My plants said–hey–you are killing me here!!

This is Silver Falls Dichondra and it can grow in sun or shade. I use it every year in containers. It will grow in just about any type of soil too which makes it a really good plant for beginners. I pride myself on taking care of plants and preparing my soil in both the containers and the beds. But this year, something happened with the container soil. It was too heavy. I think it was the leaf mulch I used in place of fine bark chips which I ran out of when doing the last couple of pots.

Unfortunately, those with the leaf mulch were potted up with new begonia cultivars I was testing for Proven Winners. I make my own mix each year using equal parts of potting soil, fine bark chips, mushroom compost, and a small hand full of Espoma Plant Tone. To that mix I add one table spoon of slow release fertilizer if the plant is a heavy feeder.

When I ran out of bark chips, I subbed with leaf mulch. It made the mix too heavy and the begonias were rotting in the pots. So I did an experiment for all the pots containing the bad mix. I had about 10 altogether. I changed out all of the soil for every pot. I shook the old dirt from the roots and replanted. In some cases, I had to pull the dirt off cause it was so wet and compacted. Yes, some of the roots got damaged but they were going to die left in that suffocating mess.

It’s a week later and everything but the annual flowering Vinca is dancing a new jig.

Those are my new begonias on the stand and there is plenty of time for them to bloom out and grow nice and long. They have perked right up and turned from a sickly yellowish color to a healthy green. There are two types of begonias in that pot they are—

2009 Mandalay Mandarin

2009 Mandalay Pearl

I’m hoping to show you larger plants that are blooming in a few more weeks. When I took them out of the dense soil, the roots hadn’t spread at all. These plants are suppose to stay on the dry side. Hopefully, I haven’t let Proven Winners down and killed them–it happens even with the best intentions. I am admitting making a very big mistake. It is yet to be seen if I’ve reversed the situation.

The other pots that I replanted are doing equally as well and so I would consider this a success for the most part.

The nasturtiums gave me a bloom for my efforts. They didn’t even skip a beat with the transplanting. I divided my Kimberly Queen fern too. I had one and now I have 4. I just took it out of the container and stuck a spade right down through its middle. And then—cut those two sections in half.

The baby chicks are snug in their new bed.

Now this window box planter got the good dirt from the get go. Somebody pull that grass out of there would you? Look at those begonias in the ground—Shoo doggies–they love mushroom compost. That’s my vegetable garden and I’m pulling in maters now by the truck load.

and then we had some wind and rain. It’s OK–they all survived except a few broken sunflowers. The containers are on the covered porch so they are fine.

And the Envy Zinnias all clapped and cheered at the good rain. This is standing room only.

6 Comments Add yours

  1. I’m glad you figured out the situation with your begonias. Poor things. I love those “Envy” Zinnias in the last pic. Everything is looking really good in your garden this year.
    *** Thank you and I’ll be adding those Envy Zinnias to my list next year. I think every seed germinated. They last as cut flowers forever it seems.


  2. Next year it’s your mixture all the way, I’d better jot it down just in case! I’ll call it Anna’s wonder mix :). Have I told you lately how much I appreciate you? just everything about you!

    Kathi 🙂
    ** I accept that complement and so much appreciate it. It’s a grand day for me when I meet another one so quality as yourself. Right back at cha! Besides that—your jam is Divine.


  3. Gail says:

    Isn’t it amazing what a bit of rain can do…I wonder what it would be like to live where the rain is gentle! Oh, it would be Seattle or Ireland! I like your soil recipe and will give it a try next time I pot up plants. What is the composition of your garden bed soil? Everything looks happy. Gail
    *** Thank you for asking cause every gardener loves to talk about soil. I had that bad clay soil that you and I love;). it took lots of back breaking work that took 5lbs off me. It’s a lot of leaf mulch, mushroom compost,sand, and soil conditioner. Add to that—Espoma Plant Tone. I don’t measure, I just keep mixing until I’m happy or dh gives out. Thank you for noticing my soil–woo hoo.


  4. Cinj says:

    It’s a good thing you were able to fix your little problem. I’ve been thinking I should do something about some of my pots too. I didn’t use my mix in some of them and they’re just not thriving like they should. The soil’s not bad, they aren’t rotting or anything. But the plants are just so darned small compared to the ones that got the good soil.
    *****Soil makes such a big difference. Every day they are perking up. I won’t make that mistake again.


  5. Sherri says:

    Thanks for sharing your wonderful pictures of your plants-they are beautiful!
    ** Thank you and glad you stopped by. I’ve been back to your blog to check on you. I still can’t respond but wanted you to know that your updates to the home are looking good. I wish you the best with the sale of your home. I know that is hard.


  6. cindee says:

    I am so glad you figured out what the problem was. My begonias are just sitting there doing nothing. I don’t know what is wrong but maybe it is their soil? I should look and see what they are doing down inside the pot. Everything in your garden looks so great. Is that an old pail you have the silver falls in? I just bought some more of that today. It actually comes back here after the winter. (-: So the more I buy the merrier I am(-: Yours is gorgeous. I love how it hangs down on that plant stand(-:
    *** Thank you Cindee… I wish it was an old pail, but it’s a new one. I have three of them and punched holes in all of them. My dh said I was nuts. I said–it’s got to drain. I also bought 3 bowls with handles that I need to drill holes in too. I’m going to put chicks in them since I’m running over with them.

    You know, with this bad drought I’ve had a time keeping it all alive. My grass is a sad state of affairs. I bet your begonias are not liking the heat either. Could be those roots or bad dirt. Let me know what they look like tomorrow. I know you know what to do–but I’m curious.

    I’m hoping to have my greenhouse built this fall and I want to over winter that Dichondra. I wonder if you can just cut it back and divide the roots. Seems like if yours comes back then that might be possible. I’ve never studied its roots to see if they are fiberous and strong enough to pull apart. Do you know?


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