This is my front yard in the afternoon. Looks pretty nice in the months of May & June.
Ahhh… summer. When the comfortable lawn chair becomes an essential part of every good garden!
We’re now getting berries on our alpine strawberries, which seem to be fool-proof, at least here in New England. Tiny little berries, and only a few at a time, but they are sooo delicious (and will continue to produce all summer & well into fall). The big pots on either side of the front stoop have survived more than ten years of root-rotting-rainy springs, summer droughts, fall freeze-and-thaw cycles and winter road salt while looking good. The flowers are pretty, too, and the foliage almost evergreen. Of course, they don’t runner like commercial strawberries, but that means I don’t have to replace the original plants every spring, either. My gardening “plans” over the last couple decades have relied pretty heavily on “whatever’s available when I finally get around to ordering / visiting the garden center, and which survives the combination of the local microclimate and my talent for neglect”. But if I got a magical time-shifting do-over, just about the first change I’d make would be to skip a ton of less satisfactory groundcover plants and put in a lot more alpine strawberries.
So… how are things looking in everyone’s (real or metaphorical) gardens this morning?
To be honest, my yard looks like crap, but the HOA expects me to use my expendable income to beautify a rather sizable patch of ground (shared by the neighbors in my building) look nice and regularly watered and I have not had expendable income for about 6 years now (first and foremost, the soil needs to be dug up and treated-also no physical help with anyone to dig large holes in hard-as-a-rock, nasty GA clay). The HOA pretty much hates me, I have decided.
However, I enjoy seeing what others have done and perhaps soon I will be able to attend to the long patch of ground in front of my condo that nobody else cares about and make it look reasonably nice. My dad has a green thumb and I hope to carry on the tradition some day.
Oh, I AM going to dig up some ivy and water the yard and azaleas today. Poutfest over and out.
Correction. Your yard looks very nice in late spring. :-)
I’m siiiiick …. apparently Jack Daniel’s does not, in fact, nip any sickness in the bud. Dammit.
I need to do some garden blogging. We had a horrible heatwave in April and May but the last three weeks have been pleasant so the garden recovered, but it’s back up to the 90s again. Not sure how much longer it will look decent. I need to take some pictures while everything is still alive.
My garden is doing well, although nothing is ready for harvest just yet. We have lots of baby tomatoes and baby peppers. The other stuff is thinking about blooming. They’ll get there eventually.
I am planning on putting in a fall garden and then wintering it over. According to online theorists, this is entirely possible. And you know the internet is never wrong.:-)
I do hope you get to feeling better.
@Linda Featheringill –
Thanks! I started feeling bad yesterday when I was in the middle of my long haul with the inlaws. My throat suddenly got raw and I was hours away from my herbs.
So it will have to run its course.
Just tried to gargle with salt water but it made me want to throw up. I just can’t gargle.
With a new and presumably contagious sore throat, you should have kissed every conservative in the group. Nice, deep, sloppy kisses.
I used to say that my yard looks pretty good in May and June, too, but now June has that overgrown, jungly, swampy look of July and August (in the Garden State). I recall so many Summer late afternoons with the radio and a glass of wine, marvelling at the lush greenness of it all, but now it is too hot and humid for this.
@Linda Featheringill –
The bad thing is the biggest conservatives are 80 gazillion years old and a summer cold is probably lethal. Oooops.
SB: Were you at NN11, by any chance? I picked up a nasty strep throat there and know several other attendees who have suffered the same fate over the last couple of weeks. One of the locals told me Minneapolis had a nasty bug going around, and of course with that many people, it’s going to spread. Anyway, take advil for the pain and swelling and get thee to a doctor for antibiotics and all will be well, eventually.
On to my garden! It’s doing well despite the record drought we are seeing here in western Kansas, and I’m thrilled to report the return of the bees. I’ve planted Russian Sage, lavender, and hollyhocks in the back, cone flowers and black eyed susans out front, phlox and lilies on the north side. I have sunflowers growing big buds, zinnias fixing to bloom, so the bees should stick around. I hardly had any last summer, and I’ve been planting specifically for bees and birds, so it’s gratifying to see so many flying around the flowers.
@Sko Hayes –
Nope I didn’t go to NN11. My sister in law did mention that strep throat is going around. I haven’t had strep since I was in high school. I think (hope) this is a normal summer sinus infection/cold thingie. I really don’t have time for strep.
