Sunday Morning Garden Chat: Ripening into Summer

opiejeanne 14 sally holmes rose

From commentor Opiejeanne, in the Seattle area:

The rose in the picture at top is Sally Holmes.

opiejeanne 14 spinach 18 june

The pot of spinach was planted on june 12, the photo above was taken on the 18th, and I took the latest photo (below) of it on June 26.

opiejeanne 14 spinach 26 june

opiejeanne 14 Hood strawberries closeup

Hood strawberries

opiejeanne 14 hood strawberries

We have taken a lot of strawberries out of those two small beds which were new plants generated by the old strawberry bed, probably close to 3 flats and there are still more on the plants. The front bed was planted last September with the “pups” from our old Hood strawberry bed, the back bed was planted in April.

opiejeanne 14 strawberry beds

opiejeanne 14 lettuce

opiejeanne 14 wide screen

To be continued…

65 replies
  1. 1
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    While a rose named Sally is unusual, calling your strawberries thugs is a little over the top I think. I mean, when I was in high school all my friends parents thought I was a hood just cause I came from the hood. Strawberries have feelings too, you know.

    Anyway, very nice garden. Why do everybody else’s gardens all look so neat and tidy compared to mine? Mine looks like an orgy of cross speciation in progress.

  2. 2
    c u n d gulag says:


    Quit bragging!

    Do I show picture of our weeds and overgrown bushes?

    “Sally” does look pretty, though!

    But not as pretty as the banded snake I stepped on last Sunday morning, when I was going down to the basement to do some laundry.

    I’m not sure who was more surprised – the poor sleeping snake, or the fat man who’s handicap didn’t stop him from jumping higher than Wilt Chamberlain.

    It took me 1/2 and hour to get the snake into a snow shovel, and out the door.

    People asked me why I didn’t kill it?

    Well, two things – I don’t like killing anything, and I felt some ‘sympatico’ with the snake, because s/he didn’t expect to be stepped on, on a Sunday morning, and I didn’t expect to step on a snake on a Sunday morning…

  3. 3
    raven says:


  4. 4
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @c u n d gulag:

    Well, two things –

    You forgot the 3rd reason: They eat all the other pests you really dislike. And if it was a kingsnake? They are your best friend ever. They even kill copperheads. (which aren’t the worst things in the world but can put a hurtin’ on you.)

  5. 5
    raven says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: We have a lot of people in our neighborhood freaking out about rat and king snakes and a good number of folks trying to educate them on the benefits of them. My bride is really afraid of snakes but has made great strides in tolerating them in her garden and yard.

  6. 6
    c u n d gulag says:

    I’m a city kid – born and raised in NY City.

    The only thing I know, is that I hate snakes – for some irrational primordial reason.
    But I don’t want to kill them, either.

    Until I was 11, and we moved to Upstate NY, from the city, I saw only one poor snake in our Queens neighborhood – and the other kids on the block beat that poor thing to death for several blocks with sticks as it tried to get away.

    I remembered that poor little snake, as I tried to get this one out of our basement.

    I think I screamed more than one time “GET THIS MF’N SNAKE OUT OF OUR MF’N BASEMENT!!!!!

  7. 7
    Joe says:

    I’ve never had to worry about large-scale predation in my garden. For 50 years our neighborhood has been protected by an Interstate and two US highways, but no more. Saw a deer crossing the street yesterday morning.

    I suppose we’ll have to go to active defenses now. I wonder which will be more effective: the German Shepherd next door, or the six-year-old boy across the street.

  8. 8
    WereBear says:

    When I had a larger garden, I used all kinds of shrubs, broken, upside-down, flower pots, and “weed plants” to shelter beneficial insects, birds, and snakes.

    Works well.

  9. 9
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @c u n d gulag:

    The only thing I know, is that I hate snakes – for some irrational primordial reason.

    Reminds me of 2 buddies of mine and a trip they made into the jungle. Tim is the “snake guy”. Loves snakes, knows every species on the North American continent (his favorite? the Fer de Lance or Tommy Goff known in certain locales as the “24 step snake” cause after you get bit, that’s how far you get before you die. I swear to Dog, he goes looking for them) Brian is the exact opposite. Hates them, scared to death of them. Big tough ex-Marine salvage diver/union carpenter will climb up on a table screaming like a little girl if he sees a garter snake (the most harmless snake in the world).

