Experiment 2, experiment 4, and experiment 8 collision
AKA “Unexpected Visitors”
I had written in one of my previous posts that the Dinosaur Dome was dismantled and that its contents were planted in new locations. The wispy little ferns from the dome, which I had thought were dead, actually appeared to have living roots so I planted them in with my two largest lemon trees. I honestly was pretty prepared for neither of them to ever grow again… it wouldn’t have surprised me at all.
Imagine my delight when I looked over the other day and saw this (the skinny green thing in the foreground):
My camera has always had difficulty focusing on 1-dimensional objects, but you get the idea. I was so surprised to see these unexpected visitors that at first I thought they were random weeds. I had to thoroughly inspect them and the dirt around them to verify that they were indeed ferns from the Dinosaur Dome. Currently they are not looking so fern-like.
Here’s another bit of weirdness I found in my third largest lemon tree:
I’ve done enough vegetable gardening in my time to recognize that as a BEAN. How did a bean get in here?? My only guess is that this must have happened on patio cleaning day. At one point I spilled beans from some bean soup mix all over the balcony and I’m guessing one must have sneaked in here.
Unexpected plants all around!
Garden Science has a balcony cleaning day
Things got kind of out of control on the balcony this winter. With no living plants out there, it became a sort of dumping ground for random stuff. Are you ready for this? Behold, the huge mess:
Funny, I remember looking at this through my viewfinder and thinking “Wow, this has got to be the biggest mess of all time.” Upon reflection, it doesn’t really look that bad. It even looks kind of staged, like maybe I put some stuff there in order to trick you at home into thinking my balcony is messy when really it is not at all. I’m going to go ahead and give myself a pat on the back for not being as untidy as I thought I was.
Regardless of how it started out, things really did get chaotic when I decided to do some re-potting while I was out there. The inspiration behind the re-potting event was “Biggest” the lemon tree, who was desperately in need of a new domicile.
Ah yes, this is looking much better.
The other lemon trees were getting jealous so I decided to let them on the fun, as well.
The shamrock was looking a little shaggy so it got a haircut.
The dinosaur dome hasn’t show any real signs of growth in months, so I decided to dissect it and separate the plants. The “prehistoric pine” trees each get their own pots, which will hopefully encourage them to shed those brown needles and thrive.
Also, I thought that the incredibly wispy ferns that had grown in the dino dome were dead. That doesn’t appear to be quite the case, because when I dug them up I discovered they had vibrant root systems that still seemed very much alive. I didn’t really want to give them each their own pot yet, so they are sharing large pots with the two biggest lemon trees for now.
The “prehistoric plant” actually appears to be dead, so I’m letting it dry back out. I may see if I can revive it again someday as part of experiment 6.
I also got to try out my new Ikea clipper things. Short review: They are okay, but they could be sharper. Also, I’m much more a fan of things that are operated via a “scissors” mechanism because you can get more power into the cuts than you can with this. It seems like they’ll be great for snipping small green areas, but they weren’t powerful enough to cut away dead growth on last year’s fuchsia, for instance.
One thing that happened on balcony cleaning day that I totally forgot to document: I got 3 lovely primrose plants that needed transplanting, and those are now right at home in one of my railing baskets. I didn’t take a picture of the basket yet, but you can see the plants themselves in my first “fake messy balcony” picture in this post.
I’ll be posting an “after” pic shortly after I make this post, so stay tuned!
Experiment 12 - Poinsettia makes a new friend
The other day I brought a new friend home for my existing poinsettia (code-name “Princess Toadstool”) to play with.
This one was kindly donated to me when it was rotated out of a window display in favor of some more seasonally appropriate plants. Despite it hanging out in a rather frigid locale for the past few months, it looks pretty darn good. It doesn’t appear to have lost a single leaf along the way.
Interesting note: Despite its robust size, the thing is growing out of a positively tiny pot. Maybe growing poinsettias in tiny pots is a common practice that I’d just never noticed until now, but it seems unusual. I guess you can’t argue with results, though.
Princess Toadstool must be enjoying the company because I noticed this delightful bit of new growth. Leaf loss seems to have stopped as well. I imagine they must do a lot of gossiping and/or team-building or something as soon as I leave for the day.
Since I’m in the habit of nicknaming my plants now, I think I’ll call the new one “Blondie”. With a new color, new pot size, and different blooming behavior, it’s a joy to add Blondie to the experiment.
New rescue plant - Geranium
The other day I went to take some trash out and discovered a discarded pot with a dead-looking plant in it. It wasn’t actually in the dumpster but had been heaped to the side with some clothes and things, like whoever had taken the stuff out there hadn’t quite the heart to chuck it completely. As per my standard “dumpster dive” decorum, I acted as nonchalant as possible about my discovery, picked it up, and made off toward my apartment with it. We’re in the middle of a week-long “deep freeze” here in Portland so I granted the plant a cozy place inside to prevent frostbite. Then, I gave it a cursory inspection and promptly forgot everything about it including what kind of plant it is… until today.
Here it is looking suitably bedraggled:
I spent all of today at work mistakenly believing what I had picked up was a Nasturtium. It is not. It is in fact a geranium, as printed on the pot in gigantic letters. In my defense, the sole item I had committed to memory about this plant before heading out the door today was that it has round-ish leaves. Nasturtiums do in fact have round-ish leaves, so points for me on that.
This poor thing does not look great, ladies and gentlemen, but at least it’s alive. I’m not sure what kind of housing situation this plant had before, but I am a little perplexed by the fact that anyone was keeping a living geranium, bedraggled or otherwise, at this time of year.
