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, May 24, 2012

Herb Garden


  
The herb garden is one of the eight triangles in the perennial garden and an easy walk from the kitchen.  Above it's the bed on the right.

 Each corner of the triangle has a clump of chives.  I've used the flowers for bouquets.
 Here's the sage taken just before the blooms opened.  The last photo will show it in bloom.  I have two plants, a thin leafed and a round leaf variety.
 Here's the rosemary.  Of all the plants this is the least hardy.  I don't know what number rosemary this is, but they usually last two years if I'm lucky.
 The savory is a wonderful flavoring.  I like it in zucchini and in asparagus soup.
 The lavender is in the center and I'll use it's flowers.  There's a broken plate buried in front of it.
 The oregano will take over the bed if I let it.  I'm sorry I didn't plant it in a pot which is what I did with the mint below.
 Here's an annual - a Thai basil.
 Another annual - cilantro.
 Finally here's the thyme also a good spreader but at least I don't find it in other parts of the garden.
 And here's the bed with the sage in bloom looking back at the porch. 
So handy to have the herb garden there to access with fresh herbs just at the point they needed to be added to what I'm cooking. 

Monday, May 21, 2012

Harvest Monday

Snow peas and broccoli took center stage this week.  I had two harvest of snow peas and there will be lots more in the next week especially since the second sowing is now blooming too and will likely be producing before the first sowing quits.  Still harvesting spinach & lettuce of course.  Sorry don't have a photo of the second harvest of snowpeas.  We ate them all at one sitting steamed with a pat of butter.  Yum!  See other harvests at Daphne's Dandelions.



Thursday, May 17, 2012

A Conglomeraton of Things Momentous

1.  We had our inaugural fire last night in the new fire pit on the new deck.  Now it had rained heavily earlier this week so all the wood on the ground was fairly damp.  Also my fire starting skills are rusty since we haven't been camping in ages.  So the first attempts at getting the fire to keep burning were a bit ragged.  Dan came to the rescue with paper from his art class pad since we don't subscribe to a newspaper and paper from the recycle bin just didn't have the same burning power.  The fire lasted about an hour but it was wonderful to smell the smoke and watch the flames while they lasted.  We had a foreshadowing at least of what it will be like in the future.
 



2.  I can remember when I first fell in love with Japanese maple trees.  It was the spring of 1958.  My family lived in Lancaster, PA and we had just returned from 5 years in the Philippine Islands.  I believe the street was named Shady Drive East (but that may not be quite right).  We would walk to church which was on that same street and pass these homes with these gorgeous red leaf trees.  I've since returned to Lancaster and those trees are still there! The trees were so lovely.  All these years later I finally have my very own Japanese maple given to me as a gift for Mother's Day. 

Yesterday I planted the tree.  My original intent was to plant it by the front walkway and remove the pink hibiscus that was there.  As I thought about that location and discussed it with Dan at breakfast, he suggested planting it in the back along the glen.  I'd seen on someone's blog a Japanese maple with green trees behind that made the red leaves stand out and thought better of planting it all by itself in the front. Also like many of you I don't use my front door.  I come and go through the garage and only use the front to greet guests.   Dan's suggestion to plant it along the glen behind the hostas was perfect because now as I sit here at my desk typing this I can look up and there is the tree directly in my gaze.  The perfect spot.





3. Yesterday was also momentous because I harvested the first snow peas and the first broccoli of the season.  We divided both three ways and though there weren't a lot they were delicious.




4. Finally, all the mulch remaining to be moved to flower beds got moved yesterday.  A long day of loading mulch into the wheelbarrow and dumping and spreading it too.  I think it kept multiplying every time I left it.  What I thought would be three more loads at the end turned out to be more like 7.  The mulch had been there too long that the ants had made a nest and laid eggs.  At one point I was loading mulch in a cloud of flying ants.  No fun!  I also had to do battle with a borer bee which thought it wanted the plastic wheelbarrow to bore into.  I've never had a bee threaten me like that one did.  I could almost hear it say "Back off!"  Anyway the mulching is done for another year, a momentous occasion to be celebrated.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Foxglove



Several years ago I bought one foxglove to plant in the perennial garden.  That parent plant is long gone but before it departed it produced many offspring.  Foxgloves are biennials so they only live two years.  Lucky for me that one plant was prolific with its seeds and I was able to move volunteers all over the garden.  They are an every other year sort of plant and last year they didn't amount to much though I saw their green leaves all over and had to move them out of certain spots.  This year, it's another story.  I have to wonder if I have encouraged an invasion of foxglove into my woods.

Last week - beginnings of the flowering cycle along the glen.

 Today the spikes are filling up with open flowers. 
             Above: Last week along the glen edge. (See the Jack in the pulpit?)                             Below: today the blooms are out.   
  
Here's another new bloom in the perennial garden, very much like the foxglove and a Mother's Day gift from years ago.  The lupine.
  
And here's my Mother's Day gift this year awaiting the rains to stop so it can be planted.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Harvest Monday & Garden Status Report

The garden continues to produce lovely greens for us: spinach, lettuces, and Chinese greens.  Here are some of those photos.
 Tatsoi getting washed in preparation for a quick saute.
 Bok choy which we steamed.
 A large assortment of lettuces and spinach which I served at a Mother's Day lunch for my mother-in-law on Sunday.

It's a rainy day today.  Nice for all the new plantings in the garden and yard.  I took these photos in the rain to show you what's happening out there now.

 The second planting of snow peas is getting ready to bloom.  I think it's catching up to the first planting.
 I planted 16 tomatoes on the 9th and have 17 growing since I left a volunteer plant in place.  12 of the plants are planted in beds like this one and will be trained up the stake to the fence.  I have Goldie, Amish paste, and Rutgers all which I had last year, and new this year Market Miracle and Cherokee purple (from Daphne).
 View of the first planting of snowpeas with bok choy in front.  A row of bush beans were planted to the right of the bok choy.  Carrots are behind.  Below is a close up of one of the peas ready to pick.
 Broccoli is heading up nicely.  Below another tomato bed with the volunteer in front.  It's as big as my seedling plants!
 The final 3' x 18" bed.  All of them have marigolds planted with them to ward off those dreaded tomato horn worms.


 One of the blueberry bushes.  All except a new bush planted last year to replace one that died have blueberries on them.
 The final 5 tomato plants are planted next to the snow peas and behind the carrots second planting.  The tendrils of the peas are already grasping onto the tomato cages and once the peas are done I'll have a job of cutting them off the tomato plants.
 Above you can see one of my pots of cucumbers.  Below are the other two pots.  Last year they were in the bed where the garlic is now and grew nicely up the fence.  I hope they do as well in pots.  Not pictured is the pumpkin volunteer which got transplanted from the last tomato bed to a spot on the septic tank outside the fence.  It's been sprayed with Liquid Fence as the whole yard was again on Saturday so hopefully the deer will leave it be.  Can't be sure that the ground hog will, but oh well.
 Peppers were planted in amongst the spinach.  My pepper seedlings were so small this year.  I did end up buying one jalapeno pepper plant to add to these.
 Finally, the deck is complete.  The new fire pit arrived Friday but we didn't get to try the pit out this weekend.  Here is is in the rain.  We did enjoy sitting out there with family visitors on Mother's Day.
There are other harvests to be viewed at Daphne's Dandelions.
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