Sunday Garden Chat: Welcome to My World

catherine woodbury daylily

When better photographers don’t get around to sending me garden pictures, I have to fall back on improvisation. These were taken yesterday, around 8pm, on a ten-year-old Coolpix camera. I swear the lighting looked just fine on its tiny screen!

Those are Paul Robeson tomatoes (below), and I can hardly wait for them to finally ripen — it seems like that trio has been just hanging there for a month now. From the three dozen heirlooms that got transplanted in the second half of May, so far I’ve gotten a couple dozen full-sized tomatoes (Stupice, Black Krim, Mariannas Peace), a steady trickle of cherry tomatoes (Black Cherry, White Currant, Sun Gold, Juliet, and today the first Sunchocula), and a whole lot of hurry-up-already green globes slowly swelling on their own schedules. Good news: Giving each plant more space & fertilizer has definitely improved the number of fruits per plant. Bad news: Due to whatever quirks of weather or care(lessness), I’ve already lost a couple of varieties, and half the survivors seem to be afflicted with two separate blights, the yellow-leaf-fungus kind and the wilt-for-no-reason kind. I’ve been frantically spraying Serenade, but we’ve had several weeks of rain-three days, sun-four-days, rain-four-days, sun-three-days…

What’s going on in your gardens this week?

paul robeson trio

little barbie climbing rose

dayliles left stoop

cameron quantz daylily

front view
(Crop the frame tight enough, and nobody sees how much the grass needs mowing… )

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70 replies
  1. 1
    Tommy says:

    I need to do what I have mentioned and not done. I live in a rural town. Folks around me grow the food most of this nation eats. Outside my front door is a huge corn field. I might add the smell of corn is amazing on a hot humid July day. What I’ve said I’d do is take pics of the gardens in my town. Some of them are epic. The size and scope of them hard to explain.

  2. 2
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    Those pics are just fine Ann, beautiful flowers and the Robeson tomatoes evince that feeling of expectation perfectly well, which is what a pic is supposed to do. Mission accomplished.

  3. 3
    Tommy says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Amen. I don’t take as many pics as I should/could because I am never happy with them. I hit delete more often then not. Stupid thing to do.

  4. 4
    SectionH says:

    AL: I’m very happy to see your own pix, Tomatomaniac though you be. Not that I don’t wish… I do post plant pix on Fb, but they’re all camera phone stuff.

    Theoretically, we don’t totally suck as Container Gardeners, but we suck. Our Thyme died. I mean, died. Thyme? Even the Poha is still carrying on. The Thyme died. So no matter what anyone else thinks is a gardening FAIL this season, forget it. You can point to someone worse.

    Basic city balcony gardening thing: you will NOT get good predator insects easily. I mean, I MEAN we were hatching preying mantises in Escondido, we had basically no pests that weren’t gonna get eaten in a ok time frame.

    Here, I would have totes just given up, but a couple of days ago Mr S announced in a way I kind of believe him, that he’d seen a ladybug on our window. Finally! We’ve only fed 2 commercial containers-worth of ladybugs in the last 3 months. They did help. Then they disappeared.

    Our Stupice is still growing robustly, and we do have a few tomatoes. And our Chard is happy in its little pot. Mr S makes our breakfast eggses (one apiece) on a chard leaf right now.

    Our ornamentals are mostly fine. I can brag that I’ve raised the used-to-be Hot plant (srsly, as a must-have, ppl were payig $800/plant*), Clivias, into blooming this year, after buying them at the SD Master Gardeners’ Sale 4 or 5 years ago. Aaand, ours are Yellow. I think that’s fairly special. All the Clivias I’ve seen otherwise are also gorgeous but they’re orange.

    *I am not making this up. Late 20th c. excesses

  5. 5
    raven says:

    We’re having a great tomato year, the flowers look good but I’d have to ask what’s what right now because she has it timed so there is always color. There’s a big doe ranging around and starting to do some damage and this big snake was under the house.

  6. 6
    Tommy says:

    @raven: That deer pic is wonderful. I often joke if I could sit on my roof with a rifle, and knew how to use it, I could take down deer all day. They are everywhere.

  7. 7
    raven says:

    @Tommy: It’s that Illini Supersweet in those fields!

  8. 8
    raven says:

    Anyone got satellite TV? I’ve about had it with cable but I needs my sports.

  9. 9
    Baud says:


    I’ve had good luck with satellite.

  10. 10
    Tommy says:

    @raven: I can’t speak to that. I got rid of cable TV in April. Hulu and Netflix with a HDTV antenna. MLB app to get the Cardinals. Sports are the one thing killing me. Not sure what I will do if I can’t get LSU football on ESPN. In our comments back and forth I know you are a fan like myself. But that is something in the future.

