The Mystery Plant from Lowes

I went to Lowes a few weeks ago and near the register was an amazing plant marked for clearance. The tag had “annual” printed on it. It certainly did not look like an annual though. It had leaves shaped like maple leaves and the color was a very deep red purple. I brought it home and then posted the picture on Dave’s Garden forum. I was hoping that maybe through some great miracle it was a redblood Japanese maple sapling. As it turns out this mystery plant is actually a red leaf hibiscus, hibiscus acetosella. Very interesting plant with some very pretty flowers. The top picture is mine, the one below are what I have to look forward to.

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Snake Plant in Bloom!!!

My Sansevieria trifasciata is in bloom! It had two stalks and they dripped with nectar before opening to reveal silk like flowers which had a jasmine like aroma! The scent was strong, it filled my sunroom. I was walking around the sunroom wondering where the heavenly smell was coming from when I noticed the odd skinny stalk protruding from the snake plant’s pot.  

The nectar is a little sticky so I did have to mop the floor, but the flowers were a great surprise, I did not know they produced flowers. Here is a picture of it. . . . .

I purchased this snake plant from Home Depot about two years ago in the clearance bin. Always check the clearance racks!!

Gardenia

One of my most favorite flower scents is the Gardenia. I have tried a few times to grow them and it has not worked out. This year one of the gardenias I still had from last year attempts managed to hang on. It even gave me a single heavenly blossom. Oh, how that one blossom filled my courtyard with the creamy gardenia fragrance. Yet the plant looked horrible!

I thought about it and decided it must be the silly container I have it in. Its just really silly, I was going for aesthetics and not practicality. Its a low soup shaped bowl / container. I do not think my poor Gardenia had room for its roots. While wandering around Walmart’s gardening center I found a really cool tall pot. (From one extreme to the next.) The color matched the pot I have my cherry willow in so I decided to get it for my gardenia. I also liked that since this pot is about 30 inches tall it makes it much easier to smell the future Gardenia blossoms. I think the Gardenia will be doing much better. It has a parade of new leaves already!

SEE??

July

July 9, 2012 update

Patio Peach Tree

I have a patio peach tree that is designed to stay small and can be grown in a container. My patio peach has many peaches on it this year. However, it is not doing too well. The leaves have lost some color and hang more limp than they should on a peach tree. In comparison to the peach I rescued from Walmart, the leaves and vibrance are not matched. I decided that maybe something is wrong with the container.

Two nights ago, I removed my patio peach from its container and flipped it over to inspect the drainage hole. Although there are holes, it does not appear that the water has been adequately draining. To remedy the situation I pulled out my drill and made larger holes at the bottom. I also removed the soil front the container and replaced it will potting soil from all my old plant hanging baskets. Next I used a hand rake to poke holes all around the root ball of the patio peach. Some areas were very hard and compact. I hope that it will recover with the improvements.

The leaves were not falling off yet and it has lost very minimum amount fruit. Most of the peaches are still hanging on and seem to be receiving enough water since none of them have shriveled up. I am also going to take some time tonight to give the tree some Peter’s plant food. I will use this post to track its progress.

Here is an update on my peach tree. This is about ten days later. I know , I know, I am not sure whether to laugh, cry or just sigh. I am hoping that once the ripe fruit is gone along with the damaged leaves, the tree will grow new leaves. The stems are still green and it is still taking in water. Since the peaches are not withered the tree is still sending water to them. I am planning on setting the tree out in direct sunlight as well.

Trees in Containers II: Weeping Cherry Tree

Last year in the summer I started an experiment in which I placed two weeping cherry trees into their own containers for my courtyard area. Only one survived the winter. I know that the El Paso winters have gotten a bit colder and I should have been more careful about the temperature of the container plants.

Having plants grow in containers makes them more susceptible to the cold because the soil in the container reaches about the same temperature as the air. Plus wind can bring the temperature and moisture down further. Needless to say the tree that survived the winter was placed close to my front door and shielded from the wind. The tree which died was at the corner of my house and received a lot of wind whipping around the corner.

This winter I will probably move the tree into my home as the colder winter months approach. I have since replaced the weeping cherry which died with a knockout rose bush I purchased at Home Depot.

Here is a picture of my Weeping Cherry which survived. . . .

Trees in Containers

Lately I have become obsessed with planting trees in container and keeping them in container. This is a way I fill in my garden with more vertical interest and I really like the way large pots look dispersed about a garden. Another advantage is that the roots are contained. I have some places where roots can possibly become a problem but by having the trees in container I avoid that hassle. My courtyard is an area where I need to plant trees in containers for space and foundation reasons and limitations.

I did a lot of researching online before potting my own trees. I have found out that rooftop gardens have a lot of potted trees and they are kept that way. I found some images of impressive roof top gardens with some impressive sized trees in what looked like small pots. I also observed this when I went to a new nursery here in El Paso. The large trees hade small pots by comparison. The owner told me he starts them in the ground then plants the trees into pots. Little by little the trees are transplanted into larger pots.   Some trees grow out of their container but you can take steps to keep them in the container you have choosen. You can remove the container every so often and clip the roots back. You can also clip back the crown. I currently have a patio peach tree, which obviously is a container plant. I am also experimenting with two pink flowering Cherry Willows and a Bradford Pear. The Bradford Pear was supposed to go into the ground. However I love the way it looks in my courtyard amongst the two cherry willows. So I will pick another tree for where I was going to plant this one. I need to pick a container for the Bradford Pear. The two cherry willows are in pots because I want them in my courtyard but I cannot plant them into the ground due to my house.  I have also seen an illustration of a cherry willow being added to a rooftop garden. It was a huge tree with a small root ball so I am pretty confident this will work out just fine. Once the trees get larger I hope the effect will be breathtaking. Another venture I will be trying out is keeping palms in pots. Palms do not like me too much and although you can see them all over El Paso, this really is not the climate for them as our winters are too cold and our air is too dry. Yet people plant them anyway. I am thinking of trying a Chinese fan palm in a pot, I like the way they look with the many leaves and I can move it inside if needed in the winter months.

As far as pots go, I have some gorgeous pots made of plastic but look like cermanic. They can be found in a variety of colors and sizes. I have choosen the largest pots in red.