Tomatoes & Roses

Today I noticed the first of the roma tomatoes I planted!

My yard is impossible for gardening.  Along the back fence is a row of about 15 trees, consisting of 10 podocarpus, 2 camphor, and one crepe myrtle.  When I get the chance, the podocarpus are all exiting.  I’ve taken out 2 already in the front of the house, and am just waiting to have a spare bunch of change for the rest.  There is simply way too much shade, and nothing grows except moss and mushrooms.  Yes, the yard is cool, but the darkness is not worth it.  The camphor trees provide shade, are nicely placed, and once the crepe myrtle gets more sun, should be quite lovely.

What this means is absolutely no flower gardening nor vegetable gardening.  Everything is in pots, on the patios.  I have blueberries and tomatoes and herbs and a fig tree and a key lime tree and some roses and a plumeria and some lilies and canna and orchids and galangal and spiderwort.  It gets a bit troublesome as seasons change, and messy, too, when it is time to re-pot.

Despite these limitations, the urge to plant and propagate exists.  Where I teach is a wonderful rose garden in the middle of the shabby buildings.  The roses are well tended by the gardener, and I expect they have been there easily 50 years or more.  During the annual cut-back, he kindly gave me numerous slips, which I have only now taken the time to put into the ground.  That is one of the things so wonderful about roses – you can really abuse them, but it takes a lot to destroy them.  The slips have been living in a bucket of murky water.  Some turned totally black; these I discarded.  The rest, I pulled out, and one by one, split the base and inserted tooth picks, and popped them in the ground.

Empty flower pots were filled with potting soil, watered thoroughly, and then allowed to drain.  I dug down about 4 inches, and placed the cuttings into the soil, firmed the dirt around the slip to keep it upright, and then watered again.  Watching the slips is critical – the soil has to be moist, but not overly so, nor allowed to get too dry.  We’ll see how things go over the next few weeks.

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