  11. 11
    BillinGlendaleCA says:

    @raven: I have DirecTV, Quality’s pretty good. My only problem is they don’t carry the PAC-12 “Network”. Neither did my old cable co., so that was a wash.

  12. 12
    raven says:

    Ah, great info, thanks. Tommy, I’ve got Apple Tv and a Blu Ray that gets Amazon Prime which just got a bunch of older HBO shows. The big question will be the SEC Network. They, like the BTN, won’t have many premium games this year. The exception is that South Carolina-Texas A&M game that lead off college football on the 1st Thursday night. Now that Mizzou is in the SEC I suspect you’ll get coverage in your area.

  13. 13
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    Yesterday was so hot and humid (mid 90s, mid 90s, I swear to dog it’s true) that mostly I napped. Did water everything as it has been dry of late and plants are getting stressed. Finally got busy on canning some tomatoes (w jalapenos) and drying more squash. Dug up half the potatoes last week and about what I expected- small to medium. Not bad for the first year. I know what needs to be done to improve it… Next year. The sweet potatoes look really good… This year. We’ll see when I dig them up in a month or 2 or 3.

    All my winter squash is looking really good, Delicata, butternut, Lakota and the one I am really looking forward to, Galeux D’eysines.

    All the pole beans are doing well and I will be canning the second batch today. Started picking jalapenos this week, chilies soon. Cayennes a ways to go yet, same with paprikas: plenty of fruit, waiting on color. I have Italian sweet peppers coming out of my ears and don’t know what to do with them all. Larger than I expected and a whole lot more. I should have that problem with everything I grow. I finally got a leg up on the flea beetles and the eggplants are beginning to produce well. Had some earlier this week grilled with olive oil, a touch of balsamic and oregano. Finished them with a slice of provolone melted on top. Mmmm mmm mmmm. I’ll be doing that again.

    Finally, the tomatoes: yeah, they got the wilt again and I am still dealing with the blossom rot on the San Marzanos (tho I think I may have turned the corner on that). I expect a down year but it will still be OK. Plenty of Brandywines and beefsteaks, yellow cherries and Juliens. I planted some Red Calabash this year and they have been a very pleasant surprise, small but the taste is classic tomato with just a little bite at the end. Very tasty. Anybody who cans should try the Grand Marzanos: Plentiful and large (2″x4″) meaty fruits, and not as sensitive to low calcium as the San Marzanos. I will be doing more of them next year.

    Supposed to hit only 91 with a northwest wind so that should drive out the humidity today. I’ll work on it more today.

  14. 14
    Tommy says:

    @raven: The $99 you spend for a Roku is the best $99 you can spend. The problem with the streaming services is a total lack of sports and to be honest news programs. I can without cable see most of the sitcoms I want. Dramas. Not news and sports.

  15. 15
    raven says:

    @Tommy: Yep and I have no choice, I have got to have the sports.

  16. 16
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @raven: Hello! he says to all the little mices… Only snake I’ve seen this year was a garter I ran over with the mower. Did not make me happy. No mice or rats tho, so I’ll bet I’ve got a king or rat snake around here somewhere.

  17. 17
    Botsplainer says:

    Sitting at CVG awaiting our free flight to Jamaica for our free Sandals week.

    It’s been something like almost 90 days since we came back from Belize. It’s feeling a little decadent…

  18. 18
    BillinGlendaleCA says:

    @Botsplainer: I’m scanning pics from our trip to Tahiti right now. Then again that was in 1995.

  19. 19
    Baud says:

    OT: Judge ruled that DC’s ban on carrying loaded firearms in public is unconstitutional.

  20. 20
    Botsplainer says:


    Awesome. I can feel the freedom already.

    Bush appointee?

  21. 21
    Raven says:

    @Botsplainer: last time I was there was when Elivis died. We stayed in a little place off the beach with a bed and net up on a pole frame. There was nothing on the beach as far as the eye could see, ah Negril!

  22. 22
    satby says:

    My container gardening experience so far has been only ok. I have a lot of small green tomatoes, but mice or chipmunks seem to have completely destroyed the blue potatoes, and that’s all I planted potato-wise this year. None of the tomato vines look very robust and I doubt I’ll have enough to can like last year. We’ve had a lot of rain this year too, so I’m assuming that a blight of some sort is what’s keeping the vines spindly and yellowing. First day off in a week, so I have spaying and mowing on my list today.

  23. 23
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Baud: Proof that one doesn’t need to be especially smart to get thru law school.

