"Gardening is about enjoying the smell of things growing in the soil, getting dirty without feeling guilty, and generally taking the time to soak up a little peace and serenity. " ~Lindley Karstens

Friday, July 23, 2010

Left For A While, Garden Gone Wild

Having come back from my three week vacation in China for three days, while still adjusting the 12 hour time difference, I have started working, both on my daytime job and garden...

When I arrived home from the airport around mid-night, the first thing I did was examining my garden!  :)  Of course, I really could not see things clearly in the dark, but overall I knew the garden looked fine in my absence.  After a good night sleep, I headed back to the garden again the next morning.  All I can say is my garden just gone wild!

All ornamental sweet potato vines grew so much that extended to the ground beyond the container or the bed border, even I trimmed them to almost the base before I left! 

I have love and hate relationship with these sweet potato vines since they do add very nice color and textures into the garden, and very good to fill the blank space too, but meanwhile they sometimes could get out of control. However, they are very easy to trim, so I think I still love them more than hate :)

The dwarf Allamanda just had several buds before I left, now they are in full blooming.  Obviously I planted the lantana bush next to the allamanda too close (no surprise to this gardener) that lantana is not growing very well.

This devil's trumpet (Datura) was just two feet tall before I left, now it doubled the height, and already had about five blooms. Too bad those blooms are already fading, but I see several more buds there, so I guess I will not miss the beauty when they are in their glory peak.  I started the devil's trumpet early this spring from the seed, and once it sprouts, it just took off so fast like weeds!  (Speak of weeds, do I need to mention how many weeds I found in my flowerbeds?)

Here is the zinnia that my younger son gave to me, which I showed to you before I left.  Now it is really thriving.  I love the color, and especially because it is coming from my boy!

This is another type of zinnia that came from self-sown seedling of the last year plant.  This type has larger size of the flower but not as prolific as the small type.

The marigolds also spreaded so wide that almost took over my Agaves/Bulbines flower bed.   The below picture is just one marigold, which will give you an idea how big this plant could grow, and I planted five of them in that small flower bed!  I need to do lots of trimming to recover the agaves and bulbines hidden under them.

Rudbeckia 'Tiger Eye Gold' is still growing nicely, although some dead-heading is needed...

Several more flower clusters showed up on my Agapanthus africanus...

I do have several casualties though...

Two pineapple plants that I started from store-bought pineapples last year died from crown rotting.  I think the water coming from my daily sprinkle system in addition to the rain was just too much for them.  Well, it is okay for me since I always can buy more pineapples and plant the heads again.  For some reason, pineapple is always so easy to rot, these are the forth and fifth pineapples died on rotting even long after they were established.

My only daylily also died (sobbing...).  Actually it was not looking good even before I left.  The leaves turned brown, but now the leaves are completely gone.  I am not sure if it is normal summer dormancy, or it is real dead?  Anybody can tell me?

I have been doing lots of trimming and weeding in my garden these three days, and now the garden looks back into the order, with some empty space left.   I also have been to the garden center twice, and bought six new plants already! ( I will show you later.)  Since I could not buy any plants in China (it is illegal to bring plants oversea), I just could not wait any longer to visit the garden center! Then of course, I won't come home empty-handed :)

I am glad that now I am back to my garden.  It just felt so good when walking around my own garden even I have visited so many beautiful places in China.  Nothing can be compared to my own garden.    I know that you all understand this statement, don't you?

Big "Thank you" to my friends who hand-watered my plants that sprinkle system can not reach or the sprinkle turns out not sufficient!

Thanks for all the comments that you made to my three auto-scheduled posts during my vacation!

I have taken lots of pictures in China, and will make several posts when I get my life back to the normal.

Have a great weekend!


  1. Nice to see you back Ami. So glad your gardens survived and even thrived while you were gone, and only a couple of losses. We've not had much rain just north of you, so I'm hand watering and using the sprinkler on allotted days.

    Welcome back and I look forward to seeing more pictures and hearing about your trip back home to China.


  2. Welcome home glad you had a safe truip. I love the potato vine vor a quick filler. I take cuttings of mine every week or so put them in water and in about 3 days they have roots. Why not plant the pineapple in a container were you could monitor the moisture better. I wouldn't completely give up on the daylily. Sometimes they die all the way back if you planted it at the wrong time of the year. It may be dead, I'd water it and keep watching just in case..

  3. Good to have you back! How wonderful to come back from a 3 week vacation and to find the plants still thriving and rewarding you with blooming flowers. Have a happy weekend.

