High Summer in the Gardens
Well, I said I would and here you go. Food and Fleur this time. Usual Warning to those on dial-up, this is a motherlode of pics. And, I'm going to share some failures as well as successes with you. What a funky growing year it's been for us here- too wet, too dark, too dry, to hot. Proving that farming in MI is as hard as it is to be an honest Republican in today's rethug party. Anyway...
Is there anything better to view and smell in high summer than phlox? Perhaps, but I'll enjoy the torment of trying to decide which of mine I love best.
I think this one is called "Sherbert."
I've spoken before of the wonders of close planting, and here's some proof. Squash, Nasturtium, Okra and (now harvested) Mustard Greens, and some Celosium "Cock's Comb" that just got crowded out, but was nice in the early part of the season while the rest were coming up. Weeding? Feh. That's for people with nothing better to do.
The neighbor has this ugly fence, and we've agreed to split the cost of replacing it with a greenbarrier next year or the one after that. In the meantime, I cover it with climing annuals. Like this Morning Glory.
But not all along its length; the fucking bunny rabbit who lives here made short work of the peas and beans that were meant to climb up the fence at this spot. Fucker.
Another failure. This just was *not* the year for Swiss Chard. I planted a lot, and to very mixed results. Oh well, some of it did well, as you'll see.
The "Tomato-Aramanth Clock" bed. These are beefsteaks, and despite a benighted attempt to kill them via too much fertilizer, I'm happy to report that they came back strong and set much fruit. I can't wait for them to ripen.
It's bigger than it looks in picture. Heh. Also- grown in fairly deep shade. So here's a veggie that can be grown seemingly anywhere (bush zucchini).
Just you nevermind that weedy reedy thingee and gaze longingly upon my wonderful Coreopsis.
More Phlox, this time in pretty deep shade. Which makes me very happy to know I can grow there. Yeah!
Say Hello to "Gayflower!" Heh. It's actually quite tall, this is a top down shot to get a better view of the bloom.
More Coreopsis, this time in a very attractive red. Also doing fairly well with less light than it's supposed to have.
Anyone know what this is? Don't say 'marigold,' it's not; it was some perennial seed I put in and then forgot about. Yes, this is one of the beds that got away from me, you can see the poor little Argiretum or however it's spelled just drowning in crabgrass. Fuck me, I hate that shit.
This is a funny story. Originally, this side of the veggie/potager bed was supposed to be rocks, marigolds and morning glories. I laid down some compost and set the marigolds in it. And...voila! A literal thicket of 'volunteer' tomatoes! I am not complaining, and amazingly, this is a rather shady part of the bed, but they are still making plenty of blooms and appear ready to set fruit. Composting: the gift that keeps on giving.
Ok, that pic didn't come so well, but I'm trying to show the proof of the theory that interplanting really works. Underneath all those tomatoes are some big, juicy carrots that came up with them. They seem to really love each other, just like the books say.
I love this stuff. It's Lemon Mint, but I love it for the bloom and smell. So lovely, and the plant is quite tall and makes a wonderful accent in the veggie bed.
I was hesistant to do this, but got talked into it and now I'm glad. Swiss Chard among "Wave" Petunias. They seem to like each other, and have crowded out all weeds, eliminating any need for maintainance on my part. Which, as a lazy person, I love.
There some movie I forget now in which one character is always saying about everything, "That's my favorite!" and I'm sort of like that with my flowers. My favorite flower at this instant is Delphinium. I've got five, sorry I didn't photo the deep purple one when I was blooming and before it got knocked over by a storm. It made you want to cry, the purple was so royal and vivid and towering. And this is only the second year, they just keep on getting taller. Also, all of mine are in less light than recommended, but it doesn't seem to be a problem.
Ya, I'm a sucker for cutsey annuals like the Dahlia, but I have had great success with cheap, bigbox store boughten breeds like this one in deep shade. Shade means a later bloom, which at the end of the season, can be very rewarding when everything else is done for the year.
This year's compost pile. I leave the food exposed to encourage the lil beasties to eat that, instead of stuff on the vine. It's working out fairly well, except for Br'r Rabbit under the Cedar trees. He is the very devil, I swear. But the deer and black squirrels seem happy I share dinners with them.
I like "interest" such as the finished Gaillardia seed heads. And- seeds! Gails are really easy to grow from seed; give 'em a year and then they'll come up and perform for many weeks. If you want some seeds, just let me know, I'm happy to send you some when the season's over. Because I have about 1,000,000,000,000 of them.
A Tale of Caution. So I planted about a brazillion beans this year and they all came up, strong and productive. And then I realized: I don't really like beans. Anyone got some good bean recipies? Seriously, it's that or they get traded at the farmer's market for something I like better. I'm almost sorry they are taking up so much prime gardening space, but then I remember that are nitrogen fixers and I don't mind so much.
More close/interplanting wonder. Swiss Chard, Parsely, and a stray wild carrot as the brave weed who fought out a spot where none else could. The Swiss Chard seems to really want a) a lot of sun and water and b) a raised bed. Only in such did the Swiss Chard thrive for me this year.
This herb is proof there's no need for heaven in some mythical afterlife. It's right here, underneath your nose. "Bronze Fennel" is the most wonderful, delicate, fragrant thing I've planted this year. And, it tastes like...it's hard to describe. Like chocolate kissed with honey eloping with mint and anise following hard on the heels. Seriously, tasting it is like tasting fine wine, there are so many flavors. Try it, I say this someone who "hates fennel" normally.
Eat me, grad students at the Bot Garden! Proof that even if you don't 'start seeds indoors 6-8 weeks before planting' you can still get a nice, phat bloom. Aramanth. Tall and Stately.
The lowly potato. Another volunteer I decided to let come up in its bed of mulch compost around another plant. We'll see how many potatoes it makes; two years running I've failed to grow a lot, and goddammit I'm part Irish. WTF?
Hidden underneath the above potato. Again, BIO would be intimidated if he knew how large this one is. Don't worry, baby, I'll use lots of lube on you. ;-)
Sort of a mixed year for peppers. Hot and Chili varieties did well; green and yellow sweet, not so much. I'm not at all sure why there was such a difference.
Some interplanted Dill and Broccoli. That head is the second from that plant, I've already harvested one from it a little while back. I grow dill just because I like the way it looks; I'm not sure anyone could use as much as I've got in regular cooking.
Close planted herbs including hyssop, stevia and sage. Standing over them and taking a deep sniff is just fabulous. Esp after a light, nighttime rain followed by a bright morning sun.
Maiden Pink, doing well again this year and getting bigger all the time.
Starbies in August! You can do it too, just put some in deep shade and it'll take them that long to fruit. This is the alpine variety.
...whew, that was a lot of pics! I guess I really do have a fairly big gardening project going here. OK, it's your turn to show me yours in the comments.