Sunday Morning Garden Chat: Butterfly Fuel

bella q butterfly

From longtime commentor Bella Q:

I get garden envy every Sunday, and while I don’t have any (recent) photos I do have some swamp milkweed seeds I just collected. I’ll send some to anyone who trusts me with an address, or to you for distribution.

I’m attaching a posed butterfly pic from years ago. I saw it as we were leaving the house and commanded Mr. Q to go get his camera. He noted, quite reasonably, that the butterfly was unlikely to wait until he returned prepared for a photo. He was wrong.

If you’re interested in the swamp milkweed seeds, send me an email at annelaurie dot verizon dot net, and I’ll forward your message to Bella.


I’m finally starting to get full-sized ripe tomatoes. But it’s been a penance to do anything outdoors — we’re in a drought, but the humidity’s been preternaturally high all month — my poor tomato plants are limp-leaved, and I need to start spraying Serenade more consistently if I don’t want the various blights to conquer the whole lot. First World problems!

What’s happening in your garden(s) this week?

Sunday Morning Garden Chat: Suitably Sultry

s-cat Hibiscus_1

It’s felt positively tropical here in Massachusetts this week, so these pics seem especially timely. From loyal commentor Schroedinger’s Cat:

Finally, I have the garden photos from my India trip that I had promised to send you a couple of months ago. I was in India in the May of 2014. They are from my mother’s friend’s garden in Lonavla.

Lonavala is a weekend gateway for folks from Mumbai and Pune, nestled in the hills. It also has the Ekvira Temple and Karla Caves. More posts from India trip on my blog.

You will find hibiscus in most Indian gardens, since it is Ganesha’s favorite flower especially the red variety. Curry leaves are used to season most Indian vegetable and legume dishes like dal, etc.

What’s happening in your garden(s) this week?

s-cat Mango
(Mouse over each image for identifying labels, because FYWP)
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Sunday Morning Garden Chat: Sky’s the Limit!

marvel summer16 Sunflower

Faithful garden correspondent Marvel:

Our summer garden has been putting on some serious growth and in the case of the popcorn and sunflowers, most of the growth is vertical.

marvel summer16 Choke-Corn

I love the look & rustling sound of growing corn and we have an open spot where it does well. My problem is that regardless of how I stagger/delay sowing the corn flights to limit the amount of corn that ripens at any one time (I want to EAT the stuff, not FREEZE it), with our long Summer days, once the plants start taking off, they all ripen within a few days of one another. My solution this year is to buy fresh sweet corn at the local farmers’ market every week and plant pocorn in Area 51 — it’ll all ripen togther and I’ll harvest it in th Fall. It’s doing well — easily seven feet tall.

As tall as the popcorn, the sunflowers [top pic] are towering wonders this year.
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Sunday Morning Garden Chat: Zone 10 Luxury

shar Epidendrum orchids

Epidendrum orchids

A little subtropical richness to celebrate the summer warmth, from “loyal lurker” Shar in NE Miami-Dade, Florida.

shar Bougainvillea


shar Ixora, Jatropha, Ficus, Liriope native ferns

Ixora, Jatropha, Ficus, Liriope, native ferns

shar View of a native snail on pool coping from inside the pool.

View of a native snail on pool coping from inside the pool

This week we picked our first ripe tomatoes — an undersized Vintage Wine and a few SunGolds. It’s a start!

What’s going on in your garden(s) this week?
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Sunday Morning Garden Chat: Red White Green & Blueberries

marvel jul16 Blueberry

The rest of reliable garden correspondent Marvel‘s latest report from the Willamette Valley…

At top: Blueberries. there’ll be a scant harvest this year, but we’ll do better next.

marvel jul16 Cabbage

Cabbage unfurling. It’s a green, slo-mo ballet every time.

marvel jul16 Area51

Area 51. In this fairly compressed snapshot: sunflowers, dill, parsley, tomatoes, popcorn & artichokes. It’s taken several years, but the soil out there is finally in pretty good shape.

marvel jul16 Apples

Jonagold Apples — growing up cozy and doing their best to repel codling moths. I hope they’re victorious.

marvel jul16 Lavender

Lavender — graceful and sweet-scented.

Here north of Boston, my neglected flower beds are beginning to burst with bright daylilies and sweet-scented Zepherine Drouhan roses — amid the flourishing weeds. With any luck, I’ll be able to pick up a few six-paks of heat-hardy annuals when we go out for ice cream this afternoon, but with the Spousal Unit on vacation this week I’m not sure how much I’ll actually be able to accomplish during the daylight hours…

What’s going on in your gardens this week?

