On a slow summer day my office is:
Please note the cell phone and home phone on the table so I'm always reachable. I know, you still hate me. In my defense, there have been few of these slow days this summer. Most days I'm inside all day on the couch with the laptop typing away. I look up and suddenly it's 4pm and the sun is gone from our shady garden.
I had to go back and look at a photo of this same container just after planting on May 29th:
This is a close up of the mystery basil. It has short stubby purple buds with white flowers. Really pretty:
Whereas the opal basil has tall, spiky, dark purple stalks with light purple flowers (different container):
This is the sweet basil that I grew from seed. I've taken 3 large harvests from it already, and I expect to get one, maybe two more:
Now that the cucumbers are dead, the nasturtiums are thriving:
The Red Peter peppers aren't red yet, but VPH reports that they are quite hot (and my work colleague fears for any man whose peter looks like that):
These tomatoes are slated for fresh mozz, tomato, and basil salad for the picnic we will be attending on Saturday:
Have any zucchini buds ever been so eagerly rooted on?
The volunteer tomatoes are out of control, but I'm really rather enjoying seeing what will happen (yeah, I'll probably tie them up tomorrow):
The veggie garden's not looking too bad overall though it's really been feeling like fall here lately with beautiful days just under 80 and nights dropping to the low 60s:
Sunday was a beautiful day in the garden. The bees were loving the sunflowers and so was I:
Now I need your help. Which of the following photos is calendar-worthy? Make sure to click on them to view full-size so you can make an informed decision. Number 1:
Or Number 3:
I really need your opinions, readers! Whereas I'm pretty sure this photo is calendar-worthy (I particularly like how the near petals are out of focus):
The rest of these photos have not been deemed calendar-worthy, but I thought you'd still enjoy seeing them. I can't seem to stop shooting this dahlia (Hootenanny):
And these small eggs on the underside of a morning glory leaf begged to be photographed:
I thought you'd get a giggle out of how heavy the Brandywine Pink tomatoes are and how lazy a gardener I am for just letting the bent branches stay that way:
And lastly my Big Early Bell peppers are finally showing some color. Big, yes; Early, not so much:
Seriously, please tell me which of the sunflower shots is calendar-worthy. I'm totally stuck.
Another day of bees and sunshine in the garden today. Nearly identical to a previous photo of a bee on the Baystate Angel dahlias, but still one of my favorite subjects to photograph:
Gardeners, plant and nature lovers can join in Green Thumb Sunday every week. Visit As the Garden Grows for more information.
It's alliterative and easy. Here's a little lesson in the development of a sunflower along the side of the house:
Then you get:
Next year I'll do a whole row in the ground here, cause the 3 are kind of sad (though you may remember I started with 6 seedlings in pots):
This post needed some color:
And a little more:
Excellent news...the volunteers tomato plants have TOMATOES:
And the zucchini might get a last minute reprieve:
Because if you look closely at the photo above there are female flowers forming. Here I'll help:
Off to bring youngest step-son to college. I'm going to be a blubbering mess later today. How can the little boy who used to hold my hand in the Walmart parking lot be old enough to go to college?
I still have a few that haven't bloomed yet (and a few that I'm pretty sure won't), but two more dahlias are in bloom in Heather's Garden. The micro-mini:
Which is indeed micro-mini, but beautiful up close:
This is the hootenanny -- totally gorgeous even if it isn't fully flowered yet (and more burgundy-hued in real life):
It's definitely tomato season:
One of the Brandywine Pinks on top of the frittata with zucchini from a local farmer's stand (and it was as delicious as it looks):
And lastly, when you're a girl from the U.S. spending a year living in the boonies in Ireland, this is apparently the stuff that you miss from home (and you can, of course, buy Crocs in the U.K., but they're a heck of a lot cheaper here):
There's no Japanese restaurant anywhere close to where they're living either, but sushi doesn't ship very well.
I've been having trouble getting motivated to post. I don't really have anything to say about gardening...because there's not much gardening going on around here these days. We're still harvesting a decent amount of tomatoes, eggplants, purple peppers and beans (though no beans today):
But I sincerely doubt there will be any more zucchini or cucumbers from our garden (this was Thursday, it's even worse now):
I'll just have to live for the promise of more tomatoes:
I have plenty of herbs:
And enough lemon grass to "feed Thailand" according to VPH:
Speaking of feeding...I think we've finally found a recipe that helped me to enjoy eggplant. I present ratatouille:
We sprinkled a little fresh grated Parmesan cheese on top and scooped up the yummy melted cheese and juices from the bottom of the bowl with fresh bread. Our last zucchini, our own tomatoes, purple peppers, eggplants, and basil went into the dish along with store bought onions, garlic, and olive oil. I gotta say yum. The eggplant wasn't as cloyingly sweet mixed up with all the other veggies. I'm blogging with a lovely aftertaste in my mouth.
