Friday, September 9, 2011

Triumphs and Tragedies

This week's Tragedies

Blossom end rot on the tomatoes

Tomatoes also hit by blight

The sawfly larvae have shown up on my baby birches again

The Triumphs

Volunteer squash appeared in my flower beds

The Cosmic Mix Cosmos were caught shining in the fading evening light

The nasturtiums have become so exuberant they have engulfed the carrots

Enough firewood to keep us warm through winter

Lavatera has been blooming profusely for weeks now

Ligularia against the chipped and worn paint of the house.

And just when I think I have found every flower there is to see on this property I come upon this

A grouping of these plants have seeded themselves in the rock area of the knot garden.  They look like a penstemon to me.  An old ornamental that finally managed to push through the weeds or a wild flower come to my garden on the wind?


  1. Sad looking tragedies, there, but some wonderful triumphs! Love your nasturtiums. I need to try those sometime. You Lavartera, too, is beautiful. But I am really impressed with the firewood! Looks like some warm, cozy nights in the future!

  2. Sorry to see the Blossom end rot, so sad.
    Your blooms are gorgeous. Your mystery plant looks like Obediant Plant to me. Maybe?

  3. I love your triumphs and tragedies posts . . .well, just the triumphs. You have managed to make bold, sunny, hot colored cosmos look demure and sweet and shy in your evening garden!

    Enough firewood? I should say.

  4. hi, marguerite .. janet's got it right .. the plant is an obedient plant .. not recalling its latin name at the moment .. they are lovely late bloomers .. come in white as well .. great that they've established themselves ..
    i love the 'artist quality' of your photograph of the ligularia .. lovely ..

  5. Marguerite,
    Great post. I'm glad to see you have more Triumphs than Tragedies.
    Our tomatoes were all wiped out from blight, first year ever.
    I purchased just enough from the local farmers market to make hot dog relish. $23.00 for 12 really large tomatoes. Never realize how expensive these babies are.
    Nasty looking bugs on the birch leaves. I'm sure we also have them but I'm afraid to look.

  6. Hi Marguerite,
    Your lavatera and cosmos certainly look good. That stack of firewood is impressive. I bet a lot of work went into its creation. Too bad about your tomato plants. I have the same little green worms on my roses. I didn't know their name. Sawflies, eh! Now, I know just who I am cursing!
    P.S. I agree with Janet that the mystery plant is obedient plant.

  7. Enjoyed your triumphs especially the back lit cosmos. And kuddos to you for sharing your tragedies.

  8. So sad about the tomatoes, but great to see more triumphs than tragedies. I particularly love the sight of the sun through the cosmos.

  9. Dear Marguerite, One wonderful thing about gardening is there are always triumphs to soften the blows of the tragedies. Every year is different. My squash was wiped out by squash beetles and borers this year, but I had the best crop of beets ever. Another wonderful thing about gardening -- 'there is always next year'. Keep a close eye on your obedient plant -- it's not very obedient and will crowd out other perennials if you allow it. Love this posting. P. x

  10. Sawflies? That sounds nasty!
    Thankfully you have many triumphs to make up for those poor tomatoes. Do you also have some tomatoes that weren't affected? The nasturtiums look glorious!

  11. Your cosmos are pretty. Mine got stem rot as bitty little things in our wet spring. I so wanted them to bloom this year and not one made a showing....tragedy.

  12. My woodpile is still too small to give me warm thoughts when I look at it so I turn my eyes on the Ligularia.

  13. I love the pictures it's so beautiful out there.

  14. Your triumphs outshine the sorry to see the blossom end rot though, and the saw fly :(

    The blooms are an inspiration and I am sure they are bringing you much pleasure as we head into autumn.

    Wish I was better at meadow flower identification. It must be lovely to walk through and be able to identify the plants nature has sown.

  15. Marguerite, I love the colors of your cosmos, and the backlit photo is beautiful. I think Janet is right about your mystery plant being Obedient Plant (which is anything but, so it does tend to pop up everywhere). It's been a rough year for tomatoes in many parts of eastern North America. (I'm so glad I canned a two-year supply of sauce last year when tomatoes were plentiful.) -Jean

  16. Holley - you might be surprised to find that's only a small fraction of our firewood in that photo. It takes a lot of wood to heat this old house!

    Janet - it seems everyone is struggling with tomatoes this year in our part of the world. It was just too wet. So at least I've got company in my tragedies.

    Laurrie - I hadn't thought about the cosmos being a 'hot' flower but you're right. I've mixed them in with so many other flowers(bachelor buttons, zinnias, chamomile, dill) I hadn't thought about the colour differences at all.

