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.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Author Recommendation

I haven't written a post about books in awhile so here goes for all of you expecting something along those lines.

Do you ever come across an author that you really enjoy reading and end up just getting books by that author? Well, that's what has happened to me of late. I read "Prayers for Sale" by Sandra Dallas and really enjoyed it. So instead of consulting my little book of recommendations the last two times I was at the library, I went to the Ds and looked for more books by Sandra Dallas. In the last two trips there I've come home with "The Chili Queen", "Whiter Than Snow", and "Alice's Tulips" all of which I've read and enjoyed. I'm now starting on "Tallgrass".

These are all historical fiction which I really like. They give you a window into what life was like in the past particularly parts of the West like Colorado during the time of the Civil War or afterward. The main characters are women, so easy to identify with and though I'm not a quilter each of the characters is a quilter and ends up connecting to other women with quilting.

If you have to decide on one of these to read look for "Prayers for Sale". It has been my favorite so far.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Joe Pye




My Joe Pye weed is in full glory right now and the butterflies are loving it.





Each spring I look for the new shoots to come up and cut back the dead stalks from the previous year. This plant is now in its sixth summer and as you can see has grown massive. It's in the perfect spot next to the pond.


When we moved here there was one in the glen next to the creek but I only saw it for one summer. I discovered one year that the deer eat it and that was the year I had no blooms.


Who is this Joe Pye and how did his name get on such a lovely late summer bloomer? According to wikepedia "Joe Pye, an Indian healer from New England, used E. purpureum to treat a variety of ailments, which led to the name Joe-Pye weed for these plants."

Joe Pye weed, a graceful soft contribution to the late summer garden. May you have many more years of bloom.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

One Day Inspirations from Longwood Gardens & Winterthur


One day my astillbe will be this large.


One day I hope to have an oakleaf hydrangea.


One day my mix of sun and shade will have this effect.


And one day I will have planters that stay beautiful all summer.



Monday, July 25, 2011

Harvest Monday


I'm late with my Harvest Monday post hosted by Daphne's Dandelions. It was a week of cucumbers, zucchini, peppers and tomatoes.

These three eggplants were picked because the bunny had snipped all the leaves of the plants. It really was too early to pick them. They didn't taste very good.



I didn't get out to pick on Sunday or today so I know I'll have a monster of a zucchini awaiting me.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Saturday Morning


We are having some incredibly high temperatures and it's no fun to be outside at all. This morning I got up at 5 o'clock and was outside by 5:30 to water. I have been faithfully watering the vegetable and perennial gardens on alternating days, but haven't had to regularly water some of the shrubs because of the rain frequency. I decided that with the high heat that I need to walk around and soak the newest juniper shrubs planted this spring on the north side of the house and the north garden with the lavender, Russian sage, butterfly bushes, and hydrangeas. I also have 4 English laurels along the driveway that needed a good soaking. The temperatures and humidity were fine at that hour. It was just me out there with the birds singing.

I took pity on the frogs and couple of goldfish in the pond and ran some water in there while I took photos. Later after I came in we had a down pour. Of course! It filled up the pond nicely and gave everything a soaking though a longer lasting gentler shower would have been best.

Here is the pond overgrown with cat tails. The Joe Pye weed is just about ready to open its blooms in the background.

Hibiscus - this one has just started to bloom in the perennial garden. The one in the front had been blooming but has gotten sick. I snipped off all its diseased buds and hope it will recover to look like this again.

Tiger lily at least I think it is. It came in a transplant gift with day lilies. I have never seen it bloom before on the bank of the pond because it has always gotten eaten by the deer before it bloomed. This year I was diligent to keep it sprayed with Liquid Fence and it is lovely.
Crape myrtle - my Arbor Day Foundation free tree has started to bloom. I have 5 more of these in a temporary setting while they grow. I'll move them in the fall to their final location. It does grow fast which I like and the deer don't seem to bother them at all. I love the color at this hot time.

A bloom in the vegetable garden from one of several producing zucchini plants. The bees were busy pollinating these this morning.

I am getting tomatoes but for how much longer I really wonder. The plants are yellowing fast. Is it the heat? Is it lack of water or over watering? Don't know.
Two foot chicken wire encloses this bed to keep the bunny from eating the beans. This is my second planting of beans. I did manage to get beans from the first planting before the bunny found the plants. The bunny did bite all the leaves off the eggplants but left the leaves lying in the soil. I don't think the plants will recover but I've left them for now.

Lettuce, mesculun, spinach and maybe broccoli in this netted bed to keep the bunnies out and give the plants some slight shade.

I picked this basketful of produce this morning. Peppers are nicely producing for me. I've been enjoying the cucumbers and zucchini too. I picked some tomatoes early as you can see.


Monday, July 18, 2011

Harvest Monday


This has been the best week for harvesting in the vegetable garden. Lots of variety!
Lots of peppers that made wonderful stuffed peppers this week. There are more peppers on there but I pick as needed if I can.


Amish paste have slowly ripened.



Zucchini is at the giveaway stage. I have given some away twice now and even tried freezing it for soups this winter. We have it almost at every meal in some form.


Cucumbers have filled up my refrigerator pickle jar. I found another smaller jar to use at Goodwill and that's full too.

This Amish paste looked lovely on one side but was eaten on the other. I cut off the bad part and the rest was fine.

More peppers for salads and other uses.

Cherry tomatoes are ready every day. They are best in salads or to eat by themselves.


A typical day's harvest.


First Goldie today.


These Rutgers fell off as I touched them. I think the plant is going.

See other harvests at the host of Harvest Monday - Daphne's Dandelions.
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