Friday, August 1

Roses

Like the clematis, I still have some roses hanging on but they are looking pretty beat with the recent hot weather and todays downpour. I had to do some massive thinning and trimming with the roses this year, mostly on the one light pink climbing rose on the corner of the barn. It had grown so massive and encompassing that it shading out all the other plants that had the misfortune of growing under it.
 
I felt very guilty about the whole thing and I waited for a day when the kids were driving me up the wall so I wouldn't feel too bad about taking my frustrations out on something. In the end I am very glad that I did it and the other plants are growing very well now. I know that this rose will come back and this time I will keep it in check.
 
The climbing roses will bloom again in the fall but my other ones such as my crested moss rose, will not. My favorite rose, the crested moss is just beautiful too look at.
 





Thursday, July 31

Clematis

Amazingly I still have some of these blooming. I love how they manage to work there way into areas of the garden and wrap around unsuspecting rose bushes. I am partial to the purple varieties. My problem is that I must remember not to take the vines out during my fall and spring cleaning as they appear to be dead and almost brittle.
 
 





Wednesday, July 30

Iris

Quite possibly one of the most beautiful and diverse flowers in my garden.... I love collecting new colors and varieties. These seemed to last a little longer than other flowers in the garden this year. My newer acquisition's include the light orange and peach varieties.
 
 






Tuesday, July 29

Peonies

Next in line for my 'craziness taking over life' series are these wonderful peony pictures that I took with the best intentions of sharing with you while they were blooming and fragrant.
 
Is it just me or has the blooming time of peonies shortened during the last 10 years? It seems like when we first bought the house these guys bloomed and kept blooming for the longest time. But these past few years they are here one day and falling into a pile of petals the next.
 
Another indication that my life is crazy and that I am literally not taking time to enjoy the flowers.
 
 



Monday, July 28

Poppies


I took these pictures of my favorite flower in the beginning of June and I meant to post them, but as you all know, my life is a crazy mess.
 
I do love these huge poppies and I look forward to seeing them every year right around Memorial Day. These are some perennial plants that were given to me by my neighbor and they are huge and sturdy and wonderful. I do plant seeds every year for the smaller, more delicate California poppy but they did not do very well this year. A found that due to the rain storms we got this past spring many of the seeds that do not require soil coverage ended up washing away or becoming feed for the local bird population.
 
So, the next few posts will be dedicated to all those pretty pictures that I took and meant to post but craziness got in the way.
 





Wednesday, July 23

Mystery Berry Plant

 
This mystery plant is some sort of berry. A bird must have dropped a seed or two, well fertilized, and it grew into this tall and stable specimen.
 
Rather here next to the garden shed and having it result in a plant than to have a purple-tinted mess on my car that results in a trip through the car wash.
 
This time of year the birds are just depositing all sorts of colors.
 

Tuesday, July 22

Grapes - Finally!

 
We planted these grape bushes a little after we moved in and it took them a few years to get established, then a few more to make grapes that were not totally sour. The past few years we have gotten actual grapes.
 
Last year, the birds ate every single grape while they were still green. this year, I have put up netting to keep the birds out and hopefully we will get a good crop of deep purple grapes this season.
 
 

In other garden related news the woodchucks that live under my shed have become incredibly brazen as I caught two of them happily munching on my bean plants around lunch time today. They way they waddled out of the garden and back to the shed when I made a noise made it clear that A) they are not afraid of me, and B) they have been eating way too much from the garden.

I take Murphy over to the holes, point to them and say "get them Murphy!". He looks at me, then back at the hole, then finds something else to sniff and roll in.

I am considering a well baited have-a-heart trap and a drive to the next county.

Monday, July 21

All About the Garden

 
This time of year it is all about the garden for me. I spend the majority of my outdoor free time hiding amongst the rows and beds, weeding and training cucumber vines up an old ladder turned trellis. As a Mom, I covet my free time when I can get it, and I think that spending it in the garden is definitely time well spent.




I like to plant different varieties of Calendula in the garden. It has a distinct scent and I can see why it is used as a deer repellent. And the seeds are easy and fun to harvest and save for next year.



It is almost time for cucumbers....

 
The basil made it this year - (I don't have good luck with herbs).




This year the garden is about experimenting. The raised rows (very promising), the mulching methods (very, very happy), spinach (just wasn't going to grow), arugula (something ate holes in all the leaves), german chamomile (it grew, now I need to learn how to use it medicinally)....

My goal is to figure out what I can grow well, what I can preserve well, what I can grow, harvest and use for natural remedies and how to grow it with minimal pest destruction and still using no chemicals. I have spent about 10 years working at this and in the back of my mind I know that I will never stop learning and experimenting, and I guess that is part of what I love about gardening. I can try new things and take the best, gradually turning my garden into a highly productive system.

Friday, July 18

A Photo Story

This time of year is so busy in the garden that I find it hard to keep up. Everything is changing so fast - it seems like if I just stood and watched I could see the bean vines climbing up the three pole trellis, wrapping their feelers around anything within reach.
 
Photos slightly reminiscent of a flip book follow....
 
The Beans....
 
 
As of today, the beans are doing well. Lots of vines and climbing going on, but not an actual bean yet.
 
I planted Mammoth sunflowers in the centers of the three pole trellises to give the beans something else to wrap around and to give the trellises a little more of an anchor. We get some pretty heavy wind gusts with storms here.
 
The Onions...
 

 
I just like making garden signs.....
 
The Lettuce...

This has been my first season experimenting with lettuce. I tried growing some last year with mixed results. This year I picked a few varieties that looked delicious.
 
 
Mirlo lettuce

Red and Green Romaine
 
The Peas...

We all love peas so I like to plant at least two rows. Unfortunately the woodchucks love them too and I battle each year with fencing, fencing and more fencing to give the pea sprouts a fighting chance.
Some sections are doing better than others and we have gotten some peas on our plates. But some sections are giving us a ton of vines, but no pods.
 
 
Gourds, Pumpkins and Squash...
 

All of these items are in my unfenced, experimental rows section this year. The compost and layering is working very well, the weeding is very easy, and the spreading vines are somewhat contained in a row.
I had to replant a few hills due to no germination.





I have had a few deer or woodchuck 'nibbles' on some plants but I am hoping that they will find tastier things to try elsewhere. I thought that the rough texture and prickly stems and leaves of these types of plants would have been a deterrent.
 
The Tomatoes...
 

Ah, the tomato. Every gardeners dream and nightmare, nemesis and first love. Every year I stress over the tomatoes from the first seed planted until the harvest. Something ate half of my transplants this year. I was lucky that I started extra seed.
 



They look a little wild but my tomato plants always look like they got up on the wrong side of the bed without a hairbrush. I am very happy with my chosen mulching method this year and I think this is the one I will stick with. Cardboard, water, a tin layer of dirt, more water, and a healthy helping of straw (plus more water).