Growth In My Containers & Pet Stories

Every day I walk out on the patio and see more growth in my containers. The tree that hangs over my fence is filling out nicely.

It’s April 1, folks! Unless the weather gets crazy and it snows, I can begin planting in 2 weeks!

This year I had quite a bit of plants come back from last year, so I’m not going to need much. But I will have to have a few annuals for color, plus some herbs and veggies. I know I want to grow cucumber again. That tasted so wonderful in salads last year.

I’m debating what other vegetables I want to grow. Tomatoes peter out so fast that I’m not sure about even trying with them.

They typically look good until around the time the actual tomatoes are getting nearly big enough to eat, then these brown lines appear from the top down, and it looks like something has eaten into the tomato. But it isn’t from a critter biting into it. Some sort of disease I think.

Does anyone know what this is called or how to deal with it?

The sedum autumn joy is still compact. But it won’t be for long. It will fill the pot and then begin to grow upward until it forms stalks. Which will then turn a russet orange color in the fall.

I think the first growth of my jade butterfly tree is just precious. It begins with a bud of green emerging. Then it looks like a wadded up handkerchief or tissue unfolding as it grows into a leaf.

Then the leaves begin to show their shape, and oh, are they beautiful in shades of yellow and green.

Look how that crazy sedum has taken over my old wash tub. Maybe I should take it out and plant herbs in there.

However, I doubt I could get all of it out, and it will grow like crazy from the smallest pinch of sedum. I’d have to take all the dirt out and start over.

There’s that one odd sprig of some type of mint jutting out of the sedum. I can’t tell yet what kind of mint it is. But it isn’t spearmint or peppermint. Looks kind of lonely in there by itself.

I’m finding creeping jenny in various pots have come back this year. In former years this hasn’t happened. And we had a much colder winter. Not sure why this happened.

Charlie’s hind end behind the galvanized container of lemon balm. Lemon balm has also taken over. It even grows in the crack of the cement now.

If anyone around here wants some of this ground cover sedum or lemon balm, just let me know!

Here’s Ivy taking a nap to rest up so she can figure out what next she can get into. She’s underneath a mattress pad I’m drying there.

This morning I took the red pads off the chairs because they’re covered in cat hair. The chair is comfortable enough without them.

I woke up yesterday morning to find push pins on the floor. Miss Ivy had apparently taken them out during the night. Of course I had to take what I had the push pins in off the wall. Can’t have push pins being swallowed or stepped on.

See the little burlap-covered cork board below? It is now in the closet. Another Ivy casualty.

I feel like I’m living with a toddler. Except no baby gate would keep Ivy from going from room to room and object to object.

Have you ever heard of a cat that would bite push pins off something hanging on the wall? Nothing I could have imagined.

That cat leaves nothing alone. Nothing I tell you. It boggles my mind that she can find so much to get into.

And she looks ever so sweet and innocent here.

I lie my head down at night and wonder, “what on earth will Ivy find to get into tonight while I sleep?”

And Charlie is so well-behaved. Well, unless he sees a squirrel. Then he won’t listen to me for anything.

Maybe Charlie has spring fever. He wants to explore. I don’t guess he understands that as soon as he got wherever he ran to, Mama would not be there. And then he would panic because he couldn’t see Mama. I wish I could explain this to him.

I just turned my cat calendar my sister sent to me over to April. However it’s been a cold weekend. So it could be snowing mid-April for all I know.

Unless something changes my chair and couch should be delivered tomorrow.

Are you excited that spring is upon us? Have you seen anything happening in your gardening space yet?

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  1. Here in the upstate of SC Spring is trying to come. But today we had snow so I guess that was Nature’s April Fool joke on us ! Not any real amount just a reminder not to plant outside yet. My artemisia herb is up and growing nicely. I had trimmed it back in March and it is forming a nice rounded shape now and smells so good to the touch. My host as are coming up and one that surfaced a little too quickly I covered with a plastic pot to protect it from a frosty evening. Well, I had an emergency, admitted to the hospital with a bleeding ulcer ( lost over half my blood overnight… talk about weak) anyway I was released and went to uncover the hosta which is a huge one and it had sprouted so much it had pushed the pot off itself !!! My Japanese Maple tree has little unfurled leaves now and I’m trying to think about my window boxes now and planning on the colors and plants for them now. Thinking of doing them in a riot of fuscia, yellow and a tad of orange. Saw this in an antique wheel barrel and never forgot the combination… just looked so happy. I usually do blues and yellows but thought I’d branch out ( no pun intended) to a radically different color combination. I love seeing Charlie’s pictures. My Dolly Dog passed last August and I am so lonesome living alone without her. Canine companionship is so pure and loving. The loyalty of a dog is beyond measure. I still grieve for my girl as she so completely understood me and I her. I saw the other day that our community vocational school will be having a plant sale April 11th. This might be a place , Brenda, that you and the readers in our online community might explore in their areas for INEXPENSIVE ANNUALS and simultaneously help these students support their vocational programs. I plan on going to aid them and my budget. I’m also going to plant some annuals in seedling trays to aid my garden. These will develop for later and aid my other plants as they get tired and some diseased. Happy planting to all very soon !

