Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Sweet Peas for the Obelisk and Plants Beneath the Climbing Roses

After losing my first set of new sweet peas plants to snails I grew my second set of sweet pea starts in a medium sized pot along with some time released granulated food. The plants successfully grew larger and stronger in the larger pot using this method. I planted out the sweet pea seedlings under my metal obelisk structure and tied up a few of the taller stems to the metal to train the stems upward. I added extra potting soil and more time released plant food when planting the sweet peas. I use Lily Miller brand plant food, it works very well for the plants in general. The root system for the sweet peas upon planting were very well developed from establishing the sweet pea plants in the bigger pot with time released feed for a good month's time before planting. I used crushed egg shells to surround the plants to keep snails from reaching them. The theory is that the rough edges of the shells are too difficult for the snails to crawl over keeping them from the newly planted plants. I saved up egg shells over the past few weeks and crushed them around the base of the sweet peas. I'm not sure if the amount of egg shells is wide enough around the perimeter of the plant to keep the snails away. Unfortunately I've already seen some signs of snail activity on one stem of the new sweet peas. I'm hoping with the later blooming cycle of plants on the north coast that there will be enough time for the sweet peas to grow and flower since our weather stays warmer until October. If all goes well I will save up the seeds from the sweet pea vines and plant them up earlier next year using the same larger pot method of planting to establish strong roots and healthy plants.

I spent some time on Saturday trimming back the roses and gave yet another trim to the hedges in the front yard. The hedges were trimmed a month ago and since then have had quite a bit of growth. I will trim the hedges back one more time before the end of October to make sure once the growth season ends the hedges looks tidy for the fall and winter season. The middle climbing rose bush is actually producing some clusters of roses here and there after the main blooming finished in late spring. The roses have never done this in previous seasons other than producing a few meager blooms this time of year. I am watering longer with the soaker hose under the roses so this may be helping with the added blooms during our cool summer season. I sure miss my grandiflora roses from Petaluma blooming all summer long but the pink climbing roses are beautiful when blooming.

I mentioned before I planted a few heathers and small lavender plants under the roses two seasons ago. The heathers were small four inch pots when I planted them out and they are finally starting to grow larger, in fact one of the heathers is starting to bloom. I imagine it will take another season for these heather plants to grow to a reasonable size, they have been slow growing so far. The cotoneaster plant from two seasons ago planted in the corner under the climbing roses is finally starting to grow bigger. The stems are a good foot wide with many berries in place. Should be interesting to see if the cotoneaster grows as big as its estimated six feet wide size.

The three remaining Munstead lavenders from the small six pack I planted were very small and are now about five inches tall with a few blooms. The lavenders under the roses have been very slow to grow the same as the heathers but the lavenders are now looking promising. I'm hoping by next season the Goodwin Creek lavender cuttings will be of reasonable size to add to the plants lining the base of the climbing rose bushes. My four remaining Goodwin Creek lavender pieces I rooted are doing well. Next weekend I will re-pot Goodwin Creek lavender into four inch pots and see if they get some good root growth developed before the fall season.

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