A Plant A Day Till Spring – Day 41 – Swamp Mallow

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“Swamp Mallow” – Summer 2013 – Frick Park – Pittsburgh, PA

“A Plant a Day till Spring” will highlight one plant a day, starting on the winter solstice (December 21, 2013)… And ending on the vernal equinox (March 20, 2014)… If all goes to plan I will be starting with old Snowdrop photos from 2013… And ending with new photos of Snowdrops in 2014…

It’s the dead of winter and I woke up this morning thinking about sunshine and the local park… You could almost say I woke up with wildflowers on my mind…

Wildflowers on my mind… Wildflowers in my soul… Wildflowers quickly become an obsession… When you start to learn about them… Then even more importantly start to notice them… You realize they are everywhere… Eventually… You will want to grow them… And soon you have got them coming out of your ass… That’s just how it goes… Don’t be all judgy… I have had worse addictions than flower hoarding…

When I took the photograph above… A young girl ran up to me with her mother and asked if this plant was Hibiscus… She said her daughter wanted to know… I explained that it was… But told them the differences between our native variety and the tropical variety they had at home… I was even able to get them a few seeds off the plant… I explained how to grow them… And they left… I hope I see them again this year to see if they got them to grow…

Short but sweet… Hope you have a great day… As always…

plant petunias and question everything – chriscondello

If you want some science – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/c_moscheutos

New To writing and never had to cite sources before… These “Plant a Day Till Spring” posts are simply intended to kill time until spring when I start writing more… My source (where applicable) is Wikipedia.org… The photography is all my own… And I am adding my own information…

This website and all of the information presented within is provided free by the author… Me… It is my sole opinion and is not representative of anyone other than myself… Although this website is free… I sell prints of my photography here – www.society6.com/chriscondello – or you can contact me directly with questions at – c.condello@hotmail.com – Although it isn’t a requirement… It helps…

Remember to tip… My Bitcoin digital wallet address is – 1JsKwa3vYgy4LZjNk4YmPEHFJNjPt2wDJj

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A Plant A Day Till Spring – Day 19 – Wisteria

Wisteria

“Wisteria Close-up” – Spring 2013 – North Avenue – Wilkinsburg, PA

“A Plant a Day till Spring” will highlight one plant a day, starting on the winter solstice (December 21, 2013)… And ending on the vernal equinox (March 20, 2014)… If all goes to plan I will be starting with old Snowdrop photos from 2013… And ending with new photos of Snowdrops in 2014…

Wisteria, is very hardy and fast-growing… It can grow in fairly poor-quality soils, but prefers fertile, moist, well-drained soil… They thrive in full sun… Wisteria can be propagated via hardwood cutting, softwood cuttings, or seed… However, specimens grown from seed can take decades to bloom… For this reason, gardeners usually grow plants that have been started from rooted cuttings or grafted cultivars known to flower well… Another reason for failure to bloom can be excessive fertilizer (particularly nitrogen)…

Wisteria has nitrogen-fixing capability (provided by Rhizobia bacteria in root nodules)… So mature plants may benefit from added potassium… But not nitrogen… Never give fast growing bines Nitrogen… Wisteria can be reluctant to bloom because it has not reached maturity… Maturation may require only a few years as in Kentucky Wisteria… Or twenty… As in Chinese Wisteria… Maturation can be forced by physically abusing the main trunk, root pruning, or drought stress…

VictorianWisteria

“Wisteria-Climbing Rose-Honeysuckle” – Spring 2013 – North Avenue – Wilkinsburg, PA – Growing on a one-hundred year old Victorian-era home…

Wisteria is at its best when allowed to climb something… The support must be very sturdy… Because mature Wisteria can become immensely strong with heavy wrist-thick trunks and stems… Wisteria allowed to grow on houses can cause damage to gutters, downspouts, and similar structures…

Wisteria flowers develop on buds near the base of the previous year’s growth… Pruning back side shoots to the basal few buds in early spring can enhance the visibility of the flowers… Once the plant is a few years old… A relatively compact, free-flowering form can be achieved by pruning off the new tendrils three times during the growing season… In June, July and August, for the northern hemisphere…

The flowers of some varieties are edible… And can even be used to make wine… Others are said to be toxic… Careful identification by an expert is strongly recommended before consuming this or any wild plant…

plant petunias and question everything – chriscondello

New To writing and never had to site sources before… These “Plant a Day Till Spring” posts are simply intended to kill time until spring… My source is Wikipedia.org… The photography is all my own… And I am adding my own information… But much of this is just related from the web…

This website and all of the information presented within is provided free by the author… Me… It is my sole opinion and is not representative of anyone other than myself… Although this website is free… I sell prints of my photography here – www.society6.com/chriscondello – or you can contact me directly with questions at – c.condello@hotmail.com – Although it isn’t a requirement… It helps…

Remember to tip… My Bitcoin digital wallet address is – 1JsKwa3vYgy4LZjNk4YmPEHFJNjPt2wDJj

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Cold Weather Warms the Soul

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The winter fog settles on the sleepy street… The only thing louder than my heartbeat is the sound of silence… And the occasional cats meow… With a steady pace I cut through the fog… Rain drops fall so I start to jog… Through a puddle I feel the cold… Soggy bottoms but a warming soul… Soon my socks are making sounds… Hop along and skip around… December weather urban splendor… Midnight visions spiritually render…

Looking at these midnight sights… Orange glow from the street lights… Tonight the clouds must be especially sleepy… Purposely making the world look creepy… Stuck to the ground… Not making a sound… A slight breeze smells of the snow… Cutting through the rain shower I go… Cutting through the air… And cutting through my mind…

