Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Dahlia "Eclipse"

Sunday I noticed that my first two blooms of "Eclipse" had opened. I really love this single form dahlia. The dark purple eye set against the soft white petals is so striking. If you look closely, you will see that each petal is outlined with the dark purple as well. My two plants are loaded with blooms, so I am cautiously optimistic that I might have a bloom to take to the show this weekend.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Monday Harvest Recap - Watermelon Edition

The exciting harvest news this week was that I harvested the first watermelon from my little watermelon patch. My 3 "Blacktail Mountain" plants set four melon this Summer. Two melons set in July and another two set in August. This melon is from the first flush and I think I might have waited a little too long to harvest it. I will have to see what my taste testers think. But nonetheless, I am happy to have grown a watermelon to full maturity in Oregon. This guy weighted in at 6 lbs. 15.2 oz.

I continue to see a steady ripening of fruit on the tomato plants. I did have some splitting damage this week, I am sure due to the rain we finally received. The damage was minor but you can see it on the two "Esterina" cherry tomatoes pictured on the truss, above. This week's harvest:
  • "Galina" - (63) 11.9 oz
  • "Mountain Magic" - (27) 1 lbs. 2.4 oz
  • "Matthew" - (27) 9.3 oz
  • "Esterina" - (63) 10.3 oz
  • "Matina" - (22) 10.1 oz

"Mountain Magic"

I also harvested my second round of "Mystery" peppers. These are the peppers that were suppose to be "Padron" but clearly are not. They are a hot pepper and the plant is very healthy and vigorous. This week's harvest was (11) more peppers weighing in at 3.8 oz. They are headed off to become some fiery salsa.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Fall Foliage

Bit by little bit, the outdoor world is transitioning from Summer to Fall. No where is it more noticeable than on the leaves of the various trees and shrubs. Walking around today, I found a few examples of some early Fall color. First off, there was a small smattering of leaves on the "Royal Raindrops" crab-apple that had switched from their Summer purple to their Fall scarlet red. The tree will be a knock-out when all of the leaves have changed.

In the west-end flower bed, I found the first leaf on the current bush turning a lovely orange. And pictured below, one crimson leaf hanging one of the three Sweet Gum trees. It will be late October before the full Fall color display peaks but until then it is fun to catch some early glimpses.

Friday, September 11, 2015

Hawthorne Berries

We have a number of "wild" Hawthorne trees on our property. In our part of the world, Hawthorns are considered an invasive species. None of our "wild" Hawthorns were purposely planted by us. Instead, birds most likely deposited their berries across our acres. Sadly, every Hawthorne that I have found on our land has yet to bloom in the Spring. Why is this important? Because it must bloom in the Spring to set berries in the Fall. Luckily, right on the other side of our fence, is a sweet little Hawthorne that is just covered in red berries.

Tonight after work I walked down with my camera to take a few pictures.

Its branches are just dripping with clusters of glowing red berries.

 They must not be quite ripe yet, as the birds are leaving the berries alone at this point. I am guessing that sometime in the next month, the birds will arrive en mass and strip the branches clean. Until then I can enjoy this pretty Fall display.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Color in the Pumpkin Patch

The excitement in the Kitchen Garden this week is the first glimpse of orange in the pumpkin patch! While one pumpkin is still a solid, glossy, deep green, this pumpkin has suddenly started to turn orange. It will be interesting to see how long it takes it to completely transform.

Monday, September 7, 2015

The Monday Bloom

In a normal year, I would find myself driving up and down I-5 this Labor Day Weekend, attending the Portland Dahlia Society's Annual Show. But this year, due to my less-than-stellar dahlia garden, I decided to take Labor Day Weekend off and rest. It was a good decision. I needed the rest and quiet and my garden is still weeks behind. But I did take notice of one bloom these past few days. My two new-to-me "AC Shitake" plants are just opening their first flush. One bloom in particular looked fantastic and I cut it on Saturday as it neared maturation. It has hit the peak of perfection today, Labor Day. Had it looked like this Friday night, I might have driven all the way to Portland to enter just this one bloom. It looks fantastic! Great color, no bug damage, ram-rod straight stem. A Head-table worthy bloom..just on a Monday.

Friday, September 4, 2015

More Blooms in the Dahlia Garden

With September's arrival, my late-planted dahlias are finally beginning to bloom in earnest. The plants still aren't full and bushy but at least I am getting more and more individual blooms to enjoy each day. And thankfully, the rabbits have, for the most part, quit munching on all of the plants too.

One of my all-time favorite dahlias, "Pam Howden", a waterlily form in a dark blend of yellow, orange, and dark pink.

My first bloom of the year of "Clearview Debby" a BB sized fully decorative form in a light blend of lavender and white. After loosing my stock it is so nice to have this one back in my garden once again.

My two plants of "Embrace" are really doing nicely. I had to replace my stock this year and I ended up with really good replacement tubers. Thanks Max!

A new-to-me variety this year; "AC Shitake". So far this first bloom has really good form and I am loving the deep, rich orange color.

Another new purchase; "Bloomquist Dan G" a miniature ball in dark red.

The first bloom of the year on "Sir Richard" a miniature ball in dark pink.

This dahlia isn't completely opened yet but I am loving the color combination on "Island Blaze". I don't think it is going to be much of an exhibition dahlia but I think it will be great in Fall bouquets.

"Kelsey Sunshine" a bright yellow collarette.

"Valley Porcupine" continues to be such a reliable bloomer for me. Great form bloom after bloom, year after year. And below, I discovered this little guy resting in a spent bloom of "Camano Cloud". Yet another reason to garden organically.