Because my name is Rosemary, people automatically assume that I have a green thumb. I was thinking about this yesterday as I was tearing out flowers from the front balcony flower baskets. The flowers were wilted and mostly on the on their way out. I do this almost every year with my the flower baskets in the front- they never make it through August. I dream of having these lush, overflowing baskets and when people walk by our balcony they are like “ahhhh, so pretty.” Like these, or these, or these. Instead the flowers in the basket hardly grow and shrivel up and turn brown in the intense Montreal sun. I make the same mistakes every year. First, I overcrowd the plants putting up to eight, sometimes even ten plants per basket. Way too much! Of course they don’t grow, they don’t have any room. Second, I almost always choose plants that need partial shade and completely ignore the fact our balcony is in the full sun all day long with no shade. The lobelia that I buy every year hates the full sun, yet I buy it year after year (it’s so pretty!). Lastly I hardly ever fertilize the flowers. Considering that they are pumped full of gunk at the nursery I buy them from, bringing them home and feeding them nothing is like asking them to go on a crash diet. I need to get over that fact that I don’t like the smell of the seaweed fertilizer that I bought. I mean really.
So I woke up early yesterday morning and started tearing out the front flower baskets. At some point I called my mother, who truly does have a true green thumb and she told me stories of how she cares for plants- soaking their roots in a natural fertilizer before planting them to give them nourishment, trimming the roots so they ‘take’ to their new environment better, slowly letting them get use to intense sunlight by putting them out for a few hours a day. She is basically a plant whisperer. So after a conversation with my mom, a few web searches I set off to the market to get some more plants. When I got the market I tried to convince myself to buy something practical, something a knew that I could keep alive like a combination of marigolds and basil (apparently really good companion plants and we can never have too much fresh basil in the house). But, I couldn’t bring myself to buy them, I love the smell of marigolds, but they look too much like an old persons flower. Nothing wrong with that, but not the current aesthetic that I am going for. I’m a lusty flower person and wanted to give my overflowing, lush and abundant flower baskets a try just one last time. So I spent more money then I was planning to on plants that I was told would sustain full day sunlight. Last night I prepared the soil by putting the smelly seaweed fertilizer in it and transplanted the plants into the basket (though totally forgot to the trim the roots though as per my mom’s suggestion!) We’ll see how they turn out towards the end of the summer. Here is how they look now.
I did manage to salvage a few plants from my old flower baskets. I had a lot of verbena in the baskets, and though they look in pretty rough shape I think they’ll do well in a different location. I transplanted them into one basket and put them on the back balcony that gets more shade. I did grow them there last year with a lot of success, so I am hoping in a few weeks they will lush and beautiful. I really do love those flowers. I also transplanted some million bells into another pot. I soaked and trimmed their roots before I transplanted them. We’ll see about the millon bells, they should be by all accounts really easy to grow, but I have never had luck with these guys. They don’t seem to transplant well for me, or like being with other plants. I am curious to know peoples experience with them. Any suggestions on flowers baskets in general are most welcome!