Nice to hear about the bees!
It seems that at least some hummingbirds have ventured into our area, for the first time, I guess. And they, of course, are very welcome.
Fireflies are making a comeback in the area. It’s really nice to have them in the back yard on summer nights. The mosquitoes are staging a comeback, too. Yuck!
We woke up to an unexpected, but most welcome soaking rainstorm. The blooms (those remaining that haven’t been nibbled by deer) are all perky and content.
I’m going to give a mid-summer planting of ‘maters and bell peppers a try. Never done it before, but Clemson Extension says the window for our part of the state for that planting is July 10-20th. We’ve got a terrific locally-owned garden shop here in town; I’m hoping they’ll have some plants.
I don’t have much of a “green thumb.” I kill cactus.
This year I went the raised bed or square foot garden route and the success is breathtaking. I planned way more stuff then a single dude needs, figured I’d kill off a lot of plants. I’ve not killed one and I am going to have more stuff then I know what to do with.
Today the plan is to replant some of the plants in pots, since I guess I can’t read instructions and I plant the tomatoes, some bell peppers, and broccoli way to close together.
But that is a “problem” I can deal with. Things growing well :).
Have you grown tomatoes in pots before? If not, remember that if you incarcerate a plant, you are responsible for its food and water. I recommend feeding about once a week or every 10 days. And check their water every day. When tomatoes really start producing they’ll probably need water every day, and maybe more than once.
I had a couple of prolific cherry tomatoes once that lived on a balcony and they thirstily drank 3x a day: when I got up in the morning, when I got home from work in the afternoon, and just before I went to bed. Nice little tomatoes, though.
Thank the FSM for daylilies, hosta (otherwise known as deer lettuce), tickseed and hydrangea, without which I wouldn’t have one speck of color this year. Once they’re gone, it’s wait for the leaves to turn for color. The critters have gotten everything else, and the bugs are working on the foliage.
I am only going to move the broccoli and then rearrange everything in the raised bed. The size of pots I have, it is like they were made for the broccoli.
Got you with the water. I have to water the raised beds almost daily. But what do you suggest for “food?” With the soil I used for the raised beds I used a fair amount of compost and also manure (suggestion of the local green house). I am just going to use basic top soil for the pots and what little compost I have left.
Miracle Grow ????
@ Cat Lady
Stupid hosta question. I planted five of them in front of my house and they have like tripled in size in a few years. They are not the most “pretty” thing I’ve ever seen but low, low maintenance. I just water them when my dehumidifier is full and that is all I do other then weed around them.
I’ve heard you can split them and replant. Is that something I should wait till the fall to do, or can I do that now? Also, do you just dig them up and split down the middle. Could it really be that simple :)
Here’s how to divide a hosta ….
I use Miracle Grow, the all-purpose kind you mix up with water and pour over the leaves and into the soil. It probably isn’t organic but it certainly is effective.
If you are using manure and compost on the beds, additional feeding every couple of weeks or so would probably be fine. The potted plants might appreciate something more often.
@ Southern Beale
Thanks! Those are some detailed instructions, which I need. I am not so good/smart with stuff like this.
All my bush beans look good and are flowering. The pole beans not so much. My melons are flowering and the squash continue to grow stronger, as do my eggplants. Had to pull all my bell peppers, TMV, and my banana peppers are gonna go too I fear. I was able to get some new bells and planted them in a different location. Hot peppers still looking good. Tomatoes are producing prodigously tho not yet ripe. Found my first horn worm. Seems early.
Sitting out in the yard on a July eve in the Ozarks… Not very often. Last night at 7 pm it was 93 and 77% humidity. At 8 it had dropped to 89. At 9… I was asleep.
We have a Juliet hybrid (IIRC) cherry tomato in a container on the patio that has withstood a massed aphid attack, and just recently a swarm of caterpillars. It is still growing gangbusters and producing a lot of fruit. Sad to say, the late start we gave to a yellow cherry tomato hasn’t helped, it is spindly still, and sans flowers so far. A few Red Robin cherry tomatoes are doing well, the basil shook off a Japanese beetle infestation (I picked them off and dashed them to the concrete-take that! you bugs! Ha!)
