There is only a day or two until Christmas day, however since the weather seems more like spring outside, I thought that I would look back over some of my photographs I took and never posted about until now.
One day I was sitting on my balcony and noticed the sun coming through the giant elephant ear leaves next to me and grabbed the camera, the sun shining through the leaves really highlighted the bold central veins but even more so the delicate tiny veins that make up the leaves, almost reminding me of waves on a seashore.
Giant Black Elephant Ear Leaves
Giant Green Elephant Ear Leaves
Also on that same day my Phalaenopsis Orchids were in bloom, actually from new flower spikes initiated this summer.
I must say that I am very pleased with my balcony container garden this year. Though I believe I have created a monster that will need a machete this fall for both the black and green elephant ears. They both are heavy feeders and like to be well watered. You can understand this with both, as when you plant 1/2 to 1 pound bulbs you get what you plant. The young leaves are huge!
I am looking forward as they grow, to take more close up photography of them as they both have striking textures and veining. The passion flower vine is growing like a weed, now that the Grackle has started leaving it alone, I am sure he/she heard me say that it was soon to be a dead Grackle and poof like magic stopped nipping out the top 4 inches of each vine.
The black eyed susan vines really grow faster than I thought, they don’t appear to be doing much, however they really are they are blooming towards the outside of the deck, (I think they are intimidated by the size of the elephant ears planted directly behind them) The nasturtiums are still growing and blooming heavily, though the older first leaves of the plants are yellowing, I believe as I thought when I planted them that they will last until probably mid July when they will succumb to summers heat. That will leave a color void on that end of the balcony, however this will give the Salvia Guaranitica more room to bush out and the vivid orange of the nasturtiums will be replaced by striking cobalt blue.
The geraniums are growing slowly, I believe as the night temps have just recently begun to stay in the mid to upper 60’s at night, I am sure as soon as the night time temps hit the 70’s they will spring to life. My heavenly blue morning glories and cardinal vines are entwined and growing up now approximately 8 ft tall, the cardinal vines now have immature buds forming, alas none for the morning glories yet.
A surprise came to me about a week ago, a garden space to plant a vegetable garden, after a very long 4 year dry spell of unsettled living and no canning or freezing what so ever. This is indeed presents a welcome relief. When you are used to home canned foods, store bought just does not cut it. This summer I should be able to can tomatoes and V-8 juice as well as green beans, I am already planning on going to the Mennonite orchards for peaches, pears and apples. I love homemade apple butter and plan of making several turns of this, in the fall. I use the 18 quart roaster oven method which requires no stirring and comes out perfect every time. Here is the recipe for this method.
If the garden produces well, some lima beans from the garden for the freezer. I also have cauliflower seed to plant for the fall crop, these will be transplanted to the garden the end of July first week of August. My primary interest with it is for canning Mixed pickle consisting of Cauliflower, Carrots, Bell Peppers, Lima Beans, there are so many variations to this recipe. some even include corn and peas. However it is a great way of eating more vegetables rather than just cucumber pickles.
I do not really have much to write about today, just wanted to show off my balcony garden. I will let the pictures do the talking for the most part. I am just happy to have this little slice of heaven right outside my kitchen door.
Nasturtium Blossoms with an extension tube on, should have used the tripod but was too lazy this morning.
These are the nasturtiums planted in the container with the Olla watering system, everything planted with this Olla is huge and it is only the end of May!
The picture above shows all the Black Eyed Susan vines, passion flower vine, and a cardinal vine, I will admit that I am having a problem with a Grackle bird wanting to nip the tops out of my vines and salvias for nesting materials. though he/she has helped the passion flower vine by nipping the top 4” out, it now has 8 new lateral vines shooting up at each leaf juncture. I would rather he/she leave that for me to decide. so I will be purchasing several rubber snake to place strategically around to entertain the Grackle.
Most of my geraniums in full bloom, they will be rewarded with some Osmocote time release, and Super Bloom fertilizers as soon as I can get to Lowes for them.
My Phaelenopsis orchids, this one did not initiate buds until the end of winter, and in time to be set outside where he seems to love the climate, all the other three, suffered from bud blast, due to lack of humidity over the winter and almost bloomed and then dropped them all. I need to get a humidifier for the apartment next winter. I am hoping to do a step by step post on the repotting and root trimming of the 3 orchids not in bloom, very soon. These geraniums seem to love the bottom shelf of the orchid stand.