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Archive for the ‘Plants’ Category

I left for a three+ week trip to Mongolia on the 7th of July and got back on the 30th. The vegetable garden had, of course, exploded with  growth while I was gone. I’ve grown some vegies before, but never on this scale. Things got busy, painting-wise and then, last week, I was at the opening weekend of the Society of Animal Artists annual juried show, Art and the Animal, which I finally got into after five years of trying. All this to say why there haven’t been any posts for awhile.

Things are slowing down now. We got a great zucchini soup recipe from our neighbor, along with a jar of the finished product, which used some zucchini that we foisted on gave them. For a joke I had also posted an offer for zucchini on my Facebook newsfeed and, to my utter surprise, two people took me up on it since their plants hadn’t done well this year. Must be a first of some kind.

In the Live and Learn Department:

-Don’t use bird netting to cover the bean and pea teepees because it makes it impossible to get to the beans and peas that are within the teepee.

-In fact, don’t use teepees for serious food-growing. They look really cool, but are an inefficient use of the available space.

-Don’t over-water the tomatoes and don’t plant them so close together. Some of the plants are HUGE, but with very little fruit. I’m trying to move the branches with fruit so that they get as much sun as possible, but the plants needed a lot more room and also much bigger supports. This has been the year to learn what does and doesn’t work in our particular micro-climate.

-Try what you want even if you’re told it won’t work. Like the heritage tomatoes that we were told wouldn’t do much so close to the coast. Not enough warm days. We aren’t going to get a lot (see above), but there will be a few tomatoes from each plant. Standard variety Early Girl will be, as expected, the most productive, but I think we’ll be having fried green tomatoes in the not-too-distant future.

The peas, beans, carrots and beets are done  and harvested. Summer squash plants still producing, but it’s really been raining today so I suspect that it’s going to be a race with mildew now. Our little patch of salad greens is still producing after all this time. We’ve been pulling shallots and green onions for a few weeks now. Need to check the garlic. The breadseed poppies are done and I’ve cut the first seed heads.

We have LOTS of beans in the freezer. Four varieties: Blue Lake, Romano, Scarlet Emperor and  Purple-podded pole beans.

Also a good supply of peas: Progress No.9 and Blauschokker blue-podded peas.

In the next couple of weeks we’ll get the winter garden in: more greens, plus carrots, beets, radishes, winter squash and peas.

As of this morning we have enough Himalayan blackberries for a big batch of jam and enough raspberries for a decent batch. No fruit from the gooseberries this year.

A decent crop of apples are still on the trees and espalier. Learned last year not to leave them on the trees too long. I had to prune the espaliers hard over the winter to get the branches under control and supported, so not as many apples this year.

Photos from the last day or so:

Vegetable garden on right, looking south

Vegetable garden on right and to back, looking south

Vegetable garden, south side

Vegetable garden, south side

Vegetable garden with breadseed poppies

Vegetable garden with breadseed poppies

Tropical garden and vegetable garden, looking east

Tropical garden and vegetable garden, looking east

Tropical garden, looking west

Tropical garden, looking west

Tropical garden, acanthus with nasturtium growing into it

Tropical garden, acanthus with nasturtium growing into it

Rose border, east side, with Alexander

Rose border, east side, with Alexander

Rose border, looking south, new path

Rose border, looking south, new path

Red dahlia, rose border, east side

Red dahlia, rose border, east side

Lily

Lily 'Arena'

Striped rose, Purple tiger with Sweet William

Striped rose, 'Purple Tiger' (Jackson & Perkins) with Sweet William

Rose

Rose 'Citrus Splash' (Jackson & Perkins)

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Next year I’m not even going to worry about putting in the summer vegies until May. It’s just not warm enough. The beans and peas finally started to really grow about three weeks ago after just sitting there.  On Saturday, Alex came out to lounge around.

Alex in straw 1

Alex in straw 2

Also, on Saturday morning, we saw out first quail ever on the property, and out front in the cultivated area instead of out back in the more natural west end.

QuailThe vegetable garden looking nice.

VegWe picked our first salad greens yesterday and ate them within a couple of hours after chilling them in the frig. Best. Salad. Ever. Parisian mesclun “cut and come again” mix.

Parisian mesclun mix

The roses are in full swing now, too.

Rosa mundiRosa mundi

Ferd. PichRose Ferdinand Pichard

R moyesii geraniumRosa moyesii ‘geranium”, courtesy Fickle Hill Old Rose Nursery. I’ve never seen it for sale from anyone else.

