Kittens +  Grenade

Wasps and Roots

Yesterday I pried the (very) dead remnants of my Osteospermum out of the Stephanotis container and replaced it with some sunset Lantana. I've always been fond of Lantana, though my last attempt at keeping it failed due to improper drainage. (Always pull the plugs out of the bottom of the container, duhr...) I'm a tad concerned that the rootbase ended up a little higher than the soil surface, which has caused problems for Lobelia and violas in the past... Does anyone have any perspective on this?

I'm also at odds with the paper wasps. Every time I come out and water, I seem to roust anywhere from one to five of the suckers. They really seem to love my garden. I saw a nest in our attic, but I don't know if it's active or not; I know they build a new one each year, and this one has been here for a while. All the research I've done amounts to either learning to deal or erradication. I just want less of them - any form of discouragement through plants would be ideal. I don't want to bother normal bees - wasps just creep me out, and I really don't want to accidentally piss one off and get stung! I suppose I could try planting more mint? All my resources show mint as a common ingredient to wasp repellants.

I heard somewhere that hummingbirds prey on wasps. Is this a fact, and if so are paper wasps too big? Is there anything else I can do to encourage wasp predators?

I should be planting mint and garlic around my roses, anyway....

X-posted to gardening
  • Current Music
    Life Goes On (Long After the Thrill of Living is Gone)
Kittens +  Grenade

Containers can be moved!

Yesterday I spent far too much time pushing around the containers in my backyard. That's one of the lovely things about container gardens, they're relatively easy to redecorate in case the bug hits. Not that lugging 2x2 tubs full of dirt and thorny rose bushes is what I'd call easy, but still....

Between the near post of our gazebo and the wall are three large containers; I set them up in hopes of visually dividing the space, and make our teeny-tiny backyard seem.... less teeny. It was marginally successful; yesterday I staggered the pots so that they led in a diagonal slant instead, setting up a little table and chair along the acute corner (facing the house entrance). It looks much, much better than the straight line did, and my rose bush is no longer pushed up against that hard concrete wall.

Our lot started out as a concrete-and-weed paradise - some of the weeds growing between the asphalt were taller than I... with manual labor and trips to Home Depot, we tore out the weeds, laid down this supple plastic weed-stopping fabric and covered it with green gravel. The gazebo is slowly being covered by passionflower (extremely aggressive, I highly reccomend it for fast coverage in our climate), honeysuckle (not as successful as I thought it would be, for a variety of reasons), and blue sky vine (Thumbergia grandiflora).

Anyway, the strategy for covering the bare lot works amazingly well, or so all our friends have said. I wanted to share that technique for any other apartment-dwellers with non-dirt yards, or homeowners who don't want to go to the effort of ripping up the concrete.

I have also found that the cedar chips I bought work much better as mulch than as the cat litter it was billed as.

Sometime soon I will get a new camera so I can show everyone pictures of the new arrangement. n_n
  • Current Music
    Bad to the Bone
Kittens +  Grenade

Welcome

First off, welcome to Socal Gardens! Container gardening in southern California... it's not the same as anywhere else, so we deserve a community! Or I thought we did anyway... *hmmm*

Anyway, the icon for the community was made out of a pic I took of my Lobelia when my camera was actually working. And the little icon on the info page is made from a pic of my prized rose bush, the Lavender Pinoccio.

Yes, roses can be grown in containers, as can most everything else short of oak trees... it's just in how you do it. Larger plants and those with spreading roots usually require bigger pots, but that's OK.

Speaking of bigger pots (had to find a lead-in to this SOMEhow), I have often been dismayed at the price of larger containers at garden stores. Try finding a 2x2ft or larger container for under $25... I mean, seriously. But, while bumping around in a Target a few days ago, I found some HUGE tubs for $6! They weren't meant for gardens - they were for water, or somethng - but drill a few holes in them and they had stellar potential.

Y'see, ANYTHING can be a container if it holds dirt and drains properly. Shoes, tires, wood boxes... whatever.

As soon as I have a plan for a larger container, I am SO picking some up.

And I... Kashini stop eating my indoor plants! Sorry... ugh. The other issue plaguing me is the two-rose pot. I need to shade the sides, it's getting too dried out during the day, perhaps even overheating the roots a bit (the pansies I planted as undergrowth have mostly died off). I discovered that was the problem with my honeysuckle barrel; honeysuckles like fertile, moist soil, and mine was getting too dry with the sides exposed to daily sun. Planting smaller pots around it improved the condition of the plant immensely. Now I need to do the same with those roses, but I'm not sure what with. Something heat-tolerant I think... I did mulch today with wood chips, hopefully that will help. But the edges of the buds are actually browned a little, I have to do something about that situation.

The passiflora I have climbing up the far side of our trellis/gazebo seems stellarly acclimated to CA climate - it's reached the TOP of the damn thing, and it's arguably one of my youngest plants.

Now to log off before I truly start rambling.
  • Current Mood
    thoughtful thoughtful