29 July 2011


As you can probably tell by the lack of posts here lately, my garden has been pretty much abandoned. Little babies simply take too much time, and I can't take her outside to lie on a blanket on the grass while I work. It's just too hot plus there are mosquitoes galore. So my plants are suffering. The Rhubarb I'm afraid is in awful shape
the Beet leaves are riddled with holes, as are the Strawberries. The Peppers and Green Beans are falling over as if their roots were cut, in addition the beans' leaves are bronzing and chewed upon. The Broccoli hasn't made a single decent head but a bunch of tall, skinny ones- bolted. The Cherry Tomatoes are yellowed stems, withered leaves. The only plants that seem to be holding their own are the Basil and other herbs, Marigolds and Carrots. Nothing bothers Carrots except a certain caterpillar which hasn't made an appearance this year. My large heirloom Beefsteak Tomatoes are doing okay, too, although there are too many to eat!

28 July 2011

Mantis and other critters

I have been happy to see preying Mantis in the garden, again. I always find them in the shabby patch alongside the driveway and if I can, catch a few to move into the vegetable garden where hopefully they'll eat the unwanted bugs. The other day this one crawled across part of the car as we were driving away!
I've also seen lots of butterflies, but not got any pictures. And twice I've seen the hummingbird visit again! Such a little flash of beauty. I wish I could get a photo to show you. It has a green irridescent throat.

My cat has been catching another type of rodent.
It doesn't look like the voles I usually find on the doorstep- quite a bit bigger, and definitely not a fieldmouse. It has a large, blunt head. What is it?
And finally, last week we found another turtle just like this one walking across the patio. It was a lot smaller than the first one. The cat was curious and patting it with her paws.

herb flowers

Some of my herbs in pots are flowering. The blooms are very small but pretty nevertheless, and the Mint ones
are visited by bees. The small piece of Sage also has a tiny flower
and the Lavender recently shot a tall stem with bitty flowers atop.

And just because this post has herbs, I'll mention that my Parsley (grown from Mom's seed!) has done so well I'm thinking of drying some. It's quite a bit larger than this picture now, and I have six plants.

14 July 2011


are opening their faces! The shorter plants still blooming, just not as high.
Glad I keep this record; I looked back and realized last year I planted my sunflowers end of july, had blooms in september. So it didn't seem crazy to try and plant a few more, fill up the row. Seeds tucked into the soil a week ago, a few are sprouting now.

random plants

Most of the Daylilies are done flowering now, just bare stalks drying out. One late flower I discovered today. It's not the usual bold orange color, but a paler yellow.
You can see how pathetic my bed alongside the driveway is, now that I've cleared all the weeds out. I had hoped to fill it with Marigolds, pink Cosmos and bright red Tithonias, but half the plants died or were overwhelmed by the weeds, and what I have left doesn't even begin to fill the space.
This one plant I didn't pull out, because I liked the way it looks. Does anyone know what it is?
The flowers grow on a horizontal stem. I think it's pretty and curious, but afraid I'm harboring another weed...

13 July 2011


The little Flower-of-an-Hour, or Venice Mallow as I've learned it's called, is seeding itself all over one corner of my front bed.
It's considered a weed in some parts, other people cultivate it in their borders. Me, I'm just giving it free space to grow.

more tomatoes

Been trying to think of new ways to use the glut of cherry Tomatoes from the garden. Have been wondering for a while (two years in fact) about this weed, Purslane
 which is also edible and supposedly high in nutrients. Used in other cuisines Mexican cooking included.
For starters I tried a simple salad, washed Purslane leaves tossed with slice Cherry Tomatoes, cucumbers, sesame seed and a vinagrette. The purslane has a zingy, lemony flavor. It was interesting, but I'm not quite a fan yet.
I've found another recipe that puts it in a pie with chicken and thyme, that sounds more like something I might like. Or sauteed with onions and mixed into scrambled eggs...

10 July 2011

tomatoes and tomatoes

One of my large Tomato plants isn't looking well. Lots of stems have yellowed and shriveled. Closer inspection, it seems to be the ones that are bending under the weight of fruit and breaking! I tried to prop and tie a few up.
The big fat tomatoes are finally starting to ripen, from pale green
through to beautiful red.
The Cherry Tomatoes are in full force, now. That bowl is leftovers from yesterday's pickings, and the pile in the foreground of the basket were all gathered this morning.
I made a pizza tonight with garden ingredients.
It was a fresh-made store-bought sausage pizza to which I added bought mushrooms, sliced garden Bell Pepper, cherry Tomatoes and fresh Basil.
I finally realized why my Basil plants are smaller than last year's, which grew high as my chest! My husband didn't bring a plant home from the store this year, which I usually stick in the garden when my own sown basil is just seedlings. I have about five basil plants out there, scattered throughout the plots. The one growing between the bolted lettuce and robust swiss chard has the largest, most beautiful and fragrant leaves. I wasn't planning on saving basil seed this year, as I have plenty from last year still, but I might just let this one plant flower and go to seed because it's so healthy-looking.