Some of the other flowers and beds.

Lollipop lilies“Lollipop” lilies.

PansiesPansies.

South side rose borderRose border, south side.

Tropical garden looking westTropical garden, looking west.

WisteriaWisteria being trained to go along wall of house and across gap towards garage.

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I’m finally over the cold that has had me down and it’s time to update the photos so I can see in the future where things were at this point. But first, we have started to harvest our radishes. Plus new flower and border photos.

Alex inspects the radish harvest

Alex inspects the radish harvest

Our first real radish harvest

Our first real radish harvest

Rosa mundi

Rosa mundi

Rose Camieaux

Rose Camieaux

English rose 'Graham Thomas'

English rose 'Graham Thomas'

Duchess de Montebello 1

Duchess de Montebello 1

Duchess de Montebello 2

Duchess de Montebello 2

Front porch border with collie Niki

Front porch border with collie Niki

Rock garden; apricot daschia is blooming

Rock garden; apricot daschia is blooming

Rock garden

Rock garden

Rose border looking east

Rose border looking east

Rose border

Rose border

Rose border with Michiko, our calico cat

Rose border with Michiko, our calico cat

Rose border, south side

Rose border, south side

Border on west side of studio

Border on west side of studio; edge in progress

Tropical border with Michiko

Tropical border with Michiko; upright plant is Sisyrinchium striatum

The vegetable garden

The vegetable garden

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I really wanted to get the rest of the first round of seeds planted in the vegetable garden so that I can move on to the ten or so other things that are first on my list of things to do around the property.

Yesterday we got the small logs and branches from part of a tree we had to have taken down last year moved out around the edge of the pond. In the afternoon, Holly and Laura came by. They got the tour and a bunch of plants, mostly volunteers that needed new homes.

Sweet Williams

Sweet Williams

The female belted-kingfisher came by yesterday and caught herself what looked to be one the bigger mosquito fish. This morning I heard a familiar bird sound. looked out and there at the seed feeder was a male black-headed grosbeak! They’re one of our favorites.

Walked the dog this morning. It was overcast when we left the house and sunny by the time we got back. Was out in the garden by 10:30. Quit about 3:30. David got soaker hose in to all the newly planted beds.

Root vegetable bed

Root vegetable bed

Planted today:

From John Scheepers-

Purple Dragon Carrots

Atomic Red Carrots

Snow White Carrots

White Icicle Radishes

Pink Celebration Radishes

Petit Pois Precoville Peas

Vernandon Bush Beans

Galia Melon

Summertime Lettuce

Merlot Batavian Lettuce

Blushed Butter Cos Lettuce

Flashy Troutback Lettuce

Alex supervises the installation of the soaker hose

Alex supervises the installation of the soaker hose

From Renee’s Garden-

Easter Egg II Radishes

Petit Dejeuner French Breakfast Radishes

Paris Market Mix Baby Mesclum Salad

From Squirrel’s Choice-

Champion Radishes

Early Wonder Table Beets

SMR 58 Pickling Cucumbers

From Seeds of Change-

Haricot Vert “Maxibel” Bush Beans

From Territorial Seed Company-

Red Samurai Carrots

Covering the bed with a little straw to discourage the cats

Covering the bed with a little straw to discourage the cats

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Alex doing the rounds

Alex doing the rounds

Just had a quick mild jolt of an earthquake.

A black-shouldered kite has been showing up the last few mornings. Saw it flying off with something in its talons yesterday. Hope it wasn’t a frog.

Our pond; about 40'x50'; 5' deep at one end; self-regulating

Our pond; about 40'x50'; 5' deep at one end; self-regulating

Cover used by frogs (red-legged) and fish (goldfish and mosquito fish)

Cover used by frogs (red-legged) and fish (goldfish and mosquito fish)

Peas up; Cosmos seeds planted outboard at base of plants

Peas up; Cosmos seeds planted outboard at base of plants

The seed order from John Scheepers has arrived:

One packet each

Pea ‘Petite Pois Precoville’- the classic French pea

Pea ‘Blauschokker Alauws Blue’- couldn’t resist the name and I was looking for a tall climbing pea; turns out they’re hard to find; I guess most people want bush varieties so they don’t have to mess with setting up a support

Bean ‘Blue Lake Pole’- what the heck, it’s a classic

Bean ‘Purple Podded Pole”- love the beans that are purple on the vine and turn green when you cook them; magic!