VPH very sweetly prepared a B meal in case the eggplant once again threw me off. The bread was the above mentioned scooper and the rest will be tomorrow's lunch:
Ratatouille left me dying for a frittata so tomorrow night VPH will make those yummy potatoes on the grill and Thursday will be a frittata. Now I just have to go beg a zucchini from my neighbors.
I haven't figured out where to plant the bee balm that Layanee gave me yet, but I think something's wrong with it. I'm thinking it shouldn't be covered in white spots. I swear I didn't do anything to it. I only cut off the spent blooms and put it on this table until I could decide where to plant it:
The rest of the bee theme is far better news:
It's just so much fun to take close-ups of bees on flowers:
Now a few without bees. The morning glories are both purple/blue and pink/dark pink:
The pink flowers look so delicate:
Next year these towers will be planted with Kentucky Wonder beans and a second variety still to be chosen. The morning glories will move to the trellis where the purple hyacinth beans currently reside -- more sun over there and beans can apparently take some shade:
Which is not to say that I won't still find a spot for the purple hyacinth beans because they're too pretty not to grow:
And it looks like I may finally have a flower on this one in a few days:
They're all over this dahlia plant:
All kinds of bees:
I'm having a very busy week, so I'm not spending much time in the garden, but I did find a few minutes to take some photos tonight. The wildflower patch is as chaotic as ever:
VPH told me this morning that he'd make me fresh mozz, tomato and basil for dinner and asked me if I could go outside and pick some tomatoes. I was in a rush so I said, you can do it, honey, I trust you to pick tomatoes. I called him this afternoon during my hour commute home to touch base and he reported that he had purchased 2 tomatoes for me at the store because he "didn't see any that were ready to pick," but I could look when I got home. Seriously? This evening's harvest (and what will most likely be the last zucchini we grow this year):
That's our first Brandywine Pink on the right above. I can see why he might not have realized it was ready to pick, but what's his reasoning on the others?
Because the momentous first heirloom tomato grown in our garden requires its own photo:
All sliced up for my supper (and one of the little Early Girls to round out the right side of the plate) -- and yes, it was freaking awesome:
VPH did make himself a big batch of pesto today:
He also used the leftover corn from Monday's dinner to make his world famous corn salad. He tossed in a little bit of one of our purple peppers, so there was one home-grown ingredient on the plate to make it blog-worthy. That's leftover barbecue chicken which is pretty darn fantastic too:
What did you have for supper?
Slow weekend in the garden, which was exactly what VPH and I needed. No real gardening being done, just harvesting and tidying up.
First, as promised, a picture of the morning glory in bloom:
Which is difficult because all the blooms are above my head:
Another climber that's making me happy these days is the purple hyacinth beans:
The dead cucumber was ripped out today and the other cucumber is not looking too good (after I took the photo I removed the bad leaves):
The zucchini still has beautiful male flowers, but no female flowers:
The volunteer tomato plant is blossoming:
The wildflower patch was so over-shadowing the dahlias in pots on the lily pad stepping stones that I decided to pull them out of there. When VPH saw this micro-mini dahlia in the pretty pot sitting on the bar he said it was like we went out and bought a whole new plant. I said just wait until it blooms:
Speaking of blooming...some of these guys are lagging behind:
Bet you're wondering where the calendar worthy shots are. Wonder no more. This one's good:
This one's better:
I think this one's the best:
I was checking on the cherry tomato plants this morning when I spotted a really big bug on the sweet potato vine (aren't I nice to give you a box so you can see it?):
And this one is definitely calendar worthy:
Isn't it funny that I just said I haven't seen many butterflies and then poof there's a monarch on the zinnias. I just love that last photo of the mystery bug. I think I'll go make it my wallpaper now.
I finally have a morning glory flower, but I haven't made it outside early enough yet to photograph it in bloom:
I have a Brandywine Pink tomato coloring up, but it's got some mystery holes:
The green ones on the other plant have something going on too:
And what is clearly a hole:
And I don't think the cucumber is going to bounce back:
But overall I'm pleased with the veggie garden:
A little white butterfly was loving the zinnias, so I present a series of nicely cropped photos for you to enjoy:
I have not seen a lot of butterflies so far this summer, but I remember that last year they didn't start visiting my garden until late August/early September, so I have some time yet.
