At the beginning of May, I got started on my annual project: sprucing up my patio! Last year, I did quite a bit of work and bought some furniture and lots of new pots and plants, but this year, I really just needed a few new plants and had to rearrange some of the pots I had.
During the winter months, I admit I really don’t touch my plants unless there’s going to be a freeze and they need to be stored inside. Because of my laziness, I ended up losing a few plants this year, including my beloved magnolia that I bought right when I moved to Austin. I cried!
Because of COVID, I ordered all of my plants online this year, which I’d never done. I was skeptical about it, because of course I’d like to see them in-person, but I really didn’t want to go anywhere in-person.
I ordered most of my plants and soil from Etsy shops, and I’d recommend this to anyone! It’s a good way to shop small while getting what you need.
While I waited for my plants to arrive, I tossed the plants that were dead, cleaned out their pots and “baked” the soil by laying it out on a tarp in the sun for an entire day. This way, I could reuse soil but kill any bacteria or mites that may have grown.
I also tested my string of solar lights… they didn’t work and when I looked at the solar panel, it was really fried. I’d had them for several years, so I wasn’t surprised! Instead of buying new lights,
I washed old glass jars I had under my sink and put citronella tea lights in them. I also found a battery-operated strand of LED lights that I could use, too. I really wanted to use what I had to save money and not have excess items.
Meet my patio plants:
I actually got this one last year, but put it in a bigger pot this year.
I have always loved the way these looked — a big ball cactus — and I want it to get really big! But, it is difficult to re-pot since it has such large, sharp spikes. They are painful.
There are several different kinds of Barrel Cacti, and many of them are native to the Southwestern US or Mexico. I bought mine at a big box store, so of course I have no idea where it’s from — ha! It’s easy to take care of, and only needs a little bit of water each week.
One of my succulents died over the winter, and I’ve had such good luck with cacti. I still have one I bought four years ago and it’s grown to be more than a foot tall! I saw this one online and thought it was so pretty. Moon cacti come in many different forms, but the one I got is round like the Barrel Cactus and almost dark purple in color.
It came with two blooms on top, but they quickly fell off and now two more have grown in their place. I am pretty sure they bloom during the night, but I have to work out my detective skills to be sure.
I’m a sucker for the sunset and a sunrise, and this succulent has pink and magenta and lime green… it’s so pretty!
It came with two separate succulents, but I put them both in a clear class container with some glass stones I had. It’s growing pretty fast!
Catnip & Cat Grass
Blanche is still the queen of the “Catio” as I often call it, and she tries to eat everything in sight — she’s even taken a chomp out of a spiky cactus! So, it’s important she have things she can safely eat. I bought seeds for catnip and cat grass, most of which has already sprouted and been devoured.
I saw this on Instagram and thought it was so pretty.
I prefer woody plants and flowers and the Bougainvillea is woody and viney with pretty leaves and blooms!
I ordered one with coral blooms and quickly discovered how picky they are with the amount of watering — the Bougainvillea prefers a dry, hot climate and if you water it too much, it basically throws a temper-tantrum. It took me a few weeks to get the hang of it, and I lost a leaf or two in the process (and lost my only bloom during a wind storm), but now I have two new blooms and it’s growing every day!
I was so sad when I lost my magnolia — I think it was attacked with disease or something — I knew I had to replace it.
I know there are loads of different kinds of magnolias, and I’m not sure what kind my original was, but this tree is much more like the traditional magnolia trees with the big glossy leaves.
It hasn’t bloomed yet, but it’s gotten some new leaves and it stands tall around 3 feet. I love it!
I ordered this one last because I had one more pot to fill and I needed something that could survive in the shade.
I saw this on Etsy and it sounded perfect! Plus, it is supposed to survive in the colder months, too.
I had some trouble with it upon arrival and didn’t water it enough, but it’s recovered and growing all kinds of new leaves now.
What kinds of things are you growing this year?
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