Sunday Morning Garden (Household Repair / Photo Tips) Chat: “Winter Is Coming”


For a lot of us, winter is already here, but who could resist photos like this from the gifted and ever-dependable Ozark Hillbilly?


Who’s got garden reports? Questions about household repair / maintenance? Tips for better photograhs — or questions on how to get the best shots?

Frost flowers:

Sunday Morning Garden Chat: Moulding the Future (Veggie)


This actually makes sense in a culture, like Japan, where individual perfect fruits are considered an essential gift for business clients or social visits — the way Americans treat wine or flowers. I suspect it would be difficult or impossible to make them profitably here, since we’ve been so conditioned to treat ‘unprocessed’ food as something that should be cheap. Although, given the upswing in “artisanal” every-damn-edibles, maybe that’s changing?

There are cheaper, no doubt much less durable versions of some of the simpler moulds available from American companies. I remember seeing an ad for an “ugly old man potato” mould from a Midwestern company some years ago. Which reminded me of the ending of a particularly unpleasant villain in Terry Pratchett’s novel The Truth

So I checked out the website referenced in the video. Sure enough, an American contacted them about producing pumpkins in the likeness of a certain American politician, but the kickstarter to fund wider production failed rather spectacularly. I still like the idea of growing little ugly-dude potatoes, though: “That’s not the right type for boiling, it’s a fryer!”

Apart from gearing up for the Thanksgiving Experience, what’s going on in your garden(s) planning, this week?

Sunday Morning Garden Chat: “The Quiet Season”

From gifted gardener & photographer Marvel:

It’s been quiet over this-away.

After having pretty well buttoned up the garden for its long Winter’ rest, I was laid low with a bum knee (torn meniscus). Still waiting for surgery and getting about on a crutch.

Just wanted to share this shot of an artichoke out back. I usually cut the last few of them down & use ’em for decorative purposes, but this year I left a few to die & dry in place. Glad I did.

Well, here north of Boston, we finally got our killing freeze — in fact, three days of record-breaking cold temps, according to the tv weatherpeople. Now I just have to get outside during the brief daylight window and finish prepping our yard for the winter. Or at least take down the rest of the tomato ladders and move the potted roses into the garage, assuming I can nag the Spousal Unit into making space for them…

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

Sunday Morning Garden(ish) Chat: “Marrow Escape!”

Via dependable garden commentor Ozark Hillbilly, the Guardian reports:

A worried resident in Germany alerted police to what he thought was a second world war bomb in his garden. Officers found … a particularly large zucchini…

They said in a statement Friday that officers determined “the object, which really did look very like a bomb” was actually a 40cm (nearly 16in) courgette.

The offending vegetable, which was very dark in color, weighed about 5kg (11lbs). Police believe someone threw it over a hedge into the garden…

“Gifting” the unwary a zucchini of that size has to be some kind of violation of the Geneva Convention, amirite?

As of yesterday, we still hadn’t gotten a killing frost, even though it’s New England and it’s November. But the tv weather people predict ‘possible wintery mix’ by next weekend, so presumably we’ll get back to what-passes-for-normal soon…

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


Speaking of bombs…

Scores! The guy who couldn’t attract more than a dozen or so allies to his “Free Speech” rally last summer is hella jealous:

The rally was intended to kick off an upswell of political pressure to force the removal of Trump and Vice President Mike Pence. On Saturday, the crowd started small but eventually grew to nearly 100 people. Some counterprotesters arrived, and several arguments broke out but ended without arrests. Speakers ignored the skirmishes.

John Medlar, who organized a controversial Free Speech rally in Boston in August that many criticized for being a platform for racists, attended Saturday night’s rally. He noted that unlike his event, which was heavily policed and effectively drowned out by tens of thousands of counterprotesters, Saturday’s rally was allowed to proceed unfettered.

