Wednesday, January 27, 2021

Bougainvillea And Tiny Frogs Tell Me It Is Time To Plant


When I was a child, I had a neighbor, Mrs. Alderfer.

She fascinated me.  Of my own parents generation, she lived differently than we did.  Her own creativity in her own suburban New Jersey lifestyle was evidenced in her garden in the backyard, on the slope to the creek, where she grew things where she could fill the table, make preserves, and entertain herself.

I think she taught me by osmosis.  My own yard is now chock full of containers that I use to grow new plants for my own yard.  Her use of a Cold Frame was something I had noticed every year as she insisted it was time to plant.  The Cold Frame looked like a window that was placed over the soil to warm it, to rush the season.  Plants would go into the ground in South Jersey in Mid-April, and harvest in Late Summer and Fall.

I was out in my yard doing my morning inspection of the drip-feed irrigation system.  My pots were happy and healthy and I had to move the one Coleus plant that insisted on growing and shading my plants in that Nursery Pot.  I staked it upright gently and noticed that I had a bit of work to do.  

Last year's cuttings were ready to go into the ground.  Those cuttings were showing new growth and flowers.  I was sticking some Bougainvillea cuttings in that pot as well as directly in the soil around this time last year.  The cuttings were blooming on their own.  I have been doing this every year for a number of years.  The arbors in my backyard are getting refilled slowly by this.

The "Happy Little Plants" are growing, and the Nursery Pot was sheltering a couple species of plants that are due to do some replenishing of new hedges and arbors for the future.

If you want to sit under a tree in your old age, plant the tree when you are young.

Living in my nursery pot was a wee little frog who has adopted that spot.  It was a baby tree frog, and is welcome as they are entertaining to watch.  That particular Bougainvillea leaf that it is resting on is has the more rare salmon colored flowers and the mother plant is being turned slowly into mulch by the termites that moved in years ago.  It still flowers but I will be cutting it well back to get more propagation for next year.

Growing plants for your yard is a hopeful task.  You look forward to the future and how many plants you will receive, how many that will "take", how many that you can enjoy.  Bougainvillea propagates easily, but slowly, as well as the Podocarpus and the Crotons that are so very popular in South Florida.  

If you have one, you can make more.

Since last year's cuttings are happily blooming, then it is decidedly time to get the ladder out, climb up and get some new cuttings from the green growths, and start next year's home for wee little frogs.

The circle of life does beckon.  It may be early up North, but here in Tropical-Adjacent South Florida, we are ready.

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