Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Peaceful Coexistence

For a few months now the cat and the plants have not had to co-exist and both have been flourishing. Now that they'll be living under the same roof, what can I do to keep them both happy?

Cats have a natural curiosity about plants and a natural inclination for mischief. The sad state of the shamrocks, and the accompanying yak (this a scientific term) are testament to the challenging relationship.

I will probably put the shamrocks out of harm's reach - on a high window sill or perhaps hanging. But I'd also like the cat to enjoy living here so I'm looking for plants that she'll enjoy without destroying or being destroyed.

No poisonous plants like philodendron or poinsettia. For tasty treats I'd like to grow some grass and catnip. Let the excitment begin!

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Accessories Make the Outfit

Along with flowers and herbs, a good container garden has good accessories. First things first, a good container box is essential - something sturdy with drainage holes in the bottom. The world of container box holders - the metal or other type of fixture which attaches your box to the house - is enormous and at times quite elegant. Alas, we went with very simple fixtures for our home - the choices for deck railings are not quite as varied as for the walls of homes. The fixtures appear to be supporting the enormous weight of our lovely blooms - through many near-hurricanes this summer.

And don't forget good tools- a nice variety of very stylish tools are available from Oxo - the people that make easily grippable kitchen tools. And a fabulous blue bag to boot!

After you tend to the flowers, you need to tend to yourself. What about a great pair of gardening gloves? Perhaps something bionic? Wouldn't I love to be one of my childhood idols - if only a styling pair of gloves were required to achieve Jaime Sommers' powers...

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Geranium, Geraniae?

The Geranium is a very common plant - seen indoors and outdoors. It looks pretty hardy so I figured I had a chance with this one. Most of the summer it's been a bit leggy and not very full of flowers. The leaves at one point had all turned yellow - lack of nutrients, I think. Lately, it's come to life. I don't know why since I haven't given it any plant food and the weather continues to be brutally hot. Oh well, chalk it up to dumb luck.

It's a fairly attractive plant and one that I think I can bring into the house during winter. Yeah! Something to get me through the cold months!

My mother's pink geranium is GORGEOUS! But then wouldn't we all be a bit more gorgeous if we lived in a farmhouse in France...

Monday, August 15, 2005

How About the Shamrocks?

For avid followers of this blog, the fate of the shamrocks remains a mystery. Last anyone heard, they were alive...

And they still are! Flourishing in a cool window sill with part sun - facing south and east. They still require minimal water, something I find very odd given their Irish nature. According to legend, the the three leaves of the shamrock were used by St. Patrick to describe the holy trinity (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit). I like to promote my own trinity - food, wine, and coffee!

The cat's fate also remains a mystery... she's still alive! Not cohabitating with the shamrocks at the moment. This may explain why both are flourishing.

Friday, August 12, 2005

The Critters that Visit My Garden

Yesterday, I was pleasantly surprised by a visit from a beautiful Monarch butterfly. It floated around the verbena like a paper airplane. Just gorgeous!

Alas, I've had visits from other critters I find less friendly. There was that vicious thing that attacked my sunflower and left the carcass for me to find - heartless. I suspect it was a mad squirrel.

I also get visits from big bouncy bumblebees - pollinating the flowers (aka "spreading love"). I appreciate the bees for their hard work. Just a bit nervous since I'm allergic. We've learned to live with one another.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

I Can't Contain Myself!

Container gardening, I've learned, is a whole different obsession from your regular backyard endeavor. Maybe it's the constant watering it requires - did you know overconsumption of water can kill you?

With no yard, and a nice deck, container gardening was the way to go for me. The city offers plots of land for community gardens but getting a plot is a challenge. Besides, isn't it more fun to be a mere 5 feet away from your babies? You can check on them every morning when you wake up (be sure to be adequately clothed lest your neighbors spy you outside at 7am) and throughout the day. And later in the evening you can enjoy dinner surrounded by your hard work. An urban oasis...aaaahhhh......

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Absence Makes the Heart Grow Fonder

Leaving your plants for a week can be either a welcome relief from daily watering (5 gallons/day!) or a cause of separation anxiety - wondering how the little ones are faring in the 90+ heat. I experienced a little of both last week while traveling for work (and fun).

Luckily, I had to two able-bodied caretakers. Everyone survived (phew). I even had some other flowers to comfort me.