are known for being super easy to grow and they're reliable bloomers. I ordered Elizabeth from White Flower Farm and this is how she arrived: bareroot. I know; it looks like she could never survive a trip across town let alone the violent jostling she had to withstand on her trek from Connecticut to Virginia. But I've received many plants this way (including roses) and it's rarely a problem. So, all I did was separate the roots from the shredded paper, pull off the rubber band, and plant it in potting mix so that the crown of the plant is at soil level. Then I watered. Now I'll wait.
Plant crown at soil level
Elizabeth will grow to about 18" high while enjoying full to part sun. She's hardy to zone 4 so there's a really good chance she'll survive winter in a container. But I'll probably have to divide and replant within a couple of years because daylilies are prolific multipliers. I'm supposed to see blooms starting in July. Let's hope she lives up to her royal name.
Most of my weekend was spent cleaning up the garden. Trimming, pruning, emptying, and scrubbing. I also had to do a little gluing. All of my terracotta pots made it through the winter unscathed except for one. I had to break out the Gorilla Glue. That stuff is awesome.
Anyway, even though I'm still in cleanup mode, I was able to plant a few things. I bought some spinach plants from my favorite nursery and I ordered some broccoli seeds from Seeds of Change. After consulting this cool companion planting chart, I decided to plant them both in the same container. Both spinach and broccoli prefer to be planted in the spring or fall so I hope to have a good harvest before summer's heat arrives.
To plant, I used an organic potting mix and some Osmocote fertilizer. I also mixed in some earthworm castings, which is a nice way of saying worm poo--there I said it. Basically it's what's left over after an earthworm has digested organic matter and it's used as a fertilizer. I buy it at my local nursery. Is it necessary? I have no idea as I've never done a controlled study. I'm sure your plants will do just fine without it.
So, I'll report back on my vegetable progress--crossing my fingers that those broccoli seeds actually germinate.