  24. 24
    Baud says:


    Bush I


    Smartness is irrelevant. The Supreme 5 have encouraged wingnuts to pursue every wet dream legal theory they can think of to see what sticks.

  25. 25
    OzarkHillbilly says:


    Smartness is irrelevant.

    Thomas proved that.

  26. 26
    jeffreyw says:

    @raven: We’ve had sattv for ages, starting with the 10′ c and ku band then Directv and now Dish. You can get plenty sports. Drawback is you lose signal when it rains hard enough.

  27. 27
    Baud says:


    I see no need for the past tense.

  28. 28
    debbie says:


    The Supreme 5 have encouraged wingnuts to pursue every wet dream legal theory they can think of to see what sticks.

    Like the woman I heard on Friday who said immigration was against the Constitution?

  29. 29
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Baud: True dat.

  30. 30
    henqiguai says:

    Wife and daughter figured out why none of the copious quantity of squash flowers are morphing into fruit – they’re all male plants. (I’m) still laughing.

  31. 31
    Baud says:


    That woman should be against the Constitution.

    ETA: I can edit. Yay.

  32. 32
  33. 33
    debbie says:

    I’ve never had a yard or a garden. I depend on those “on the vine” tomatoes in the grocery store. Last week, they were selling Ohio-grown tomatoes that were redder than usual so I got a couple to make tabbouleh. What a difference! I am missing a lot!

  34. 34
    jeffreyw says:

    We planted Vitex a couple of years ago and it seemed to be doing well, but last winter was too much and it died back. It’s coming back from the roots and blooming again. Bees and hummers like it a lot.

  35. 35
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @henqiguai: I have always found both female and male blossoms on the same plant. I googled “squash plants sex” and found this:

    My squash/cukes/melons are not fruiting!:

    Both male and female flowers (see below) are necessary in order to bear fruit. If only one type is present, or if they’re not open at the same time, pollination won’t happen. Several plants will begin the season with only one sex present, and may wait as long as a couple of weeks before producing the other; this is normal. It may be all-male or all-female, but eventually it will produce the other type and start putting out fruit.

    Till then, you can always have stuffed squash blossoms.

  36. 36
    Josie says:

    @raven: I have Directv. Time Warner could never get my reception working on a consistent basis. DTV is not cheap, but you have to have the high end package to get all the sports channels. The quality is fine, and I’ve never had to call for service. Like Jeffrey says, a rainstorm will knock it out; as soon as the rain is over, it comes right back up.

  37. 37
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    Something else you will never see on FOX News:

    The good news about Obamacare you might have missed (updated)

    Money quote: If insurance companies had maintained the 2011 ratio of premiums relative to the cost of medical care, consumers would have spent $3.8 billion more in additional premiums in 2013, the health agency said.

    Those healthcare cost increases are just killing me.

  38. 38
    Botsplainer says:

    Still at the ramp – weather.

    On the awesome side, I did get my ear bent at 5:30 am by a morning talker who is a raging wingnut. He’s on the same flight, and trapped me in the coffee line like a rat. I couldn’t escape.

    Ironically, I normally patiently tolerate wingnuts, but my deep and abiding loathing for morning talkers overcomes the tolerance.

  39. 39
    Baud says:


    What did you do?

  40. 40
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Botsplainer: Next time just tell him you can’t wait until Obama opens up the FEMA camps, you have a list of people to go into them and it gets longer every day.

    Then ask for his name.

  41. 41
    tybee says:


    rat snake?

  42. 42
    raven says:

    @tybee: I think.

  43. 43
    MomSense says:

    So I checked out Blake Lively’s new site/business called It is supposed to be a place to buy artisanal products made in America with a portion of the proceeds to go to charity. I’m not sure what to think. I like the idea of featuring artists and chefs and makers from around the country and some of the products are nice. Then there was the white t shirt with paint splatters and holes (hand painted/distressed) for $195. I mean I have some white t shirts that have actual paint splatters and holes/worn places from actual painting, gardening, and maintenance projects.

    Maybe I’m just jealous because that would be a great gig. I try to make my finished products look perfect with no holes or slipped stitches or loose ends. I could be doing this all wrong.

  44. 44
    Tommy says:

    Here is a happy story for you all. For a few years my father has been telling me about this phenom high school baller. A women that is just off the chart. To where my parents started going to high school games. I didn’t think they were wrong but last night I Googled her.

    Wow. All time leading points of women in the state of Illinois. 38.9 points a game. Watching video of her:

    Just wow. Oh she has a 4.0 GPA and is also first team track and tennis in the entire state.

    The only thing that pisses me off is she is going to Indiana and not the University of Illinois. Not sure how that happens.

