Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Vacation – Party Time for Weeds

A quick post before I leave for vacation. I have a feeling the weeds will spread enthusiastically while I’m away.

Bonus plants.

In May, I planted three Super Elfin Lipstick Impatiens in front of Coleus Mariposa. All the other impatiens in the picture are self-sown from last year’s plants. I’ve had impatiens self-sew before but never in such profusion. I should have divided them but never got around to it. This part of the garden gets morning sun and bright shade in the afternoon. Must be an ideal spot for germination.

I’ll be gone for a couple of weeks. I think a little R&R will do us good – and give my sciatica a rest too. I’ll be checking in and reading my favorite blogs while I’m gone.

Let the weeds be damned.

Saturday, July 09, 2011

Let’s Talk Vegetables

Bean flower (pole beans Burpee 'Kentucky Wonder')
Every year, with spring enthusiasm, I eagerly place seeds and plants in pots and in the ground. I dream of fresh green beans steaming on the dinner table; solid cucumber slices in a tangy dressing and juicy tomatoes eaten right off the plant.

With spring enthusiasm, I forget that vegetable gardening takes work and time. Not to mention battling the mosquitoes and gnats that hide under the leaves. In spring I forget how hot 93 degrees with high humidity really is. I forget that vegetables will need watering.

Every year, in July, reality sets in as I pull weeds, wash lettuce, pick cucumbers and clean beans. Years ago I had a large garden with rows of vegetables. Freezing and canning went on all summer. Now as empty nesters, we have only a few vegetables among the flowers.

I’m happy with a few vegetables every year. I wouldn’t want to be without them. The taste of my favorite varieties makes the effort worthwhile. I’m sure I’ll be overcome with spring enthusiasm next year.
My vegetables this year:

Potted cherry tomatoes - Burpee ‘Sweet 100’.

In the window boxes on the patio - Agway parsley ‘Forest Green’ and lettuce ‘Black Seeded Simpson’. The lettuce is ready for its third cutting.

Happy cucumbers - Burpee ‘Straight Eight’ - crawl up the hydrangea and holly and over the daylilies and mums. Picking cucumbers will be quite a challenge.

Pole beans - Burpee 'Kentucky Wonder’. I’ve had the seeds since 2007 and planted a few seeds every year. This year I planted a few extra thinking they may not all be viable but it looks like they all germinated. I should have pulled a few when they came up. They are one of the best tasting beans I have ever planted.
Green tomatoes on Burpee ‘Early Pick’

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Summer Garden

July is the reward for the work of April, May and June. Hot days make gardening slow work. I tend to follow the shade around the garden. It’s a time when I really appreciate the reliable perennials.

The tall lilies ‘American Dream’ (at top) purchased in 2003 from White Flower Farm bloom every year and only require dead heading. They will be cut to the ground after the first hard frost.

Lavender ‘Grosso’ is planted close to a path. It releases its pungent scent as you bursh against it. It gets cut back once in a while when I get around to it. It’s been there for 7 years.

Crocosmia ‘Lucifer’ planted in 2005 sends up its red blooms every year without much fuss – unlike its canna bed-mates that need to be dug up every fall and replanted in spring.

Sweet smelling alyssum and snapdragons self sow in the same area every year. The liatris (Liatris spicata 'Purple Spikes’) is beginning to bloom and only requires deadheading. It has been divided and added to other parts of the garden since 2001.

What are your reliable favorites?

Saturday, July 02, 2011

Independence Day

The Flag

by Kelly, age 10
Submitted June 26, 2002
The Flag that waves through hard tough times,
the flag that sparkles with light,
and hope flows through that flag
in the sun rain or at night
that is our flag shinning bright