Thursday, July 30, 2009

new potatoes

I write this with a plate of new potatoes, just fried in garlic, sitting in front of me.  Out of curiosity, I wanted to see what was in the ground, and out popped two golf-ball sized and one baseball-sized potato.  They are Yukon Gold, planted April 23 -- three months and one week ago.  Yum, they are good!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Weeding, Planting, Moving, Enjoying

In between the morning rain and the evening rain, I got the chance to do some cleaning up and planting this afternoon.  

In a case of "do as I say, not as I do," I moved a balloon flower and a veronica spicata from locations hidden under over-grown flowers (a butterfly bush and some bee balm, respectively) into other parts of the garden where they'd be more prominent.  Yes, they were in bloom, which is the worst time to transplant, so I hope I haven't done any long-term damage.

I cut back all of my baptisia, which has pretty foliage in its own right, but droops over everything nearby.  It was shading out my emerging gladiolas.

I sewed some more corn poppies in hopes for a late-summer bloom.  I also started some purple coneflower in flats from seed.  (The echinacea I have now is off-white, and it looks very pale next to my black-eyed susans.)

With plants that were going to be discarded anyway, I cleaned up and planted what I could of some verbena and petunias, filling empty spaces in my garden.

I did a ton of weeding.  All this rain has been great for the grass that just won't go away from my front yard.  (I'm the only one in my neighborhood who considers grass a weed.)

And now some pix:  my gladiolas are just starting to open, and my daylilies had their best day yet.

Friday, July 24, 2009


The first of my gladiolas opened  today  (despite the heavy  downpour).  When I can get out there, I'll take a photo.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Plant names

Among other things, my gayfeather are blooming.  Gayfeather, you say?  Yes, that's the now-fading name for liatris.  Probably some product managers got worried about the marketing appeal of the name gayfeather and decided its botanical name was more appealing.  (As if "liatris" is an appealing name -- sounds like a gastro-intestinal disorder.)  I no longer see plant labels with "gayfeather" on them.

Working at a garden center, I'm amused by all the ridiculous names of plants, especially the hybrids.  My favorites are the Anglophilic/aristocratic-sounding ones:  princess this and duchess of so-and-so that.  Of course, like aristocracy horticulture is all about "good breeding," though quite unlike aristocracy, horticulture advances by hybridization.  

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Disappearing Grapes

When I left for Alaska, there were nice bunches of Edelweiss grapes on my grapevine.  When I returned, there were no signs of them.  No clue.  Birds?  Wildlife?  Neighbors?  The mail carrier?

Monday, July 20, 2009

Mid-July photos

As promised, some photos (good and bad) of my garden in mid-July.My sugar-snap peas, eaten up by who-knows-what (happened while I was on vacation).

Coneflowers, Gaillardia and Ratibida



Baby's Breath, Allium Moly, and Liatris, with Nicotiana in the background

Yarrow in the parking strip (with a few daylilies in the background).

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Back from Vacation

Three days ago I got back from a two-week vacation (to Alaska), and my garden reflected the neglect.  Fortunately, we got lots of rain (so I heard), so things seemed to have survived well enough (more on that later), but I came home to a radically different garden than the one I left.  After two days of recovery, I was able to get into the garden this afternoon.  In short, things were either weedy, eaten up, and newly in bloom.    

Bloom report:
Here's what I found in bloom:

Daylilies, one corn poppy, allium sphaerocephalon, baby's breath, foxglove, nicotiana, columbine, gaillardia, butterfly bush, rudbeckia, yarrow, coneflower, lobelia, snapdragons, california poppies, white phlox, a few cosmos, lupine, russian sage, flax, petunias, impatiens, salvia, loosestrife, veronica, campanula glomerata, some liatris.  

Harvest time:
My blueberries were ripe, and we feasted on those.  My lettuce is still prolific, and my daughter ended up eating mostly that for breakfast yesterday.

The Japanese beetles are out, and aphids chewed up much of my snap peas, so this evening I sprayed a pyrethrum-based spray on all my veggies and fruits (and my one or two hollyhocks).  Let's hope that does the trick.

I pulled out the last of my daffodil foliage and my allium bulgaricum, and cut back my very bushy baptisia and my ox-eye daisies, which sent their seeds everywhere as I pruned.

I assessed where I needed to fill in some holes in the garden, and planted some annuals:   more nicotiana, some petunias, calibrachoa (superbells), cosmos, and osteospermum.  I watered all the new plantings with a diluted seaweed solution.

General maintenance:
I moved around a few daylilies, strawberries, and one liatris, to put in a new stone-gravel path around the back of my garden, which was hard to get to.  I also had to stake a few tall plants and tie my grape vine up to its post, as it had fallen off.

I'll post some new photos in the next day or  two when I get a chance.