February 11, 2015: Staghorn fern

Ever since I spotted one of these at City Planter in Northern Liberties a couple weeks ago, then a few days later, saw one on Apartment Therapy, I knew a staghorn fern would be in my future. What I didn’t know was that my boyfriend was concocting a plan to secure such a specimen and install it on an exposed brick wall in my house without telling me! I walked in tonight and found this gorgeous, healthy, vibrant epiphyte set onto a wooden board (salvaged from a barn!), with sphagnum moss, and wall-mounted with rope suspended from a ceiling beam. Named for their antler-like appearance, these plants with their long fronds resemble a taxidermic trophy. Here’s what mine looks like on Day 1 in South Philly.

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February 1, 2015: Repotting aloe and mid-winter garden update

December and January have passed with 4.3 inches of snow in Philly, but no new blog posts! It’s been since Thanksgiving, when I wrote about harvesting carrots for the holiday table. The garden hasn’t changed much between the first frost and today, except for becoming even more barren, cold, and brown! I have therefore turned my attention indoors the last couple months. This afternoon, I decided to repot my aloe, as it had outgrown its 4 inch pot (with the telltale sign of roots springing out of the drainage holes). With 4 oz. of succulent potting mix from Urban Jungle and a 5 inch pot from City Planter, I transplanted it successfully, unfurling the strands and breaking up the root ball as I stuffed and filled the new pot. A coffee filter or paper towel layer to line the bottom helps prevent the soil from sifting right through the drainage holes when repotting. I’m also posting a couple photos from the garden, as the crimson rose hips caught my eye, contrasted against the muted palette of the yard; the strawberry plant has turned out to be quite the evergreen.

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October 31, 2014: Rain barrel

Thanks to the Philadelphia Water Department’s Rain Check program, I now have a rain barrel! The materials and installation were free, and it only took about 15 minutes. I first posted about this initiative on May 28. Since then, I attended a workshop in June, then put my name on the list. The only other requirement is to be a Philadelphia resident! To check out the schedule of workshops, click here.

While the vermicomposting process takes place on the right in the tumbling compost bin, the rain barrel on the left will collect water to help that nice soil produce veggies, flowers, and herbs next year. And, it’s being diverted from the waterways to alleviate the stormwater flow. What could be better!

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October 18, 2014: Summer colors in fall

The temperatures are expected to drop into the low 40s by the end of this weekend, so I wanted to capture some of my garden’s last summer colors, reminiscent of warmer days. McBaine joined me as I photographed flowers, seedpods, and the remaining tomatoes, but his interest was primarily focused on chewing a stick!

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September 28, 2014: Pumpkins (not homegrown)

Two heirloom pumpkins are a decorative fall addition to my front stoop. One is a bright reddish orange and the other a green and yellow variegated kind. While these squash are not from my garden, those that are out there aren’t faring too well: a squirrel came in the yard the other day and ate the yellow squash that had managed to grow the biggest to date! It was only 3 inches long or so. I hope at least most of the others are safe. Three new perennials from Greensgrow are also adding to the curb appeal to the front of the house: a pink “Pretty Lady Diana” anemone, more hens and chicks, and a dwarf red hot poker plant (Kniphofia “Ember Glow”) that has dense orange and yellow spikes for flowers.

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