09 July 2011

more pinks

I really like that some of my pink Cosmos have different shades. The first plants that opened flowers were a dark pink, two more that just started blooming have a lighter shade.
I really wish I had more and more of these all growing together.


I took my two potted Thyme plants, which were getting rather scraggly
 and gave them each a trim. Clippings hung up to dry. The one in the red pot has been sitting on the brick outside on my porch with other herbs; the one in the white pot lives indoors in the windowsill and is trying to look like a miniature tree. Or at least, I'm trying to make it look like one. You can tell it doesn't get quite enough sun; the leaves are spread further apart on the stems so it looks kinda leggy.
Outside the two that got planted directly into the garden are doing much better. They also look prettier here because I sprayed them with water before taking the picture to knock some dust off the leaves. It's too hard to see the small plants against background of dirt so I stuck a white box lid behind them for the photos.
Come winter I'll experiment a bit. I'll cut down one of these plants and leave it be, mulch or cover the other one with a bucket to protect from snow.
The red-potted one will come inside for winter. Then I'll see which looks better in spring. If it's the ones in the garden, I'll plant them all out permanently (except for the tree-imitator). If the one brought inside flourishes more, I'll dig up the others come fall and overwinter them indoors...

08 July 2011

blue green

The lovely blue-green Broccolis are nice and huge. I always feel like they're so spread out when I put the young plants in, but this time it looks like I gave them the right amount of room. They've filled in nicely.
Some heads getting ready!
Sadly I probably won't be able to eat them, as they make the baby gassy and fussy. But my husband only likes broccoli out of the garden, so at least he will benefit. And I love the pretty blue-green color of the plants, it's so different from everything else in the garden.

07 July 2011

fleeting flower

The little Flower-of-an-Hour is showing up again in my yard, only it has spread itself down towards the patio.
I like them and wish they had more blooms.

06 July 2011

fresa haircut

I've read that to rejuvenate a june-bearing strawberry bed you're supposed to mow over the plants after they're done fruiting (with a lawn mower, actually) and then feed heavily with compost. Let them grow back the rest of the season before mulching over in fall.
I didn't want to drive a lawn mower over my bed so instead I gave the plants a haircut with some old scissors. Daughter thinks they all look sad now.

05 July 2011


I didn't get many Sunflowers to grow. I have one nice tall plant on the southeast end of the row
and five shorter plants that get smaller the further north you go down the row. I think it's because they get less sun on that end, from trees shading the plots.
I was disappointed it wasn't going to make a nice wall of sunflowers flanking my garden, but then luckily looked back at how they did the year before, because I remember planting them late. So glad I keep track here! Last year's sunflowers got planted at the end of june, and I had flowers in september. So with fingers crossed yesterday I poked more sunflower seeds into the ground to fill gaps in the row. We'll see if they sprout and flourish.

I also sowed some more Cilantro seed among my hot pepper plants, as all the volunteers have bolted, flowered and are gone to seed. None of the earlier sowed seed grew; if these don't either I figure my saved seed wasn't good for some reason.


I only have four pepper plants in the garden, but they're all making lovely fruit! We have Bell Peppers on two plants (just ate one of these diced into eggs yesterday along with some garden oregano and chard. It was scrumptious!)
The two smaller hot pepper plants are from a mix packet, so I wasn't sure what I was going to get. I had to drag my husband out into the garden to try and identify them for me. We think this one has Pasillas
and these small skinny ones are probably Jalapenos.
So I'm looking forward to some fresh mole and beans soon!

02 July 2011


My husband gave me this beautiful plant for mother's day, and I forgot to take a picture of it when it was in bloom.
Here's one of the final flowers, just about to fall off.
I do hope I can learn to care for it properly and get it to bloom again.

01 July 2011

shrub experiment

Trimmed a shrub in front of my house, and planted cuttings from these pieces. Don't know if they'll take and root but if they do I have the beginnings of a new little hedge!