I’ve been gone from this blog
for a long time.As I learn to live life
as a handicrapped(Freudian slip?)
person*, I find I need to adapt to all kinds of challenges. I’ve lost dexterity
in my hands. (This note was typed the old fashioned way.)But, I’m learning to use “Dragon – NaturallySpeaking”
speech recognition software. Hopefully, I’ll get back to gardening and blogging
In the meantime, I wish you all a Merry Christmas and
Joyful Holidays.I hope your 2012 garden
was spectacular and your 2013 garden is even better.
Grape tomatoes either have improved since they were introduced
in the late 1990’s OR I’ve learned to appreciate them more.They seem sweeter and firmer to me.They are convenient for salads or snacks, or roasted,
or grilled or right off the vine – I keep a bowl on the kitchen counter for a
Grape tomatoes have ripened in abundance since August and
need to be picked every 2or 3days.I often cut them in half and sometimes in slices
to avoid an embarrassing mouth-geyser.I’ve
also shared their sweetness with neighbors.
Two of my favorites are grape tomato ‘Sweet Thing’ (shown
here) and grape tomato ‘Juliet’ (grown by a friend).
Do you grow grape tomatoes? What are your thoughts on the modern grape
tomato? Which variety is your favorite?
It’s time for me to think about fall cleanup.I work so slowly these days that if I start
now I may finish in time to spread mulch in late winter.
The coleus filled some spots in the garden this year as
usual.I like to take cuttings to root for
next year in late August.I definitely
get cuttings and bring in any plants that spent the summer outside as the
nights get cool and before the heat is turned on in the house.
Last week I brought the amaryllis in from their summer
home on the deck.I’ll stop watering and
trim off the dead and dying leaves.The
bulbs will rest until Thanksgiving when I will add a little potting soil and
begin to water.And, hope for a
spectacular February bloom.
I’ll work outside today and pull some annuals that are past
their prime.So it goes – as another
summer winds down.
BETHLEHEM GARDEN CLUB MEETING - Visitors Welcome
Sixth generation herbalist Susanna Reppert-Brill discusses tea
parties, and growing your own herbs for tea at on September 20th at
monthly meeting of the
Bethlehem Garden Club. 1:00 p.m. at Advent Moravian Church, 3730 Jacksonville Road, Bethlehem,
Holy Cross Lutheran Church, 696 Johnson
Road, Nazareth, PA 18064
All day seminar includes sessions topics:Macro-Photography, Backyard Habitat,
Composting, Vermiposting , Food Preservation, Seed Starting, Small Space
Gardening, Fruit Trees, Hypertufa, Year Round Gardening, Invasive Plants,
Keynote address "Pollinators" by Dr Anita
Collins, USDA-ARS, retired. Dr. Collins has done research on honey bees for
more than 40 years and is currently collaborating on a survey of native bees
east of the Mississippi with the U.S. Geological Survey
Garden Fair: vendors with Birdhouses, gardening
books, perennial plants, jewelry and more.
Hurry. Registration ends August 31. Click here then click on “Workshops for
the Gardener Brochure” for registration information and form.
More information or questions call:Call Northampton County Extension Office (610) 746-1970.Lehigh County Extension Office (610) 391-9840
The Season of the Oriental Lily has passed for another
year.July is the month of lilies for
me.One of my favorite plants, they
mostly take care of themselves.They are
reliable and bloom every year.
Lilium ‘American Dream’ purchased from White Flower Farm
in 2003 grows to 7 feet tall in my front garden. From one bulb I now have about
10 to 15 flower bearing stalks filled with large fragrant blooms in July.Beautiful true-to-type.
Casablanca may be my favorite.Heavily fragrant and somehow angelic, I
purchased 3 bulbs from Brecks in 2009.Beautiful true-to-type
I bought some bargain bulbs labeled Casablanca and
Stargazer from a vendor at the Philadelphia Flower Show.This lily labeled Stargazer does not look
like any Stargazer I’ve ever seen.Nice but not true to type.
This Pretty peachy colored lily came in the same batch from the bargain vendor but it
is neither Casablanca nor Stargazer. Beautiful but not true to anything
I would not buy inexpensive bulbs from unknown vendors
again.I have a mixed bunch of lilies.
Pretty but not what I had planned.
It’s something to think of as you purchase spring
flowering bulbs this fall.
Pastel pink and baby blue - I would have never planned
this combination thinking it too bland. I think it works here because neither bloom
is overpowering. The quantity of forget-me-nots seems to balance the larger mum
The self-sowing Forget-Me-Not seeds followed gravity down
the mulch slope over the winter and geminated in the Clara Curtis Mums.It’s what I love about the self-sowers.Every year I see surprising combination
without any effort at all.
Mum ‘Clara Curtis’, Dendranthema zawadskii, planted in 2004 from
Wayside, blooms all summer. I cut it back just a little in late fall. In spring it has always started to bloom early
and continues to bloom until frost.
Annual Forget-Me-not ‘Blue Bird’ Myosotis dissitiflora, planted directly in the garden in 2006 with
Ferry & Morse seeds.