  45. 45
    WaterGirl says:

    @jeffreyw: That’s a stunning hummingbird photo!

    My Black Eyed Susans are going nuts this year, too. I thought it was because they were finally old enough, but maybe this is just a good year?

    My SunGold tomatoes are going wild this year. They were taller than my 6-foot fence and then we got this crazy rain a couple weeks ago and now anything above the top of the tomato cages is growing every which way, but they are all still happy and producing so I decided to leave them alone. It makes the tomatoes harder to pick and it’s harder to walk through the gate, but I can live with that.

  46. 46
    WaterGirl says:


    I mean I have some white t shirts that have actual paint splatters and holes/worn places from actual painting, gardening, and maintenance projects.

    Sounds like you should sell those babies now. Right now!

    Edit: This bracelet was beautiful! (p.s. cleavage sells, it’s everywhere on that site)

  47. 47
    pamelabrown53 says:

    @MomSense: Didn’t see the T-shirt but liked the “Canary Crossbody Bag” for a cool 300.

  48. 48
    Glidwrith says:

    @SectionH: “And our Chard is happy in its little pot. Mr S makes our breakfast eggses (one apiece) on a chard leaf right now.”

    Do you mean the chard leaf is a plate or literally cooking an egg on the leaf? How is this done?

  49. 49
    Glidwrith says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: “Dug up half the potatoes last week and about what I expected- small to medium. Not bad for the first year. I know what needs to be done to improve it… Next year.”

    I am attempting to grow potatoes for the first time. Can you describe your technique and improvements?

    I basically stuck small fingerlings into a mix of soil amendments and compost. As the plant grows, I bury it until the top shows to encourage more potatoes.

  50. 50
    henqiguai says:

    @OzarkHillbilly (#35):

    It may be all-male or all-female, but eventually it will produce the other type and start putting out fruit.

    Dude, you’re harshin’ my cheap chuckles! But thanks, I thought that might be an issue; just never remembered to do what you did and look it up.

  51. 51
    WaterGirl says:

    Someone was asking recently about things to do that discourage squash beetles. The two I had remembered were aluminum foil and planting dill in with the squash.

    Just remembered the third thing I couldn’t remember! Radishes. White icicle radishes. I am going to try planting them in with the zucchini next year.

  52. 52
    MomSense says:

    @WaterGirl: @pamelabrown53:

    I loved the triangle earrings and some if the interviews. Did you seen the film on the home page? I’m a sucker for stuff like that.

  53. 53
    gelfling545 says:

    Went out to buy dog food; came back with a Limelight hydrangea. I should harvest my first tomatoes in a week or so. The cherry tomatoes are bigger than usual & the Juliets are a bit smaller. Go figure. The first of the daylilies I put in the pond border opened today & they are the perfect clear red I was hoping for. As I had nothing to go buy but an online photo it was a tossup whether they would stay or be given away. I’m looking forward to next weekend when the local grower/nursery has its “all the perennials you can cram in a cart for $50” sale. Do I need more plants? Probably not but I will go anyway buying for myself & also for my sister & daughter who will be away camping (I do not indulge in that madness, myself. Surely we’ve progressed beyond sleeping in crude, temporary shelters!).

  54. 54
    shelley says:

    Supposed to have some solid thunderstorms rolling thru this afternoon. Adding to the list of home remedies to help our nervous dogs, was this odd tip. Rubbing your dog’s fur with dryer sheets to get rid of any static electricity, which is what they’re supposed to really be reacting to. Hmmm.
    No updates from John Cole? I guess no news is good news at this point.

  55. 55
    WaterGirl says:

    @MomSense: Okay, I looked 3 more time and could not find triangle earrings. Then I searched for “earrings” and it came up with the two I had seen – the tusk earrings and the diamond skyline earrings. ??

    The film on the first page? I had skipped right past it. Wow. I’m going to have to watch that a few more times.

  56. 56
    WaterGirl says:

    @shelley: Turning on the lights and playing loud music helped when I used to watch two dogs that were very afraid of storms. The light keep the lightning from showing up as much and the loud music helps them not hear the thunder.

    For my kitties they hide under the bed and I close the blinds and turn on my iPod player fairly loud so they can listen to the nice man tell them a story while they hide. Even with all that, though, they somehow know when the storm has cleared.

    My pup doesn’t typically get to sleep on the bed, but he jumps on the bed if he hears a crack of thunder after bedtime, and I let him stay. Then he settles right down.

