Sunday, July 31, 2011

A Hint of Red

I think I am the last gardener on Earth to harvest a full-size tomato this year.

The grape tomatoes were ready for picking a couple of weeks ago, but my "real" tomatoes are just languishing in productivity.

Here, finally, I see the promise of a home-grown tomato in my salad.

I had found a pepper a month ago or so and then lost it.  I have no idea how one loses a pepper that hasn't been picked, but I managed to do it.

In any event, it looks like we'll have a bounty, however small, after all.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

The Perfect Snack for a Japanese Beetle

They are merciless!

Here they have just begun to munch away on this canna (second photo shows the holes).

Good thing I got the photo before they devoured it completely.

I hand pick the beetles and toss them into the pond when the froggies are around.  If I have no frogs basking on a lily pad, then I toss the beetles into a gallon container filled with water and a little dishwashing liquid.

They drown.  The cannas appreciate it.  And I've used no chemicals.

Friday, July 29, 2011

My! What Big Ears You Have

I love elephant ears (this one is Mammoth).

They remind me of the tropics.  They look great in big, chunk pots and fill a space like nothing else will.

This was my first year growing these.  (I tried in 1998 but the bulb never took.)  I bought the bulb at Home Depot for $1 in June and hoped for the best.

Next year, I'll definitely grow more and intersperse them with plenty of cannas.

My tropical paradise in New England... and the Japanese beetles tend to leave these alone.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

A Sense of Normalcy

July has been much too crazy!

Busy with work, house full of guests, and a heat wave that just about knocked me out.

I don't garden in severe heat or high humidity.

I am a wimp!  (And not ashamed to admit it.)

The weather in southeastern Connecticut finally broke a few days ago, and our recent thunderstorm was medicine for my soul.

Things seem to be getting back to normal.  Even the froggies think so (they bailed on me last Fall and didn't return until yesterday).

Time to get back in the garden!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011


I love garden bling.  Not statues of the seven dwarves or colorful fairies that are four feet tall.

But understated, unassuming bling is okay by me.

Frogs rank high with me, tucked under lush foliage where they can barely be seen.

I'm not crazy about things with words, and I don't like color AT ALL.

I love chimes, patio furniture, benches, and rocks.

Bling is garden jewelry to me.  It's the last thing that should go on in the garden.

But I'm getting tired of working on bones and bones and bones, so when I saw these chimes at Christmas Tree Shop (can't believe I find things there that are suitable to my rather discriminating taste), I had to get two.

Having no shepherd's hook to hang them from (the hooks are there with gazing balls.... played out, everyone has them, don't want any of my own), I told Frank I wanted them hanging from trees.

This isn't quite what I had in mind, but I think it's growing on me.

They're heavy and you need a pretty strong breeze to hear these chimes, but they are so worth the wait.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Out With the Old and In With the New... A Meadow's Cycle

Here, to the left, Sweet William looks rather dreary.  I hope the Prince is doing better than this lest Diana be rolling in her grave.

Such is life in the Meadow.  Things wither, fade, die, and I leave them alone.

No deadheading allowed here for to do so would ensure we would have no new crops the following season.

If one has an aversion to the browning and dying of annuals and perennials, one should stay away from the idea of a Meadow.

Meadows thrive on neglect.

As Sweet William leaves us, blanket flowers and coreposis and sunflowers take over.

This is the beauty of the Meadow.

One is never left without a show of sorts.

Another several pounds of seeds will be added to the Meadow soon enough to expand it another 1,500 square feet or so and to "thicken" the field.

It's interesting how very little weeding I've had to do in the meadow.  It seems these plants know how to kick ass well enough to survive and stake their claim.

Meadows.... superb alternatives to lawns.  I wouldn't have it any other way!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Unwanted Guests

The Eastern tent caterpillar has invaded my father's Crimson King maple.

I am furious!

I went away for four days and came home to this colossal attack, but immediately got to researching what this was, how it happened, and how to eliminate it.

