27 June 2014

tiny boquet

I am enjoying the splash of color on my balcony so much, I cut a few nicotiana flowers to bring indoors in a small jar. Four plants are flowering now, each with a slightly different shade of purple. As the flowers age they fade, varying the colors more.
The older plants are tallest and starting to fall over somewhat; I wonder if the containers are not big enough for their root spread? Younger plants are starting to produce bud stalks, but lower on the plant. I'm watching to see if those shoot up even taller before the flowers open as well.

26 June 2014

rescue operation

I visited my old garden yesterday. My ex's lawn guy is going to raze the garden and turn the soil, after which my nine-year-old wants to plant some of it. I'm giving her packets of seed from the fridge. So we went over to see if there were any volunteer plants worth saving before it gets leveled. I was looking for tomatoes, maybe a pumpkin or zucchini start. But the vast marjority was a thriving tower of weeds. Plantian leaves longer than my forearm. Pokeweed over my head (in a raised bed). We dug up and saved in pots a dozen sad-looking strawberry plants, and I found a few carrots gone wild, blooming in their second year. The only thing really growing well among the weeds were a few herbs- mainly Lemon Balm and Mints. The Oregano grown into a huge thing that I had to chop with a shovel into four pieces just to fit into the biggest pots we had. Also found that one Rhubarb is still alive, though small- pulled weeds from around that and mulched it with dried grass clippings off the lawn, though I doubt it will continue to receive care. It all just reminded me how cultivated our food plants are- without anyone tending them, they quickly succumb to the vigor of weeds.

So after rescuing the handful of herbs and strawberries for my daughter, I put a few plants into pots for myself. I brought home a leggy Spearmint and a Chocolate Mint (on the left here) which I've already taken cuttings from- to reduce the height, encourage branching and create more plants.
The Lemon Balm feels like a useless plant to me- I never did manage to get anything tasty from cooking with it. But it's definitely hardy- it had spread a lot through the old plot, even with the weeds to compete with- and it has a lovely scent. It's kind of pretty too.
I don't have a picture of the Oregano here because it's all just stems. The thing had grown enormously tall and was flowering pretty purple spikes. I had to cut most of it back just to see where to dig to get the root mass out of the ground- I do hope it revives, and won't mind being cut back so severely.

This morning I had fresh Mint tea, first in a long time. That was very nice.

25 June 2014

ginger green

It's hard to get a nice photo of it, as the foliage is spread out and there's just a lot of stuff on my balcony.
Looks healthier than last year, though I'm wondering if any more shoots will come up. I could probably eat some now, if I wanted to.

23 June 2014


unfortunately, did not fare as well when I was gone. It seems his bowl water was not changed at all for three weeks, and at some point he quit eating. When I got home he looked very emaciated, pinched and listless. I did two complete water changes, five days apart, the first week home. After the first one he perked up and started eating again. After the second cleaning he looks less pinched, and is now more active, coming out of the skull cave and darting around when he sees me nearby. I hope he continues to improve. Poor fishie!

(Now that Pinkie is safely at home in the large tank, I am making plans to establish a ten-gallon for Flash and move him up as well).

22 June 2014

water garden

Taking stock of how all the aquarium plants are doing, now. Rotala is doing great- at least two of the groupings, grown quite tall and pretty how the stems wind around each other reaching to the surface. One trio of cuttings I had planted in front corner not growing much at all; I moved that to a spot that should get better light.

The Anubias actually look good too, even though covered with small bright green algae spots. Each one is sprouting a new leaf.

The Aponogeton all have new shoots emerging, but the browning older foliage takes attention away from the few nice, maturing leaves so I cut out all the old stuff. Moved one of them as well; its longer leaves were getting pulled into the filter. Glad to see that it had nice, extensive white roots growing!
I also cut out some Java Fern leaves. With all the little bumps on them. I'm sure now that this is not baby plant sprouts but something harmful- the leaf with the most bumps was curling in on itself in a sickly-looking way. And they're spreading- a few of the other Java Fern have bumps on their leaves as well. Still don't know what it is...

au revoir Snaily Snail

The snail died. And I have no idea how long it was in there, polluting the aquarium- the shell was completely empty when I found it.

21 June 2014

fish doings

I recently got home from a three-week vacation. For the first two weeks I had someone to water plants and feed the fishes, the last week they were left on their own. Pleased overall to see how things went in my absence.

All the fishes in the main aquarium seem fine,
even Tilda, who was my biggest worry. 
Pinkie looks great- his eyes seem less cloudy, tail notch even diminished.
The first day home I changed out a third of the water. Five days later changed out 25%, as well as gently rinsing out the filter medium, cleaning algae off the front glass and trimming off a lot of decaying plant leaves. Now the tank growth looks sparse again, but I wanted any bit of decay out of there, to get the tank really clean again...

20 June 2014

red glory

my Croton is on fire!

19 June 2014

pretty success

I have accepted by now that the Echinacea, autumn Ferns, Mimosa and Hibiscus on my balcony are not going to grow again. Still dead dry stems, barren ground in those pots.
But, I now have flowers! The Nicotiana is so lovely. It reaches just outside the railings towards the sun, so I had to lean over awkwardly for some photos.
Lots more of these plants still growing up, the broad leaves are quite large.

15 June 2014


I moved my Aloe Vera outside, where it has room to spread. It seems to be standing taller.

13 June 2014


The other day I took all these plants, and then some, and shuffled them into new pots. Some when out of a pot it was too small for, and another plant moved up into its pot.
I didn't think to photograph them all, but here's a few notes. The Coleus cuttings finally went into soil. These things grow amazingly quick, and you can see how many roots! This is after I trimmed some off, there was twice as much.
I took quite a few plants out of SIP bottles- they had outgrown them. I didn't have suitable container to make a new larger SIP so they just went into regular pots. My largest Geranium, the Poinsettia and my Croton
I potted up the Aloe Vera into a large clay pot. It is growing new roots, a few leaves broke off, it is starting to stand up straight again. But I still have trouble finding a good location for it, where it doesn't run into something or poke my kids!
The only plant that moved down in pot size was the Creeping Charlie. One of its stems died, I had overwatered.
The nicest-looking results are my two largest Palms, but I didn't get a picture of those. Will soon.

12 June 2014


One left of this still unidentified (but awfully familiar) volunteer plant growing

11 June 2014

water jar

of Java Moss- keeping the trimmings going for one day when I might use them to grow a carpet... another idea for a future aquarium setup- like the vase of arrowleaf cuttings, I change the water out weekly.

09 June 2014


The one fern I have left. Has been outside overnight for weeks now, it's so warm.
I cut it back the other week. Expecting lush new growth soon- I already see fiddleheads coming up through the debris.

07 June 2014

what seedling?

These little plants are still growing for me.
They were in a fern pot which I moved into the ground, so I pricked these young plants out and into other, individual pots. Still don't know what they are. They look very familiar, I'm sure I've seen them growing around here in someone's yard- a shrub or perhaps a young tree. Planted here by a squirrel!

04 June 2014

moved up

I finally potted up all my Nicotiana seedlings- there were just over a dozen in that greenhouse jug. Actually, a week ago but I've gotten behind in posting here. Must go take photos of the growth now! there's a row of them next to the Lettuce- which are already beginning to bolt in the heat and inedible now. I only got a nibble twice.
The Chard are still going strong, I will eat those later.

02 June 2014

onion greens

These two onions began sprouting in the fridge. So I put them over little cups of water, let the tops grow in windowsill. For a period of time can cut the green shoots. Already put some on mashed potatoes the other day! And diced a bit into eggs. Nice to have a bit of fresh green.