CONTAINER GARDENING 2016

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FLowers of the Balcony

Passion Flower 1  Passion Flower 2

Only in the past two years have I been able to grow the Passiflora “Passion Flower Vine” offered as containter grown plants at my favorite Mennonite Greenhouses, Evergrowing Greenhouses – Steve and Stella Showalter & Family

Over the past 21 years I have become somewhat proficient in container gardening, as I have lived in apartments that if i wanted beautiful gardens, the only way was in containers.

In Bridgewater I was able to have more containers, even though the apartments I lived in, both are south facing, in Bridgewater it was due south, without any obstructions, blocking the sunlight. In Elkton there are some trees and the orientation here is more southeast. There is just a bit of difference in the way the sun strikes the containers and the length of day for them. It is enough to say that they all get 6 hours or more of sun and that is considered full sun.

Below, is the new additon this year garden, it is Lantana, a very tough everblooming plant, the lantan are planted aternately with the Supertunia’s which should cascade through the balcony railings as well.

 

Below are the Supertunia’s that will cascade over the balcony railings

 

The key with container gardening that most people do not think about is they usually pick containers that are way too small for the quantities of plants they plant. The root systems of plants grow large and require more space to grow and sustain themeselves during the hottest months of the year, July and August.

Red Dragon Wing Begonia (1 of 1)  Bronze Begonia (1 of 1)

During the hottest months containers if they are too small, need to be watered sometimes twice a day, morning and evening. If the container is large, there is much more room for the root systems, as well as it takes much more to really dry out a container. I chose deep plastic totes, which I drilled holes in the bottom and used the lids as saucers under the totes. This helps so much in water retention, that your containers even during brutally hot days can go a day without water. Thorough watering is essential, I have witnessed people watering containers that I know the water penetrates a 1/2 to 2 inches, this only causes roots to grow near the surface and makes them even more suseptible to rapid dehydration. You will find thorough watering in larger containers requires much less watering than scant watering in shallow containers.

Oila Container (1 of 1)  Geraniums (1 of 1)

 

Every year I always plant geraniums as they are heat proof, drought tolerant (to a point) and reward you with constant blooms throughout the growing season til cutting frost. I always try to plant something new each year. as well. Just so that it does not become the same redundant thing every year.

Two years ago I wanted to try to have something cascading fromt the top railing, however as nice as these metal clamp on baskets tend to look, they are impracticle as they only are about 6 inches wide and as deep, with coco fiber lining which does not hold water as well as I would like, the newer ones actually come with a water retaining liner for the bottoms of the coco fiber liners. I had tried verbena last year (hence this years volunteers) they did resonably well, but they do require a bit of deadheading. This year I picked up a pack of six Portulacca plants and they seem to love their new environment!

Excuse the pictures of the Portulacca, they are not as nice as I would have liked, the pictures are more to show the container they are in than the flowers in this post.

Orange Portulacca 2 (1 of 1)  Portulacca in Wire Baskets (1 of 1)

I was rewarded this year with two deep hot pink Verbena that came from seed from last year, total volunteers, as well as a volunteer pale lavender petunia (apparently a gift from a visiting bird) I have 10 geraniums all different colors, as well as 3 Salvia Guaranitica “Black & Blue” Planted around the Oila where they will get a constant supply of water. (Hummingbirds Love Them)!

  

This year the new plantings are a Red Dragon Wing Begonia, Bronze Begonia, Lantana “Flame”, Supertunia “Red” & Supertunia “Limoncello”, Supertunias are billed to be an improve ment over “Wave” petunias, in that Waves tend to die out in the center until seasons end, and Supertunia are to stay growing in billowing mounds, hopefully this is the case as they are planted to billow out throught the deck railings and cascade over the edge!

MY NEW COMPUTER DESK & RESEARCH AREA

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New Computer Desk

While this work area is very much different from what I knew as a basket weaver, it certainly does not take up the vast area that basket weaving did.

I have not given up basket weaving, it is just on hold until a time when the limitations of space constraints can allow me to weaver once again. Until then this is my new work area, many things can be worked at within the limitations of a small apartment.

Computer and Research Desk 2 of 12 (2 of 2)  Computer and Research Desk 3 of 12 (1 of 1)

It is amazing what can be accomplished at at 36” x 145” desk, all construcked without screws, just Birch plywood, and pine trim, the one thing to be attached is the pine “L” trim, meant to be used as corner molding on walls, it neatly hides the raw edges of the plywood desk top and shelving.

The desk took 2 full sheets of Birch plywood with nothing wasted, all parts were stained in natural and several coats of varnish applied. All the shelving is supported and seperated by empty cigar boxes fo various shapes and sizes for what I needed. (a very good use for empty cigar boxes)

The desktop is supported by a two drawer file cabinet, my mothers desk, (provides drawers) and a six foot table from Costco.

My 37” flat screen Smart TV., works nicely as my computer monitor with the assistence of an HDMI cable, since i do not watch much television, this double much nicer as a monitor with much better resolution than most computer monitors at a fraction of the price, should I decide to watch something on TV, just change the HDMI input and there is the TV.

This use of the television is wonderful for working in Photoshop and Lightroom. The desk also has my Computer and Research Desk 4 of 12 (1 of 1)research area where I can set and read books and magazines and make notes. Contrary to popular belief there are some of us in this technological age of computers, smart phones, net books, note books, laptops and I-pads that actually still prefer at time to curl up or set at a desk and read from a book or magazine. I will freely admit to getting tired of constantly looking at a monitor, plus you can curl up with a good book or magazine where you cannot with a computer.

This desk/workstation suits a small apartment nicely and make work flow easy for doing websites, blog posts, even some photography as what I call the research end easily fit my foam core and other photographic needs, as well as more space if and when needed in my art room.

LEARNING LIGHT ROOM 2

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Viola (1 of 1)  Viola Profile (1 of 1)

I am finding just like everyone has told me, you just have to get in there and play around with the settings to be the absolute truth. Experience is the best teacher!

What I really need to learn how to do is to be able to show before and after shots of the pictures that I fine tune. I try really hard to have my flowers appear realistic, from what I remember seeing. There is a fine line between washed out and unrealistically saturated. Though I am finding it to be rather easy, perhaps to easy, I will do it and see if someone comments.

It is nice to take a completely washed out picture, that I must admit there are some in which I was having a blonde moment apparently (you cannot tell now, but I was born with blond hair) and take it from hiddeous and resurrect it and bring it back to reality.

Sunflower Interior (2 of 1)  Sunflower Petal Detail (1 of 1)

The above were shots of two different types of sunflowers, the first I liked for the contemporary way it turned out running diagonally through the frame with the stamens more in focus. The second, I liked more for the veining detail in the petals. In all the pictures the detail shows up best when enlarged (by clicking on them)

Lilly Bud (1 of 1)  Rose - Yellow (1 of 1)

Below we have Mallard Ducks at Wildwood Park, Bridgewater, Virginia from early this Spring. If you live in the valley, and want a beautiful day in the park along the river, you cannot beat Wildwood Park.

While the second pricture is not a very pretty picture with all the debri from winter rains etc. stuck on the dam, it is hard for me to get to the park during the golden hours, of course it had to be high noon and the sun, glare was brutal off the water, even with a polarizer on the lens, using Lightroom, I was surprised how much better the photograph was able to be made, vs the washed out original.

Mallard Ducks (1 of 1)-2  The Dam (1 of 1)