May 5, 2007
The rainy cool weather this spring has definitely gotten the veggie garden off to a good start. Lot's of "babies" on the way. Here are some (windy) pictures of a few things. Despite my caging efforts on the strawberries, the birds managed to clean both plantings totally clean of my first crop. Devastating! So, this morning, I'll be double caging them to try and fend off the attack. There are new berries forming, so I've got to get to it quick. Of course, they only steal them riiiiiight before they are just ripe. Sneaky. The Rhubarb is quite robust. I'll be harvesting some in the next few days and will start canning it. My goal is to get a strawberry & rhubarb pie out of the garden this year! The tomatoes are in high gear this year. (I attribute that to my fantabulous NHG organic veggie food...). The first on the way are 'Sugary' and 'Sun Sugar' a yellow variety. I'll be trying to can as many tomatoes as I can get this year. Actually, I've got all the ingredients in the garden for a good salsa, so I'll probably make and can that up too. Tiny baby squash are on the way. I have 'Peter Pan' and a couple other varieties. Potatoes and horseradish are growing nicely. Will be looking for a fall harvest there. Corn seedlings are up to about 4" tall, as well as purple beans, snap peas and one last crop of lettuce. The first 3 banana peppers of the season are ready, but the pepper plants won't really take off until the heat comes on. Anyone need pepper sauce or pickled peppers? I'll have plenty! I decided to espalier fruit trees all along the NE side of our yard - which has an ugly chain link fence. If I let them grow standard, they'd shade the veggie garden. So this way, I can camouflage the fence, keep in the sun, and get better fruit production. So far I've planted a pear and a peach. I'll probably plant another pear and a plum. I've also planted blackberries and raspberries along the remainder of the side fence and along the back fence. We have great neighbors and they said they wouldn't mind sharing the "fence fruit"!
Apr 21, 2007
Well, as some of my friends know, I have sort of a teacup fetish. I see teacups and the "girl" in me comes out. I don't know where this fetish came from....or why it exists. I was always a tomboy, so maybe this it is some throwback to what I "didn't" do as a little girl. I love antique teacups, yard sale teacups, modern teacups...you name it. I was looking at a stack of my cups and thought, hey, I'll bet these would make cute vases! So now some of my blooms have a new home. The regular sized teacups are perfect for displaying large double roses. Especially if you just want to cut one or two so you don't leave your garden bare. Tiny teacups let you display your tiny flowers, like violas. I know...its sooooo Martha.
Apr 21, 2007
Apr 15, 2007
So a few more things have started to bloom. The first is my 'Ramona' Clematis. I had to plant a 'Ramona' in honor of my Chihuahua, Ramona, of course. Next is Rose 'Ebb Tide'. The photo doesn't do the color justice. It is the deepest purple rose I've seen, highly fragrant, and produces masses of buds. I got it as a test plant before it was released. Weeks roses released it in 2006, so it is new to the market. Another shot of 'Tamora' in bloom. Such a great fragrance. Rose 'Abraham Darby' just started blooming as well. Rose 'Cracklin' Fire' is a cute little miniature. It has that great orangey color I love. It's has a wee problem with blackspot in the spring- as you can see in the photo. But it usually grows out of it with no treatment once it warms up.
Now, as a horticulturist in Texas, I'm fully aware of the roses I'm "supposed" to be growing. Who do I think I am growing all these wimpy English hybrids??? Professionally I've done a lot of testing of rose varieties and contributed data to the Texas A&M EarthKind program. Of course I have antiques in my garden. I'm sure that within the next year or so 'Mutabilis' will be overtaking my front yard, and I'll be happy for it. But, I just have this weakness, stress WEAKNESS, for those big, fat, juicy David Austin beauties. And seriously, they are doing great for me. I maintain an organic garden and haven't touched a rose in my garden with a single treatment in 3 years. Occasionally, during times of high humidity and cool temperatures, foliage fungal diseases will crop up. I generally allow plants to outgrow their problems naturally.
Apr 15, 2007
Ok, Carolyn, here is my dwarf Iris pseudocorus. This is not the standard species, which gets about 5 or 6 feet tall. This one stays at about 30" or so.