  57. 57
    keestadoll says:

    To those whose tomatoes are suffering from “blights, the yellow-leaf-fungus kind and the wilt-for-no-reason” I can offer some advice. Go to a garden supply store and get a packet of ACTINOVATE. Its a powder that you mix with water and I started using it last year for my tomatoes. It reverses many of the fungal/wilt issues. This year, I added it to the holes before I put the tomato starts in and haven’t had a single issue even with the tomato plants being too close to each other. It can be used as a foliar spray once fungus/wilt is apparent and should stop the problem in its tracks since it is systemic.

  58. 58
    currants says:

    Gorgeous daylilies, AL, and wow, you are SO far ahead of me. No ripe tomatoes (though cherries started this week), and my morning glories are still about 10 inches tall. Also yesterday a groundhog discovered my black beans. :-( Dang vegetarians.

  59. 59
    MomSense says:


    Triangle druzy earrings. I watched the film a few times myself. I would like to know who the narrator is.

  60. 60
    shelley says:


    It’s amazing the variety of diseases and conditions that can attack our humble tomato plants.

    But I always smile at this piece of advice that I see over and over. ‘Use drip irrigation, never water your plants from above, you’ll get the leaves wet.’
    I always want to say, ‘What the hell do you think happens when it rains?!”

  61. 61
    WaterGirl says:

    @MomSense: I only noticed the earrings that are dangly. i never wear studs so I apparently tuned them out! How funny!

  62. 62
    Anne says:

    My cilantro has been trying to bolt for weeks, and I’ve given up and just let it bolt. Surprisingly, my basil has been holding pretty steady; I’ve only had to pinch off one early bud cluster, and it hasn’t tried since.

    My two varieties of California fuchsia are just starting to bloom, and I’m hoping they’ll attract some hummingbirds. All of this year’s new native plants are holding up pretty well in the heat over the last few days. Since it’s their first summer, I’m giving them a good soaking every 7-10 days, and so far that’s kept them looking strong. The ones I planted two years ago are doing fine without any supplemental water, bless their drought-tolerant little hearts.

    This is an “on” year for our olive tree, and there are thousands of little 1/2″ olives on the tree. We long ago finished off the ones I cured two years ago, and last year crop was pitiful (an off year), so I’m excited to cure more this year.

  63. 63
    WaterGirl says:

    @shelley: That’s what I think when I get a new bathing suit and the tag says “do not wash with chlorine bleach”! I’m swimming in a freaking swimming pool, and they say not to get the suit anywhere near chlorine. Awesome.

  64. 64
    Violet says:

    @raven: I have DirecTV. Had Dish before. Had to go from AT&T Uverse to DirecTV a few years ago when it was time for the Rugby World Cup. That drives our TV provider decisions.

    In moving from Uverse to DirectV, I expected that the HD would be better but it wasn’t. In fact I think it was a tad worse. Now I’m accustomed to it and it’s fine. The BeIn Sports channel does have excellent high quality HD.

    Overall we’ve been happy with DirecTV. The satellite providers do lock you into a two year contract. Be sure to ask for EVERYTHING up front. All discounts, all special things (like NFL Network for free for the first year, if that’s what you want), extra tuner/receiver, etc. Get it all up front because you won’t get a discount after that for awhile. I do call every three months or so and ask for further discounts and often get them but the best discounts are when you sign up.

  65. 65
    kc says:


    Great pics! Though the snake gives me the willies . . .

  66. 66
    raven says:

    @Violet: Thanks

  67. 67
    Violet says:

    @raven: Pro Tip: If you go with DirecTV, if you can say you were referred by someone both you and they get $10 off your respective bills per month for a year. I did it when I got DirecTV but that year is over. Find someone who has DirecTV and get them to “refer” you and you both save $10/month. It’s a good deal!

    Edit: You have to have the person’s account number and I think I also had to have their zip code. Worked fine though.

  68. 68
    SectionH says:

    @Glidwrith: Our chard is small due to being in a 12″ pot, so each leaf is about 2-3″ wide, and 5-6″ long. He puts 2 chard leaves in a skillet with seasonings and wilts them. Then he breaks an egg on top of each leaf. The leaves act as a sort of container for the eggs so the whites don’t run all over the skillet. Adds herbs, cheese, whatever. Then adds a teaspoon or so of water to the pan, clamps a lid on it, and basically steams the eggs. Done right, the whites are set but the yolks are still runny.

  69. 69
    Glidwrith says:

    @SectionH: Oh, wow! Sort of an organic poaching set-up. Thanks for coming back to the thread. I’m running right to hubby to tell him how to cook my eggs from now on.

  70. 70
    keestadoll says:

    @shelley: Leaves get wet no matter what a person does to try and stop it from happening. And you’re right: tomato plants are the Danger Prone Daphnes of the vegetable garden.

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