It’s happening, baby:

picture of tomato

picture of tomato

I am eating the first two the way I always do, with just a little bit of salt and pepper.

Garden Pics

I really wanted to take these pictures yesterday and have them ready for Anne Laurie this morning, but it rained and was crappy most of the afternoon. The rain has paused briefly now, so I took some pictures- the lighting isn’t spectacular. At any rate, if you all remember, my main goal when I started this backyard project several years ago was to create a pretty garden that had near constant blooms all summer and would also be very good for bees and butterflies. It’s starting to pay off. I have several huge patches of bee balm, and while you can not see the bees in these shots very well, if you are standing next to them you can see dozens and dozens of them, in all shapes and form:

bee balm

bee balm

Several patches of these, which are doing quite well (I am brain cramping and can not remember the name):

I have lilies all over the damned place, here is a pretty yellow one (I love this color of yellow):

The coneflowers are doing well all over the yard (and there is a big old bee on top, too!):

And then I have about a ten yard stretch along the fence that I have dedicated just to wildflowers, and they are starting to come up:

Now we get to the bonus blooms. This is an okra blossom- I only have about 20 plants that I raised from seed- it was an experiment to see how it would grow here. Jury is still out, but the blossoms are beautiful:

I have a number of different varieties of bell pepper which are about a week away from picking, as well as habaneros and other hot peppers, but I just love how these look so this is the picture you are getting:

The peas are doing well even though they did not climb anywhere near as high as last year, and in the back you can see one of the patches of sunflowers (I should have about 50-60 sunflowers this year all over the placve) is almost six feet tall:

Now for the ugly- the first round of tomatoes (this is the early July crop, the early August andlate August/September crop come later) has just been wiped out by leaf spot. I’ve trimmed away as much as I can and used neem oil and what not, but this is the price you pay for using plants you bought instead of grew from seed. My later two crops are grown from seed and planted farther away, so hopefully they will fare better. Still, I look to get about 100 tomatoes out of this bed or more.

Finally, Rosie is overseeing my yard activities:

Have a ton of lilies that should be blooming shortly, a lot more wildflowers, and a metric ton of gladiolas should be arriving soon.

Sunday Morning Garden Chat: A Vineyard in Maryland

From fortunate (and ambitious!) commentor PAM Dirac:

At top: Here’s the view from the front porch over the patio and out into the yard. You can see the main vineyard. For anyone wanting vineyard details, you can go to Waving Free Vinyard.

This is the first spring as a retired person and most of the work I’ve done has been to get the vineyard into top shape. The patio area was not in too bad a shape and just needed a bit of weeding and a bit more attention to rose pruning. The roses, weigela, and catmint are in bloom.

2) When we had a big chunk of landscaping done about 10 years ago, we bit the bullet and paid a lot of money to get a bunch of river birches put in. It was well worth the money. This is sitting on the patio looking at the morning sun filtering through the trees. Wonderful place to sip some tea.

3) Here’s another view in the front yard showing (but not too closely) some of the beds we have put in. My wife demanded a moratorium on new beds until I cleaned up what we have. I have done the first pass weeding, so almost all the stuff we are sure we don’t want is gone, but there is still a fair amount of work to figure out what we do what. Next spring!

4) The back yard of course has more grape vines and the vegetable garden. Again, I was ordered to stop adding beds until I got these under control. Not too bad this year. The back beds have tomatoes and some peppers. The front left has some types of squash and the front left has a nice crop of carrots. The middle front bed is a flower bed that my wife’s sister worked on when she came to live with us in the last months of her fight with cancer and we try to keep it in her memory.

5) My wife has turned the space between the end of the deck and the garage into her secret garden. Lilies, peonies, various hydrangeas, lilacs, and of course another grape vine.

6) Lots of very pleasant places to sit, even if there is still a lot of work to do. Pull up a chair. We’ve poured you a glass of wine.


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

Sunday Morning Garden Chat: Summer Shots

Thank you, commentor LaPassionara:

[At top] is a photo of my Hybrid Annabell hydrangeas. They will make quite a display all summer.

Some autumn ferns I planted a few weeks ago. This is a shady area, with some morning sun, and I am hoping they spread and fill in behind the diminished daffodils.

A new bed that I made at the end of last summer. These are castor bean plants, grown from seed. The seeds are poisonous, so they are not favored plants, but I like the red stems and sometimes purple leaves.

This is a typical site in my backyard, lots of different ground covers, with the stray daylily bloom. It started with euonymus winter creeper, with an added splash of your favorite, vinca minor, then some new and unknown spreading plants. I focus my efforts here on weeding out the honeysuckle shrubs and poke salat plants, plus cutting the euonymus away from the tree trunks. A never-ending battle.

Finally, this is now growing in the daylily bed that I repurposed last fall. I had planted rudbeckia seeds in pots on my back patio last summer, then put them in the new spot. They survived the winter and are now growing like crazy.

Love everyone’s garden photos! Thanks for keeping that Sunday morning tradition alive.

I didn’t accomplish much gardening this week, not least because the gas company pulled a surprise raid to replace our meter and left us with no hot water for THREE HIDEOUS DAYS. The tech finally showed up at 7:15pm on Friday, and I cannot express how much being able to take a real shower improved my mood. (I never claimed survivalist credentials, thank you.)

Fortunately, the weather remained damp enough to keep the new transplants hydrated — I checked the tomato rootpouches after today’s violent thunderbursts, and not only did they come through unscathed, but a few of the plants are setting fat green fruit. Today’s project, Murphy the Trickster God willing: Get the Spousal Unit to dig up the handful of daylilies I planted in the shaded raised bed now overrun by his vinca (they’ve survived but don’t bloom there), while I dig up the ragged row of dwarf iris in front of the foundation lilac and replace them with more OsoEasy landscape roses to accompany the one that’s been sturdily thriving, scentless but bloomiferous, for some years.

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

Sunday Garden Chat Open Thread: Blessing Upon OpieJeanne

Thank you, OpieJeanne, for sending extra photos with your last submission, because otherwise the rest of the Jackals would be *very* disappointed this morning!

Top pic: Large bee on a chive flower.

Baby artichoke

Chives in the onion bed

William’s Pride apple

Not kidding, guys: “Too many” garden pics is as silly a concept as “too many” homegrown tomatoes. Send ’em to me, and I’ll find a way to use them!

Speaking of which… one thing about the persistent rainy weather, it’s been good for my tomato plants. With luck, it’ll stay dry for long enough this afternoon that I can get the tomato ladders out of storage and into the rootpouches…

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