Thursday, July 31, 2008

Kiwi Vines and Butterfly Bushes Growing!

I mentioned I was a little concerned about cutting the butterfly bushes back to three feet this last spring? No need for worry, they are just as tall with more blooms and wider than before. Really providing a good show this year, cutting back hard is the way to go with butterfly bushes. Next spring we'll take them down another foot or two. Even with the current cut back they grew at least eight to ten feet tall or more. The smell of the flowers is very much like wine, who knew?

The kiwi vines are in full growth spurt. I had to cut off some of the wandering branches last Saturday. If you look at the two plant vines intertwining and sending off branches skyward its kind of like seeing an octopus, the branches are like thick arms that go everywhere and oftentimes where you don't want them to be (such as hanging over the neighbor's fence). It is hard to keep them in line even in the enormous metal sculpture created for them in the back yard. I still haven't found any good information about pruning kiwi vines online but I'll keep looking. The flowers of the kiwi vines are fading away and in their place are small buds of fruit. Like last year the harvest of kiwi fruit will probably be ready in November or December.

Stumble Upon Toolbar

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Nasturtiums In The Yard And Barrel

Nasturtiums are one of my favorite plants, so easy to grow and they just keep blooming. They look lovely adjacent to the Victorian and seem right at home. Here on the north coast its a little cool for nasturtiums. They need plenty of sun here to get big leaves and flowers. Too much fertilizer gains you big leaves and not much flower wise. There were some nasturtiums already established in the front yard when we moved here, mostly in yellow with a few orange flowers both with a fringed style petal, very pretty. I harvested seed from the front yard to spread it in a few specific places in the front and to seed a big barrel I have sitting in the backyard. Transplanting nasturtiums doesn't work too well and its very easy to grow them from seed so this is how I always grow them.

The nasturtium flowers are doing much better in the front yard, probably due to the full sun and minimal watering the plants get. The barrel has smaller flowers and leaves. I originally planted the seeds in a bag of potting soil which may be a little too rich for nasturtiums taste. There isn't quite as much sun on the barrel area as well so they are blooming but timidly at best. Nasturtiums really prefer lousy soil and drier conditions from my experience growing them.

I'm seeing the new seedlings come up from the seed I planted only a week or two ago. I'm looking forward to the old fashioned feel, added color and ground cover they will supply in the front yard.

Stumble Upon Toolbar

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Learning About Passionflower Vines

The passionflower vines on the front yard trellis are really blooming well this year. Plenty of water and a bag of new dirt divided between the two planters seemed to do the trick. I finally found some real information on passionflower vines online and apparently they really like a lot of water. I’m guessing that is why the passionflower on the fence isn’t flowering much as I have never watered it much other than letting the lawn sprinkers water them. The automated watering system waters the passionflower vines on the trellis and I water them once a week as well. So I’m ready to start watering the vines on the fence and see what happens. I did find out you don’t want the vines to be too happy or there will be an abundance of fruit along with the flowers. Only have seen one fruit yet on a vine on the fence and we already have too many kiwis from the kiwi vines so hopefully water but no fertilizer will do the trick.

Stumble Upon Toolbar

Monday, July 7, 2008

Pink Jasmine Vines and Dianthus

This last weekend was spent pruning back the vigorous pink jasmine vines that are throughout our back yard. I have to prune them back at least two or three times during spring and summer. As pretty as they are with deep green vines and pink and white flowers its really a job keeping them in line. They work well on the back deck vining up from the bottom to the top of the decking but grow a good two to three feet above the top of the deck railing, so much so that you have to trim off the top growth to keep it under control. Since they are well established in so many places I appreciate them but they keep me a little too busy in the growing months.

I have a good number of pink and fuchsia colored dianthus throughout the back yard flower border that sits against the frame of the wooden greenhouse. The dianthus were first planted when we moved in over a year and a half ago. This time they are flowering beautifully and have grown to a good size, filling much of the raised flower bed. The previous owner planted two of the same color fuchsias at one end of the border but did not balance it out on the other end. There are odd little things like this throughout the front and back yards. I took some cuttings of the fuchsia last summer and have grown a few new ones to add to the other end of the border. I like having some symetrical look to the yard. Frankly I would not have chosen to plant fuchsias in the border but the original plants are so well established there is no way to dig them up and replant them. So, more fuchsias for now and if I get the urge I may even add one or two in the center of the border.

Stumble Upon Toolbar