  2. Your area is way ahead of mine (northern IL). There is nothing blooming here except for day lilies and chives poking out of the ground. Oh, and my lilac bush has buds, but not open ones. But that’s it.

    Tomato cracking is from erratic weather and watering conditions. There can be dry weather and then lots of rain or over-watering – that leads to cracks. Here’s a good site that tells all about it – and even which varieties you can buy that are crack-resistant:
    http://www.tomatodirt.com/tomato-cracks.html

    Get one of those tape lint rollers for your chair pads. I use the roller on my kitchen chair pads and on other places they like to sleep. For the couch (a much larger area – would be a waste of the lint roller tape), I use a clean sponge. Dampen it, then wipe away the cat hair. I dispose of the hair outside, then keep the sponge in a plastic baggie to re-use.

  3. I can’t seem to grow any type of slicing tomatoes in containers. The little “patio” types, the ones we frequently see on salad bars, do marvelously. I did both red and yellow varieties last year and had excellent yield from both even with suboptimal weather conditions. Wish I could recall the varieties.
    I think Ivy Lou is bored. My cats love the FroliCst BOLT laser pet toy. It has a timer which will allow the little laser beam spot to be projected in continuous motion in various patterns all over the floor. It can tire out overly energetic cats. My cats also love a toy that looks like a brightly colored spring. I never would have picked this as it doesn’t look like something a cat would like. But they certainly do.

  4. Blight?
    That Ivy is a character…funny they usually say getting them spayed helps to calm them down…guess Ivy didn’t get that memo,lol
    My 2 can definitely coax me out of a crummy mood with their
    shenanigans?
    Spring came to N.Y.S. Saturday,then woke up to an April Fool joke,ice and snow,seems like winter likes to wear out it’s welcome up here!

  5. You know that Ivy is “attacking” your push pins because you took away her cushy red pillow on “her” dining room chair! All kidding aside, she looked so comfy there. How about one chair without a cushion and one with? 🙂

  6. That is so funny…the Sedum. I did not know what it is called; however, I have lots of it. A few years ago my Hairdresser pulled off a few pieces and gave me, instructing just throw them in some soil and they will grow. I did so, and now everytime I need a bit of greenery somewhere..I do the same. In the hot summertime here in NC, we are gone long weekends at times, so therefore my plants must be hardy to withstand no water..lol I do not plant alot, for this reason but sure am enjoying the education here at your blog. I think I will look for some lemon balm, since it must be hardy and must smell wonderful. One of my seven doggies is a 2-year old Cocker, so I can relate to high energy and mischievous antics. I call her a sweet little devil. lol Your babies are so pretty and don’t they bring us JOY…so we will keep them no matter what… :0) . I kiddingly tell my babies when they are acting up, “pack your bags, cause you’re leaving here tomorrow”…lol Tomorrow of course never comes… such lovers.. Can’t wait to see more of your patio and your new furniture. I would love a new rug and furniture, but one of my doggies is a marker..whew…. Thanks for sharing …blessings of Spring weather your way..and hope we get it more stable soon, too.

  7. Our cat Hank pulls push pins out and plays fetch. He loves the large twist ties found in the bulk section of the grocery store. Frequently my hubby will find two or three twisty ties in the bed when he wakes up. Hank is a real stinker.

  8. I always thought tomatoes did that because of too much water. You can always call your county extension horticologist to ask specifics for your area. I worked them for a couple of years.

  9. Ivy is probably bored I’m sure. My boy cat bites EVERYTHING and tries to pull buttons off of shirts.. he chews on anything hard, so I can imagine if he found push pins, he’d pull them out! And my female rescue cat (alot like Ivy) bites things too and loves pulling things OUT of containers.. so we find toothpicks on the floor, pipe cleaners on the floor, sewing pins on the floor (she somehow finds them on my craft desk), etc. Also…. can you take Charlie for some short walks on a leash? He’d probably love to get out and see some different sights! I’ve even seen people taking cats for walks on a leash, or having them with them camping, and on a leash. I tried it with our rescue girl (Maddie) but she wouldn’t have it! Marilyn

  10. All that green in your garden! It’s beautiful and makes me feel like spring is definitely here. Although yes, April can do anything, weather-wise. Ivy is definitely a mischief, but she’s so pretty one has to forgive her. Charlie boy sure has come around, isn’t that great. Ivy’s been good for him.

  11. I had that problem with tomatoes when I grew them in Virginia. Can’t remember the name but it is caused by moisture and pollution in the air. It made me give up on tomatoes.

  12. Brenda, you might call your County Extension Office and ask them to recommend a tomato variety that is resistant to the problems you’ve had in the past. And, maybe plain, flat-headed thumb tacks would be more Ivy-resistant. I enjoy your blog so much. Good luck!