I’ve been trying to write this blog for a year.Last year I was diagnosed with Inclusion Body Myositis (IBM).It is a somewhat rare affliction.According
to some experts, IBM affects about 15 people in 100,000. It is apparently both
an inflammatory and a degenerative muscle disease.The cause is unknown and there is no
cure.Falling down is what we do.
I continue to garden with help.I continually search for tools to make
gardening possible for me.
There is so much more to explore in the world of
gardening.As I reinvent myself, I plan
to post highlights and lowlights of my gardening world.I hope you’ll come along for the ride.
Hortulus Farm, Garden and Nurserya non-profit foundation in Wrightstown,
Pa. Bucks County. The reasonably priced plant sales’ profits go towards
preserving the beautiful grounds and gardens. It was definitely worth the trip.
I visited Chanticleerin Wayne, Pa for the first time in May.
I can truthfully say I have never seen a more beautiful
garden.The use of color and texture is
breathtaking. In the large gardens,
there is a subtle beauty with repeating colors drawing your eye along. The smaller beds contain more than a few
surprises. The gardens flow from area to area.
I took a few pictures but there is no way I could capture
the creative artistry that is Chanticleer.I hope to go back soon to take in more of the design artistry.
Tea Cup Courtyard Garden
across a stone stair wall
plantings of deutzia cascade on the edges of the Tennis Garden
Great lawn surrounded
by mature trees, shrubs and perennials
Chanticleer house terrace
Read all about Chanticleer including history, plant lists
and what’s blooming now here.
The Spotted Dead Nettle (Lamium maculatum) thrives In the dry shade of our old French Lilac.
I moved the dead nettle two or three years ago.They are starting to fill in and provide bright leaf and flower color.
Thirty cultivars provide a diverse plant list to choose
from. Among Glories of Snow and Grape
Hyacinths (above), 'Purple Dragon' on the left shows a lot of silvery leaf.'Elizabeth De Haas' to the right has a silver
stripe.The flowers are almost
Nancy' differs only in flower color.
This yellow-leaved cultivar was a pass-a-long from a
friend.I don’t know its name but it
could be ‘Aureum’. It has yellow leaves with a white stripe. No flowers yet.
Lamium maculatum is
rabbit and deer resistant.I haven’t noticed
any damage from slugs or chewing insects.They are easy to hoe out if they spread too far.
Simple to maintain and brightly marked, dead nettle is a good
plant for the dry shade where not much will grow without constant watering.
Plant Evaluation Notes from Chicago Botanic Gardens
Spring ahead means more this year than a change to daylight saving time.Spring in the garden this year is weeks ahead of schedule.
PJM Rhododendron (above),usually blooms in the middle to end of April.It wasn’t bothered by below freezing temperatures the other night. Last spring, I trimmed about 1/3 off and I’ll cut it back by another third when it’s finished blooming this year.It’s just getting too big for the space.
About ¾ of the mulch has been spread. The Helleborus’ (Lenten Rose ‘Royal Heritage’) nodding blooms continue their long bloom time.Mulch makes it all look pretty.
Daffodil season is winding down and some daffs are ready for dead heading.
Pieris Japonica ‘Mountain Fire’ is finishing its pretty winter bloom.When the blooms are gone, new growth will be bright a burgundy.This is what I call a bonus plant – winter bloom and summer color.
The mop head hydrangea(Hydrangea macrophylla ‘Venice”) is leafing out dodging the frosts so far. I cut it for shape last summer. I will only need to cut off the dead branches this spring. We’ll see how well it blooms this year after last summer’s haircut.
The early spring makes me feel like I need to hurry to catch up when, in reality, I need to slow down.The last frost date here in zone 6 is around May 15.Over a month till it’s time to put out tender annuals and vegetables. It’s also important that the soil be warm enough to promote healthy growth.
The coleuses will have to wait for their outside debut.
From the tiny scuba tanks to the little hanging baskets, Miniature Setting winner Irene Sobotincic’s “Taking the Plunge” scuba shop captured a still life of homegrown Hawaiian commerce.
Anthurium and red lights mimicked a lava flow in the popular display “Pele” bySchafer Designs.
A few of the thousands of orchids in the displays.
Temple University Ambler School of Environmental Design is always an environmental treasure trove.This year a rain garden accompanied by a handout with a diagram and plant list was another testament to Temple’s attention to detail.
A model of Philadelphia City Hall and surrounding gardens was presented by Philadelphia Water Department’s “Green City, Clean Water” “Islands of Green in an Urban Sea.”
As always, there was lots to see at this flower show!
If ever my digital camera is going to give me problems, you can bet it will be at the Philly Flower Show. I’ll post a few of the less grainy pictures later.
I must say I was a little disappointed with the show. I couldn’t put my finger on what didn’t quite work. Finally it came to me - Hawaii is bright and colorful - The convention center was dark as usual. I think this is one time overhead lighting would have enhanced the show. Despite thousands of colorful orchids and hundreds of stately palm trees, the displays never seemed to capture the essence of Hawaii.
Of course it may be impossible to capture the magnificence of the real thing.