Thursday, June 27, 2013

Puttering Around the Potager

So far this season has been wonderful! I don't want to jinx anything, but we've had enough rain, enough sun, and despite the late start in planting, everything looks amazing. A far cry from last year's vegetable garden.
Everything is growing green and full and fast! I still need to relocate the lavender...

Here comes the okra! I planted two rows of Clemson Spineless...

And one row of Burgundy. 
I planted far too much summer squash in a small space. However, if the sunflowers grow a little faster they will be able to scramble towards the back of the bed, since the peas will be done by the time the squash gets a creepin'.
Spent most of one hot afternoon weeding. I have this quadrant of the back section left to tackle. Hello thistle! The experimental (to me) system for growing the tomatoes is working great! 
We even had a pretty good wind test a couple of times this week. I added several more rows of twine and attached all of the wayward branches. There are a ton of tomatoes coming!

So exciting!

I've been very diligent with removing the suckers from between leaves and the main stems. The suckers just take away energy and will not produce fruit. It also helps keep the plants thinned out a bit, so sun has an easier time ripening the fruit!

I really cannot wait!

Only one banana pepper plant this year.

Sugar snap peas in their pods.
These 'Casablanca' lilies tucked in with the asparagus will help draw pollinators to the garden, which will then, hopefully, increase our harvest. That is, until I can't help myself and I cut them to bring home.

These are 'Scheherazade', a type of Orienpet hybrid lily that will, once mature, grow to 8' tall! The Vegetable Garden is also taking on some cutting flowers, as the Cutting Garden is becoming solely a Berry Patch. Several rows of zinnia and some statice have already been planted, and we put in quite a lot of sunflowers.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Time for Summer

Summer is upon us. The last of the tropicals are leaving the Penthouse today, and I decided I might as well dig up all of the pansy plants in the window boxes and relocate them, as well, since once the real heat hits they will fade pretty fast. Their replacement plants have already been purchased, so perhaps by the end of the day I'll have a new jumble of blooms to look at from the living room.

They really have filled out well.

All dug out and ready to pack full with bright, bright annuals. There are a few little petunias coming up in each window box (the green at the top of the box-the one next to the trowel is a weed).

And all of these healthy little guys are ready to move into the garden. Hopefully they stay just as healthy.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

A Little Maintenance in the Hydrangea Border

Although I'm pretty awesome with proportions in all other aspects of life and design, I am really, really awful with proportions in the Garden. I always need to think BIGGER! Every bed I've ever made in the Garden should have been at least a foot deeper, sometimes more. I also should have edged the beds with brick, as I've always planned, because over the years the grass has made a stealthy attack at reclaiming stolen territory. 
See? This bed should be so much deeper! It drives me crazy. One day (hopefully) these hydrangeas will be big and full and amazing! They need more room to grow!

Looking the other direction. The hostas have grown a bit faster than I thought they would. Plants are hanging over the grass. We need to fix this! 

And the solution. Mulch and cardboard (or newsprint). The lazy man's way of "edging" (and expanding) a border.

Instantly much more attractive! You lay dampened newspaper or cardboard over the grass and mulch on top of that. By next year we will be able to plant some annuals in this area because the grass will be smothered and the soil easy to dig. And then I'll end up seeing it as free space and I'll plant bulbs...and the cycle will continue as the bulbs take over and I push the edge out again.

I still would like a nice edge made with pavers, but for now this is much better.

I also need to move a few things. This poor Japanese painted fern is being over run by the hosta! The hostas look great this year, but might actually need to be divided already!

And the climbing hydrangea is taking over an Autumn fern. The climbing hydrangea actually has quite a few runners that are in need of removal or relocation. They all have roots, so perhaps a few on each of the trees in the garden would be nice.

Monday, June 10, 2013


 Each Season of the garden is divided into chapters. Chapter 2 is Daffodils, to really kick things off (Chapter 1 being dedicated to Hellebores). Then the chapter dedicated to Tulips and Hyacinths. Next is a chapter on Allium and Columbines (with Poppies and Iris tossed in, as well). Now we are on the last pages of the chapter entitled "Peony". Such a gorgeously fleeting flower, we always happily make room for more. Here are some of the best blooms of this year's chapter.
I'm pretty sure this one is called 'Blaze'.

Pretty pink in the Shade Garden.

Giant puffball. I think this is a 'Sarah Bernhardt', a pretty common peony.

A double row of white guard petals with a pale yellow center. This one smells amazing.

A bud about to explode!

The other Shade Garden peony. Too pale to be 'Bowl of Beauty', but close.

The pretty common 'Karl Rosenfield'. Smells delicious! 

This one is stinky, but beautiful. Another 'Sarah Bernhardt'.

Remember that bud that was about to explode? It exploded into the most gorgeous peony we grow, in my opinion.

This might just be a 'Shirley Temple'. This is another old, commonly found peony that was planted years ago.
And the flowers start to fade. The two in the Shade Garden are wonderful in that they bloom for a longer period of time. There are three others that didn't bloom at all this year, but they are pretty new and pretty small, so maybe next year we will have an even better show. I also need to take Martha's lead and apply superphosphate to all of the peonies to get the best growth and bloom. Add that, and a few more peonies, to the list!