Sunday Morning Garden Chat: Butterfly Garden

From ace photographer and optimistic gardener Ozark Hillbilly:

Thought I’d share how the first step in the pollinators garden project has come along.

Step 2: Showing what I start with in any garden project

Step 3: With top soil

Top photo: How things were looking in mid July.

Grow it, and they will come.


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

I put in one flutterby bush in each of the back corners, it has done well.

Sunday Morning Garden Chat: OH! The Eclipse


From gifted commentor Marvel:

It’s difficult to describe what the eclipse totality was like — too dazzling for my small words. But I can describe one wonderful aspect of it:

When totality struck and the sun’s fiery ring was exposed, a ROAR rose up all over the Willamette Valley — thousands of peoples’ voices in unexpected unison, shouting out the pure wonder of it.

Then, after the height of the celestial show, as the sun was being restored by an ebbing moonshadow, we rambled around the yard, looking for those wonderful crescent-shaped representations of the eclipse provided by dappled, pin-hole sunlight shining through the trees.

We were awestruck throughout.

(This photo made the Spousal Unit very happy. He’d hoped for something similar here — as happened back in 1991 — but it turned out that 63% totality & slightly overcast wasn’t good enough.)

Here north of Boston, we are finally enjoying Peak Tomato Season, those lovely few weeks when my plants are ripening fruit faster than we can eat them fresh. Local professionals say it was this summer’s cool nights that delayed such bliss by several weeks past the usual mid-July days… but, tragically, they haven’t slowed down the blights. Since there’s no rain predicted before Wednesday, I hope to spend some time later today pruning dead leaves and spraying Serenade, in the hope that the least affected plants will continue to set fruit even if they look like lollipops…

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

Sunday Morning Garden Chat: Summer Bounty

From superior gardener and faithful commentor Marvel:

Don’t you just LOVE Summer???????!

It was a slow, mild Spring here in the Willamette Valley. Turns out, slow & mild suits me (and the garden) just fine. It’s a kind of full-spectrum Circle of Life thing out there: harvesting the early stuff (e.g., garlic, beets, carrots), planting the Fall & Winter stuff (e.g., cabbage, peas, greens) and killing as many bad bugs and weeds as can be kilt.

We planted a few varieties of beets, most of them colorful, and harvesting them is like plunging your hand into a treasure chest, not knowing which earthy gem you’ll come up with.

We pulled up the garlic — a whole bed’s-worth. We laid them out on shelves snug in the garden shed where they rested & dried for about a month and I just finished cleaning & trimming ’em. The wonderful scent of garlic made me wish we had planted pasta & skillets, too.

This year I’m trying something new. I usually don’t achieve a very good germination rate when I plant shelling peas and think it’s because I plant them too deeply (they’re supposed to be planted a mere inch below the soil surface). I’m always afraid that they’ll ‘float’ up too far when I water ’em. So with this Fall crop, I nestled ’em in under a thin layer of amended soil & covered them with a lightweight board to help them hold moisture & STAY PUT when I water them. Good luck little peas!

Walla walla, wall-to-wall!

We keep a garden journel and every year include an inventory of what’s growing out there. Here goes:
Apples, artichokes, asparagus, beans, beets, blueberries, broccoli, carrots, cauliflower, corn, cucumbers, garlic, grapes, kale, leeks, onions, pears, peas, peppers, plums, potatoes, strawberries, tomatoes. Basil, chamomile, chives, dill, mint, oregano, rosemary, thyme. PLUS, weeds, weeds, weeds, weeds, weeds, weeds, weeds and some white clover (this year’s Can’t Lick ‘Em/Join ‘Em groundcover — it kills weeds and the bees love it).


Here north of Boston, we’re finally getting the first ripe full-sized tomatoes. Normally we can count on the harvest starting in mid-July, but this unusually mild rain-every-three-day summer has been great for the flowers but not so great for setting fruit. Hit of the season so far is a new variety from Laurel’s Heirloom Tomatoes, Tati’s Wedding, which is intensely flavorful and meaty. It’s now on my must-have list (along with Bearclaw, Black Cherry, Cherokee Purple, Chocolate Stripes, Japanese Black Trifele, Kellogg’s Breakfast, Opalka, Paul Robeson, Sungold, White Currant… )

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

Sunday Morning Garden Chat: Vivid Tones

From commentor Japa21:

A while back I had sent some pictures of our purple garden. Well, those flowers that were around then are no longer in bloom, but we had it planned that we have other blooms going through the year. This picture shows three of those. The purple coneflowers have just opened in the past couple days. I like the dwarf day lilies because they contribute to the purple look. Our garden is a crescent shape and this trio is at each end.

We do a lot of container planting with a variety of sizes of pots. A large selection is on our patio and I have also included a different view of the biggest one to get a better look at the mandevilla vine. We also have several pots scattered around the back of our lot in among the bushes and trees back there. These are just a couple of them.

Finally, we had a 40 year old crib which we can’t for legal reasons even give away. But it also had a lot of memories for us from when our two sons slept in it. We ended up taken the two sides and creating a trellis. We have two trumpet vines growing from the ground which will probably take another year to provide their full effect. We then hung a planter with 4 mandevilla vines from the apex and they are growing nicely.

As you can possibly tell, part of our selection process is to attract hummingbirds. Although the last picture is not of a plant, it is my favorite one of the hummingbird pictures I have taken. I am not the photographer that many here are, but I am pleased with the results.