    So anyway, Brian is driving his big tuff F250 4×4 with the 37 inch mudders down some jungle track that one can only tell is a trail because there are no trees growing in it. From his tailgate he hears Tim yelling “STOP STOP STOP!!!” so Brian stops, walks around to the back where he finds Tim holding up an 8’+ constrictor of some type or other that Brian had just run over. Tim is heartbroken, a snake is dead. Brian is up in the truckbed screaming “KEEP THAT THING AWAY FROM ME!!!” Tim decides that sad as it is, the snake is dead, but the skin stretched and dried would look really cool on his study wall. So Tim skins it, stretches it over the rear bumper of Brian’s truck and they go on about the business of finding and exploring unknown caves deep in the jungles of Mexico.

    A week later after dinner, the fire is burning bright to ward off the evening chill, while the cold beer wards off the warmth from a too large fire.
    Brian sidles up next to Tim and with great pride quietly says, “I touched it.”
    “Huh? What?” says Tim.
    “I touched it.” Brian repeats.
    “Touched what?” asks Tim, a look of profound puzzlement upon his face.
    “The skin!” Brian says with the pride of a Marine who has faced off a whole regiment of NVA all by himself, “I touched the snake skin!”

  10. 10
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @raven: Ever seen a rat snake climb a tree? Really cool. Leaves one standing there going, “How’d he do dat?”

  11. 11
    Cervantes says:


    My bride is really afraid of snakes but has made great strides in tolerating them in her garden and yard.

    That’s what Adam said.

  12. 12
    Botsplainer says:

    Two weeks ago, the critter ridder advised that we had a snake infestation in the attic – he found a dozen molted skins and saw the trails. He baited for mice (the real problem), and advised that when the mice disappear, the snakes do, too.

    We also had a bad bat problem in the soffits.

  13. 13
    Higgs Boson's Mate says:

    Lovely, so nice, orderly and productive. And look at all that space. Small yards are one of the prices we pay for SoCal’s excellent climate.

  14. 14
    Higgs Boson's Mate says:


    Remember the Bamboo Vipers down in that ol’ Mekong Delta? Those things worried me because they blended in with the foliage so well. I’ve been around hordes of Cottonmouths and Rattlers at various times without being too nervous (Watchful, yes), but the Bamboo Vipers were another story altogether.

    For those who haven’t enjoyed the company of Bamboo Vipers, they are smallish pit vipers whose venom is a hemotoxin. They love to wrap themselves around the greenery and wait. The Vietnamese called them “Two Steps.” Toxic little rascals they were.

  15. 15
    Tommy says:

    Hey OzarkHillbilly I know you have talked about Monarch butterflies here at some length. Saw my first one yesterday. My gosh I used to see them daily. All day really. But I thought of you. I hope that isn’t strange :).

  16. 16
    Tommy says:

    @Higgs Boson’s Mate: LOL. I joked a few weeks ago this year I put in a small garden, almost no garden, cause I had let my yard get away from me. Much other work that needed to be done. Not a huge yard but a five bedroom house and I live by myself. Between the yard and the outside of the house, well much work to be done this summer. I hate to admit that at this point, and I find motivation for this shit hard, all I’ve done is power wash my deck and stain it three times. Oh can I tell you none of that was fun :).

    Dad coming over next Monday to help me trim back my trees. Trees replanted from my grandparents old A Frame we planted here that have just freaking overtaken the place. They are beautiful. But when I mow the lawn I have to deck and jive around branches. That seems a sign they have grown too much.

  17. 17
    Higgs Boson's Mate says:

    Yes, maintaining all that house space and yard space would be the other side of the coin. Motivation? Arrrgh! The only thing that gets me out there working on the projects is how good it feels when I stop.

  18. 18
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Higgs Boson’s Mate: That and Mary. :-)

  19. 19
    JPL says:

    @Tommy: I’ve already been outside and still have to hedge. My house is not that big but it sits on almost an acre. There is no rest for the weary.

  20. 20
    jeffreyw says:

    A pic taken just now from the kitchen window, looking East towards the hummer feeders. Bonus Homer kitteh! I uploaded it full res, sorry if you are on a mobile. LOL

  21. 21
    Higgs Boson's Mate says:

    Oh, hell yes! She is just blooming herself with all of the gardening she can do now. I am floored by the way that simply making things that are accessible can bring such joy.

  22. 22
    Scout211 says:

    @c u n d gulag:

    We have rattlesnakes, gopher snakes, king snakes and garter snakes. Most of our neighbors like to kill them all but my husband can’t kill any animals. Last year for his birthday I purchased snake tongs for him and while it did take a long time for him to figure out what they were (me laughing as he kept guessing what his present was), he uses them regularly to move the rattlesnakes to neighboring bare land.

