The evolution of my garden surprises me. It started as an attempt to salvage plants that were abandoned by the previous owner of our condominium. A few of my mini trees looked like sticks protruding from pots as a result of months of heat-suffering drought and lack of fertilization. One bushy pal turned out to be huge wig of branches sourcing its health from a petri dish of dirt stuck at the bottom of a regular-sized plastic pot.
The first step was to begin watering. Like most beginning gardeners, I began by overwatering and drowning a few plants in my overenthusiastic attempt to rescue the sick. Then, I began the learning process of understanding the sunlight patterns of my patio. This involved a few attempts to grow small, shallow garden flowers in a deep pot in full sun before I realized the beating rays of sun fried the tiny stems and flowers to a heap of brown, wilted compost.
Slowly, I learned where to place my cactuses and where to populate my more delicate flowers. The purchase of a box of begonias for $5.99 fueled my desire to continue to learn and build my patio garden. Upon planting the pink and white flowers in several different pots I had discovered the self-propulgating flower of the community. On my patio the begonias multiplied, exploded and overfilled the empty pots into which they were planted. By the end of the season I became the proud owner of a pair of clipping shears. My pregnant and glowing begonias were to be clipped back to control their growth. This was so much more motivating than cleaning brown piles of dead compost fried by the sun or spraying away circles of eggs hatched by white flies on the bottom of leaves. It is the most personal compliment of the plants toward their owner to grow to a level where it is necessary to control growth. Ultimate success as a gardener! Pride of ownership and feelings of triumph.
This motivated me to explore other plant types, add to my repertoire and experiment a bit. This is where I introduced the eschevaria and a perennial aloe with beautiful orange flowers to my mix of flora and fauna. Perhaps the different flower types complete for attention out there: my eschevaria spread its seeds and sprouted from the rocky edges besides the patio. No care, no fertilizer, no intention of a growing eschevaria there. It seemed to be sending a message about where it wanted to be- especially when it rotted in its own pot and shed all its leaves into the compost pile. Twice.
Figuring out the names of the plants I resurrected from the dead (abandoned by the previous owner), discovering that a bushy nothing actually produces gorgeous lanky red flowers when it is fertilized. All of these are small wonders that inspire me to add more types of plants, increase my fertilizing and care of existing plants and strive for greater beauty, greater complexity, greater zen in my art of gardening.
Next time I'll share the tale of the garden caterpillars. Invasion of a green, ambitious crew of leaf suckers.