Saturday, August 31, 2013

Rose Hips

Some of the first Fall color each year appears in the hedgerows. Our native wild rose "rosa nutkana" the Nootka Rose has lovely colored hips. They have turned a soft crimson red and glow like little beacons in the green hedgerow between the road and my garden.

Friday, August 30, 2013

Getting Ready for the First Show

 Tonight after work,  I went down to the big garden and slowly walked through all of my dahlia plants. Tomorrow is the Portland Dahlia Society Annual Show and I was looking for perfection! Having been in England for 12 days earlier this month, my dahlias didn't receive all of the grooming that they should have for a spell of about three weeks. I still managed to find 7 good looking candidates and brought them up to the house.

I staged six single entries and one triple entry. Portland's Flower of the Year is "Lakeview Glow". I am growing five plants of that variety and was able to pick four good looking blooms. I staged both a single and a triple entry. My triples aren't perfectly matched but I am still pleased because I haven't ever been able to enter the Flower of the Year category at a dahlia show before. And for this show I can enter both classes. I also have a pretty good looking "Kelsey Kristie". I think my best shot for the head table is my "Tahoma Alicia" bloom, but time will tell. Next to our show, the Portland has the toughest competition in Oregon.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Hummingbirds and the Black & Blue Salvia

The Black & Blue Salvia in the mudroom bed once again survived our Winter. For the second year in a row, the two plants of this tender perennial came back in the Spring and have been growing non-stop since then. The plants have grown together and are now easily 5' X 4'. They certainly are the centerpiece of the flower bed!

The plants has been covered with spikes of dark blue flowers for the past two months. While the blooms are lovely to look at, the hummingbirds love them even more than we humans do.

There always seems to be two or three hummingbirds flying around the plants. They are constantly fighting with each other and darting in and out of the area.

But when they aren't fighting with each other, they love to sip nectar from the long, tubular shaped flowers.

They can also be found resting among the plants, perched on  a stem....

or sitting on a flower pod.

We love our hummingbirds here and are happy to furnish them with plants that provide them with both food and shelter.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

The Tomatoes Roll On

The larger tomatoes are starting to slowly ripen. Tonight I picked my first three. Pictured above, a pretty clump of "Early Cascade". And below, a big old "Black Krim". It did have a crack in it, caused I think by our rain last Sunday. Even with the crack, the rest of the tomato was just fine. I also picked a bunch more cherry tomatoes off of the "Sweet Million" & the "Galina" plants.

When it was all picked an weighted, I harvested another 3 lbs. 10.86 oz of summer. Now they are cleaned and ready to share with everyone at work tomorrow.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

The Garden Marigolds

Back on July 6th, I finally got my poor marigold starts planted down in the big garden. I planted the seeds for both "Frances' Choice" & "Red Metamorph" on April 28th and they sat in their tiny 1" cells for over two months. I wasn't sure if they would ever amount to anything. For the longest time they just sat there, seemingly not growing one bit. But while I was gone for 12 days in early August, the plants really took off. They are now almost a foot tall and this week I discovered that many have set their first bloom! While neither variety stands a chance to reach its "typical" height - "Frances' Choice" is suppose to be 4-5' tall and "Red Metamorph" 2-3' tall - I do think that they are going to be nice little plants this year since we still have over a month yet until any chance of frost.

Monday, August 26, 2013

More & More Color

We had planned to mow around the big garden yesterday morning. However, the morning rain showers that we experienced literally put a damper on our plans. The rain did let up in the afternoon and we decided to proceed with our plans. We got everything mowed in about 1 1/2 hours. The grass was a bit wet but not bad too bad. It was however quite humid. After I finished mowing I took a stroll around the garden. My 2 plants of "Franz Kafka" are in a full blooming flush right now.

"Sean C" CO PR/db/wh/pr

This must be my 7th or 8th "Haley's Dream" bloom. It's another early bloomer.

My 2nd nice "Dagmar" B IC OR

"Sandia Joy" WL YL

"Pam Howden" WL  LB  YL/OR/DP

Another early bloomer for me; Tahoma Alicia" MB DP

"Pooh" CO BI RD/YL/yl

I was also excited to notice on my walk that one of my "Mini Jack" pumpkins had its first male blossom open up today. The vines are just starting to crawl. I think if we have another warm, dry September like we had last year,  I just might get some baby pumpkins to set and mature.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

The Rain Returns!

It rained today! This was our first significant rainfall since June 26th and boy was it welcomed. It started sprinkling around 8 this morning and rained off and on until noon. Around 6, just as predicted, the rain returned. It was quite heavy at times. Our rain gauge showed a total of 4/10" after it was all done. While we certainly could use more rain, today's moisture was much needed and appreciated. It will help decrease the fire danger by just a bit and I know that all of the plants will love it.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

"Camelot" Shallots

I managed to do a little bit of cooking today. I made another batch of the bean & corn salad that we enjoyed back in July. Instead of the scallions that the salad calls for, I have been substituting shallots instead. I pulled up another 2 of my "Camalot" shallots to use for the salad. These shallots have grown really well this year for me. They have a pretty red outside skin as they grow in the garden.When you peal away the dried red skin it reveals a beautiful pink inner skin. 

Thursday, August 22, 2013

A Lovely Sunset

We had the most amazing sunset tonight. Thankfully we were outside on the back patio with the cats and were there to enjoy it. Instead of reflecting color on just a few clouds, this sunset filled the entire western sky with brilliant shades of pink and purple. I am afraid the photo only begins to capture how amazing the display was tonight.

Monday, August 19, 2013

The First Potato Harvest

Yesterday I harvested my first potatoes, a lovely bunch of "Dark Red Norland".

Back on May 9th, I planted two grow bags with "Dark Red Norland" potatoes. In one grow bag I placed 4 potato pieces and in the other I planted only 3. The plants grew ok this year but they certainly were not as vigorous as the two bags filled with "Nicola" potatoes. They also never bloomed. I attribute part of this to the extremely hot weather that we experienced in July. I didn't know if this would affect the potato production below. As you can see in the above picture, the plant foliage had pretty much died back, so it was time to discover how they had performed.

 I dug up the bag in which I had planted the three potato chunks. It was a thrill to carefully dig down and spy these beautiful pink balls. I just didn't know if there would be anything there or not. After I cleaned out the whole grow bag, I brushed off the dirt and weight my harvest. I ended up with 3 lbs. 12.84 oz. That's not a huge harvest but I was pleased for a first time effort. I have leaned that I can definitely plant more than 3 potato pieces in a grow bag. After I eat these, I will dig up the other bag of Dark Red Norland". I am anxious to see how the harvest in that bag, planted with 4 potatoes, will vary.