  23. 23
    Tommy says:

    @Higgs Boson’s Mate: Long story short I used to live in DC. Lived in places about the size of a closet I have now. When I moved back to Southern IL and saw how much house I could buy, well I bought what I have. Some things are nice. My home office. A huge second bedroom room for guest. But other visions I had, like a yoga room. Yes I have it and NEVER use it. A LEGO room. Please don’t even ask but I have a room with nothing but LEGOs in it. Well, I should have gotten a smaller house.

    I should be outside power washing my house right now. But the motivation just isn’t there. The stick and carrot I gave myself isn’t working. I should have planted my usually pretty large garden. I never have any motivation issues there. Complete joy even weeding the darn thing. Cause I guess as something of a foodie, it gives me something I want …..

  24. 24
    Higgs Boson's Mate says:

    Simply gorgeous! What a nice space.

  25. 25
    Tommy says:

    @jeffreyw: I bow down to you. That is just stunning. Flat out stunning!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  26. 26
    OzarkHillbilly says:


    I hope that isn’t strange :).

    If it is, it’s a good strange.

  27. 27
    Tommy says:

    @Scout211: I love snakes. Not looked up all the kinds I have, but I know no rattlesnakes. I just let them pass. I can’t ID them all so when I see one I just give them a wide birth and move on. There are more then a few things living in my yard. Bunnies. Tons of bunnies. Doves that mate here each year. Frogs. Gosh do I have a lot of frogs. And more then a few snakes.

  28. 28
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @jeffreyw: You people with your well ordered stunningly beautiful gardens make me sick. My place looks like…. like… like… a misbehaving equatorial jungle. And that is in the places I’ve been working on.

  29. 29
    greennotGreen says:

    This being a gardening open thread, may I announce a related event? The 58th annual convention of The Gesneriad Society starts Tuesday, July 1, in at the downtown DoubleTree in Nashville, TN. I am the local chair. What the hell is a “gesneriad” and what is it doing clogging up my gardening thread, you might be asking. It’s the plant family that includes African violets, florist gloxinias, lipstick plants, goldfish plants, and many others that will grow and bloom indoors. The show and plant sale will be open to the public Friday from 9:00 to 6:00 and from 8:30 to 3:00 on Saturday. Admission is free (but parking in downtown is not.) So if any Juicers are in the Nashville area or are coming in for the Independence Day shindig, pop into the DoubleTree for something completely different.

  30. 30
    Higgs Boson's Mate says:


    I spent some time down in South Texas with a Navy aviation outfit. I worked mid-crew, midnight to whenever. When our aircraft would come in their tires and disk brakes would be nice and hot. The numerous Rattlers and Cottonmouths would just slither stealthily across the ramp and curl up around the tires inside of the chocks. As the evening wore on it would cool down to the point where the snakes were lethargic. That was when we sent the new guy out to pull chocks for tire and brake changes. The yelling and cursing were at times epic. We’d just take a stick-and-noose lash-up and move the snakes to the edge of the ramp, deposit them unharmed, and carry on. There were so many of the darned things that killing them just seemed pointless. Besides, they kept down the rats.

  31. 31
    Tommy says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Could you repost that link to the milkweed seed site?

    I live on the edge of a rural town. Unincorporated until recently. Outside the front of my house is a 5,000 acre corn field. Over the road from each house is about 4 yards of land, before the “feed” corn starts, that is really the city’s land. But we all upkeep it. Mow it. Stuff like that. I am 110% sure I could sow those seeds and nobody would care. If they asked why and I told them, they might join me.

  32. 32
    jeffreyw says:

    @Higgs Boson’s Mate: @Tommy: @OzarkHillbilly: Thanks, y’all! Sole credit for that space goes to Mrs J. I think I set up a couple of the feeders.

  33. 33
    raven says:

    @Higgs Boson’s Mate: Ha, somehow I recall “step and a half” snakes!

  34. 34
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Scout211: I brought a rattlesnake out of a pit in New Mexico once (and box turtles in AL too, you wouldn’t think a box turtle could survive a 200′ fall, but some do). I had a bag we could put him in, so one of the guys I was with pinned him with an old 2×4 that was down there and I grabbed it behind the head. Because of the 2×4 I wasn’t able to get right behind it’s head, and it was able to turn and sink a fang into my glove. I was absolutely mesmerized by the turning of my brown glove to purple from the poison running over it.

    Finally, one of my partners said, as the snake continued trying to work the fang thru the leather, “Uhhh, Tom? maybe you should put him in the bag?”

    “Oh. Yeah, I guess so.”

  35. 35
    raven says:

    @jeffreyw: Show em your rattler.

