Monday, June 29, 2009


While dumping out some kitchen scraps into my compost bin, I noticed dozens of slugs munching on my decaying tulip leaves.  Huge happy ones.  I'm just glad they were happy there and not in my raised bed or my flower beds.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Fothergilla, Snap Peas, Starting new seeds

It was nice to be able to get outside into the garden the last two days, though it looks like more rain is forecast for this weekend.  I finally had the opportunity to plant the fothergilla that I got for Father's Day, thanks to my generous mother-in-law.   

With all the rain, this is starting out to be a good year for lettuce and (so far) not so good for my warm-weather crops (tomatoes, cukes, peppers, squashes).  But Sage and I found about 10 sugar snap peas ready to harvest yesterday, and Sage ate them without them greedily.  

Assessing the weak points of my garden, I started some more perennials from seed, most of it leftover seed I didn't start this winter:  oriental poppies, columbines, shasta daisies (the ones in the garden never came up), verbena, verbascum, foxglove, and chocolate flower.  They are in flats in the back yard.

I pulled out the spinach from my raised bed:  it had stopped producing, and had bolted (flowered).

Speaking of the raised bed:  another of its benefits is that it hasn't been attacked by slugs, which, given all the rain, have been prolific this year.

New openings:  gaillardia, roses, helenium, tansy (I like the photo below of the tansy blooming right next to my ox-eye daisies), and one unidentified flower blooming where I don't remember planting it (see photo below).  I'll have to look it up in my Taylor's Guide to figure it out, but feel free to identify it in the comments.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Daylilies, California poppies, rain damage assessment

Southern Maine gardens took a beating over the last few days, with 1-2 inches of rain on Friday.  Today I assessed the damage, and don't feel too bad.  In fact, my garden has transformed itself from predominantly blues and purples to an abundance of yellows, thanks to daylilies and California poppies opening.  Here are some photos from this morning:

One of my two deck planters, with impatiens and sweet alyssum.
The impatiens have loved the rain.

My honeysuckle

My foxglove are still blooming. Unlike my usual habits, I bought these in bloom for a baby shower a month ago, and they've lasted quite well.

The first of my daylilies opened two days ago.
Now I have about a dozen in bloom.

My ox-eye daisies have mostly flopped over.
Here they are growing among "May Night" sage.

My niobe (I think) clematis has opened, though with only two flowers on it.  
(It's only two years old.)

My favorites:  California poppies.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Summer signs; Spring cleanup

My first daylily opened:  a reblooming Stella d'Oro.  It's the first sign that summer is on its way.  I'm looking forward to a full display of them, since I have dozens of daylilies in the garden.

Ringing out the old, I pulled up almost all of my tulips and hyacinths, as they have yellowed and flopped.  It added a ton of green matter to my compost bin!

Friday, June 12, 2009

Rain; annual plantings; roses!

Locals know that Portland got heavy rain this morning.  It wreaked havoc on some of my taller plants:  my oriental poppies lost their petals, and both my ox-eye daisies and hesperis flopped a bit.

It was clear by afternoon, so in the evening I was able to plant some annuals in spots where I realized I needed them:  I planted low-growing petunias in a ring around my peach tree, taller white nicotiana around my cherry tree, state fair zinnias near the front of the garden, and rocket snapdragons where I pulled up my lilies.

I saw the first flower buds on my roses, as well as on my niobe clematis, and little peppers on my pepper plants.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Holes in the garden; general update

I've been busy in the garden, but haven't had time to post.

Now's about the time I realize where the summer gaps are in my garden, so I've been putting down some seeds in various places, including:  verbascum (I have a few already, but they are hidden among my rose bushes), Pacific Giant delphiniums (which I grew a few years ago, and loved, but they are tough to keep), more oriental poppies (Brilliant Red), cleome (Fountain Blend), scarlet flax (amid my blue flax), more columbine (McKana's Giant), and Pastel Sunset zinnias.  I also added some purple nicotiana to a corner of the garden, where my hollyhocks will take a while to establish.

On the veggie front:  my peppers and sugar snap peas have bloomed, as has the mustard in my mesclun mix.  Indeed, my daughter Sage loved the mustard, and ate most of it, as well as much of the rest of the lettuces I harvested last week.  I clipped lots of spinach too.  I put some basil into my slow-growing basil pot.  A number of asparagus have come up, so I covered them with soil, all but the tips.  I also hilled my potatoes a little more.  My cantaloupe don't get enough sun, and are on their last legs.  I guessed as much when I planted them, but I've run out of sunny spots.

In the last few days, I've done some other maintenance.  I pinched back my asters so that they don't outgrow my picket fence (they were ungainly last year).  I moved my one hydrangea to a sunnier spot, since though it looked healthy it was getting shaded out by my butterfly bush and baptisia.  I divided some of my creeping phlox, now that they're done blooming.  And I had to move one of my butterfly bushes to extend my pea-gravel path around the garden.  Its leaves flopped, but I've given all the above good doses of seaweed fertilizer (Neptune's Harvest, rich in phosphate) to promote root growth.

Some pix:

My Siberian and Dutch irises are both blooming wonderfully.  My Dutch ones are in the parking strip (verge, esplanade, whatever you call the strip between the sidewalk and the street), and are a mix of blues and yellows.

I'm really enjoying the Allium bulgaricum which I planted for the first time last fall.  I'll have to order more.The tallest of my Dame's Rocket (hesperis) to open.  I started a lot from direct seeding this year, so I should see a lot next year, as many have established themselves.

Glad the rain is coming!  My garden sorely needs a good soak.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Oriental Poppies

I woke up this morning to find that the first of my oriental poppies had opened, which is always a wonderful sight.  My sage and verbascum have also opened, as has the first of my siberian irises.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Bloom Update

In bloom today:  allium, baby's breath (annual), baptisia, chives, columbine, creeping phlox (barely), dianthus, digitalis, flax, galanthus, hesperis, iberis, impatiens, irises, lilac, lobelia, lunaria, lupine, ox-eye daisies, pansies, ratibida, salvia, solomon's seal, Spanish bluebells, sweet alyssum, and zinnias.  

Monday, June 1, 2009

Ox-eye Daisies, Fruits' First Appearance

My Siberian irises are about to open.  As you can see, my ox-eye daisies are in full bloom.

I've noticed a lot of fruit on my various fruit-bearing plants:  peaches, blueberries, strawberries, and grapes, though either it's too early to tell about cherries, I don't know what to look for, or there won't be any fruit this year.