Sunday, July 22, 2012

Garden Update

I have been having an issue lately.  Some of you can probably commiserate.  When the weather is so lovely out of doors how can I bear to sit in front of a computer talking about gardening instead of actually gardening?

I hope you'll forgive me.

This will be a long post to try and catch up as there has been lots going on.  We'll start in the back garden.  Our lot is actually a large rectangle so there isn't an actual 'back' at all but looking from the porch to my left is approximately two acres that includes the meadow so I tend to call this the back as it's a bit blowsy looking out there.

The pseudo garage turned storage shed is located out here with the
veggie garden and crescent garden.
Looking waaayy to the back you can see a blob of yellow in the distance.  That's the crescent garden as seen from the house.  I never did get around to expanding that space this year but I'm thinking I may yet lay some cardboard and compost this summer to try and gain a little ground.  Once again I planted my dahlias and sunflowers back there.  The bright colours and big flowers means even though it's a long ways off I can still see it from my kitchen window.

Dahlias and Sonata mix cosmos are blooming right now
Right now, as seen above, three of the four dahlias are blooming.  Just my pink/white striped one is lagging behind.  Annual flower seed for sunflowers, zebra mallow, bachelor buttons and Cosmic Mix cosmos were also planted but none of these have bloomed yet.  I was so desperate for some colour back there I picked up some Sonota mix cosmos from the nursery and popped them in.  So glad I did as I have seen a number of skippers back there enjoying these blooms.

On the close side of the garage is the veggie garden and it is rolling right along these days.  I have picked several bowls of peas in the last week and will need to get out again today.


Luckily one of my favourite tasks is sitting on the porch shelling peas so this works out okay.  I always forget though how few peas you get compared to the mound of pods.  We could definitely use a larger pea patch in the future.

Tomatoes are not yet ready but they are starting to form.


The cherry tomatoes Mexico Midget and Andrina were the first to take shape but these Bison tomatoes pictured above are quickly catching up.  I ended up with eight varieties of tomatoes planted this year so I'm keeping a close eye on which plants produce quicker than others.  Taste testing will start in a few weeks time I think.

Also growing in the veggie patch is zucchini.  oh boy do we have zucchini.  Hubby said yesterday 'you knew how many zucchini came off a plant and yet you still planted three of these?!?!?'


Sorry dear, I just couldn't help myself.  I only planted three seeds and all three sprouted.  Then I decided I couldn't toss any out just in case any of the plants died.  Finally, when my pumpkins wouldn't grow and I had a heap of manure just sitting there I thought, well I'll just toss a zucchini in that spot.  Now we have three sprawling plants with about a half dozen zucchinis per plant.  I've started picking them already at around 3 - 4 inches long.  They are so delicious at that size, perfect for grilling.  But I think I'll still have to call my mom for her chocolate zucchini cake recipe.

As previously noted I keep a few flowers in the veggie patch.  Partly because I love flowers but also because they attract pollinators.

From Left - Asiatic liles, Feverfew and Borage
The martagon lilies appear to have been hit with a fungus (Botrytis) so I clipped off the affected parts and disposed of them.  Luckily it hasn't affected the Asiatic lilies and you can see on the left we are starting to be graced with these blooms.


Last year a few of the Asiatic lilies got hit by the slugs in spring so they did not bloom.  They bounced back this year and I'm seeing blooms that I didn't get last year like this beautiful deep red.

In the front of the house I have been working as hard as I can to get the last of my newly purchased plants into the entrance bed.

Me and my guard cat plucking weeds
It has been exceptionally dry this year and only getting worse so I want these plants settled as quickly as possible.  I finally got the last of them in this week but they aren't placed as well as I would like.   The ground is too dry to dig and weeds are simply breaking off so I'll be waiting until spring to move plants around in the front of the bed more to my liking.

I'm pleased with how the back half of this bed is coming together
As various plants have been blooming in this bed I have been taking note.  Some combinations have worked very well.  You can just glimpse the purple veronica and pink meadowsweet in the above photo.  That was planned and has worked well.  I was surprised, and pleased, to find the white and pink astilbe blooming in the same time frame.