“When we come into town and have one of our own rallies, everyone freaks out and they feel they have to separate everybody,” he said…

How do you think the “Resist Fascism” dudes feel? All the terror hype on Fox News, and they couldn’t even draw enough maddened counterprotesters to get any decent b-roll!

Bleeding Hearts, Unite!

This bleeding heart vine has taken over our backyard bar to the extent that we almost need a machete to come and go:

I hope everyone is having a pleasant evening, bleeding hearts notwithstanding. Open thread!

Sunday Morning Garden Chat: Winter Squash


Halloween special, from master gardener / photographer Ozark Hillbilly:

This is a Galeux d’ Eysines squash, a French type they favor for soups but I dearly love for its oh-so-sweet flesh. They say the more warts it has the sweeter it is. I use it a lot for baking.


I love growing winter squash. In the spring one makes the mounds, amends them with plenty of compost and some fertilizer in the center, put 2 or 3 seeds in each mound, and then forget about them. By midsummer their foliage is so thick I can’t see the ground or what is growing down there. At least until the plants start dying back, usually late August/early September for me. And then I get to see what gustatory treasures await me.


The big blue squash is a Jarrahdale and the 2 oblong ones on top are Delicatas.


It was a while before I spotted this Winter Luxury Pie Pumpkin hanging on my bean trellis.


Got to brag to the postman. L to R, Galeux, Winter Luxury, Jarrahdale, Kamo Kamo, Winter Luxury, and 3 Sweet Dumplings. Not pictured are the Delicatas and the Flat White Boer pumpkin.


A Strawflower, just because.


What’s going on in your gardens, this week?

Sunday Morning Garden Chat: Midwestern Oasis, Pt. II

Figured we could all use a nice sunny picture to start the day. From intrepid commentor Watergirl:

These black-eyed susans were a happy surprise. They are just on the cusp of being in our zone, so I mulched and mulched them some more, and they came back this spring! Not sure if you can tell from the photo, but the flowers are huge! They looked super sturdy so I didn’t think to surround them with anything, but they were knocked flat after a big rain. If I’m lucky enough that they come up next year, I will definitely provide them with some support.

Several people were kind enough to comment on my porch last week but the photos didn’t show much of it.

Totally unrelated to anything… Peppers! This is just the part of my pepper crop that I harvested this week. I got about the same amount earlier in the summer, plus the ones I harvest in ones and twos as I cook supper in the summer.

I had planted my gerbera daisy in the ground along the side of my porch in the back yard, but it fried in the sun within a couple of weeks, so I found an empty pot and planted it and moved it to the side area. It’s such a happy plant and people are always asking if it’s fake. It is not!

I couldn’t resist a close-up of my black-eyed susan vine – so much happy flower from a $7 plant every spring.

I think I shared a photo of my pink hair grass last year, but it’s one of my favorites so I am including it again. Had three of the pink hair, but the voles ate one of them over the winter. Does anyone know of a good way to get rid of voles? The traps did not work.


Here north of Boston, I picked the last brave batch of tomatoes yesterday. Next year, Ramapo goes on my must-have list. Along with Paul Robeson, Black Prince, Bear Claw, Cherokee Purple, Japanese Trifele, Vintage Wine, Opalka, Tasmanian Chocolate, Sun Gold, White Currant… Also new (to us) and now on the must-find list: Chocolate Sprinkles (a cherry variety) and Tati’s Wedding (early, productive & delicious).

I’m glad I broke down & decided against taking this year off, but reducing the number of plants was a good idea, and next year I’m planning to cut back even further. I keep buying more “just in case”, and then by Labor Day I’m sick of struggling to keep up with the day-by-day maintenance — even if it’s nice to have extras in the freezer for sauce over the long dark months. There’s a couple of varieties I really like that just don’t want to produce for me (Kellogg’s Breakfast, Blondkopfchen) and some others that I keep buying just because they’re “reliable” (Carmello, Marianna’s Peace). We’ll see if I can hold my resolve come February, and the luscious pictures in the (online) catalogs!

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