Sunday, April 24, 2011

The Hardscrabble Plantation of Benign Neglect

No garden, per se.

HAHA.  That doesn't mean a lack of PLANTS...

Just plants that love to grow, despite inattention from their owners.
Yes, they get SOME attention, mostly admiration.  And some water.  And a good start in life.
But they are survivor plants.
I will mention some below that, thankfully, have survived us.  Not meaning we're dead and they aren't.  But meaning they've survived because they are suited to this climate and they soldier on without a lot of attention.  Many of them are perennials.  Even choosing not to put in a tilled garden, or even so much as an official raised bed this year, we can still enjoy these greenies, many of which have edible uses, or even multiple uses beyond their already valuable existence.

Or maybe they are simply evidenceof our human weakness despite our best intentions when looking at mail order or in garden stores.

At any rate, we belong among our plants, even if they are the good-natured little green versions of latchkey kids.


Jack's home from his night shift and gently snoring in the other room.  I have time for a quick update.

He and I tamed the savage beast called Our Yard a couple days ago, but we seldom feel that need for the adjoining lot we also own...we let it stay fairly au naturel, since we're not in a manicured subdivision.  However, the general area IS manicured enough that we have to maintain our *ugh* lawn (one of the most worthless of inventions the world has ever known) since we (yeah yeah yeah, cue the same refrain...) are keeping it somewhat curb-appeal-ish for selling some day.  Maybe not too far down the road in time.   But anyway...

It's consistently warm...even HOT...enough to take inventory of what plants remain in the ranks of survivors this year.  We had several hard freezes this past winter, so there were casualties.  But from the looks of things at this point, here's an idea of the plant population other than bermuda and weeds:

1.  Gynura survived in pots, sheltered under shrubs and on back porch.  We're now at the point they're big enough (again) to make more cuttings to root (again).  Yay!

2.  About 12 clumps of moringa, and counting, all sprouting and growing gangbusters daily.   Time for some leaf harvest soon.  Again, yay!

3.  Two of the three guavas are back.   The nice big one may have bit the dust.   The gangly little sidekick sheltered next to the BU5GBM ( Big Ugly 5-Gallon Bucket Mountain whose days are numbered) made it.  (As did the one annually reappearing among the weed patch we refer to as our field)  This does not ensure the survival of the said BU5GBM, only that we've learned that clustering the sophomore trees and plants during winter is crucial to their endurance.

4.  One of the two languishing fig trees made it.  They were in pots for years, in a patch of what came to be overgrown who-knows-what, growing in symbiotic fashion (as all eyesores love to do) and indiscernable as anything but another big ol' clump of tall weeds.  I broke up the relationship, mowed down the rather woody weeds (well, Jack mowed them after I chopped them all to the ground) and repotted the one vigorous fig to a new location right up against a larger clump of moringa.  I'm hoping the shade works its wonders.  The other fig was down to a withered root, so it went composting...

5.  Both aloe veras stayed the course.

6.  Rosemary, check.

7.  Yerba Buena, by a nose.

8.  Loquat tree, check.  Make that loquat three...Jack installed two more.  He is a complete loquat enthusiast now.  They can take the freezes AND the heat.  And they produce fruit (only ours haven't yet...maybe next year).   And they're attractive.  He's in tree love.

Birthday acquisition of:

9.  1 mulberry tree (please survive, my friend)

10.  2 small plum trees (more like sticks with leaves...2 different varieties for pollination)

11.  A different kind of Gynura with purple backsides to the leaves, 1 pot

12.  And a sweet potato plant (I have to learn to grow these to be worth my salt as a southerner)

13.  2 non-stinging chaya plants, going strong!

OK, back to the other non-birthday plants that are happening...

14.  1 three year old chaya plant, the stinging kind, getting bigger every year

15.  1 jujube whose little upstarts multiply every spring, making it more of a jujube clump

16.  Several basic viburnum (not the fancy flowering kind) baby bushes Jack has been planting for windbreaks, screening

17.  2 survivor grapevines, no fruit

18.  1 confederate jasmine vine that did the Rebel Yell to me in a garden center recently

19.  2 new thryallis (golden shower) shrubs (yayyyy!!!!)

19 1/2.  (oops, almost forgot)  2 tibouchina (not sure which variety) baby shrubs with gorgeous purple flowers

20.  1 clump asclepias (butterfly weed)

21.  2 recovering papayas

22.  1 clerodendrum (blue butterfly bush)

23.  Several walking stick kale babies

24.  1 ground orchid

25.  1 survivor Surinam cherry bush

26.  2 soapberry bush babies and several surviving transplants of same

27.  2 bushes whose names escape me, but hardy to sun and with nice foliage that flower dark blue-purple flowers

and drumrolll.......

after MUCH anticipation, more anticipation, and excited nailbiting, we have the privilege of being sent some

28.  Purple Leafed Tree Collards  (!!!!!), due to arrive any day now (soo soo excited!!!)


29.  We're finally putting in some Jerusalem artichokes in some of the more naturalized areas.

not to mention the

30.  Pentas, assorted, flowers

31.  Zinnias


32.  Ruellia Brittonia gone nuts (Mexican petunias, blue flowers), naturalized on the steep slope adjacent to the shed, along with some interspersed butterfly weed

33.  2 dwarf cavendish banana plants, hanging in there till we hopefully get a wet season

34.  1 Mystery volunteer squash vine climbing the walls and anything else in its way

That's about it...till there's more :)   And these are the things we have going while "we're not growing anything"...ha!

Oh...there is one patio tomato plant.  I would have to turn in my Girl Raised in the South card if I neglected to have at least one token tomato while the sun doth shine.

How grows your garden...or, like us, your "we're not growing anything this year" collection?  ;-)



Um...Garden Centers = My Kind of Crack

Recent (as of round trip to garden center and back now for a few minutes) plant additions:

2 Black Prince heirloom tomato starts (!!!!!)
2 Yellow Pear heirloom tomato starts (!!!)
2 German Johnson heirloom tomato starts (!!!)

and a cucumber vine of some variety

and two burgundy pentas starts

and a couple more butterfly weed starts

and a partridge in a pear tree...

:)  Robbyn


Kelle said...

Sounds wonderful, wish our plants would over winter, I have to dig the rosemary, thyme, basil and fennel every Fall and pray I can keep it going until Spring.

Blessings for your Day,

warren said...

Great list! Your plants are so exotic compared to what we have here! Sounds awesome!

R said...

Thanks, Kelle! We lose some plants every year. We're beginning to favor the ones that seem to survive best AND survive our amateur attempts :)

Warren, do you KNOW how much I would LOVE to be able to have peaches and apples?? aRGGGGHHH! Well, bloom where you're planted, right? :) Yeah, there are some really hardy greenies that will grow down here. So happy for you and your fam for the new land acquisition, woo! And it's pretty darn cool that you and granny sue are around the corner from each other...HOW cool can that be?? :) :)