Urban life is really something special… Wildlife and those living the wild life… Friendly folks and mean… Even the occasional obscene… Houses packed like books on a shelf… Side by side… Like volumes in a series… Each one is similar… But completely different…

Many of us go for months… Without actually touching the Earth… We drive on roads… And we walk on sidewalks… But our feet never actually touch the ground… Like at some point it became taboo to do…

Put your feet on the Earth… Bury your seeds in the ground… Harvest your veggies… And pass them around…

plant petunias and question everything – chriscondello

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The Guerrilla Gardening Guidebook – Site Selection

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“Comfrey Flower on Blight” – Whitney Avenue – Wilkinsburg, PA – I have removed enough Comfrey to know better than to plant it in my own yard… So I grow it in front of abandoned houses and just cut what I need…

Site Selection

This post is part of a larger body of work titled ”The Guerrilla Gardening Guidebook”. For the introduction and table of contents please click here

Site selection is typically the easiest part of the whole process, in my experience, the site chooses me. My efforts are a direct protest to abandoned homes and lots sprinkled around my neighborhood, for this reason I tend to already have a good idea what my next target will be well in advance of actually beginning any work. Though the locations may be different, they all require the same few things – Water, soil, sunlight and access… Though access can often be worked around with a little ingenuity and a few seed bombs.

The very first thing you need to do is determine whether you intend to plant ornamental flowers, or vegetables for consumption. Ornamental gardens are meant to be seen, they are typically placed in public places where they can be enjoyed by the masses. Food crops on the other hand may be best suited away from the publics eye. This is not always the case of course… But if your garden is not directly visible from your house, it is typically the best practice.

Ornamental guerrilla gardens are often created as a civil means of protest against blighted land, for this reason they are typically planted in high visibility areas. Sometimes the point of the garden is simply to inspire other people to consider gardening in places that one would not normally consider, abandoned houses, street berms, hell strips, vacant lots, even potholes can be gardened. In my mind, simply mowing the lawn of land that you do not own is considered guerrilla gardening.

Food gardens tend to invite more trouble than their counterparts, for this reason alone I feel they should be relatively difficult to see from the road. Now I’m not saying you should build a ten foot privacy fence, I am saying you should plant anything that can become a projectile away from the street. Tomatoes can become a big problem if the kids decide to throw them at cars, a single Sungold tomato plant produces so much fruit that the kids will be entertained for hours… And not in a good way.

I typically prefer to develop entire lots when it comes to food, who wants to grow just a few tomato plants when you can grow one hundred! I like to fill the first twenty feet of the lot with tall ornamental plants, this is an attempt to shield the food from people passing by. Not every community is like mine, some are much more receptive to street side gardening. The temperament of the kids can vary from street to street, and every location will have its own issues. If you are new to a neighborhood, a quick conversation with your neighbors can often give some clues as to how receptive a neighborhood may be.

WAUFandMe

“Salvaged Grape Arbor” – Whitney Avenue Urban Farm – Whitney Avenue – Wilkinsburg, PA – The posts were very old grape vines that we cut out of the trees… The ladders were pulled from the trash… The crazy piece of wood I found on a job… Niagara Seedless and Concord Grapes…

Guerrilla food gardens are often created not with the intention of just feeding oneself, but sometimes to supplement the nutritional needs of an entire neighborhood. In this case, planting your crops in plain view can often be the best practice. Simply sharing your garden with all the inhabitants on the street increases the amount of eyes that will be watching the garden. You would be surprised how effective having a few older residents on your side can be, there is nothing scarier than a pissed off old lady moving full speed towards you. Security often costs just a few tomatoes or a bundle of greens, it can’t get any better than that.

Chances are pretty good that if you are reading this post, then you already have a site in mind. Long term guerrilla efforts require ease of access, gardens placed out-of-the-way tend to suffer. Food gardens require a lot more maintenance that flowers, for this reason a food garden will get much more attention if you regularly pass it and should therefore be planted as close to home as possible. Ornamental gardens on the other hand can go weeks without human intervention, for this reason they can often be maintained from a much further distance.

Some cities have organized groups that go out and garden, these can be great places to meet like-minded people. Other cities may have a few individuals fighting their own campaigns, slowly greening an urban lot at a time… I fall in to the second group… My efforts are typically solo, or with the help of a neighborhood kid or two. For that reason I choose my sites within a few block radius.

Street sides and public places add a level of excitement to the mix, nothing gets the heart pumping like the threat of a trespassing and vandalism charge. Choose a site with easy access, a carefully parked car can offer some protection from prying eyes and out of control vehicles. Make a plan before you get the shovels out, the last thing you want to do is stand there shuffling plants around. Sometimes, design gets thrown out the window in preference of speed, for this reason it is worth making a game plan before you get to your location. A guerrilla gardener should not be noticed by people, a guerrilla garden campaign lasts longest when the gardener is invisible.

To wrap this post up… Probably the single greatest variable will be the gardens neighbors… Sometimes they will be receptive, often they will not. You would be surprised how many urbanites like having an overgrown vacant lot next door, for many of them this is as close to living near nature as they can get. Be patient when dealing with these types of people, remember that although you think you are doing something good for your community, not everyone is going to see it that way.

plant petunias and question everything – chriscondello

This site… And all the photographs and information presented within are provided free of charge by the author… I am not affiliated with any product or business… Only myself… Writing this blog takes a ton of time… If you find any of this information helpful, please consider purchasing a print from my online store… It is obviously not a requirement… But it helps…

I sell prints of my photography here- http://www.society6.com/chriscondello Or you can contact me directly at c.condello@hotmail.com for commissions or locally/personally produced prints… Thank you for reading…

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