The good news is that the tree will live.

The bad news is that its foliage will look crappy for awhile.

I treated the leaves with two quarts of BT (bacillius thuringiensis) which was the best alternative to a pesticide that I could find and it seems to have done the trick.

It took approximately two days for all the live caterpillars to stop moving around, and by the third day, I saw none on the leaves.

I'm not sure but those black dots may be eggs so I'll be treating again this evening.  (Best to use this stuff at dusk or dawn and I'm not drinking my coffee with BT in the other hand.)

Such is life in the garden:  if it isn't the deer, it's the tent worm.  If it isn't the tent worm, it's the Japanese beetle.  Or floods.  Or drought.

I wouldn't want it any other way.

Monday, July 18, 2011

From a Teeny Weeny Seed

From a teeny weeny seed comes all of this.

I don't water the vegetables (who knew I was supposed to do that?) and even with my neglect, I managed to get this to come through.

We are pest and insect free and show no signs of disease, which is a very good thing since I wouldn't know what to do about any of it.

I'm hoping some friends will give me an idea of how often I need to water vegetables.  From the sounds of it, they get as thirsty as roses.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Garden Blogger's Bloom Day for July 2011

Gerbera Daisy
Dwarf Sunflower Sunspot
Carol at May Dreams Gardens has had this tradition going for quite some time, I understand, and I am glad that I can still participate.  One never knows in July what will be blooming and what will have petered out, especially in the garden's first year.

These are only a few photos; the bachelor's buttons and catchfly are still blooming, although less profusely than just a few weeks ago, but we have some new kids to show off.  The meadow is as much fun as ever; in another month, I'll be adding another couple of pounds of wildflower seeds!
Balloon Flower

Blanket Flower

Lance-Leaf Coreopsis

Clematis/The President

Clematis/The President

Sunday, July 10, 2011

The Solution to a Most Insidious Problem

Deer, meet black lab.

Black lab, meet deer.

My dad passed away and left this little guy behind.  His name is Lucky and he is nine years old.

I'm not a dog lover and spend more time vacuuming now more than ever.

But my dad loved his dog, the dog is housebroken, and even better than all of this, the deer stay the hell away from my hostas.

Welcome to our humble abode, Lucky.

Deer, I dare you to look at my hostas again!

I double dare you!!!

Monday, July 4, 2011

Dogwood Alley

Dogwood Alley on June 3, 2011
After two truckloads of mulch and one truckload of newspaper, half the bed is done.

I am beat!

This garden appeared to have so many plants when I was putting them into the ground, and now that the mulch is down, it all looks so sparse.

If there is one thing I definitely have as a gardener, it is patience.  And I know that in two more years, these plants will have filled in to their near fully-grown state.  At that time, I can think about adding more, but not yet.  To do so now ensures that I'll be moving stuff later on and I hate moving plants almost as much as I hate deer.

I've added bleeding hearts, brunnera, lamium, hostas, and toad lilies to this garden.  I'm happy to see that the dogwoods are recovering from the horrible ride home on Interstate 95 at 65 mph.
Dogwood Alley on July 3, 2011

I found where our local newspaper stores the soon-to-be-recycled newspapers and went to the "hopper" to get them.  I literally had to climb into a dumpster but there was enough newsprint there for me to mulch all of China and then some.

I separated the slicks from the regular stuff (no shiny paper in the garden) and read a few interesting articles in the process.  I didn't know that our sales tax went up to 6.35% on Friday.  If I had known, I would have bought more plants on Thursday.

I think I'll get the rest of the garden done this week but I have six or seven heucheras left to plant and it promises to be blistering and I don't do well in the heat.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Oh, Deer!

 The expletive expletive expletive deer have made an appearance.

Applying for my gun license, bow and arrow license, arsenic and Drano license.

Disney never gardened.  If he had, Bambi wouldn't have been such a big hit.

I am surrounded by almost SIX THOUSAND ACRES of forest.

These expletive deer need to come to MY yard for a snack!


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