    Jane - I've missed you! Wondered where you have been. I checked the books and it is Obedient Plant, although I'm unsure whether it's a planted ornamental or a wild native. It's quite a small plant so likely native?

  17. Witch - I've been talking to other people and it seems everyone had trouble with blight this year. So at least I don't feel so all alone in my troubles now. The sawflies actually aren't that bad on a large tree, it's just they keep attacking a couple of my newly planted small birches. I'm hoping as the trees get larger the problem won't be such a big deal.

    Jennifer - apparently there are sawflies that specialize on all sorts of different plants. I get birch sawflies but they also hit pine, roses, etc.

    Patrick - I like to spread the wealth ;-)

    Janet - I'm not sure all the pretty flowers make up for losing every last tomato but it helped.

    Pam - I would love to see the obedient plant crowd out the weeds in that bed if it can. I was shocked to find anything resembling a flower growing in that area.

  18. Jane - I had one pot of cherry tomatoes on the deck and they survived the blight attack so thankfully I got a few tomatoes this summer but everything else was wiped out.

    Donna - The secret is I replanted my cosmos several times over. This spring was so wet many of my seeds just rotted.

    Wiseacre - I start ranting at hubby about wood the minute the snow melts. If we don't get it cut and stacked at the start of summer it doesn't dry. Makes it awful difficult to keep light.

    Gordon thank you. One of the many charms that drew us to PEI is how beautiful it is here. I love taking photos of all I see.

    Bren - I'm getting better at identification but I still struggle. I do like the challenge of tracking down a plant though.

    Jean - how I'm wishing I grew more tomatoes last year! I had such a nice crop but they were gone too quick. This year I put in loads of plants hoping to stockpile sauce and I've got nothing. Well, except some lovely flowers which is okay too!

  19. I just wanted to say a big thank you to the many people who spotted the Obedient Plant and ID'd it for me. I went out to the garden and played with the flowers a bit, bending them this way and that which was pretty fun. I'm still unsure whether this was something planted by the former owner that has just re-emerged or a wildflower that blew in but perhaps time will tell. Thanks everyone.

  20. Love looking at your is it now that you are in a different climate? Do you still long to grow some plants that you used to be able to? Or does the availability of new to you plants make up for that?

    We will eventually move to the North Okanagan, and I am already longing for what I can't have.

    I know, but it's the gardener in me.

    Jen @ Muddy Boot Dreams

  21. so sorry you lost your tomatoes Marguerite and for the sawfly attack, your flowers look beautiful but are no compensation for losing fresh food,
    creating a fuel for winter pile is hard work so well done, over here some people still cut peats for winter fuel and they start in late winter/early spring, this has been a good year as it has been dry until this last few weeks when most peats are home and piled up, Frances

  22. Marguerite, I think the plant is obedient plant, a native that is supposed to spread aggressively but that I have never had success with. Gardening is a combination of triumphs and tragedies--I love your photos of them. That's what makes it fun! Carolyn

  23. Love the dramatic quality of the Ligularia photo!

    Hard to believe you're working already to amass wood for the winter. Looks like you have a nice supply to keep you toasty.

    Sorry about your's tough being a gardener sometimes - thank goodness for the squash though!

  24. Jen - The difference in climate for me is mostly about the sharply shortened gardening season. There are still so many plants to use and I discover new ones all the time but I do miss the early springs and late fall season. I was still planting seed in late June which just seems incredibly weird to me.

    Frances - we get our wood piles done in early summer so it's one chore that we don't have to worry about at this time of year. We can just look forward to warm evenings and turn our attention to all the other fall work like picking apples.

    Carolyn - I've read that Obedient plant is a native but there seem to be lots of cultivated varieties as well. I'm not sure if the plants I see were purposely seeded into this bed long ago or have seeded themselves. One of the mysteries of taking over someone else's garden!

    Cat - The nice thing about vegetable gardens is that it seems there's always at least one thing that does well each year. Although the tomatoes are a disappointment we have eaten well in other areas so I can't complain too much.

  25. You have a lot of very beautiful flowers. I specially like that soft cosmos.
    Too bad about your tomatoes, but I am sure it will go better next time.

  26. Love the cosmos and surprise squash! Worms hanging off trees are so irritating. I once had to blast tent caterpillars out of my birch or they would have destroyed it. Your mystery flower is phytostegia, or obedient plant. It will take over, but it's so pretty I'm always hesitant to stop the invasion. :o)

  27. fer - I really like cosmos in all their colours but this one is especially nice. I like it next to the greens and yellows of the dill plants.

    Tammy - I had trouble with these larvae last year too. Thank goodness blasting them with water seems to do the trick but I have to keep at it repetitively to make sure no news ones sneak up on me.