A wise man once said: "Life goes by pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it."
Life has been pretty crazy around here the past few weeks and I haven't been able to spend much time in my garden. The last time I took any photos of my garden was July 29th -- that's just not like me. I need to get out there and walk around, check things out, and decompress.
You may recall that the zucchini wasn't looking too good the last time we checked in on the veggie garden (July 29th):
It got worse. On Sunday I did make it out to the garden, took one look at the mess and pulled all but 2 vines. I think the problem may have been caused by the heavy vine trailing over the side of the container and crushing the stems of the leaves. So I angled one vine to trail over to the other container (now empty) and used the weeding stool to hold up the heavier, more developed vine:
The leaves don't know where to go, but I'm hoping this will help these guys produce some more zukes for me. I also read that you should pluck the male flowers if you don't need them for pollination to encourage female flowers to develop, so I'm going to try that. I'm also going to hand-pollinate every female blossom I get. I must be the only gardener who has to work this hard to get zucchini. Maybe next year I'll use a trellis (too late now to try and bend the vines up, I'm afraid they'd snap). It's not all bad...the nasturtiums are doing great in the wide open and I can actually reach the beans to pick them.
The Red Peter peppers are coming right along (I'm still shocked I'm going to get actual peppers from these plants I grew from seed since they took so long to sprout):
Plenty of pollinators are attracted to the zinnias (I love how this guy's legs are just covered in pollen):
Those pollinators lead to harvests like this:
We've harvested about 8 tomatoes so far and I'm relieved to report that they all taste better than that first Early Girl. The other Early Girls will be used in gazpacho and the tastier varieties for more fresh mozz, tomato, and basil, which seems to be my dinner just about every other night. I am afraid that signs are not pointing to a never-ending supply of tomatoes this year.
They all seem to be ripening at the same time though I'm seeing signs of developing blossoms on the volunteers:
Did you identify the speaker of the quote yet? I'm wondering who will and who won't.
Layanee and I have been trying to get together for months and months and more months. We were going to meet up at Logee's twice, but I had to cancel both times. The last scheduled trip was in early April and in my post about it I coined the term Northeastern Spring Fling. (Layanee's plans to attend Spring Fling were foiled by the airlines and mine by the dire state of my finances.) Ironically in that same post I announced my grand intention to attend Gardenwalk Buffalo which also didn't happen this year due to both step-sons in college and the high price of gas. Well at least I finally got to see the ledge of Ledge and Gardens today!
Layanee's not kidding when she says that she lives out in the country, but she gives excellent directions. I was a little nervous going down the dirt road (not many of those in my usual haunts), but I turned into her driveway and there was the unique home and beautiful gardens that I've come to know from her blog. I wasn't, however, prepared for how large it is. Photos just don't do her garden justice. Layanee's actually in this photo:
Turning in any direction brings more astonishing beauty:
Tucker is an exceptionally well-behaved dog. Usually dogs instantly pick up on the fact that I'm not so fond of them and want to be my best friend. Tucker said hi and then wandered off. I used to think that Layanee had him well trained to sit so still for all those photos, but he's just that kind of dog:
Equally patient and well-behaved was VPH. He and I were only about 30 minutes from Layanee's house on other business today, so he got dragged along for our visit. He even joined us on part of the garden tour and rescued a frog from the pool (well 2 actually, but I only saw one, I was busy coveting Layanee's tomato cages when he scooped out the other):
You know how I have a good number of frog statues in my garden? Today I saw a real live frog for every statue I have:
That one's a pretty decent candidate for the calendar, but so is this one:
Right after I took this photo the frog croaked at me and I think I actually caught air when I jumped.
Northeastern Spring Fling must be commemorated by a group photo (Heather on the left, Layanee on the right):
And the exchanging of gifts (bee balm from Layanee on the left, woolly thyme from Heather on the right):
Another shot of the beautiful bee balm:
This was about the time that a frog jumped over Layanee's foot and she mentioned snakes. I have to admit that I started to watch where I was stepping a little more carefully. She sent VPH and I out the door with some other gifts (really she's too nice), and directions to cut a few highway exits off the trip home.
As we drove away VPH said, "It's strange to meet someone for the first time and have them know so much about me already." I explained that it was only because Layanee and I have talked on the phone, the whole internet doesn't know that much about him. The other amusing exclamation was, "That's a garden? 10 acres -- That's a f---ing estate!" I guess I could have prepped him better. Thanks again, Layanee, that was the perfect relaxing cap to a crazy busy week and I can't wait to come visit again!