Sadly, the “real” garden out back has just never taken off though I still hold hope for a few jalapeno bushes, and a few of the tomatoes. The broccoli and cauliflower are hopeless, the onions not better, the sweet corn is tasseling but is only 18″ tall. Mercy! Maybe next year…
Here’s a blogwhore: Tennessee’s governor thinks we’re stupid, and in the case of our pathetic local media, he’s probably right.
You can split and move them any time, but I prefer to do it in the fall, when they are less stressed by the heat.
I’m out to water in a little bit–we’ve had lots of hot weather in northern Ohio, and not a drop of rain. The tomatoes are at a critical stage, and need the water. Everything else is looking good.
Looks like we got a nice soaking rain last night, a much needed thing. All of our gardens, decorative and fruit/veggie, are going gangbusters. Absolutely everything is thriving. Even the very sensitive and stubborn long stem American beauty roses are bursting with blooms.
Lazing around with coffee (in my Lily mug), the Sunday papers, and BJ. Then a stroll through the berry bushes where we have a bumper crop of raspberries and blackberries. With a bucket, of course. John is making stuffed banana peppers. Then I pack up my fruits and John’s peppers and some Hebrew Nationals and we’re off to a pool party at my sister’s. I love summer!
So what do you think the problem is with your in-ground garden? Too hot? Too wet? You made the plants angry? [Have you tried apologizing?]
Wimbledon final is on. I’m thinking Rafa in 5 sets.
We are going with the too much rain early-over 2 feet in May, 2 late frosts that meant planting tomatoes three times, and various other factors inherent in breaking new ground for gardens-bales of peat moss that hadn’t time to break down, tons of river bottom gumbo soil amendment that was too poorly incorporated, etc. Now it’s just plain hot hot hot. It’s just a mess. I am thinking of pulling everything earlyish this fall, and getting in there with the tiller while it’s still summer-dry and churning the dirt like a herd of mad root hogs.
Adding peat moss to a garden makes the soil very acidic. Most vegetables will not do well in that environment. If you do nothing, it could take more than 3 years to break down where it won’t effect the plants so much. Try adding some lime, that will raise the pH.
If you garden in the eastern US, the soil is naturally acidic, so the peat moss only made it more so. Try adding manure, that is alkaline, and will improve your vegetable garden.
That’s also why it’s recommended to lime your lawns every year or two. Over time, the soil will become more acidic, and that’s what weeds love and grass hates. So weeds inevitably take over. If you can keep the pH up toward neutral, the lawn will stay healthy and keep the weeds out.
We put down quite a bit of manure, but we haven’t checked the pH. Lime sounds good.
@ Linda — thanks! And we, too, are getting a lot of fireflies this year. I’m really happy to see the little buggers again.
There are no fireflies on the West Coast. I grew up in the east and “played” with them as a kid. I talk about them to my daughter, and she just doesn’t get it.
Thanks to all for the tomato advice. I have noticed that the three tomatoes in deckpots take more water than the raised bed plants. They’re also about 3x the size of those in the raised bed, but I kept them inside longer–cold wet spring in NE IL–and filled the pots with about 75% Miracle-Gro potting soil. There’s also a Miracle-Gro food specifically for tomatoes. I’ve just started using it this year, so no idea how much it helps.
All 7 tomatoes have multiple buds–fingers crossed that they don’t just all fall off. Still harvesting lettuces. Bell peppers are going to take forever at the rate they’re growing, but the Cubanelle has buds even though it’s only about 6 inches high. The basil are doing well in the pots.
Meanwhile, in the front/side yards, the hosta and astilbes are putting out buds; some of the astilbes have already bloomed. Lilies have big buds. So far ::knocks wood so hard it splinters:: the deer have not raided the place. Maybe it’s because of the Green Screen repellent I’ve sprinkled around. Maybe they’ve simply found other ways to keep busy for the time being.
We are about done with blueberries for this year, but the plants are growing nicely so next year looks promising. Have lots of squash, and starting to get tomatoes and green beans.
Off to the record collector’s swap meet in Pasadena, then taking the kid clothes shopping. Two weeks until I drop him off in Seattle for a three-week summer dance program at his first-choice school, Cornish College of the Arts. He got his SAT and ACT scores this week, and they were very much in line with my expectations, so it’s all good for now.
Will @ 28
Wimbledon final is on. I’m thinking Rafa in 5 sets.
hmmm… Who knows
I have green tomatoes on all three of my tomato plants, and the baby peppers have just starting showing up. Squash are growing, but slowly still. They want more heat than we’ve had this year. Greens and shallots doing fine.