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

Sunday Morning Garden Chat: “Whare Have All the Rabbits Gone?…”

From commentor OldGold:

Diary: May 7
Inexplicably, my garden, West of Eden (f/k/a Rabbit Feeding Zone), continues to grow unmolested by rabbits. I was particularly disappointed by the great strides made by my Killer Kale over the past week. I fear that soon, if the rabbits continue to forsake my Killer Kale, my significant other will be scanning the internet for ways to make use of this foul tasting weed. Kale chips? Whare are the rabbits? Whare are the rabbits?

Diary: May 15
Alas, despite my worst efforts, my vegetable/flower garden, West of Eden, continues to flourish. Before completely giving up on my formerly ravenous rabbits reclaiming their feeding zone, I have decided to make a bold move. Going into full anti-tRump mode, I am taking out what has in the past been laughably referred to as a fence. And, I am going to make the rabbits pay for it.

Some, like my neighbor from Hell, DeeDee Plorable, she of the sulfuric scent, might see West of Eden as a testament to piss poor planning, pathetic procrastination and pedantic posturing.

My response, ”It’s modern day presidential!”

Diary: May 23
The failure of the rabbits to ravage West of Eden this year and thereby expose me to the horrors of eating Killer Kale Cupcakes and Zany Zucchini Salads may be a wage issue.

I am going to increase the rabbits’ starting celery.

Diary: June 14

Svensker asks, “What zone are you in?”

This year, with the mysterious disappearance of my ravenous rabbits, West of Eden is in a dimension as vast as space and as timeless as infinity. It is the middle ground between light and shadow, between science and superstition, and it lies between the pit of man’s fears and the summit of his knowledge. It is an area which we call the Twilight Zone (A/K/A Down The Rabbit Hole).

Diary: May 22
Yesterday, I ambled up to my still flourishing green nightmare, West of Eden, to check if the big bowls of Trix I had placed next to my vibrant veggies had attracted any silly rabbits. No luck.

Then, the sun dimmed and the birds went silent. Suddenly there was the scent of sulfur in the air. My neighbor from hell, DeeDee Plorable, was bearing down on me at warp speed.

“Ogee, those are some killer Kale,” she cruelly sneered. “I will have to share my recipes with your Mrs.” Ouch!

“Ogee, Purr and Fect (her cats) are missing as well as several others in the neighborhood. What’s going on?”

Hmmm!?!? Whare are the rabbits and cats?

Diary: June 27
At the crack of noon I trudged up to West of Eden to weed. A task I had effectively eschewed since early in the Eisenhower Administration. I was armed with 2,4-D, a blow torch and a machete. The plan was to clear a path for the rabbits to reach the Killer Kale.

Just before initiating this desperate plan, I saw something that explained the mystery of the missing ravenous rabbits and DeeDee Plorable’s missing cats.
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Sunday Morning Garden Chat: Explosions of Color

So refreshing! From commentor Gelfling545:

Here are a few pics from my Buffalo garden. The cool, wet spring paid off in roses! The irises are from May. The rest are the June rose explosion.


Here north of Boston, it’s been on-and-off mizzle all week, interspersed with a 3″ torrent one evening, and generally hella humid. My joints, especially the bad knee, have been griefing me enough that I’ve used it as an excuse not to work on the garden, and it shows.

Also, while casual inspection shows lots of green fruit swelling, the marauding chipmunk-or-whatever has succeeded in beating us to every single cherry tomato so far. Any advice for netting or otherwise protecting 30 or so laddered tomato plants in individual rootpouches? (It’s not a water issue, my customary giant plastic saucer of water has been down since the seedlings were transplanted and there’s a couple of subsidiary decorative bird/critter baths in the flower beds too.)

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

Sunday Morning Garden Chat: Water Feature

A little wishful inspiration, from long-time mostly-lurker Paul B:

This is the story of a pond I had installed in my back yard a few years back. I’ve always wanted a water feature and I finally got the chance when I realized that I was going to have to dig up my back yard anyway, at least if I actually wanted a back yard that warranted more than a shudder and a groan. It had been horribly neglected by the prior owner and it was mostly weeds and bare dirt, along with a cracked and pitted brick patio that had likely been there for a few decades.

So I dug up the bricks and the weeds, smoothed out the dirt, and contracted with a pond company in Redmond (I live in Seattle) to install a pond with a small stream. Once that was in, I worked with another contractor to install a patio that meshed with the pond. Everything else I did, mostly just making it up as I went, with multiple trips to my local garden center.

Picture 1: The bare yard on day 1, just before the began work.

Picture 2: The end of day 2. The rectangular stone-ish thing in the foreground covers the hole where the pump is located. You can see a hint of the hose snaking around the pond leading to the small hill they built for me that contains the filter material and that will serve as the top of the stream, where the water will come out. The stream is roughly 10’ long and the pond is about 20’ x 10’.

Picture 3: The end of day 3. The pump is in, the pond filled, a footbridge installed, and a gravel and stone edge has been added. The three small contraptions on the left edge of the pond are motion-detector “scarecrows,” hooked to my water supply, with the idea that if a raccoon or heron wants to grab the fish that I will be adding to the pond, the motion will set off the scarecrow, which will respond with a blast of water. Sadly, they really didn’t work very well, and the pond basically became a larder, mostly for the neighborhood raccoons.

Picture 4: Another view. The dirt in the pond hasn’t settled yet. The various plants in the pond were installed by the contractor. A mixture of irises, cattails, water lilies (which haven’t surfaced yet and aren’t visible in the murky water), and others.
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