Monday, May 21, 2018

Flowers and Vegetables Can Thrive Where God Plants Them

What Do Plants Need to Thrive?

In order to thrive, plants need just the right conditions. As gardeners, we try to provide them. We prepare the ground, add nutrients to the soil, and plant seeds or transplants, and wait for growth. Yet more and more I'm finding God is much better than I at putting plants where they will grow when he choses. Take this gazania plant, for example.

Although I have beds containing gazanias all around my lawn, none of the individual plants are as big and beautiful as this one. God planted it in my lawn. Normally the plants spread  by runners. But this plant had to have sprouted from a seed carried by the wind. This plant has been thriving in the middle of my lawn for over a year now, and two others have appeared in other parts of the lawn since then.

Gazanias are drought resistant and almost nothing kills them. When I still had a gardener, I made him mow around this plant because I thought it was beautiful. It also inspired me because it bloomed and thrived where there were no others of its kind around it. The ground had not been irrigated for over a year and depended completely on rain most of the time. I sometimes help it a bit now if it's especially hot and dry. The soil got no extra nutrients or cultivating, and there were weedy grasses all around this gazania. Yet it continued to bloom and make beautiful flowers. What God plants, he also seems to take care of.

This gazania inspires me so much I made a greeting card out of it. The inside reads "Bloom where God planted you." We don't all get planted in the best surroundings or get the nurturing we need from those who are supposed to care for or mentor us, but that doesn't mean we can't thrive if God put us there.


The Kale and Lamb's Ears God Planted

God has planted a lot of kale and Lamb's Ears in my yard, but not always in my gardens. The kale plant you see above had a lot of children and grandchildren. Many turned up around the garage as second or third generation plants. They were children of the plants that landed across the driveway. This post tells the story of some of this plant's progeny.

Lamb's Ears are even more prolific than kale, if that's possible. If you have one Lamb's Ears plant, you will soon have a yard full. It multiplies faster than rabbits. You can see one clump of Lamb's Ears at the bottom of the photo above. But I didn't plant it. I only planted one of these -- in the corner by the walkway near the porch. Now the plant is everywhere. It jumped the walkway and took over in the flowerbed by the garage. It landed in this corner below. In fact I planted nothing in this section that isn't in a pot. God planted it all.

Flowers and Vegetables Can Thrive Where God Plants Them

In the photo above, from left to right, you see Lamb's Ears, a pink grapefruit yarrow in the pot, lemon balm in a pot and some which escaped from the pot, two tall clary sage that God planted, some small euphorbia transplants I brought over from Templeton (in the tiny pot), some iris leaves from some rhizomes I threw in a shallow cardboard box I covered with dirt and forgot about, and more Lamb's Ears sneaking around between the pots at the right end. Those irises I forgot about and never watered or fed, bloom every year. Below, I have a photo of one  in bloom. It was taken two months earlier than the photo above.

Flowers and Vegetables Can Thrive Where God Plants Them

Now Lamb's Ears occupies every flower bed.  It's now even beginning to take up residence in what used to be my lawn. 

Flowers and Vegetables Can Thrive Where God Plants Them
Lamb's Ears at Other End of Flower Bed in Photo Above. Irises are to the left and you can see a few tiny red buds of newly transplanted red valerian hiding between the Lamb's Ears and the iris leaves. 

More Unexpected Garden Volunteers

In 2013 I planted one mullein I thought was a clary sage because it was mislabeled. ( Borage, mullein, and clary sage look very much alike when young. See my post with their photos.) It grew in the front flower bed. It was the only one I ever planted. I planted one clary sage in a pot not far from it. I planted borage seeds at the other end of the bed and got a plant or two.

This year I was delighted after the rains to find that I not only had numerous clary sage babies, but I also had more mullein plants. One even sprouted in an empty pot and another in front of it. I had thrown the seeds around when the original plant died a couple of years ago. I guess some things take time. I also had my largest borage plant ever spout and thrive and it now has some babies.  I love the way it reseeds. You can see part of it below, with some of its babies at the very bottom of the photo. The bees love it. If you look carefully, you will see one foraging. That pot in front of the borage contains catmint. Some of it has escaped.

The cards below show off some of the plants God has provided for me. Most cards are blank but may have a title identifying the plant inside. You can customize them any way you want and add your own text.

I Love Having God Increase my Plants

I have not been able to spend the time I wanted to in my garden this year. The abundance of Lamb's Ears helps smoother the weeds that would otherwise take their place. Although I had hoped to plant some annuals this year, it's just not going to happen. I have too many health issues to solve and my biggest job is to keep the weeds down since my gardener quit. Because God provided so many new plant babies to fill my flower beds,  I'm going to have plenty of color during the spring and summer. 

How do you feel about volunteer plants? I've been sharing my plant babies with neighbors since I have more than I can use. I can always pull the surplus plants when I have time to replace them. I still need to plant some thyme I've rooted and some root divisions from some plants in Templeton I brought to the Paso house. So my work is cut out for me. 

