I bought this adorable little Primula aricula ‘Pinstripe’ the other day at the Ontario Rock Garden Society sale. It was the one plant purchased there that I didn’t really need, but couldn’t bear to leave behind.
I’m currently keeping it in a little hypertuffa pot I made years back (molded around a plastic drinking cup), until I can find a new spot for it. Ariculas have a very dedicated, if not somewhat obsessive following and I’m probably breaking all sorts rules and generally freaking people out by growing it in this way — and top-dressing with grit no-less. However, it’s my first and I’m thinking of this as a learning experience/experiment.
Overall, I’m very taken with it and will be sad when the blooms have finished.
This is one of those ideas I wish I’d thought of but didn’t. Who can remember all of the different plants and varieties one is growing at any one time? Especially when the plants are all so similar like those in this sempervivum trough.
My ÃƒÂ¼ber gardening pal Barry is behind this very smart method of keeping track of plant varieties that can work for pots or whole gardens. The other day I asked about a plant in one of his pots but he could not remember the name. He disappeared inside for a second and returned with a binder full of plastic-covered photos, each one marked with the names of plants and varieties, just like this one. Okay, possibly a bit tidier than my slapdash version, but you get the idea.
I have since adopted it for my own mixed plantings rather than burying the tags next to the plants as I often have in the past. It’s a smart and fairly simple way to keep track of plants and avoid ugly white tags that only mar your efforts to make a beautiful planting.
One of the things I brought back with me from our month-long Caribbean trip (did that really happen?) was a renewed enthusiasm for some of the tropicals we grow here at home as houseplants and annuals. Seeing them in their natural habitat provided new, helpful insights into their growth habits and needs, and an appreciation for what they are capable of.
I returned home eager to grow cosmos again, with a respect for caladium (although I will never grow them), and a wish to expand beyond African violets and into growing other Gesneriads (African violet family plants).
The first gesneriad that caught my interest was the episcia shown above. I spotted it growing out of a wall at Papillote Gardens in Dominica. I recently acquired a little cutting of a different episcia and boy do I wish I could grow it in the crack of an old wall like this one. But alas, while our summers are sometimes hot and steamy like the tropics, the rest of the year is not. Mine will be living life in a pot.
Sempervivums or Hens and Chicks as they are commonly called, are an incredibly hardy, and drought tolerant succulent that can take a fair amount of abuse, yet when I was starting out on my roof, they were the last plant I wanted to grow. I’d come to associate them with the few that had been slapped into the tiny front garden of my childhood home. And while I had fond memories of playing with my dolls on the pretend Martian landscape they created, my overall impression as an adult was that they lacked a certain luster.
I don’t recall how it happened, perhaps nostalgia won out, but I eventually came around to growing a few. That summer they bloomed, creating exotic, alien-like flower stalks. I was hooked and decided I would never be without them again.