Sunday, June 30, 2013

Hot, Hot, Hot! Planting, Day #12

"David Lam" Collerette, Dark Red

I made myself get up early this morning. I knew that it was suppose to be hot and I wanted to get as much done in the "cool" of the morning as possible. Dad and I watered everything on the back patio and then went down to the garden. I dug and planted my first 8 dahlias. They were all located in the shade and it wasn't too bad. But the next 8 holes that I dug were in the sun. By the time I finished digging I wasn't feeling very good. A little light headed and tipsy. I called it a morning - we could plant those dahlias tonight.We came back to the big garden after dinner. I planted the 8 dahlias that I already had holes for and then dug and planted another 11. So, today I ended up planting 27 dahlias for a total of 225 - 97%. I am so close to being done but I just couldn't  finish tonight. It hit 95 degrees today and the humidity is just awful! I came so close to getting all my dahlias planted by July 1st. But no complaints from me that I need one more day of planting. I clearly remember that I wasn't able to even start planting until July 10th last year.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Planting - Day # 11

"Golden Star" an Orchid dahlia in yellow

A busy, hot day down in the garden - 91 degrees today. We had two, two-hour sessions of planting. One as soon as I got up and another starting at 7:00 PM. Both times I was able to get 16 dahlias in the ground. So, after today's planting I have 198 dahlias planted - 85%. I think if I really have a marathon session of planting tomorrow I will be able to get all of the rest planted. It would be so great to be finished before July!

Friday, June 28, 2013

Potato Blossoms

As I was taking a quick stroll around the kitchen garden tonight, I suddenly noticed that the ""Nicola" potatoes are starting to produce bloom clusters! I have been so busy as of late, I am afraid that I don't know exactly when these started to appear. They are still are a week or so from opening up. I must admit that I am a bit perplexed ."Nicola" is listed in the Maine Potato Lady's catalog as a mid-season potato. The other potato that I am growing, "Dark Red Norland", is listed as an early potato. Yet, my "Nicola" plants are starting to produce blooms and the "Dark Red Norland" aren't showing any signs of any buds yet. stay tuned....!

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Planting - Day #9

What a difference a day makes! Yesterday we were transitioning out of our rainy spell and it was a comfortable 72 degrees. Today was the beginning of a heat wave that is arriving from the Southwest. We hit 85 degrees but it was also incredibly humid. The weather person on tonight's news said we had 90% humidity! We just don't do that here! None the less, is was time to get back to dahlia planting. The rain had delayed my work for three days now and I really want to get done this month if it is at all possible. Dad had picked up two yards of Nature's Best yesterday. Tonight we drove it down and unloaded it in the big garden. The perfect job of a hot, steamy night! When we finished, we planted 8 more dahlias. So now I have 150 of 233 planted - 67%!

It was amazing to come back to the garden after being away for only 3 days. There is something about a rainfall that a garden hose just can not replicate. All of my dahlias now have lush, dark green, new growth since the rain came. They also grew a noticeable amount in those three short days. There's magic in the rain!

Below, two plants of "April Dawn" a B sized Informal Decorative in a light blend of purple and white.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Off And Running

Today was overcast and cool once again. This is suppose to be our last day of rain & cooler temps before high pressure moves in and we shoot up to the 90's. That's going to be a shock to the plants and to this gardener! I was able to walk around the house tonight and admire everything. When I got to the kitchen garden I noticed that this "Butternut" Winter Squash was escaping from it's remay tunnel. I had been meaning to remove the tunnel for the last week. So tonight I went in and freed the squash!

As you can see, my two plants that I stared from seed are doing great. They are just at the point where the plants have gotten so big they have tipped over. Now the vines begin to crawl and grow like crazy. We are off and running in the squash patch.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Tired Bones & The Mudroom Bed

As we near the Summer Solstice, the mudroom flowerbed is beginning to turn into a riot of color. While the Cone Flowers have yet to bloom,  most of the Salvias and Penstemon have begun their annual colorful display.

In the front of the bed we have this lovely clump of Cotula Hispida. It was one of the first plants to bloom this Spring. As you can see, a few of its bright yellow ball blooms are just beginning to turn brown.

Here is another early bloomer for us. The bumble bees just love this Salvia Nemorosa "Caradonna". The long, purple bloom stalks have been covered with flying pollinators for at least the last 4 weeks.

Salvia Microphylla "La Trinidad Pink". Each year we cut back on this plant hard - and each year it bounces back and reaches an enormous size once again. even though it is a bit of a garden thug, we love it. It begins to bloom in late May and will bloom all Summer. And the hummingbirds just love it.

Another great Salvia- Salvia Greggii "Nuevo Leon". We have two plants of this lovely, little purple bloomer. 

Down near the front of the bed we have this diminutive Pentstemon Pinifolius "Mersea Yellow". The plant doesn't have the most ideal growth habit, but the yellow blooms make up for it. 

And yet another Salvia. I can't find a tag for this guy. It's much taller plant than our other Salvias and is slowly getting covered with lipstick red blooms. Another Hummingbird favorite.

Our "Princess Diana" Clemitis died over the winter. We replaced it this year with this tender vine Thunbergia Alata "Orange Beauty". This is the first open bloom of the year but the plant is producing a bunch of climbing vines. The trellis should be covered in orange blooms next month.

Lastly, we have two blooming plants of the electric blue Pentemon "Beard Tongue". It is another plant that doesn't have the most desirable growth habit but boy are its blue blooms beautiful. It has been in bloom for over a month now and continues to set new flowering stalks.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Garlic Scapes

Tonight as I was watering in the kitchen garden, I suddenly noticed something in the garlic row. The garlic plants have started to form scapes! Garlic scapes are produced only in hard neck garlic varieties. These long serpent-like "flower" stalks appear as the plants reach maturity. I will let the scapes grow for another 5-10 days and then I will cut them off . I don't want my garlic to spend too much energy forming little bulbils in the small pod at the top of the scape. I want all of the plants energy to go toward making the largest garlic bulbs possible. Pictured above, "Chesnook Red" garlic.

You often find bunches of scapes for sale at local farmer's markets. The scapes have as strong a garlic flavor as the cloves do and are great to use in many recipes. Last year I made garlic pesto, swapping out chopped scapes where one would traditionally use basil. It was strong, but delicious! Pictured above & below, the "Russian Red" garlic plants and their loopy scapes.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

A Potting Finish

My goal for today was to finish potting up all of my dahlia tubers. I wasn't able to start this project until after dinner. It took me about two hours but finally I have them all planted - even if it's just in pots for now! I planted another 57 tubers tonight for a grand total of 231 potted tubers. That's pretty close to the amount of dahlias that I grew last year. 

Right now I have tubers at all stages. Most of the first group that I planted are up and growing, like "Chubasco" pictured above. Below, "Ms Kennedy" is just emerging.