  4. You are so right. There's no place like your own garden. Your sweet potato vine gone wild is exactly the reason I fear vines. I love that photo there where it is spilling onto the paver sidewalk. Very pretty effect! What Darla says about the daylily is correct. I don't know when you planted it, but if you plant or move a daylily in the hot season, i.e., April thru October here, it certainly can die back, but there's a good chance it will bounce back again. Daylilies are generally evergreen in Florida, as long as you have the right type.

  5. Hi Ami,

    I loved the gardens in China. I was surprised at how many of the same plants they use, are found here in the landscape as well. Sweet Potato Vine are used here in containers and I have been thinking of using them for my winter annual containers. Maybe in our dry climate, they won't go so crazy? Glad you are back :-)

  6. It's nice to be home and to know that your garden has survived! You showed some nice blooms! Your son's zinnia is very lovely! i am wondering what I see when we come back from Alaska. I am very curious to see your pics from China. I spent 10 months there in 1991.

  7. Welcome back. I'm glad to see your garden did so well. What a nice allamanda you have. So many blooms are on it. I love the sweet potato vine as filler in your beds. You'll have it trimmed up and ship shape in no time at all. I tried growing some devil's trumpet from seed too, but mine never made it. I'll have to try again.

  8. Flowerlady: Thanks. I guess my area had more rains than north since my friend told me except one week, it rained quite often in another two weeks.

    Darla: You are so right the potato vine is so easy to root. I also once put them in the water as indoor greenery, it spills out of the vase very nicely. Thanks for letting me know about the daylily. I am keeping the "dead" daylily in its pot, hoping for a miracle.

    Autumn Bell: Yes, I am so glad that my garden made it in my absense although I kind of knew it would survive with my preparation and my dear friends' care even before I left :)

    FG: I also scared of vine, but sweet potato vine is very soft and shallow rooted vine, so it is very easy to trim and even removing it totally. You may want to try it in a container. In that case it can be contained and also give you that nice effect of the spiller.

    As of the daylily, I transplanted it in June from the container it came with. I was so excited to find that only daylily in homedepot after I saw so many beautiful daylily from your blog and others. Well, if it doesn't make it at the end, I had my lesson :(

    Noelle: Yes, I was also surprised that there are so many same plants in China as what we have here. I really did not pay much close attention to the plants when I was in China during my younger age since I was not in the gardening at all at that time :) I will show you more of the China in my future posts. As of the sweet potato vine, I think it would be perfect in the container. Even it grows fast, you can easily trim it and don't need worry about it taking over the garden bed.

  9. Tatyana: I am sure you also will see a beautiful garden when you return from Alasca, well, maybe also lots of weeds :) Which places you stayed when you were in China in 1991? I was still there at that time. I am going through my China pictures, will make several posts out of them. Hope those would bring some nice memory of you.

    NanaK: Thanks! Yes, that alamanda kind of surprised me since it was almost killed to the ground during the Januray freeze, and now it really comes back after six months. I love those cheerful big yellow flowers. I planted about 10 of devil's trumpet seeds, only one made it. Once it established, it really took off quickly. Good luck with your next try!

  10. I'm so sorry to hear about your daylily, but I'm sure that you can find another one for a good price. They seem to be pretty common at walmart, home depot, etc.
    Honestly, I really love the effect of the sweet potato vine spilling out over the wall! I actually wish that i had a raised bed like that so I could have a similar look.

  11. Glad that you are back from a refreshing holiday.

    Sorry to hear about pineapples. Pineapples grows so well in my region - why not try to plant them on clay soil - thats what most people tells me so when it comes to pineapples.

  12. wow, everything looks fantastic despite your absence! Sorry about your casualties, but I agree to leave the daylily alone. Honestly, for me, I'd almost be happy to have an excuse to go shop for a new one. There are sooo many beautiful daylilies.

    You sure have been busy since you've been back. Are you blinking back sleep as you weed?!

  13. RFG: Actually in my part of big box store, I can not find any daylily anywhere, the one that died were the only one I found in HD for sale in June :( Yes, I also loving the spill effect of the sweet potato vines from flower border, only when it gets too long, I will trim it back a little.

  14. James: Did not know about growing pineapple in clay soil. In florida, what we have is sandy soil, and I am not sure if I can buy clay soil in the store here. But this time, I will try it in the container to see if it works better. Thanks for your information!

  15. Wendy: I envy you have so many daylily for sale in your area, here I only saw one for sale in home depot, that is why I am kind of sad that I lost it. Well, I just have to look for it harder...

    You are funny about my blinking back sleep as I weed! Actually I seem have adjusted the time differnce quite well probably because I had to come to work immediately after I came back since I needed to save the vacation time for kids' winter break.

  16. It sure doesn't take long for a garden to get out of control in Fla. during the summer. But, it's nice to see that most of your plants did well while you were gone. I'm sure you've come home with lots of great ideas to incorporate into your garden.


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