Saturday, August 2, 2008
Anniversary DayThirty-nine years ago today, on a day as hot and humid as this, we were married. Seems like a long time when I say the number, but the time has flown by. The garden has had its surprises good and not. The wonderful volunteer pumpkin and squashe vines have been destroyed by squash bugs in the hundreds and hundreds. We have managed to get some fruits, a big green boxy squash, a cheese pumpkin, two orange and green striped jobbies, and a couple of small typical pumpkins. I realize there is a lot to learn about growing cucurbits and I better get to it before next year. I wish I'd kept better notes. Here's what's bloomed as I remember:
Viburnum Shiso (has a lot of little pin holes in the leaves but is putting on some limited new growth)
Vitex (it was covered with lovely blue wands and the bees adored it)
Caryopteris - about to blossom prolifically
Itea Little Henry - about two months ago and needs to be planted in the ground
Fox Glove - it was big, but the foliage didn't do well
Black Eyed Susan - blooming now
Salvia Elegans - healthy 30"x30" but not a bloom in sight
Fennel - about to flower - no butterfly eggs seen
Cone Flower - red - sure need to get a bed going for them
Cone Flowers - yellow blooming now, orange didn't bloom. They look small and puny
Perovskya - doesn't have enough soil around it. Will replant if it lasts until fall
Moon Flower - about to blooms
Malva - I thought these were supposed to be hollyhocks
I will add more compost, leaf mold, etc. in fall and may till the soil. I thought I would be converted to the lasagna style, but the multiple inches of amendments I origiinally put on in early spring have broken down to virtually an inch of material on the ground. That's the idea, I know, but it has left some plants in far too little material and others I've had to leave in their pots and they look starved and thirsty. I'm feeling grumpy about this.
Tuesday, June 3, 2008
June Truly Is Busting Out All OverThe change in both the East Deck Garden and the South Foundation Garden is amazing. The hot, sunny days and warming nights have caused everything to burst forth. Gardening in Florida where the season was somewhat opposite here has confused me. I thought the plants I had planted in the soil last fall and early winter were dead and checked them incessently to see if their stems were still flexible, not realizing that spring growth starts later here than in the city of Charlotte and it was slow coming this year. Well it's like summer is here today. Our temperatures are in the low 80's and are expected to reach 91 on Thursday. I have to say that was not what I wanted, but it is typical weather for the Mid-Atlantic in late spring. How could I forget, after living 30 years in Pennsylvania.
East Deck Garden
Viburnum Shiso had great flowers in the pot, planted it and it's now getting adjusted to the soil, I hope and starting a few berries
Vitex hasn't started flowering, but has put on a lot of growth since last fall
Caryopteris (Black Knight? a PW variety about 3' tall--one I obsessed over this winter is doing great and looks like it will flower)
Morning Glory (from seed sent to me by Beckygardener-they're a pink cross with purpura) on a an arched trellis that they have towered over and are headed upward and outward
Caryopteris (a PW called Petit Bleu which as I recall looks very much like the other, but is not as tall, and it is not as far along, even though planted at the same time last fall)
Hosta Love Pat (bought because I needed a blue one, just had to have it. I think there's too much sun, because it's lighter than when planted two weeks ago)
Digitalis (An unnamed biggie from the Master Gardeners at the Rockfish sale)
and finally, some kind of squash plants that volunteered from the composted squashes and pumpkins of Halloween and Thanksgiving. The leaves are so voluptuous, I can't bear to pull them out. We even assembled a trellis for the tendrils to climb, but who knows whether they will bother or just run into the grass. I don't mind.
South Foundation Garden (from right to left currently) and which was to be the Herb Garden, but now has too many other things to be called that.
Eggplant (a gift--I think it's a black beauty) just put it out
Florence Fennel just planted
Huchera (I know this isn't the proper spelling) a deep reddish purple with silver and tons of flowers floating over it (gotta find its name tag)
Beautiful plant with creamy, bell like flowers (has 'crop' in the name) making many flowers said to appeal to hummingbirds, so where are they?
Huchera Sashay (getting lost between these two larger guys)
Ox Eye Daisy (Master Gardeners) doing great, although somewhat flopsy mopsy in their habit
Black Eyed Susans (I think there are 3 plants)
Chives, Garlic and onion
Onion (one from the grocery store that started sprouting on the counter top and is now flowering in the garden)
Lovage (this was called Ezee Parsley on the tag)
Verbascum Brown Eyes
Catmint (I think it's just a common garden variety)
Cone Flowers (four-from Fairy's co-op which are yellow and orange-new to me!)
Friday, May 2, 2008
Worms Make My DayThis morning I took my trowel and pail and walked down to the cottage to do a little spring cleanup. I noticed when I was there mowing the other day that the drain at the steps to the basement entrance had been blocked by leaves. Among the leaf litter were dozens of worms and trowels full of worm castings. It was like finding a small treasure. I carted leaves, castings, and worms back to my new garden bed. I'm sure they'll be happy there. There's room for them and organic material that they can wriggle and chomp their way through to turn that red clay soil into rich garden loam.
This property is part of what was known as The Church Place, about 100 acres that was sold off in parcels in the 1960's. Hay has been the only thing grown here for as far back as our neighbor can recall, although remnants of an old barbed wire fence indicate that cattle might once have grazed here too. The land seems reluctant to give over its rough fields to tended gardens, and each bed takes many hours to create. My effort looks puny when viewed from even a short distance away, the scale of small shrubs and smaller perennials lost against the house on one side and the view across the meadow to the mountains on the other. The worms that I uncovered today will be my allies in persuading the land to allow gardens to flourish. They will find their way through the coarse red clay, reaching out a little further to make the soil hospitable for flowers and vegetables. There should always remain wide open spaces here, but in this ten acres there can be room for a few small garden beds, at least for some period of time.
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