A beginner's advice on not killing plants

Who else feels like they've really earned this upcoming three-day weekend?  Hubs keeps asking if I want to have people over for a barbecue, but I'm looking forward to some R&R.  I wouldn't mind having a few friends over, if only I could get away with not having to clean the house first...  Sigh...  Unfortunately, given the current state of our house, the odds are excellent that I'll be cleaning this weekend regardless!

I feel like talking about my backyard today.  Lately I love fantasizing about how it will someday look.  Because our house is so tiny, I'm dying to make my backyard an extension of the house.  Right now we're too broke to be able to afford the pergola and deck and fireplace and outdoor furniture that I desperately want, so we're focusing on keeping our plants alive and well.  Because that is free.  Then when we can afford all these other things, we'll already have a beautiful space to enjoy.  (That's what I keep telling myself, anyway.)

My veggie garden is surviving and a couple of the plants are already flowering, so I'm hoping for at least some zucchini and cherry tomatoes relatively soon!  Can I just say how flipping amazing and exciting I find it that I can stick a seed in the dirt, splash some water on it, and a little while later have a big ol' plant ready to feed me??  (How obvious is it that this is my first time attempting to grow vegetables?)  Well, to me it's exciting.  And to my SIL, L, too.  My brother built a veggie bed at their house this spring, and L and I were practically squealing over the thrill of seeing our first sprouts.  Ah, everyday miracles!

Besides the veggie garden, we've been doing some work in our garden garden too.  I've always joked that I have a black thumb because I usually manage to kill every plant that is left in my care.  People, I've been known to straight up murder a cactus, which takes a special kind of talent.  But I think I'm starting to get the hang of keeping plants alive.  For one, I've learned that WATER is key to a plant's survival.  Right??  Go figure.  My flowering plants are just loving life now that their thirst is being quenched on a regular basis.  And my hydrangea, which I've had for almost three years, is suddenly three times as big as it's ever been and ready to burst into bloom any minute.  Hmm... Guess I thought the 2" of rain we get a year would somehow be enough to sustain life in (what was until recently) my garden-o-twigs.

Two, PRUNING is good!  I'm amazed at how huge my roses got this year after pruning them back in January... for the first time... Now I have twice as many roses as usual!  And one of my bushes was half-dead (literally, the back side of the main stalk is still totally dried out and D-E-A-D), but it's now as big as my biggest rose bush.  I'm so happy because it's my favorite, it blooms with those yellow and orange roses that are so gorgeous.

WEEDING - Okay I'm not seeing any dramatic results in the growth of my plants thanks to weeding, but my planters certainly look a lot nicer. 

And finally, when in doubt, PLANT IT ANYWAY.  I filled some pots with pansies and marigolds a while back and had a couple leftovers that didn't look like they would make it, but I didn't have the heart to throw them away, so I planted them next to my roses.  Then the pansy got trampled by some asshole stray cat and I was sure it was a goner... Now a couple weeks later it's blooming again!  No idea how.  I also dropped one of my fuschias on it's head and broke most of the limbs off.  I planted it anyway and now it has buds almost ready to pop open!  There are quite a few plants in my garden that I never thought would survive, but with a little TLC they are now doing just fine.

Here I thought there was some big mystery about growing stuff that I never caught on to, but it turns out all I needed to do was try.  I guess maybe I don't have a black thumb after all! 


pengboo said...

Keep us updated on the half dead rosebush. I had the same thing happen (half alive, half dead). When it finally bloomed, it was back to a wild rose. It no longer was the pretty big red roses I was used to. I was told the graft was dead, and it was now only a basic wild boring rose.

Alex said...

What a great post - love this! These are all very simple lessons, but very important. I still haven't figured out the watering thing - and that's with the inside plants! I would love to have an outside garden with vegetables and everything, but I just don't trust myself to take care of it! Horrible, I know... But it sounds like you're figuring it out - maybe I could too!

Kate said...

The phrase "some asshole stray cat" just made my day... :0)