Yes, I know, it's still August, but by the time you read this it may not be. Plus September just sounds better than "late August". September is about a new school year, re-assessing out family's schedule and getting ready for the upcoming Jewish holidays. It's a perfect time to get your garden in shape. There's just enough time for new plants to establish themselves before winter, (for those of us who have winter) and it's a good feeling to usher in the Jewish New Year with some new greenery in your life!
Last week I finally made it to my favorite nursery, as by chance a family outing took us nearby. I've been wanting to refresh my container garden a bit for months, for myself and for the sake of beautifying the area around my home for all to enjoy. A while back I had obtained two very large planters from a neighbor to enhance a public area above my home, and they had been sitting empty for too long! On a positive note, because they sat empty for awhile, I had sufficient time to really think long and hard about what to fill them with!
Strelitzia, commonly called Bird of Paradise is a classic large leafed plant, with stunning and exotic orange blooms, (white blooms for the tree sized version) that does well in our Northern Israeli climate, with hot dry summers and coldish (sometimes freezing temperatures) winters. So that, together with the important fact that it doesn't have any leaves to drop and is sculpturally beautiful made it a perfect choice.
Another purchase that I just couldn't resist was the red leaved Canna, which has yet to be re-potted. I don't have any dark leaves in my garden, so this is a nice dramatic addition. Canna is a tropical plant but also does well here. It dies back almost completely if the winter is cold, and come spring time shoots forth new growth. Canna is one of those plants that multiplies itself quickly through it's underound root system, so from one plant you can get many, and it is possible to divide them when they are mature by simply cutting the large root mass with a kitchen knife!
(Left:) Heart leaf iceplant, aptenia cordifolia (Right:) Purple Daisy, brachysome multifida
While we were there I couldn't resist trying out a few other species that I have seen thriving in my area. A good nursery is just like a candy store for me, so it's a good thing that we were pressed for time. I'm sure I could easily spend a good four hours there looking and learning and trying to figure out how to bring some more plants into my already crowded container garden!
Mini trailing Petunia, Petunia Calibrachoa
Of course even with limited time, I was able to scoop up quite a few new beauties. Like this trailing Petunia called Petunia Calibrachoa, a perenial here, which I purchased in purple, yellow and pink. These are gorgeous in a hanging container, or spilling over a low wall. They weren't looking so photogenic when I took these photos, but you will hopefully see them soon!
My husband always requests some wonderfully smelling plants as a part of our container garden, so he picked this selection of herbs. The basil will be ready to harvest before winter, and the lemon verbena and mint may die back if the winter is cold, but will grow back in the spring. Picking a few nice smelling herbs from your garden for the havdalah ceremony each week is a wonderful thing! I would recommend the verbena, if it is suited to your climate, as it is actually considered to be tree and in the ground will grow into a nice 4ft bush!
That's all for now, next week I'll show you how the other plants in my beloved container garden are doing at summer's end. I'll leave you with this thought: many busy moms have told me that they just don't have time for plants, which I fully understand! However, they are so incredibly life enhancing that I would greatly recommend finding those few minutes a day, or even a week to add some greenery to your life. And watering the plants is certainly a job that even 6 year olds can do with enthusiasm. Give it some thought!Latest Breaking News!: I just went outside after posting this, and low and behold my new Red Leaved Canna was in total bloom! The biggest surprise was that I was expecting orange flowers, not this gorgeous red. The combination of the burgendy leaves and the bright red blooms is stunning! You see, I haven't even found this guy a pot and he's already giving me joy!