The Edible Garden is In!

It’s all in…mulched and ready to grow…

I’m trying square-foot-type gardening, partly because I don’t have much faith in some of the peppers I started—not much root to them–and went out and bought some bigger ones, meaning I ended up with 12 bell peppers of assorted types, and 4 sweet banana peppers.  Same with the tomatoes:  I planted 3 better boys before the monsoons hit and they looked pretty bedraggled when it was all over, so I bought 3 bigger ones.  There are also 1 sweet cherry 100, 2 romas, and one husky.  There’s a lot of basil, some sage, rosemary, parsley, and oregano, as well as the broccoli and onions I planted in March.  I put down some carrot and beet seeds around the blueberry bushes…and don’t forget the bush beans and pole beans.   If it all grows, I’ll have plenty to eat and give away!

We’ve mulched around the entire house and it looks great…

I planted some wave petunias in an old stump (ala Pinterest), and surrounded geraniums with marigolds in the old wash tubs…

This lovely Sweet William is peeping out from under the daylilies..

When the rain finally returned, we brought out the houseplants and porch furniture…


Now, it’s just maintenance…and a fair bit of luck…


Shuffling the Shrubs…

I returned from visiting with the NYC kids on Saturday–had a great visit, thanks–and was pleased with how well Casey had taken care of everyone.  Still, the roses were begging to be put outside.  Sunday we planted them, and they look terrific!


12 years ago we had put in holly on the south side of the porch, 3 girls and a boy, and watched as they grew into a large hedge, rather surprised at their size.  Last year we began to see black soot-like stuff all over the leaves that was rubbing off on the siding of the house.  Research showed that it was a root fungus, and the shrubs had to be removed.  Dang if it wasn’t because I had planted them too close together.  Remember how I killed a lot of black-eyed Susans by not dividing them?  Same Lesson.  Will I ever learn???

It was suggested that the roses be planted 3 feet apart for a hedge, but we chose 51 inches to line them up with our screen openings.  I’m betting they’ll still come together, only have room to breathe…  I have learned, I have learned!

Now we have this big mass of dead dirt greeting you as you enter our porch, dipping below the ancient foundation, sprouting  vintage gas pipes and the electric meter.  Not welcoming.  I don’t want to put an expensive shrub or expensive array of flowers or really commit myself to any sort of layout right now, so we used what we had:  a louvered folding door that we picked up for a couple of bucks at a rummage sale, the welcome,friends sign that was already hiding the meter, and a honeysuckle that was awaiting a home…

Casey took the opportunity to widen the steps and level out some areas of the walk.   He’s adding some cheap topsoil for now and I’m going to plant some sunflowers and zinnias.  That should take care of things for a while.


All the rest of our “leftovers” were planted in the Bird Garden…mums of various colours, purple coneflower, coreopsis that was already there, and still more daisies!

It’s all ready for mulch as soon as the rain passes…

I’m chomping at the bit to plant my edibles and herbs, but it looks like it might swoop down to the 40’s next week, so I’m trying to distract myself with some front-porch-rearranging.   I think I’ll just have houseplants out there this year, but it’s hard to not pick up some annuals…maybe just one wave petunia?  or 2 vinca?  We’ll see!


Busy … and New Neighbors!

Finished up the new raised beds for the vegetables…

moved all the flowers out of the front bed…dozens of daisies and coneflower…some to the north bed…

and some to the south bed that is still under construction.  I still have a wagon of coneflowers and a small wheelbarrow of mums to find a home for, so I’m feeling a little full of perennials.

The blank space in the front of the house  is still under consideration, but I’m opting for a hedge of some sort.  It’s a 40-foot long area and the flowerbed always seemed too small for the space.  Maybe some knockout roses to grow 4ft x 4ft and bloom all summer?

Two Norwegian bachelor gnomes have moved in down in the woods…they’re really sprucing the place up!  The one on the right is Larry Garcia and the older, smaller one is his brother, Darrell.  Darrel doesn’t say much, but Larry is always ready to lean on his shovel and jaw…

I’d like to get some seeds in the ground this week-end and it looks like the weather will be perfect for it!

Happy Easter!


Wanna be startin’ somethin’

I’m a glutton for punishment.  I simply Must try starting seeds…  This season of gray, gloom, and cold cries out for some seedlings to brighten a corner and I have mightily tried to figure out how.  Unfortunately, in all the dozens of seeds I have started over the years, only a handful have survived until planting (see Here ).  Still, I just must try.