Do you have any garden goals for this year?

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Floating Row Covers Provide Frost Protection

It Will be Frosty Tonight

I'm so glad we found my floating row covers while we were decluttering the garage today. I've been covering plants in danger with old tee shirts for the past three nights in desperation. I've been most concerned about some root divisions of Jupiter's Beard I received just before the frosty nights started. I put some in a big  bowl of water and the little individual plants in a large pot because I didn't have any beds prepared for them yet.

Floating Row Covers Provide Frost Protection

 Floating Row Covers to the Rescue

Although I've covered the Jupiter's Beard with shirts at night, they don't look happy. It's also been a pain to cover them because I like to sleep late and my plants need the sun as soon as possible, whether I'm up or not. I'm delighted that I found my floating row covers that let the heat and light through and raise the temperature under what they cover. If it rains, they will also let the water through. Best of all, I can sleep in without worrying about uncovering my plants.


I spread them over the bed with the potted Jupiter's Beard (Red Valerian) just before dark tonight. I weighed them down with anything heavy I had handy, including a small statue, a flower pot, and a heavy can I was about to throw out. I used clothespins to pin them to the shrubs and pot edges where handy. I won't have to get up early to remove the cover since it can stay on all day and night during this cold spell.

Floating Row Covers Provide Frost Protection
Floating Row Covers Protecting Plants, © B. Radisavljevic

These covers have worked for me over my raised beds in Templeton for years, but this is the first time I've used them here in Paso Robles. I like that you can choose a weight that is appropriate for the lowest temperature you expect to encounter. Since the daytime temperatures are also lower than usual, it's OK for me to leave the covers on day and night until it's warmer. I left these blooming daffodils out to look pretty, since they don't mind the cold.

I am hoping the floating row covers do the trick as they have in the past since I've weighted them down so they won't blow away. But one thing does worry me. See the neighbor kitty? He's doing more than supervising. He was also scratching around the back corner, now behind him. If he gets too curious, he could tear the edges or dislodge the weights. I wasn't counting on his presence. Fortunately the plants I most want to protect are in the middle and least likely to be uncovered.

Floating Row Covers Provide Frost Protection
Cat Supervising Placement of Floating Row Covers Protecting Plants, © B. Radisavljevic

Since I wasn't expecting to find these today, I didn't have my usual weights with me that I use in Templeton -- the abundant large rocks found all over that property. Gravel doesn't really do the trick.

When I still lived in Templeton, these floating row covers also helped me extend my growing season for my tomatoes so they could survive early frosts. See My Tomatoes Were Hit by a Late Frost in April. Remember that these covers come in different weights appropriate for different low temperatures. Be sure to pick the one that's right for your area.

Floating Row Covers Provide Frost Protection

Monday, January 15, 2018

First Daffodil Brightens my January Garden

My First Daffodil of 2018

Normally my bright January colors in the garden come from calendula, but this year frost killed them all. That's why I'm so glad this daffodil decided to show up and brighten my garden a bit.

First Daffodil Brightens my January Garden
First Daffodil Brightens my January Garden

As you can see, the recent rain brought the snails out, and they've got a head start on me. I was slow getting the bait out for them because I'm only now almost over the flu that had me down since mid-December. I need to get that snail bait out before they eat everything I've got.  This is what I normally use and it works well for me  when I spread it in my flowers when the ground is wet. If I'd done it right after the rain, those holes wouldn't be in my leaves now.

My Garden Is Mostly Green and Light Purple Now

The light purple flowers in bloom are rosemary, scabiosa (Pincushion Flower), and borage. Of course, two of those are herbs.

First Daffodil Brightens my January Garden
Rosemary in January

First Daffodil Brightens my January Garden
Scabiosa in January with Gazania Leaves in Background

First Daffodil Brightens my January Garden
Borage Flowers in January

I don't usually see borage in bloom this early, but it reseeded last year. I'm afraid my plants have been fending for themselves since last year because I haven't had time or strength to do much for them. They have helped immensely by their reseeding. I'm hoping I'll be seeing new kale and chard plants soon. Meanwhile, I'm seeing lots of new clary sage and mullein plants. That's a reseeded mullein, one of many, in that pot above the borage in the photo above. It will be months before it blooms.

You can see below left how the mullein plant will look when it does bloom. This plant grew about six feet tall and this praying mantis pair found a home on it.

The card on the above right shows how beautiful the borage can be when it keeps its head up and is next to an orange or yellow plant like the calendula in the photo.

The image on the card below comes from my Templeton garden that has no snails because it rarely gets irrigation.

What I'm wondering now is where all those other daffodils I planted along with this the one now blooming are. This afternoon I cleared away some of the Lamb's Ears that might be obstructing them so the light can get to them, but maybe they are just taking more time than this one. I do hope more will come up and bloom by February. That's when I usually see them.

Are you growing daffodils this year? Are any of your normal January or February plants blooming earlier or later than usual this year?

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