Apr 8, 2007
Waiting for my Dutch Irises to bloom in spring is a yearly event. They are just one of the most beautiful flowers in the garden. Its too bad they only last as long as they do, which is never long enough. This year, unfortunately, we got some very hard rains just as they were coming into bloom. They were pretty beat up and just weren't able to put on their normal show. Here is one of the last few still hanging on. But, even in their injured state...they are still beautiful. I thought the sapphire blue of the flower looked especially nice up against the yellow-green foliage of dwarf Iris pseudocorus, not yet in bloom.
However, as a consolation, as the Dutch Iris are fading, my Iris pallida is just starting to bloom. Here is the very first. Such a pretty pale blue/lavender. It was the only existing planting on the property when we bought the house. Our house was built in 1941, and this is an old fashioned Iris, so I imagine the large clump in the back yard has been here for some time. Each season, I dig up a few and transplant them to other places in the garden. It is one of my favorite Iris species. The big clump in the back yard hasn't quite started to bloom, but once it does I'll post a photo. I also have a mystery Iris. I purchased what was supposed to be 'Supersition'..a "black" iris, and ended up with BEIGE. Now that's a color I never planned for in the garden! I wish I could say it was more peach, but it really is..Beige. But it has a very interesting pretty bloom with splashes of purple. I haven't yet taken the time to try and identify this variety, but I suppose at some point I should.
Apr 2, 2007
I love to vegetable garden. This past winter we had gangbuster crops of broccoli and lettuce greens. The If you've never let broccoli go to flower before, you must. It will be the prettiest thing in your garden. And it will give the bees a good pollen harvest too. They need it. I'll get a picture posted.
Brussels sprouts weren't as nice as last year, but I attribute that to the excessive succession of freezes we had throughout the winter. The hard freezes totally destroyed my cauliflower - even covered. Never got carrots into the ground this year. The Cabbage was great. I can't get enough of cabbage with a coconut/peanut/sesame dressing. Of course, you have to have cilantro in the garden to make that dressing just right.
This years summer veggie list includes Tomatoes of course (Porter, Brandywine, Celebrity, Sweet 100, Sugary, and a few others). Got most of them in the ground a couple of weeks ago. Unfortunately, I'm missing 'Green Zebra'. Its an heirloom and was my best producer last year. Peppers that just went in the ground include Habanero, Banana, a couple of Jalapeno varieties, Chiles, & 'Holy Mole'. Hotter the better!!! I don't know why I plant so many peppers. I always end up with more than I can ever use. Although, I've gotten very good at pickling peppers....Its eating them all that is the problem. Now I just need a pressure canner..that way I can can the peppers too, or the salsa. Of course, I think my mother is convinced I'm totally incapable of using a pressure canner without blowing up the house. Now, the tank of explosive acetylene gas I use to make jewelry apparently presents no concerns...but the pressure canner....that's another story! Yes, i know mother, I don't know anything....LOVE YOU!!!!
New this year: Planted 2 varieties of strawberries, 2 varieties of raspberry, and a blackberry. Planted some horseradish roots. The rhubarb I planted last year is coming back really nice. I didn't expect it to in our warm climate. Nice surprise. So I may actually get a strawberry/rhubarb pie out of the garden! I had to plant some fruit, otherwise there is nothing my husband will eat out of the summer garden. Except corn. No tomatoes, no peppers, nada. He misses out on so much...
Apr 2, 2007
Ok, so I'm obsessed with peach colored roses. So far I have about 10 different varieties in this color palette. The first variety is 'Pegasus'. Sort of a rambler. The next is 'Pat Austin'. This flower is not quite open yet, but is is the perfect combination of peach to peachy pink in the center.
'Tamora' has a huge peachy pink fragrant blooms. It is just irresistible. 'Mlle. Franziska Kruger' produces tons of small peachy pink blooms. It is a really tough tea rose. I'm still waiting for the 'Abraham Darby', 'Livin' Easy' and 'Crown Princess Margareta' to come in to bloom. Can't wait!