Welcome reader to my blog - a mixture of this and that. Now that we are living in a retirement community in downtown Columbia, MD my personal gardening activities are somewhat curtailed. I still enjoy visiting gardens, reading, watching wildlife on my walks, traveling, and occasional food commentary. Please leave a comment if you feel inspired to do so. I read every one of them.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Me vs. Nature

Do you feel sometimes that as you try to tame the garden to do as you want that it's really a battle of you vs. nature? I had that feeling today. Why? Let me count the ways:

1. The tomato hornworm showed itself today. It's bathing (drowning) in soapy water. I'm not honoring it with a photo but here's the damage it wrought on my Rutgers tomato. Only evidence I could find of its rampage. I thought the marigolds would keep it away.


2. Something is eating my basil and I can't see what it is. Is it a bug or slug? Rabbits? No clue.


3. Two different varieties of tomatoes had stalks that wilted up. Anyone know what that would be? I cut out both stalks and put them in a trash bag for the trash can. Is it a wilt of some sort? Should I be worried about the rest of the plants?


I do have hope that I will have some victories as I look at the tomatoes forming and harvest zucchini for dinner.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Wordless Wednesday - New Faces in the Garden







Post script: My 10,000 hit came and went. I thought I would notice but didn't. Thank you to whoever was that 10,00th visitor.

Linked to Cottage Flora Thursdays

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Trial Plants - 2011 Update

Last year my friend in Nebraska at Bluebird Nursery sent me a variety of plants to try out. I've neglected to do a post about how they are doing this year until today. Not all of the plants survived their first summer with me and some didn't survive the winter here. This is a report on those that did make it.

Above is the phlox Natascha. They are loved by the ground hogs so must be surrounded by chicken wire to protect them. Last year only one of the three bloomed, but this year all three are blooming. Two of them are shown above. (Click on the photo to enlarge.) I am very pleased with how well they are doing. And the color is beautiful.

These are the heucheras - Snow Angel. They are not much bigger from last year and have yet to send up their flower stalks. They are a lovely color and I'll let them be in this location.

These hecheras are called Limelight. I lost one over the winter and these are struggling. It makes me wonder if they are too shaded in this location.

These are Carmel heucheras. I've seen this type in full sun as very large plants and again I'm wondering if my location in the glen garden in front of hostas is holding back their growth.

Last year all three Pink Cloud hibiscus were planted in this location. This spring I transplanted two of them to the perennial garden where they are growing well. This one gets full sun and has set some buds.

The ones in the perennial garden get less sun so buds have yet to set. But Japanese beetles have been munching on them. Yuck!


Here are the previous posts on Trial Plants:
Arrival,
Update 1
Update 2
Update 3
Update 4

Monday, June 27, 2011

Harvest Monday


Thursday - a good harvest of green beans for dinner and the first cherry tomatoes.


Friday - the last of the lettuce which has turned bitter. After washing I found myself tossing much of this and saving only enough for sandwiches. It was too bitter for salad.


Sunday - basil above and more beans and cherry tomatoes below.


I know there are bigger harvests out there so check them out at our host Daphne's Dandelions.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

What Was That Cry In the Woods?

We don't know. The haunting cry came into our consciousness as we were enjoying a late breakfast on Saturday morning. "Annhhh..." It must have sounded several times before we turned to each other and said "What is that?"

I headed out through the garage because I thought it was coming from the east. Dan headed to the back deck because he had the sense it was coming from the glen. He was right as we joined up on the edge of the glen to listen to the mournful cry "Annhhh..." What was it? It was a single cry, a long silent pause and then it would come again. It definitely was down in the glen. Some animal crying in its own way for help. "Annhhh.."

Dan was barefoot. I had on clogs, but we headed down the path to see if we could find it and the tree that we heard fall one night this past week during dinner. You know that saying, if a tree falls in the woods ...

The cry stopped as we neared the bottom of the glen. No animal or bird in sight that conceivably could have made that sound. A lot of bird songs though, almost deafening in their intensity. We gazed up in awe at the canopy formed by the trees. Some of them must be 10 or more stories high. But no recently fallen tree or large limb. Maybe the saying should be if a tree falls in the woods can you find it?

We walked the entire length of the trail through the glen coming out on the driveway. Whatever it was stayed silent while we were there. Up the driveway and back to the yard bordering the top of the glen. Then we heard the call again. Was it a bird? Was it a young fledgling lost from its parent? Do fawns have mournful cries? What was it? Will we ever know? "Annhhh..."

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Truly Summer Because ...


... the first tomatoes have ripened! Well, so what if they're cherry tomatoes. They still were delicious. And more to come from the other three varieties in the weeks ahead.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

The Pond


It was a hot, humid day today and I was out working in it, too. Came in dripping with sweat but glad I'd spent the time out there. The pond is getting very overgrown but it's not something I can tame very much. Eventually the cat tails and irises will take over completely. Today I trimmed back some of the irises so I can see the water and so the seed pods do not fill the pond with seeds. I weeded as best I could since I was at the limits of my capacity in the heat by that point. It looks a lot better and I got the fountain going. The biggest surprise was seeing two gold fish. The heron didn't get them all.


My Joe Pye weed is the tallest its ever gotten. I keep finding new plants and transplanting them below the pond along the edge of the glen, but I don't think the conditions are wet enough there.


Water hyacinth is in bloom.


These grasses are loving this spot.


The bishop's weed ground cover (gout weed) under the day lilies gets munched on by the ground hog so it isn't an invasive as it is for other people.


I have two colors of stella d'oro lilies on the hillside next to the pond.



Another view of the pond and all the different green textures.


Monday, June 20, 2011

Harvest Monday


I missed last week's Harvest Monday hosted by Daphne's Dandelions because I was enjoying the harvests (and helping to harvest them) at Greens and Jeans.

I came home Tuesday, June 14th to overgrown snow peas. I pulled them out on Wednesday afternoon and harvested the peas remaining, all of which had to be shelled. My teen watering team assured me that the did pick them while I was away and there would have been many more for me if they hadn't done so.

I shelled them and including them in a chicken stir fry on Wednesday night.

Thursday I tackled the weeds in the vegetable garden and harvested garlic scapes, lettuce, and an onion that needed to be pulled. Thanks to Villager at Our Happy Acres for his garlic scape pesto recipe. It was perfect with whole grain baguette slices and even some for the freezer for those days when garlic scapes are just a fond memory.

Sunday I got more lettuce, a nice bit of basil, and my first green beans.

Friday, June 17, 2011

A Color Change


The middle of June brings a new color palette to the perennial garden. The predominate color is in the yellow end of the color wheel as the day lilies make their debut. Here are some of the new faces.










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