Wednesday, December 21, 2011
This wet bleak December day may not look like a prime gardening day but it does present a rare opportunity to air out the lemon verbenas, Aloysia triphylla, that are over wintering in the basement. Hardy to zone 8, a day in the light rain with temperatures in the mid 40s should be good for these plants. A little wet breeze may end some white flies and improve the overall condition of the leaves.
We will have to keep a weather eye open since the temperature may not remain above freezing for long. The risk of cold damage is slight as zone 8 lows are in the 10 to 20 degree range.
The usual weeds, catnip, Johnny jump ups and chickweed, were cleared from the pots. No serious informed gardener would bring unsterilized garden soil inside but we prefer a natural route. Chemical fertilizer and soil less mixtures are of no interest to us so we deal with bugs and weeds.
Our patchouli plant hit the compost pile today. We thought that it had a good year here. Planted in the shade garden, the plant grew. It survived the move into the house but went downhill after that. We keep our house too cool for this plant. Between the chill the spider mites and the scale, it was pretty much dead. I was surprised to find very little new root growth. As a mail order plant, it arrived in a small plastic pot that was filled with a soil less mixture. Swishing the plant in a bucket of water before transplanting removed much of this chemical laden soil but some remained. The plant roots never really ventured beyond the limits of the original pot. Others must experience similar problems with nursery plants. Has anyone found a method of transplanting that results in vigorous root growth? There must be a better way and we would like to know what it is.