The only word here that is accurate at the moment is “Geranium” and the rest are lies. Or maybe not “lies”… but “goals”. I want this sad plant to be all that it can be someday.
After a short bout of landscaping it is already looking better. Not MUCH better, but it’s a start.
Not sure if there are any naysayers out there, but if there are, this pic is for you. I took this photo to show that this plant has some promising-looking new growth on it. As soon as the freezes are over I intend to put it in a planter.
This may become an experiment 4 project, but for now it is not since it is not really “dead”. I’m open to thoughts on the matter, though.
For reasons that still don’t make sense to me, I hadn’t been to a New Seasons grocery store until recently. Very silly, especially since I live all of two blocks away from one. Anyway, I finally fixed that by going in there last week and seeing what the place has to offer. As it turns out, it has a lot! It is cool there!
Because I am very much the practical type, I systematically ignored everything on my grocery list upon arrival and made a beeline for the assortment of discount succulents next to the cart return.
Despite having picked up bits of knowledge here and there since starting Garden Science, discount succulent assortments are still somewhat mystifying to me. I didn’t take a photo of the area from New Seasons, but you can find discount succulent assortments practically everywhere. They make appearances at hardware stores, grocery stores, superstores, southwestern airports and even pet stores (for reptile aquariums and such). Regardless of where I find the succulent assortments, this is how I generally feel while looking at them:
There are always one or two types I am able to recognize, but rest might as well be science fiction. I tend to make a point of picking up one or two of the strangest ones for my collection when I find them.
These are the ones I picked out this time. Not sure if you can read the price tags, but they were $2.50 apiece. Not bad at all.
Astute readers who have been with Garden Science a while may recognize the above plant as a “Ravioli Succulent.” However, it would appear that despite giving my original ravioli succulent a great intro, I never wrote about its untimely demise. It died mysteriously some months ago, and my collection just hasn’t been the same without it. The new one has an odd stick poking up from the center of it that looks like it might be a dried flower stalk or maybe a now-unused flagpole for bees.
This one… well, frankly I have no clue what this thing is. There’s no description on the pot. Anybody have any ideas?
Experiment 12 - First check-in on the poinsettia
In trying to keep with my new years resolution of posting more often, I’m weathering the “I haven’t ice skated in probably 10 years and bit off way more than I could chew today” pain storm and doing an update.
It is the time of year when I am only home during bad photography lighting times of day, hence the glare and weird colors. When we last checked in with Princess Toadstool, she had considerably more leaves. It’s okay though (I think) because the leaves she still has look pretty good.
There doesn’t appear to be any new growth, but I am not concerned. Information I’ve read online about poinsettias suggests that they are prone to over-watering and prefer relatively dry soil. There was one rotten stem, but I cut it hoping that could keep the rot from spreading and so far there has been no reappearance. Although I may have been over-watering at first without knowing it, I now semi-carefully monitor the soil and make sure that it has dried completely between waterings.
And now, I am so tired that I have lost absolutely all ability to proof-read my work. Please forgive any rambling incoherence that may have occurred during the last few paragraphs.
That’s it for now. More soon.
There is an ongoing feud at my apartment between the plants and the dinosaurs. Although I have never really understood what fuels it, there is great animosity between the two groups and they just can’t seem to get along.
Tonight, however, something happened that gives me hope for future peace.
The dinosaurs have several shelves like this one on the south side of the room.
The plants have a shelf on the north side.
Today, the two groups sent ambassadors to meet one of the apartment’s recent arrivals. I listened in…
Ambassador Jade: Dinosaur Planter, I bid you a warm welcome from all of the plants. We are so happy to have another plant in our midst.
Dinosaur Planter: Thank you!
Ambassador Pachycephalosaurus: Welcome on behalf of the dinosaurs, as well! We are always thrilled to add one more to the fold, and we have saved a great spot on the shelf just for you.
Dinosaur Planter: Thank-
Ambassador Jade: Now wait a minute, Pachy… with all due respect, I think our new arrival would feel much more at home with fellow plants. We have great window access for improved photosynthesis, not to mention better proximity to the sink and watering can.
Ambassador Pachy: That may be true, but have you ever tried talking to a cactus? I’m telling you, you’ll have much better company with the rest of us dinosaurs than with with those dead-beats over there.
Ambassador Jade: Don’t listen to him. Do you know what constitutes a sense of humor to these dinosaurs? Here’s a hint: If you know why the chicken crossed the road, then you’ve already heard their best material. Seriously guys, you had millions of years to evolve a new joke or two.
Ambassador Pachy: Oh right, and I suppose those endless discussions about aphid prevention and seasonal leaf loss are just a laugh a minute. NOT! And another thing…
Dinosaur Planter: GUYS!!!!
Dinosaur Planter: This is seriously ridiculous. It’s not like I’m going anywhere, so I’ll find the time to stay on both shelves and just switch now and then. Also, it sounds like your issues with one another are silly and superficial! Where I come from, dinosaurs and plants get along awesomely. You really need to put aside your differences and be kind to one another. Life is too short to carry on pointless feuds like this.
Ambassador Jade: … It’s true. I’m not even really sure what we’ve been in disagreement over all this time.
Ambassador Pachy: You know, you’re right. We should really talk through our differences.
Dinosaur Planter: I’m so glad. In the meantime, I’m just going to chill on the table for a while and be a centerpiece.
Ambassador Jade: Lucky.