On the flower front I have roses, daylilies, and yarrow blooming still, and lavender and thyme out back in the herb bed. Russian sage is just starting to rev up – they are monster plants and are pushing everything else out of that bed.
The swallowtail butterflies just showed up this weekend. That always makes me happy, to see that they’ve survived another year. Gardening is good.
Beautiful picture. I am loving seeing these creatively planted front gardens.
I finally have flowers on my tomato plants. I was getting concerned. I have 4 Juliets & 2 Romas. The cayenne peppers are starting to fruit & have used some lettuce clippings. I have been getting a handful of alpine strawberries about every other day.I divided a few plants earlier this year & they seem to have settled in well. The great thing about the alpines is they don’t seem to need any particular care whatsoever as long as it rains once in a while & seem to live forever without getting weedy.
Someday I may have garden pictures. Since my daughter is a photographer, you’d think I would have some, but NOOOOOO.
Way down here in middle of Lousy Sauna we set three new weather records this year. For the first time we broke the record high temps six days in a row, this is the dryest first six months on record, and it is the hottest June on record. I am so glad that I don’t have to worry about global warming.
My cantaloupes finally came in and oh how I love them. I blended and froze many of them and I want to say how great cold cantaloupe juice is. The tomatoes are not doing well because of the heat, but since I have about twelve plants, they are giving enough to keep us in tomatoes, but not enough to give away like last year. The bells are doing well. The green beans tried to come back after the deer attack, but when the blooms came out, they said screw this and fell off because of the heat. Broccoli is a winter crop here and start to bloom around March. I used to dig them up for something else until I realized the bees love the blooms so I leave them for as long as possible. Besides, they are very beautiful.
Everything I put in my garden tends to be bird and butterfly-friendly, just because I love watching them in the evenings. However…
We hatched 4 mockingbird siblings about a month ago. They learned how to fly on our patio (the cat was glued to the window for 2 days, chirping at them.) And now, all 4 have decided they want to claim the yard.
It’s mass hysteria.
I’ve had to stop feeding them, hoping a couple will go forth into the big, wide world. 4 of them is too many, the dog is miserable and has no desire to go outside and pee because they harass her the whole time.
Any ideas on how to chase off 4 very determined mockingbirds?
Are alpine strawberries the tiny ones that grow right on your lawn? We had those in Maine when I was a kid.
Tommy @ 14:
Lol. Just this week, I’ve had to move all my cactus/succulents into the shade because it is too hot for them in the sun. Sigh. Its so miserably hot here that the cactus can’t live. Why is there a city here?? (and why do I live in it?)
So. NV – Vegas
Just Some Fuckhead
Pond update: I dug some more before sitting down to stare at the hole. It’s hotter than a baby in a microwave.
We are now getting 95 plus temps in SoCal, which means a lot more water to keep the mega garden going. Green and yellow zukes are growing faster than we can use or give away. We are also getting green peppers and cukes. We have a lot of lettuce; butter, red leaf, romaine, spring mix and arugala. The grape tomatos are starting to ripen, and they are super sweet. The larger tomatos are getting there, but not yet turning. Onions and herbs (basil, dill, rosemary, parsley and oregeno all still going strong, although some of it is begining to go to seed. Oh yeah, cantaloupes, not ready yet, but soon.
Cool place Gravie. Very nice. Thanks for sharing.
Looks like you have some nice trees as well.
Central Indiana is still too early for the tomatoes and peppers but the herb garden is producing well.
Feebog, What kind of lettuce do you plant that grows in that kind of heat? Our family loves our spinach, but it is a winter crop here and would love some kind of lettuce, or something similiar, that will grow during a Louisiana summmer.
Well, I went out and dodged the t-storms this afternoon. Picked a mess of raspberries (small) and a few blackberries (not yet coming in) then topped it off with some 1st year strawberries.
Then had to come inside and apply tourniquets to both arms as I am on blood thinners. Who cares? They taste so good….
Me too. I pulled it up weeks ago. (the wife says it gets bitter… not sure that I have ever noticed) This year it was just plain dead. How you do that????
Gonna put in a couple of cold frames for the first time this fall. Can’t wait for the experiment to fail… and succeed. Let the learning begin.
Everything is dead because its too damn hot! It’s been over 110 every day for the past week. I hate this place.
The p*nis plant is coming along nicely!