CityDiggity

A green space for urban gardeners

Archive for ornamental plants

Period of adjustment: Plants sometimes look worse before they look better

DSC02091It looks like my caladium has finally made peace with the full-sun exposure of my balcony garden.

For the longest time, I wasn’t sure if it would make it. Many of the vibrant leaves—a splattering of ruby red over white over lime green (a little like an abstract canvas)—had turned brown and shriveled at the edges.

But remarkably, it’s rebounded! The sickly looking leaves have fallen away, and the new leaves are healthy and standing proud.

Of course, too much or too little sun isn’t the only thing that stresses garden plants. Just changing
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Seed obsession: it grows on you

In the future (very distant, I hope) someone will be going through the basement of my last known residence and they’ll come across box upon box, filled to overflowing with packets of seeds. Pleased to make your acquaintance, I’m a hoarder.

It all starts innocently enough: I’ll see a pretty, colorful picture adorning a seed pack online or at the local garden store that I just can’t resist. …Or perhaps I’ll succumb to a two-for-one sale.

I always have every intention of planting the seeds that season, but when all is said and done I realize Read the rest of this entry »

A tale of two sweet potato vines – healthy growth inside and out

DSC00619DSC00625DSC00328While my purchased sweet potato vine grows fast and furious outside, my home- grown vine, sprouting from an actual potato, is on quite a growth spurt inside, too.

As you can see, the longest stem has grown from mere sprouts (third photo) to about two-feet since I started the project a couple months back. Of course, my next challenge is to figure out how to get rid of the potato and create a traditional indoor plant from the vine.

The jar of water that I suspended the cut sweet potato into is now filled with fibrous roots and I have multiple leafy stems protruding from the potato. I’ve decided to take off some of those stems as cuttings and try to root them using one of the peat pellets left over Read the rest of this entry »

Kid stuff: Sweet potato vine project has come a long way

DSC00428DSC00328DSC00268In my previous post I had high hopes and good intentions, which now, sadly, litter the wayside of that fabled well-paved road.

It’s after midnight on Friday and unfortunately my plants are not outside as I thought they’d be. I was right in noting that the work above my balcony was finished, but the crew boss informed me that it would be ill-advised to move my plants back outside on Wednesday because he worried that migrating dust from work alongside my neighbor’s unit would damage my plants.

So, I wait. He’d estimated that by end-of-day Friday I could start to put things right in my balcony garden. Of course, best laid plans and all, we had a very stormy Friday and they weren’t able to do any work on the building at all. I’m keeping Read the rest of this entry »

Coleus: It’s not fall, but these leaves are showing their colors

DSC00277DSC00278DSC00292Nothing turns my head faster than a pretty flower. But, lately I’ve been thinking a lot about leaves.

I’ve seen photos online of leaves with so much pattern and texture that I forgot to look for what blossomed among them. Actually, I  think a leaf appreciation has been playing at the back of my mind for a while now…

A few years ago Chicago held a show downtown in Grant Park called “Garden in a City,” which featured displays of various urban garden possibilities: small yards, roofs, balconies. (Chicago is a big proponent of green roofs, so the Read the rest of this entry »