    Sherry in Little Rock

  13. Small fruiting tomatoes are the very best, plenty of crop and sweet enough to eat straight off the vine. I got yellow ones last year, and every time I walked by the plant there were enough to add to another salad!

  14. Tomatoes also love to have eggshells mixed into their soil. I know the big tomatoes are great for slicing, but the small ones are much easier to grow. Sweet 100 is a favorite of mine.

  15. The photo of the branches with green leaves you asked about — is that from the tree you say is filling out nicely? Or is this a different plant? I know you have shown photos of a privet shrub when it is in bloom with some little white spikes of flowers. Is this the same plant as the privet? The way those leaves are standing up makes me wonder if it is a type of honeysuckle, actually. Do you know if it flowers at some point?

  16. have you thought of training Ivy to a leash with a hartler … Think of the fun of walking Charlie and Ivy together !!!!But believe me she would love it BUT make a dash for the door all the time

  17. Brenda, I love to read about Charlie and Ivy’s antics. What a joy and blessing animals are. My friend once told me that pets are like 2 year olds who never grow up. I am also trying to use, divide and replant my existing perennials. I’m happy to see the sweet William aka diantis? I planted last year is coming up. It is an annual that most of the time will come back. I have been lucky reblooming orchids that have been in the mark down section of the grocery store. I always have plants in my home to help clean the air. I recently got a small pot of potho cuttings for .75 at a huge flea market when in Florida last week. The commissary at MacDill Air Force base in Florida had a large selection of very add I plants. Needless to say, I was happy to pop them in my trunk. I was praying for warm weather as I traveled back to MD! Take care and have a great day.

  18. Your tomato needs some calcium. You can get it at a garden center. Just add to your mix when you plant. It’s called ‘Blossom End Rot’. There are also sprays for it also. Be sure to feed your tomato while it is growing, they are heavy feeders. It’s best to use fresh mix each year for tomatoes otherwise you can carry over problems from year to year.

  19. We always trained our dogs anyway, to go into those plastic kennels you get to send animals on airlines (easy to clean)…until they became reliable about not getting into things, or pottying in the house etc. It takes awhile…and we kept them as it was “their” bed from then on and they could go there to be left alone whenever they chose. Ivy is beyond belief…never heard of a cat so doing as she does!!
    Your plants are beautiful!!

  20. Things are not as far along here in eastern Iowa but the trees are budding and the tulips are coming up…. I don’t think I will buy too many plants this year but for some impatiens for under my Japanese maple….and a pink geranium for my concrete planter by the front steps.
    Maybe you know: my sister gave me potted tulips for my birthday yesterday. Can I just plant them in the ground now?

  21. Brenda,
    Can you tell me what vegetables are best to grow in a container and how big of a container it needs to be? I am going to try to grow some this year, but I have no idea where to start. I’m going to get some mint, and maybe some thyme. The lemon balm that you have seems to grow like crazy. Maybe that’s good for a “starter” like me. I’m also going to give lettuce a try and maybe some cucumbers, and others, based on what you suggest. I don’t have a lot of room and I have a very small patio, which the squirrels seem to love like it was their own. I’m not giving up though. And your morning glories, and indeed glories. They are beautiful.
    I Will look forward to your reply so that I can get started and see how my first season of container gardening goes. Wish me luck. 🙂
    Thanks,
    Jackie

  22. I can’t believe Ivy took the push pins off the cork board, what a nut she is!! You could staple your pictures to the cork board, she shouldn’t be able to get staples out….I don’t think!

    I cleared out two garden beds this past weekend, and started clearing out the herb beds and big planters on the deck. There was a surprising amount of green under the leaves in the garden beds! A promise of spring for sure. Sadly, Sunday the winds blew and blew and guess where all the leaves ended up again?? Yup, right where I had just cleaned them out. And then we got snow overnight…..so Saturday’s spring temps and sunshine were just a tease.

  23. I am very excited for spring, but of course it is a bit too early for us here in Reno to think of outdoor plants. We sometimes get snow in June! But I am going to purchase some houseplants this month and I am excited for that. I just finished an article about how house plants help neutralize EMF’s in your home and improve the air quality and I am all for that. But I love seeing what your gardening is doing, and so far it sure looks good for so early in the season.

  24. Your pet photos are precious. Keep a close eye on Charlie. You don’t want him getting into the street. Maybe a leash would be good. It only takes a second and if Nathan isn’t there, could you catch Charlie?

  25. We have 6 cats and one of them can open drawers, it’a amazing all of the things that she pulls out so she can get inside for a nap!

  26. Hi Brenda,
    That little Miss Ivy taking the push pins. Too funny. It is like having a two year old in your house!
    Cats seem to be so curious and Ivy proves that for sure. I love seeing your garden coming to life. We probably will not see that here in Illinois for another good month. I cannot wait.
    Have a great start to the new week.

    Kris

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