Astilbe chinensis 'Visions'
I hadn't anticipated how shockingly pink these astilbe would be.  I originally wanted something a bit milder but in combination with the shocking pink blooms of the meadowsweet they actually fit right in.

Meadowsweet
There have been a few surprises of the opposite kind though.  I recently discovered how much Garden Valerian smells.  Some websites describe this scent like cherry pie and delightful.  I, however, was taken by a headache when weeding in the garden due to what I can only describe as an unholy stink.  This plant will be dug up and given away next spring.

And a couple happy photos to finish up.  My clematis, after three years of waiting, has finally bloomed.

Clematis Emilia Plater
I had intended this plant to climb up and through the white birch but unfortunately it only grew a few short feet this year.  Better than the one foot it grew last year so I'm not complaining but hoping that next year it finally makes the leap into the tree.

And a happy shot of my garden companion.


Funnyface is trying to displace Gino as my garden cat.  He follows me everywhere when I'm outside, rolling around and trying to get my attention so I'll rub his belly.  Gino is displeased but I find it quite endearing.

32 comments:

  1. Lovely shots of your garden, it's funny how some plants perform and others just sit there, waiting for a new home.

    Kitty looks pleased as punch that he is in the garden.

    Jen @ Muddy Boot Dreams

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    1. He certainly enjoys coming and rolling around in the plants with me. I just need him to stay away from my seedlings as he's crushed more than a few tenders this year!

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  2. I love cats that follow you around and then act like your activity was all their idea. :o) Your garden looks great! Too many zucchini is not a possibility! It's funny how a scent that one person loves drives someone else crazy. Some salvia foliage smells so horrible to me I avoid touching it.

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    1. Whenever I'm in the garden you can be sure there's a cat nearby acting like I'm just there accompanying them. Leave it to a cat to act like the garden is all their doing and I'm just the staff. I think the trick with zucchini is to eat them small so it never feels like there's too much.

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  3. Your garden update is so appreciated. It is great to compare our provinces and the progression of plants as they grow in our gardens.

    Great shots of the garden and Funny Face ;-)

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    1. Thanks Brenda, I'm always curious about yours as well. We have such similar conditions so it's really helpful to compare.

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  4. Who can resist giving that sweet kitty a tummy rub when she wants one. What with your beautiful garden you have to be outside enjoying and taking care of it.

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    1. That's exactly what that sweet kitty is thinking I'm willing to bet - if I just throw myself on her feet she'll have to rub my belly right?

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  5. My favorite part of this wonderful update is the thought of you sitting on your porch shelling peas. You have such a beautiful old home, and the act of sittin' and shellin' is so summery and old fashioned and peaceful. Love it!

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    1. Laurrie, that's partly why I like it so much too. There's something very soothing about sitting and shelling on a hot day.

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  6. Everything is looking so good in your garden, Marguerite! I love the foliage as well as the flowers of cosmos--a perfect choice while you wait for the rest of your seedlings to blossom. And those dahlias--wow! I've never had much luck with dahlias, but maybe I gave up too soon.

    I had to chuckle at your zucchini--several years ago I had what I called the "zucchini explosion." It got to the point that before my daughter ate anything, she asked if there was any zucchini in it:)

    I can commiserate with your wanting to be outside instead of on the computer right now; I have the opposite problem, though--it's so darned hot here I'm spending time on the computer instead of working out in my garden. I hope the weeds don't take over before it cools off.

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    1. Rose, love the comment about your daughter. I've been trying to add zucchini to every meal lately. :)

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  7. You have a lot growing, I can see why you would be in the garden rather than talking garden on the computer. Funny your pumpkins did not grow. I have one in my yard that grew by accident and it is taking over the back yard growing like crazy. Even when I was away for 10 days, I thought I would come back and it would be dead, but noooo. It is a survivor and has a nice size pumpkin growing. I will be posting on this weird plat soon.

