Welcome to the 168th Metamorphosis Monday!
Preparing the Porch and Decks for Spring: Cleaning and Planting
At the start of this past winter, I decided to try something new. Instead of tossing the big geranium that lives all summer on the porch, and the three smaller ones visible behind this summer table setting below, I tucked them all away in my garage for the winter.
Amazingly, they lived. They only needed watering a few times all winter. I placed them near the windows in the garage so they got a little light, although it wasn’t much. We had a very mild winter here this year, so I’m sure that helped them to winter over. About a week ago, I brought all the geraniums back out onto the deck. I placed the three smaller ones back in their stand under the window. We’ll call this our “before” pic for this post.
As you can see in this photo below, they looked skimpy and pretty leggy. They were beginning to show some new growth, but obviously it was going to take quite a while for them to fill back out. I came inside, Googled and read a bit about wintering over geraniums. The info I found online said, yes, you can winter-over geraniums, but they never look that great again and they don’t bloom as much either. The article recommended just buying new geraniums each year since they are relatively inexpensive. Ummm. Guess I should have Googled this topic before I wintered them over. After reading that info online, I decided to just purchase some new flowers, mainly because I’m concerned I’ll water them faithfully all summer and never see many blooms. I really like blooms and lots of pretty color!
So I took all of last year’s geraniums and transplanted them into other pots scattered around here on the deck. I couldn’t bare to just toss them since they had been kind enough to go along with my scheme and had hung in there all winter.
Here are some of the “wintered-over” geraniums, after I transplanted them.
I also transplanted some into this pot that’s been on the deck all winter. Amazingly, the Creeping Jenny I had transplanted from other pots at the start of last summer, survived the winter in this little pot. You can see a bit of it coming back on the front right corner.
Here’s where I transplanted the last of the wintered-over geraniums. One is actually blooming. It will be interesting to watch them this summer to see if they live up to their online reputation and fail to produce lots of blooms. I’ll be feeding them, so we’ll see how it goes.
I purchased a large pot of geraniums. I could see it really contained three plants. That was less expensive than buying three separate pots of geraniums. I placed them into the three pots here beneath the window. I also purchased flowers for the large corner pots.
Before I show you how it looks for this year, here’s a photo of how it looked back in early spring of 2009. (Sorry about the blurry photo.) I keep trying different things in the large corner pots. The year this pic was taken, I had planted tomatoes in them.
In Spring 2010, I tried a climbing plant in each of the big pots. I’ve totally forgotten what it was…anyone recognize it? You can’t see them very well, but there are geraniums in the three pots under the window. I always use geraniums in this area because it gets really hot and they do pretty well. Plus, I just like ‘em. Update: Thanks Carol and Carolyn for identifying the climbing plants as Mandevilla. That rings a bell now…thanks for the help!
So here’s how it looks this year. I should have put the cushions in the chairs for the photo. This year I planted yellow hibiscus in the large corner pots. I have one bloom so far, see it there on the right. The yellow should be pretty with the new pink geraniums in the smaller pots in the center.
I’m praying Mr. Squirrel doesn’t steal all the leaves from the hibiscus like he has done in past years when I had hibiscus in the tall urns on the other deck with the pergola.
Here’s how the hibiscus looked that year after Mr. ravenous squirrel snuck up onto the deck and took the leaves, one by one. In an attempt to save them, I transplanted them into the corner pots that year. They never recovered, though.
So, this year I’m starting them out over here and keeping my fingers crossed.
Notice how the smaller pots holding the geraniums have gotten all whitish and crusty looking over the years. I love that!
This was the fun part of my deck and porch metamorphosis for this weekend. The rest of the metamorphosis just involved a lot of cleaning! I vacuumed and mopped up the pollen on the porch. It’s a little early so I’ll probably have to do that at least once more this season. I washed off the dirt from the outdoor speakers, ledges and the skinny molding that runs around the porch.
I took down the “Summer Breeze” sign and gave it a good cleaning. I also cleaned off the blades of the ceiling fans so when I turned them on, they wouldn’t rain down pollen everywhere. I’m hoping the worst of the pollen is gone since most of the trees seemed to have finished blooming/leafing out.
The hutch on the porch got a good cleaning, too. I’m going to replace this lamp this year, I think. I’ll be hitting the thrift shops in search of something lighter and more summery.
My St. Patrick’s Day shamrocks are still alive and blooming, which is a miracle! I am terrible at keeping indoor plants watered and thriving but I’ve made an effort with these. So far, so good.
I always fill this large pot here on the chair with red geraniums. I move the pot outdoors regularly during the summer so it gets plenty of sun, but I really love having them here on the porch throughout the summer. A shabby, old, painted chair makes a great plant stand for a large pot of flowers.
The knock-out roses on the other deck are doing well. I’m amazed they don’t die during the winter, but so far they are hanging in there. This pic is from last year.
I didn’t keep them watered as I should have earlier in the spring…it got hot here quickly this year! So they lost a few leaves but they seem to be recovering nicely. The Creeping Jenny planted at the base of the roses always winters over and it’s coming back beautifully this year.
Occasionally, I steal some of it to use in table settings on the porch. It paired nicely with roses and daisies back in September 2010 for this table setting with Copeland Spode Tower.
I gave the bottle tree a little bath, too. It hasn’t “grown” since last summer.
In fact, it lost two bottles to this Seaside craft project earlier in the spring. That definitely didn’t help with the “growing” part.
I think I’ll give it a little “fertilizer: this summer so it will fill in all those empty spaces. Look for a future update on the bottle tree.
Did you metamorphosis anything this spring? Have you started potting/planting yet or is it still a bit too cold in your area? I’m looking forward to all the Before and Afters for this Met Monday!
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