Cauliflower ‘Rainbow Mixture’- with luck, one will produce in our climate

Lemon Basil

Lime Basil

Morning Glory ‘Flying Saucer’- I think this one used to be called ‘Tie Dye”. I love morning glories.

1 pound of French shallots

Shady garden corner; caramel heucara, primroses, leopard lily foliage

Shady garden corner; caramel heucara, primroses, leopard lily foliage

Estelle Rjinveld tulips

Estelle Rjinveld tulips

Azalea 'Arneson's Gem"

Azalea 'Arneson's Gem"

David Austin English Rose 'Gertrude Jekyll'; first rose to bloom this year

David Austin English Rose 'Gertrude Jekyll'; first rose to bloom this year

the back of our house looking east; my studio is on the right

the back of our house looking east; my studio is on the right

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Got the new tomato plants in this afternoon:

2 Red Cherry Large

1 Early Girl (was supposed to replace the one that croaked, but it’s now re-sprouting, so we have two)

1 Green Zebra  (who could resist?)

1 Black Tomato (dark red/maroon, actually)

1 ‘Old German’ (heritage type; who knows what it will be, but that’s half the fun)

The above join:

1 Gold Nugget

1 Moonglow

3 Roma

3 Eureka Mist (there are a couple of special types bred for our mild northcoast summers)

——–

Beans leafing out, second batch of peas up

Photos taken late this afternoon:

garden-1Persephone, aka The Princess, takes possession of the big teepee.

garden-4Looking south. Canes of Rosa moyesii ‘Geranium’ in middle

red-tailed-hawkThen a red-tailed hawk circled over us.

garden-with-hawkHawk overhead. Niki down below. Looking east.

garden-2The Tropical Garden looking west with Estelle Rjinveld tulips in foreground.

garden-3Sunroses and azalea with silly garden bird I got today at the hardware store.

east-sideEast side of bamboo fence with rhodie and cherry tree in bloom.

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When we lived in a Victorian in Eureka, I created my first garden and discovered old and English roses. I had never liked roses (i.e. hybrid teas) before. It was love at first sight.

I was able to create what I called The Long Border in the front of the house and just for fun decided to do a color shift from one end to the other using English roses as the base, because they are repeat blooming but look like the old roses I love.  We moved before I really got it sorted out. However, we drove by the house not long ago and the roses still all appear to be there, although they’re not blooming yet.

There were roses that I wanted that weren’t available in the US at the the time (early 1990s), but I still found enough to pull off a deep burgundy, dark crimson, red, dark pink, medium cool pink, medium warm pink, pink, lighter pink, apricot, yellow and white progression using, if I recall correctly:

The Prince, L.D. Braithwaite, The Dark Lady, The Herbalist, Gertrude Jekyll, (then the steps up to the house) Brother Caedfael, St. Swithen, Sharifa Asma, Abraham Darby, Evelyn, Queen Nefertiti, Graham Thomas, Fair Bianca and Winchester Cathedral.

I’ve got some photos stashed in an album somewhere and when I have time, I’ll dig them out, scan and post them, along with other pics of that garden, which was on the Botanical Garden Foundation’s Garden Tour one year.

I was on the Austin site because a Brother Cadfael that I got from another nursery doesn’t go with or seem to be the same as the two I got from Austin and it got me thinking about that color progression again. Most of Austin’s roses are now available here, including the two I pined for but couldn’t get way back when. So, if I could do it again today (and I will someday, if we can afford it, since they really need to be purchased in threes):

The Prince,  Tradescant, The Dark Lady, L.D. Braithwaite (burgundy to red)

Portmeirion, Cottage Rose, Geoff Hamilton, Eglantine (pinks cool to warm)

Sweet Juliet, Abraham Darby, Evelyn, William Morris (apricot light to darker)

Golden Celebration, Molineaux, Happy Child, Pegasus (yellow intense to lighter)

Lichfield Angel, Rose Marie, Glamis Castle, Winchester Cathedral (white)

———–

The two I couldn’t get were Molineaux and Glamis Castle.

Austin doesn’t offer The Herbalist, which was very similar to  Rosa Gallica (which I have), Fair Bianca or Queen Nefertiti anymore, which were the substitutes anyway. I already have Gertrude Jekyll, Brother Caedfael and Graham Thomas in the Rose Border out front. This border would be in back where there would be room….lots of room. Wouldn’t it be something? I’ll just keep dreaming for now.

If you like roses but can’t visualize what the heck I’m talking about? Here’s the Austin site. The roses are very high quality and bloom well the first year.

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