Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Summer Growth of Passionflower Vines, Pink Jasmine and Rhododendron

This past weekend was spent pruning, weeding, watering and mowing, the usual summer activities in our north coast garden. Growth is rampant for the pink jasmine vines and the green and purple flowered passionflower vines on the fence. I pruned back the rampant growth of the pink jasmine vine on the porch to keep it shaped. Next weekend I'll need to prune back the runners on the jasmine vines on the back deck. The pruning never ends here in summer season.

The passionflower vines on the fence finally started to flower this year. Not much flowering yet but between the weekly soak from the soaker hose and the severe trim back in early spring we are seeing eight or so of the green and purple flowers blooming this week. Considering the most flowers I've seen on the vines on the fence has been three or four flowers this is an improvement. I trimmed up the bottom of the passionflower vines on the fence and tried to cut back the huge amount of vine seedlings at the base of the vines. You'll never run out of passionflower vines if they seed like they seed in our yard.

The dark purple flowering passionflower vine on the trellis is starting to grow more leaves and flower better this season. The trellis passionflower vines were really growing slowly this year and possibly dying off so I tried to start some new vines from pieces of the original vines. The first pieces of vines I took from the purple passionflower vines just didn't take in our makeshift greenhouse. I decided to take four more and plant them in gallon containers in a full sun spot in the back of the garden. The greenhouse we have is not set up correctly to get enough air and light into the building. It is fine to maintain plants that are already growing over the cold months but not good for starting things off in summer. I'm hoping the new passionflower vine pieces grow better out in the garden. I'd like to add two vines to each trellis box to help build up the amount of vines that are currently in place. Not sure if the original vines are giving up yet but this is a good opportunity to add to the trellis. Once the vine pieces root up I'll add them to the trellis boxes so next year's display is better.

The rhododendron in the front yard is two years old now and although it didn't bloom this past year like it did the first year in the ground it is showing a good deal of healthy new leaf growth this year. The rhododendron I had planted up in a container in Petaluma took about five years to get to its four foot by four foot size. I had to leave it behind and gave it to our landscaping person who added the new lawn to our home when we put it on the market. My other rhododendron, a miniature purple flowering plant in a container did poorly in a shadier part of the deck last season and is recovering in a sunnier location on the deck this year. It is still gaining its leaves back but flowered well during spring. By next spring both of the rhododendrons should be in good shape.

Watching the growing patterns of the new plants in our garden on the coast I'm seeing more growth in this second year in the rhododendron and in other plants in their second season in the garden. It seems to me it takes most plants a few seasons to really get going here on the north coast. This could be due to the cooler weather patterns, certainly perennials in Petaluma showed more initial growth in their first season than the plants in our coastal garden. Once the plants get established however growth is impressive and plants tend to grow bigger than in our sunny Petaluma garden. The acid soil here on the coast makes for a number of happy plants and our rhododendron is a perfect example of healthy, impressive growth this season.

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