Sunday Morning Garden Chat: Summer Unfolds

marvel jul16 Pear

A small pear with Big Dreams

From faithful garden correspondent Marvel:

Summer’s had a ‘soft opening’ here in the Willamette Valley. Not too hot, a cool drizzle here & there — it’s made the heavily front-loaded tasks of the season pretty pleasant.

I’ve included here snapshots from the garden — there’s plenty out there that’s reached its prime (kale, artichokes, strawberries & peas, I’m talking about you) and much that’s starting to put on heavy growth (cabbage, cauliflower, tomatoes, popcorn, beans among them). With any luck, the hardest-working part of the season’s behind us.

marvel jul16 Shastas

Shasta Daisies — low maintenance, high entertainment value.

marvel jul16 Borage

Borage — so fuzzy. These cucumber-scented blossoms keep the bees happy from Spring to Fall.

marvel jul16 Chokes

Artichokes, Year Two — yummy little Martians.

marvel jul16 Zuke

Summer Squash — the first zuke flower peeks its golden head out.

marvel jul16 Peas

The last of this year’s peas — they were champs!

To be continued…

What’s going on in your garden(s) this week?

Sunday Garden Chat: Front Yard Gardening

mental masala Bee on coriander flowers

From commentor Mental.Masala:

The most exciting thing to happen in my S.F. Bay Area garden is the result of my laziness and the unstoppable drive of plants to make seeds. The parsley plants in my raised beds have been exceptionally healthy and are flowering profusely. I also have some volunteer cilantro that quickly bolted and is also flowering. Both plants make wide platforms of tiny flowers, much like a Queen Anne’s Lace. The bees, flies, butterflies, dragonflies and other pollinators love the parsley and cilantro, especially the small native bees like the one in the photo. Once it warms up each day, the area around the flowers is abuzz with many species flying around and feeding.

After my last plea, I got an email from commentor Peter Cook:

I’m a longtime reader, occasional commenter, and all-around fan. I put up a post on my blog today about ripping out my front yard and replacing it with a big vegetable garden. I’m hoping you find it worthy of mention in the next Garden Chat…

peter cook acookblog pergola

Front yards are overrated. Sure, it’s good to have some grassy space to kick a ball or toss a disc with the kid, but otherwise lawn is a waste of square feet and resources, especially water. Rip out the grass, run a nice fence around it, and build some raised beds, though, and you’ve got yourself a one-stop shop for food, physical activity, neighborly sharing, and epic curb appeal.

This garden takes up just about the entire former front yard of the new house, including the path to the front door from the driveway. We and any visitors have to walk through it every day, and I wouldn’t have it any other way… It provided enough vegetables to get us through this entire last year without buying anything but a few guilty pleasures like artichokes. (I know they can be grown here, but it’s a two-year job and I haven’t gotten around to it yet.) Between the freezer, which held vacuum-bagged greens of all descriptions plus a ton of pre-chopped mirepoix, pestos, salsas, and chutneys from our modest fruit haul and all of the various fermented things—kimchis, sauerkraut, shredded carrots with coriander, minced leeks with Thai chilies, pickled beets—which sat in the basement and/or fridge, we were fully provisioned with enough plant food to inspire hundreds of excellent meals…

The garden is divided into three main zones. The first is the 28 raised beds that make up the bulk of it. Of these, two are now devoted to strawberries; initially it was just one but they’re too good. I also transplanted a bunch of runners into the blueberry bed. That bed, plus the perimeter beds both inside and outside of the big fence, make up the second zone: fruit. Various currants, plus gooseberries and jostaberries (a currant-gooseberry hybrid) make up the underplantings, while above them I have espaliered plum, pear, and cherry trees. Hardy kiwis live in one little corner bed, and I have three kinds of native table grapes planted along the outside of the fence near the pergola; they made it close to the top last year and should begin to cover it (and fruit) this year. There’s a thornless blackberry patch outside the other corner, and a bed each of rhubarb and asparagus. The old garden in town had those two crops outside the fence and the deer ignored them; the deer here in the woods are hungrier, with less landscaping to eat, so they go after everything. I wish I had known that before I locked in this design, since the retrofitted fencing is not beautiful.
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