  36. 36
    JGabriel says:


    The rose in the picture at top is Sally Holmes.

    Now if only someone would hybridize a Sally MacLennane rose.

    I’m thinking something with a sepia-toned deep golden color and a scent with floral hints of hops, barley, and malt.

  37. 37
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Tommy: Here you go:

    Live Monarch

    Chances are good the milkweed won’t grow there as the corn is likely GMO’s for Roundup which is what has been killing the milkweed to begin with, but give it try. As my Father-in Law used to say, “You already have, No.”

  38. 38
    PurpleGirl says:

    @jeffreyw: Lovely. Who da little puppeh?

  39. 39
    PurpleGirl says:

    opiejeanne — lovely pictures. Thank you for sharing your garden with us.

  40. 40
    PurpleGirl says:

    @Higgs Boson’s Mate: Thank you for being so helpful and handy for Mary. There are many things I used to be able to do and can’t do any more (i.e. can’t climb ladders). It sucks to be disabled, even mildly so. And having dependable help means you can enjoy doing things.

  41. 41
    Higgs Boson's Mate says:

    One of our recreations down in South Texas was frog gigging – because barbequed frog legs are yum. The base was on the edge of a huge swamp and guys had built punts that could be poled along through the swamp. One guy would pole and the other would jack light the bullfrogs and gig ’em with a three-pronged gig. One night we were busy gathering frogs when I heard a sound like a zipper. “Son of a bitch!” the other guy yelled. There was a granddaddy Cottonmouth in the punt with us. Now Cottonmouths are both curious and fairly aggressive. Like the damn’ fool I am I just gigged the thing instead of simply flipping it back into the water. Shake, rattle and roll.

    Ah, youth!.

  42. 42
    jeffreyw says:

    @PurpleGirl: Mrs J placed that as a memorial.

  43. 43
    PurpleGirl says:

    @jeffreyw: Awww, the critters are (were?) beautiful. The memorial idea is so sweet.

  44. 44
    Higgs Boson's Mate says:

    Damn it, there’s something in my eye.

  45. 45
  46. 46
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Higgs Boson’s Mate: I was sitting on a gravel bar with my feet in the water, on a little Ozark crick playing with the rocks when I looked up just in time to see a little 2 foot cottonmouth swim up to the bank right between my legs not more than a foot from Opie and the boys. I had a handful of gravel in one hand and froze.

    “Uhhh, Tom?” says a very quiet and sheepish voice from behind me, “That’s a cottonmouth.”

    “I KNOW!” I said through gritted teeth, locked into a staring contest while preparing to throw that gravel if he moved a 1/16th of an inch closer. After what seemed like forever but was more likely only 15 or 20 seconds he turned and swam away.

  47. 47
    PurpleGirl says:

    I don’t like snakes and creepy-crawlie things. But when I was in AZ for arbitration hearings we held the hearings and stayed at a big expensive resort. (The Wigwam in Litchfield Park was built as a company resort for executives of Goodyear Rubber.) Anyway, they had a bunch of different restaurants on campus and on the first night there, some of our consultants and I decided to try the fried rattlesnake as an appitizer. I liked it. No, I didn’t think it tasted like chicken but it was chewy like chicken can sometimes be. (ETA: they had like one piece each and I finished off the plate.)

  48. 48
    Higgs Boson's Mate says:

    Right between your legs, eh? I bet that I would still jump six feet straight in the air. It would cost me, though.

  49. 49
    Tommy says:

    @Higgs Boson’s Mate: My best friend in grad school, LSU, was from Vermont. He had two Kayaks with him. We’d take them out in the bayous and swamps. We got a ton of frogs. Personally I think frog is good eating and these days I consider myself something of a foodie.* Mainly just to tool around in those beautiful places and fish a little cause we could. I saw some massive, huge snakes. Oh the gators. But neither worried me much cause if you didn’t mess with them they didn’t mess with you. Found the same thing on land.

    *My friends father was a heart surgeon and his mother, well at a time the head of the House in Vermont. A master chef. Where I got my love from food from. As he joked, my parents were never home as a young kid, so I learned to cook. And my gosh could he cook.

  50. 50
    Tommy says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Thanks. Their web site sucks, but guess I am a pain in the ass there cause I do that for a living. But sent them money and seeds coming my way.

    You are a little older then me I think if I my memory serves me. I am 44. I recall the last place I lived before like middle and high school I had a science project. I ran around in the field in front of my house catching butterflies. I forget what I used, but some chemical and into a jar they went.

    I then tacked them up on a board and took them into class.

    They were all over the place. As you and I have talked about, I don’t see them much anymore.