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    1. oh Donna, I WISH I had your pumpkin but I had trouble with seed and slugs this year so I'll have to wait on pumpkins until next year.

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  8. Great pictures as usual, so nice to see a healthy growing garden instead of my dried out effort this year. Even the bee balm is drooping..I marvel at how some perennials can survive without rain..still in our heat wave..love those peas, my mouth is watering..happy gardening Lannie

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    1. Looks are deceiving a bit....there are some plants I've had to water regularly as I only planted them this spring and they haven't got the root system yet to sustain themselves through this dry period. I try not to water too much but I would hate to lose brand new plants.

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  9. Your garden companion is cute! Youre having a good harvest.

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    1. Thank you Sadun. My garden cat is trying hard to be cute so he'll get extra petting.

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  10. Marguerite, The Maritimes (or Maine) are lovely places to be when so much of the continent is suffering from severe heat. I agree that, after waiting so many months for summer to arrive, you don't want to waste a moment of it indoors. I've been confining most of my blogging activity to the hours after sunset! Enjoy your fine weather. -Jean

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    1. Jean, you read my mind. Summer is so short here I can't wait a minute.

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  11. I can't wait to get home and have some tomatoes, yum, and water, water, water. Really worried about my garden while I have been away. Love that clematis, must remember the name.

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    1. I think most of your plants are quite established so hopefully your garden will survive just fine without you. My main worry is new trees and plants.

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  12. My dogs are not so unlike your cats. They love to shadow my every move in the garden. Your astilbe is looking great. Mine has been a practical no-show this year in this drought. The bunnies got my peas this year again before I had a chance to erect any fencing. The lilies, clematis and dahlia are all looking terrific.

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    1. I wondered if dogs would be the same or would they wander off? now I have my answer. I find it funny how the cats are constantly nearby keeping an eye on what I'm up to.

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  13. I am a big big fan of Garden Valerian -- it does smell so wonderful! Summer is really in full swing at your place isn't it?

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    1. We are in the height of summer here now. Temperatures have been regularly in the high 20's (80's Farenheit), just perfect for the beach but not too hot. Just a bit of rain and we would be perfect.

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  14. This was a great post Marguerite !
    Of course especially seeing your kitty garden companion was the treat to it all ;-)
    We finally have a rain day .. I am so happy I could cry .. it has been the worst summer on record for being so hot, humid and DRY ! The ground is like cement .. so this should help a lot I hope.
    I had astranta one year but some how it got lost .. so I may have to get a plant for next year !
    That is great about your clematis !! .. mine have been upset with where I moved some of them .. I may have to restock some .. a garden is never static is it .. always changing .. different needs .. but that is what makes it so interesting right ? LOL
    Joy

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    1. Glad the kitty made you smile, he always makes me feel so much better. We just had a brief rain yesterday and thank goodness, ground was dust but nothing like Ontario this year. The weather you're having is just shocking, no wonder you were so happy with the rain.

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  15. I know what you mean about the smell of valerian.It seems to change from being delightfully vanilla like to smelling like sewers. I actually don't mind it and I've always kept a clump of it near the back of the border. Sorry to hear you got a headache from it.

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    1. Melanie, I'm a funny duck when it comes to smells. I can't stand perfume as it just smells like chemicals to me and some plants are the same. Lilies are usually a bad one for me. Strangely though some smells, like lilac, I am simply enchanted by.

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  16. No, no one could blame you a bit for getting out there and playing in the dirt! Everything looks so nice and lush. Your kitty is sweet too :) We used to have a little cat that acted more like a dog...would come a runnin' and help whenever needed! I miss him sorely.

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  17. Marguerite you are not alone my reason for nt visiting blogs so often and posting less is the same as yours, infact the only reason I am doing some catching up is that today we have rain, make hay while the sunshines as the saying goes,
    your garden is looking lovely you have come a long way in just a couple of years, that clematis is beautiful and in time will fill your tree, it's nice when things we plan come together, Frances

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