Sunday Morning Garden Chat: Autumn Memories


I asked you guys to send me photos from your archives if you didn’t have new garden pics, and commentor Ozark Hillbilly responded nobly:

Our colors this year are somewhat muted but years past have been very colorful as the top pic shows. I took it it in 2012.


The last Dogwood leaves always seem especially vibrant to me.


This rose may or may not have been that years last, but those beetles certainly thought it would be.


This clematis has been blooming in Oct as well as spring for 2-3 years now. Not sure why it chooses to.


We had quite the haul of winter squash and gourds last year. The Woofmeister thought they were getting far too much attention. This year I did not plant any as I just did not feel like battling the squash bugs and was hoping that they would go elsewhere if I had no squash to share.


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

Sunday Morning Garden Chat: Precious Memories


From faithful garden correspondent (& amazing photographer) Marvel:

You asked for pix from sunnier times, so I scouted a few flowers for you. First up, our early Queen, the young tree peony. Can’t take a bad photo of these wonderful flowers.


The crocus are our earliest Spring flower (I t-h-i-n-k they beat the camelias) — so fragile and fresh, enlivening and otherwise drab understory.


The borage and a scattering of colorful lettuce brighten up a newly-wakened Spring bed.


There are several pieris around the house — I love the bight coral hues and Japanese lantern blooms on these mature plants.


Out front there are some well-established rhodies and azaleas — it’s not a particularly shady out there, but they’ve done well for years and years. It amazes me that their tightly-wound buds can live through the sometimes-freezing temps (and snow) in Winter and still produce yards and yards of fragile blooms come Spring. Tough ones, rhodies.


Finally, being Oregon, we have to find SOMETHING to like about the rain, else we’d go mad! I like it just fine.

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

Sunday Morning Garden Chat: FLOTUS Stakes Her Garden Claim

And what gardener wouldn’t, given her gifts?

On Wednesday afternoon, Obama unveiled a much bigger version of the garden, which uses cement, stone and steel to make it a more permanent fixture on the South Lawn. The updates are seen not just as preserving Obama’s garden — recognized globally as a symbol of local food — but also as a way to dissuade, say, a President Donald Trump from scrapping it the way Ronald Reagan tore out Jimmy Carter’s solar panels after he moved into the White House.

“I think people would be really upset,” said Marta McDowell, a landscape historian who recently wrote a book on White House gardens. She called Obama’s preservation plan “brilliant,” adding, “If it were taken out, it would truly just be a political statement.”…

The White House has already made arrangements with the National Park Service for the future upkeep of the garden, which has served as the backdrop of meetings with world leaders such as German Chancellor Angela Merkel. It has even managed to secure a private $2.5 million funding stream for maintenance to defray the cost to taxpayers.

“I take great pride in knowing that this little garden will live on as a symbol of the hopes and dreams we all hold of growing a healthier nation for our children,” Obama said in an emotional speech Wednesday afternoon as she dedicated the garden before an audience of advocates, food industry leaders and others who have helped with Let’s Move!, her signature childhood obesity campaign…

With all the uncertainty, however, it’s clear that the latest iteration of the first lady’s vegetable garden is built to last. Sawdust pathways have been widened and replaced with blue stone. The garden features a large new, stone-paved seating area and a prominent archway, cemented into the lawn.

Underneath, a large paving stone carries an inscription: “WHITE HOUSE KITCHEN GARDEN, established in 2009 by First Lady Michelle Obama with the hope of growing a healthier nation for our children.”…

Good for Mrs. Obama, and I look forward to seeing Hillary Clinton’s little grandkids playing there in a year or two.

Given we’re all pretty distracted by the upcoming election, what’s going on in your garden(s) this week?

Sunday Garden Chat: Persephone Retreats to the Underworld


(B.C. via

Autumn is normally my favorite season, but after months of summer drought we’ve had a steady week of chill mizzle — very little contribution to the reservoir deficit, just day after day of overcast dank. My sinuses are killing me.

This would be the time for all you gardeners to send me those summer photos you’ve been holding for a Rount Tuit, or for those of you in more clement climes to step up…

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


(Arlo & Janis via

Sunday Morning Garden Chat: Still Reaping


From faithful Garden Commentor Marvel:

We’re clearly Autumn-bound, here in the Willamette Valley. The sun’s coming in at a good slant, the university (OSU — Go Beavs) is having its first home football game and we’re hauling & processing veggies to beat the band. There’s plenty left out there to harvest and eat/store in coming days/weeks (e.g., the late potatoes are ’bout ready to dig up; kale, cabbage & brocolli are looking good; the basil’s primed for the blender & pine nuts), but it’s the tasks at hand that have our attention.

The Summer was fairly mild and the tomatoes showed it — harvest was relatively scant & late…with none to waste, every precious one was brought in and lovingly prepared/processed.


We husked & dried the popcorn (first time we’ve grown it) and have, in the loudest, most kinetic operation my kitchen’s ever seen, wrestled the kernals from their respective ears. Whew. There are vintage hand-cranked shellers (looking much like medieval torture devices and hard to find) and modern, zippy-looking ones (w-a-a-a-y too expensive), but we used tools at hand (me = a sweet corn skinner; Jack = a gnarly pair of pliers). We may not plant popcorn again, given the wrestling required.


The apple crop was good (for us and our organic/no spray ways, anytime we lose less than about 85% to the various bugs [talking to YOU, coddling moth], it’s a good year) and I have a swell recipe for a savory chutney using crisp apples and green tomatoes (plenty of those around) — cooked up a double batch of it just this AM.

This year was absolutely THE WORST for my tomatoes in the 20-some years I’ve been gradually expanding my “garden” from a plastic pot on a rental deck to a whole bunch of 15gal rootpouches on an asphalt driveway extension. Of course I overbought seedlings, but I got everything planted out & tomato-laddered & fertilized in good order and then… well, we’re currently under ‘extreme drought’ conditions. Which wouldn’t have been an issue, except that the humidity level hung between oppressive and unhealthy from July into September (all that water & none of it doing our poor plants, or my lungs, any good). I could not bear to spend more than an hour or so outside on any given day, which just about gave me time to keep the raised flower beds and lilacs from drying up once I’d watered the tomatoes. So at least three different varieties of blight hit early & hard, and the few fat green specimens I carefully nurtured got messily destroyed by some bird or small mammal despite the large saucer of water I carefully kept filled for just such visitors (another disaster that hasn’t happened in at least 15 years). And the whole yard looks like it was cruelly abandoned, ungroomed and dusty.

I’m trying to decide whether I should order a handful of “essential” heirlooms from my favorite California-based mail-order source right now, rather than waiting to look at multiple sites in February as a mood-lifter. Or if maybe I should just declare a moratorium, and spend next year’s green season doing some serious & desperately-needed spadework to revive the rest of the yard…

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

Sunday Morning Garden Chat: Florida Vignettes

shar phalonopsis

From “Loyal lurker Shar from NE Miami-Dade”:

Top pic, from this Spring: a Phalaenopsis orchid that I perched in the low crotch of a Peltophorum tree so many years ago. I forget it’s there until I happen to pull into the drive at a height low enough to see it in bloom.

shar volunteer staghorn fern

Volunteer Staghorn fern pup on Triangle palm trunk

shar lobster claw heliconia

“Lobster Claw” heliconia with first bracts opening

shar fully open lobster claws

Fully opened Lobster Claw heliconias

shar peacock

This guy has been hanging out at a house a few blocks from mine in the last few years. Then one day I tooled down the alley behind my house on my way to whereever and…


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

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?