    Update/BTW: That was in Kansas.

  51. 51
    currants says:

    OpieJeanne–wonderful space, and beautiful gardens! I have full-sun envy (then again, you’re in Seattle? Maybe I shouldn’t.) I’ve planted my first strawberries this year, so we’ll see how that goes–I have a lot of sun in several places at different times throughout the day, and some things grow pretty well, others, well, it’s an experiment.

  52. 52
    currants says:

    @Botsplainer: OMG. The attic!? That might make me consider moving. We have black racer snakes out in the yard, and I’m very happy to have them there but never happy when they surprise me. (Nor are they, I can well imagine.) But I’m psyched to have them because they take on the mice.

    That said, I was more than a little surprised when one Sunday in May when we had a bunch of folks over and we discovered we had at least 4. While most of us were outside watching the wood ducks and geese, the 3 who had stayed inside with an infant got quite a surprise: one of the snakes climbed up the stairs to the deck and went into the open sliding glass doors. They discovered it when it was in the dining room on the carpet. My son-in-law managed to coax it back outside without losing his cool at all–he hates snakes, but also didn’t want to set a bad example for the kiddos.

  53. 53
    Mike E says:

    @c u n d gulag: Snakes On A Trane?

  54. 54
    Violet says:

    @greennotGreen: African violets! My mom has a bunch of them and I don’t really know how to take care of them. I’ve been watering them since she was in the nursing home but I don’t know what else to do. They’re on a north window sill, which I understand is good for them.

    Mom says to water from the dish below and let them soak up the water. I’ve been doing that and they seem happy. Is there a special sort of food they like? I feel like maybe they’d want to be fed at some point. I had to rescue one where the soil was almost gone and the tuber (?) was sitting on top of the soil and the leaves were wilted and it looked pretty bad. I added some soil and did the watering from the dish thing and it has come back somewhat. Don’t know if I did the right thing.

    I’d welcome any tips!

  55. 55
    Violet says:

    @Tommy: With your large enough yard space you might consider putting in a habitat garden–for things like butterflies and the caterpillars that become butterflies. Consult with a good garden center in your area and/or look around for a landscape designer that focuses on native plants and organic garden design. Get them to help you put in a space in your yard that is a habitat garden with plants that attract and feed the butterflies in all parts of their life cycle. It’s not that hard to do and with the right plants there’s not even that much maintenance. Bonus for you–you get butterflies in your yard!

  56. 56
    raven says:

    @jeffreyw: I knew that!

  57. 57
    c u n d gulag says:


    You made my morning, friend!!!!! :-)

  58. 58
    greennotGreen says:

    @Violet: African violets (botanical name Saintpaulia) require even moisture but do not like to be soggy. Usually that means when the top of the soil feels dry, they’re ready to be watered again. They’ll bloom well if you feed an African violet fertilizer at 1/4 strength with every watering, and then about every fourth watering, use plain water and water from the top, letting the water drain out so they don’t sit in the water. This is to prevent salt build-up. For them to really flourish, they should be repotted every sixth months, but they’ll live for a long time in very old soil.

    Did you know that African violets are theoretically immortal? Over time, they’ll develop a “neck.” When that happens, you can take a plant out of the pot, whack off the bottom third of the roots, pot it again, burying the neck, and it will continue to grow. They’ve only been in cultivation since 1892, so we don’t have much of a history of that immortality, but you could try going for a record.

  59. 59
    dance around in your bones says:

    Balloon Juice – where gardening threads turn into hysterically funny/scary snake stories. You never know WHAT you’re gonna get!

    It’s one reason I love this place.

  60. 60
    opiejeanne says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: The secret is to not point your camera at the weedy bits.

    I think the strawberry is named after Mt Hood, which is not too far away from us. Naming strawberries for big mountains seems to be A Thing; in SoCal a popular garden strawberry was Mt Shasta.

  61. 61
    opiejeanne says:

    @Higgs Boson’s Mate: We lived in Anaheim before we moved up here. Our lot was at the end of a cul de sac so it had a pretty large lot, but we gardened in one small corner of that lot.

    This is what we did with that one:

  62. 62
    opiejeanne says:

    @jeffreyw: Oh, that is a beautiful yard.

  63. 63
    opiejeanne says:

    @PurpleGirl: Thanks. I felt guilty that Anne Laurie didn’t get any photos last week, and I had meant to take and send a bunch and just didn’t do it.

    These were almost all shot with my phone.

  64. 64
    opiejeanne says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: You named yours Opie????

  65. 65
    currants says:

    @opiejeanne: ROTFLMAO

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