This year’s experiments:  basil, bell and sweet banana pepper, cilantro, broccoli, german chamomile, red mums, and marigolds, 4 dozens little seeds of hope.  We’ll see…

One thing I’m certain about:  the annual Orchid Escape at Mesker Zoo and Botanical Gardens, Amazonia, will be blooming!  We set up this Wednesday and Thursday, with the kick-off party on Friday, 2/10.  I’ll be out there nearly every week-end, so if you’re trying to avoid me, go during the week…   Seriously, if you’re local, take a day to stroll and sit with the plants and birds.  Every year it is spectacular.  I’ll share pictures as soon as I can, but it would be better to see you there!

Orchids are not difficult to grow—easier than starting seeds!–so I’m having a go at a phalaenopsis in the music room…


Peace, Love, and Flowers

7/4: the rainy edition

It’s hard to feel festive in this prolonged downpour…  We were going to watch tonight’s fireworks with the Jrs. down at the Museum, but not…

Here’s my garden-version of fireworks…


I love scarlet Bee balm, aka bergamot, monarda, or Oswego tea.  I’ve grown it in various gardens and always ended up ripping it out because of it will take over a space pretty quickly.  It is leggy and always falls during a rain, has a tendency to mold, but the scent is glorious and the leaves make a lovely Earl-Gray-Like tea.  Last year I planted one in a pot and it did all right, so I overwintered it.  This year…well, it has taken over the pot like ivy.  I hate that the bees and hummers can’t get to it, but I really have no place outside for it.  Today, though, I was glad it hadn’t gotten swamped…

I don’t want to talk about it, but I’m scheduled for a colonoscopy on Wednesday, so I can’t eat anything with skin or seeds.   That dietary restriction includes my lovely, First Tomato of the Season.


I had to harvest it before it split from all the rain…  I’m afraid to even slice it up for Casey—I might accidentally have a bite…   Surely it will be even better Wednesday evening.

The garden has no complaints about the rain…


Rainy days are a gift to a reader, so I won’t complain either!   Happy 4th, friends!

Excerpts from the Garden Journal

I keep–or try to keep–a written journal of each gardening year, especially for marking my planting and harvest times.  I also try to keep track of what worked, what didn’t, and just how much work it took to get it to work!!!   I usually start out strong, chronicling my seed-starting and planting precisely, then trail off once I’ve gotten to the just maintenance part.  Last night I caught up with my journal after a 2-week hiatus.

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I did it again—neglected my garden journal.

Everything has grown like crazy–temps summer-like and humid.

Front porch:  wicker planter and houseplants out 6/13.  Fountain is cool.

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Hydrangeas —  cut back to clear window 6/12  and now rain has front blooms on the ground.  Need to cut them all back.  Blooms cut from back are drying on front porch.  Laid soaker hose.

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North Garden —  added daisies, pruned and trimmed, put riprap around edge, added soaker hose.

Butterfly/Bird garden (east) —  Lovely!  Added a flat dish hummingbird feeder and hung all 3 from trellis.  Read an article that said this may discourage bully-hummers, but..?  Planted honeysuckle at N end of trellis—hoping to train it to cover top.  Added soaker hose.

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Daylilies —  Huge (will need to be divided this year).  Not sure I appreciate them enough for the work of constant deadheading the slimy blooms.

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Pineapple Sage –okay.  Holly — good.  Soaker hose to all .

West (front) garden.  Saw a mom goldfinch land on a coneflower, shadowed by her young’un.  She tried another and decided finally on a large, more open bloom down the way.  Baby followed and she showed him how to munch the seeds from the flower, then flew up to a branch to watch proudly as he/she fed like a pro.    Black-eyed Susan vine growing like a weed and the Moonflower Vine is Alive!!!

Edibles— I do believe I’ll have ripe tomatoes by the 4th of July!  Almost lost the bush zucchini, but I covered a broken spot with dirt and it looks like it’s surviving.  fingers crossed.  3 of the ca wonder peppers look crappy, others okay.

It has rained the last 2 days and today’s high is predicted to be 97 degrees!!!   Sounds extremely sticky, so I’m glad the pool is up now.   Olivia and I are headed over to Henderson for lunch and to check out the Handy Blues Fest.

Stay cool, wherever you are!