While almost all other gardeners are celebrating the leaping growth that the warm weather brought to their gardens, my garden seems not happy with the South Florida hot humid weather. When I do my daily walk through my garden, there are hardly something that can catch my eyes in an exciting way. On the opposite side, I often find something disturbing...
Now when I muse it over, I think most of these disappointments come with my new gardener label... Lack of experience, planning, knowledge, and patience are four things this new gardener is not shy to admit.
Before I started my love affair with the planting one year ago, I hardly had any experience. The little experience I had was growing some vegetables and a handful of flowers in the containers when I lived in my previous house. Among those flowers, I managed to kill several orchids by over watering and putting them under the direct sun. During my younger years in China, my family lived in small apartment in the city with no land at all. The only time I had more close touch with the land was when visiting my grandparents in the countryside during the summer vacation. But even then, I never personally grew anything.
I thought I am not too bad of a planner. However, when coming to the gardening, I found the planning needs to be made and acted on one or even two seasons before. Like for spring flowers, I should have sowed seeds in the fall. For some perennial plants, I should have trimmed them earlier so that they can flush now. For winter annual plants, I should have replaced them with the summer annuals before the intense heat hits.
As a result, I ended having some bare spots in the garden after the winter annuals melted down to the ground, and some tired-looking perennials like the pink pentas in the front yard.
Or geraniums that might not be able to stand the summer heat even it is still blooming (barely).... The flower dries up even before fully opening.
I know all of these can be quickly fixed by a few trips to the nursery, and shrinking the wallet a little bit more. But I do wish I had planned better...
Lack of knowledge is another thing that constantly hits me recently. I realized that a gardener not only needs to know the plants themselves, but also the environment around them, which includes bugs (good and bad), soils, and etc.
When I bought the milkweed, I only knew this is a plant that butterflies love, and I LOVE butterflies! The thing I didn't know was that the Monarch caterpillars love its leaves too! So imagine how horrified I was when I found seven of these fat Monarch caterpillars nibbling my only young milkweed leaves! Only this time, I learned from the lesson of hornworm on my angel's trumpet, so I did not remove them. After searching over the Internet, I quickly found out these are the Monarch caterpillars. I decided to leave them alone, and only one day later, my milkweed had nothing but bare sticks! Now those hungry caterpillars started chewing the stems! I do hope my sacrifice can yield some beautiful Monarch butterflies visiting my garden. The only thing I am not sure is if my plant will ever grow back, or even blooming again?
Last but certainly not the least, lack of patience...(did I say that?) . They say the patience is a virtue. I know lots of my anxieties came from the lack of patience. I expect if I did what the book told me to do, the plants should flower or grow perfectly just like what they show in the garden magazine. Now I knew there might be so many failures before you can get to that stage.
Do you still remember not long ago, I was proudly showing off the new Princess Flower (Tibouchina lepidota) I got as part of Mother's Day gift? Well, I have to tell you sadly that it just died on me early this week after three week life in my garden. It just happened so quickly. One day I came home after the work, I saw it lost all leaves, and the branches turned to brown. I tried to water more often, but there was no use.
Oh, how I miss those delicate purple flowers!
I know the gardening is all about trial and error, especially for the beginners. So, I won't let all these disappointments hold me down. Like what they said: "There is always a next year!" So this weekend, after I spit out this confession, I will spend some time to do some clean up, and then move on with a new spirit!!!
Here are something in the garden that brought the smile to my face ...
|Variegated Devils Backbone (Euphorbia tithymaloides 'Variegatus') with Hibiscus|
This Dipladenia pink is my all time favorite in the garden, never failed to add the color into the garden.
Caladium bulbs start popping up out the ground! Should have planted more!
These two double layer Kalanchoes are my delightful surprise. I thought they are cold weather bloomers. So, after they finished blooming, I just stuck them into a shady corner. See what I found this week!
These purple/blue verbena flowers really bright up the front yard flower bed.
My first African Lily (Agapanthus africanus) bud of the year!
|First African Lily (Agapanthus africanus)|
More Needle Flowers are showing up from this little plant.
|Needle Flower (Augusta rivalis) |
Garden creatures are definitely enjoying this weather...
|Brown Anole flashing its dewlap|
|Dragonfly on rose bud|
|White Peacock Butterfly|