Outdoor Envy

Alright, so I'm jealous. Sue me.

The plants in the Mr. Yogato garden are doing much, much better than my indoor specimens. The owners themselves told me stories they heard about the failures in these planters in previous years, and they asked me what I was doing to make things grow so well. I do nothing at all--I stuck seeds and plants in, I water occasionally if necessary, and I barely weed (it isn't necessary, pretty much). But things are just taking off and growing crazy. I'm proud of my plants, but jealous that "my own plants" don't grow like this.

But then, the Mr. Yogato plants get afternoon and evening sun. My plants only get morning sun. Despite getting about the same amount of time with the light, the afternoon and evening light is of higher intensity, so I think that plays a big role in the differences.

Regardless, I have a wicked green thumb somewhere!

(All photos will appear larger and better if clicked--they will open in new windows, so you won't have to keep going back and forth between pictures and text!)

This is the window planter box. See the about-nine-foot-tall Titan sunflower? It's supposed to be 12 feet tall. Luckily it isn't, or it'd block the sign above it, and I'd have to cut it off. So I really hope it's done growing vertically...! You can also see the grape vine to the left, the squash all up in the window box, and some other sunflowers, as well as spearmint and gladioluses if you look really hard.

These are my (from left) Alternanthera dentata (Purple Knight), Datura sp. (moonflower), Fragaria x ananassa (Honeoye Junebearing strawberry), Arachis hypogaea (Carolina Black peanut), Ipomoea batatas (ornamental sweet potato). I don't know if you can see Cupressocyparis leylandii, the "Gold Rider" Leyland cyprus; he's hidden pretty well by the Datura, my current favourite toxic plant. I pruned Datura significantly just last week, which you can tell, and now all the flowers seem to be set to bloom at the same time, just a few days hence.

Here are my Arachis hypogaea pegs goin' at it with the dirt! I think the soil is a bit too compact, here, so I don't expect to harvest any peanuts, but I think it's a cool plant, and I will likely use them again next year. Also in this picture is the only weed I noticed during my visit to Mr. Yogato today. Seriously. Only one.

Here is Datura showing off again. This flower is probably open right now and basking in the commotion that is Mr. Yogato in the evening. Its neighbours will soon awaken and grace 17th Street with their presence, too.

The gladioluses I planted on Memorial Day weekend are finally starting to think about flowering! This one is one of two in the sidewalk planter bed--the two that have been stepped on. The ones in the window box have had less rough of a life, but are not thinking about flowering yet. This was a grab-bag of bulbs from a dollar store in Winchester, Virginia, so I don't know what colours any of these flowers will be!

This sunflower is a trooper. It was actually a thinning that I had put in a pile to die, but it didn't. So when it needed to be moved yet again, I was going to toss it--but when I ripped it up, it had a lot of roots. So I just transplanted it to the sidewalk area, next to where the rhubarb is now. And now it's about to flower! Such strength. I wonder what variety this sunflower is?

And this--this is the window box. I seeded the Italian squash about six or seven weeks ago. See what it's doing? Taking over? Heck yes! The ones inside my apartment all died (I removed them, so they died somewhere, but they were not dead until after leaving the apartment--although, who knows? They might yet live!).

Here is one of the two fruit--it is hidden next to the wall, behind the Titan sunflower and the protective leaves of the squash plant. Maybe I will eat this one as it gets larger!

Hm... What can I say about this one other than "Extra Long Floppy Donkey Dong!" That is what the general manager thinks of my squash--but, he's wrong, you know. Because this is a female flower.

And what a female flower! Look how gigantic it is--my hand is holding it not only for a better angle, but to judge relative size. This squash plant is showy, if nothing else.

I am definitely a fan of this variety's leaves--the great size of the leaves with soft grey veins and the wonderful green of healthy vegetation. The only problem is that it quickly concealed all the other plants. Here are some marigolds and strawberries trying to thrive underneath the ambitious edible.

The squash also overran the mint and gladioluses, but that didn't stop them. The mint is flowering, and I'm totally going to let it. Hopefully it'll drop seeds and more will come in next year--I want Mr. Yogato to make mojito frozen yogurt with fresh-picked spearmint from their own planter box! And, no, this isn't the deathmint that I had originally planted... It was only there for a single day! They tease me incessantly about that, asking how many deadly plants I am killing the local dogs with. I had to come clean about the Datura, but really, it's a fairly common landscape plant! And rhubarb, too, is a noxious plant! It's not my fault if every single plant tries to kill us out of spite.

Another Evening Sun sunflower has decided to wake up and show its pretty face. Out of the ones I have seen bloom this year, this variety is my absolute favourite. But I will reserve judgement until I see Titan's smile.

This is one of the sunflowers that bloomed a few weeks ago. The seeds are not quite ready to eat. That didn't stop me from popping a few in my mouth anyway.

Such promise...! I do not know what variety this one is, but I am sure it will be a happy, bright thing, hidden behind the leaves of the Titan (see the single petiole arching above the flowerhead? Those leaves are humongous!).

Another beautiful smile. This sunflower is on a stalk of one that was brutally vandalized at the height of its grace. But now there are about a dozen tiny buds on the stalk waiting to show that they can outshine their predecessor. And, since they're are also well-hidden behind Titan's leaves, they might even survive for a while!

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6 Responses to Outdoor Envy

  1. Who's a clever boy,then!
    I 've been trying to get the target_new bit in the blogger images for months now, without success.
    Well done. May I copy?
    I'll send you an award if you're not careful :-)

  2. Those sunflower pictures are amazing. I love the curly sepals enclosing the center. One could take up residence in that flower, when you see it enlarged. BTW, are those edible seeds? Don't let the birds get there first: they are full of vit D/E and B6.

  3. Nice! I love that type of squash (goes by many names, like tromboncino and zuccheta), and thought about growing some this year. Didn't have the space, though. But yes, it's hilariously phallic.

  4. Your gladioluses bud look very elegant.
    I wish I can plant those here in my place, never seen them anywhere here
    (I guess they are cold climate plants)

    Do follow up on the pic of it, I'm sure it must be very lovely.

  5. Auntie Jo, yes, those seeds are edible! I think the Titan sunflowers are more like the sunflower seeds humans are used to eating--the other ones seem like they would be used as oilseed or birdseed. I am surprised no animals have gotten to them yet--I will bring them home soon and roast them, maybe for my birthday party (some Yogato folks say they'll be coming).

    Amelia... I wish I noticed that the packet said "climbing" on it. I mean, I know, cucurbits, they're generally viny. But this one is crazy. Someone came around and snipped off the shoot tip, so now all the lateral shoots are taking off... I don't need a twelve-foot-long vining bush on my hands! But it would be nice to have more phalluses.

    James, I appreciate the compliment! I will most certainly be taking photos as the Gladiolus blooms. I am sorry to hear they do not grow for you in Malaysia, but I read your blog--you are growing things beautifully that I can only attempt to grow indoors! (My Nematanthus is doing excellently, by the way, as is my Episcia.)

  6. I saw your comment on Garden Chronicles, and came over to see your blog. I see you do have some outdoor space at that store. I love that planter. I am also a moonflower fan. My mother-in-law grew them here when she was alive, and I hunted until I found some. I haven't had to hunt since. ;o)



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