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Sunday, July 31, 2011

A Frown


Froggy is sad.  The plant he was keeping company succumed to the heat and was finished off most likely by a cricket or grasshopper.  Sorry Darla.  It's been a rough month.  There was a lot of August in July.  With a whole hot month ahead of us, some tough decisions are being made at Garden on Sherlock Street. 

The beans have already been left to their own devices and the pumpkin has been given the same sentence.  As far as vegetables, I'm trying to focus on what will produce the best at this point.  I still have some vegetables put up in the freezer from last year.  There may not be much added to the freezer this year. 


I have moved some more containers of flowers hoping to give them a little shade for part of the day.  This included disassembling the flower tower.  I decided the purple hyacinth bean vines might be better on the patio.  I put the remaining bacopa by the front steps. 

The front garden shrubs seem to be fairing well.  I do run the soaker hoses on a regular basis.

The back garden shrubs are where I'm worried the most.  Many of them are getting brown spots.  There are also some perrenial flowers which have disappeared.  They may return next spring so I won't count them out yet.

Sorry for the sad garden report.  I'm just trying to hold on to what I can.

There's always a chance of a big rain shower turning a lot of the plants around in a hurry.

**Update:  Since posting this, we had a surprise rain shower give us .25" of rain and dropped our temperature to 80 degrees.  It's a good start!**

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Bye Beans

I have decided to let the green beans go.  Sigh.  I know.  Gardeners don't give up.  Here's what's going on.  The beans are still struggling with spider mites, the heat and a drought.  When I do get enough water to them to show some improvement, the grasshoppers eat the nice new leaves.  So, I am no longer going to water them.  If mother nature drops rain on them and they recover, I will rejoice.  At this point though, I'm cutting my losses.  We did get one meal for two of green beans before it got really hot and they just stopped producing.


On a happier note, the yellow squash is good and producing well.  As long as I keep the squash bugs under control, it continues to do well.  We're even sharing yellow squash with friends.


The cucumber plants responded well to last week's fertilizer application and a good soaking.  I have tiny cucumbers setting on.


In the ornamental category, the flower tower is looking rather weak.  Two of the containers of bacopa died (the two leaning left).  One bacopa is doing well, but the purple hyacinth bean vines are struggling below.  I was kind of counting on them to fill in and hide the fact that some bacopa died.  I have also discovered a morning glory seeded itself in there.  Good.  Maybe the morning glory can make this a decent display still.


Plants that usually self seed in my garden are struggling to survive.  They're not even blooming yet in some cases.  I wonder if they'll make seeds for next year at all.

I also noticed today that the holly bushes are looking bad.  It looks like I'll be pruning a lot of dead branches out of them.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Crispy

We got a little rain shower last night and are hopeful for more rain tonight.  While it is very muggy, it is cooler today.

However, many of the plants are showing signs of stress.

The Dwarf Alberta Spruces had some sun scorch last year.  This year, they are much worse. 


The arborvitae are starting to match the spruces.


The clematis looked very nice this spring, but is simply surviving now.

 


The seeds I winter sowed and planted in the wildflower area are hanging in there.  I do need to water them every couple of days.  The mulch has helped a lot.  When I planted them, tina at In The Garden thought they might be a heliopsis or helianthus.  While my plants are still small and not blooming this year; my neighbor who gave me the seeds last year has ones that are blooming.  She took a flower to our horticulture agent and confirmed the heliopsis identification.  An oxeye or false sunflower.  Not trying to get an exact identification.  It is good to know it's growth needs better.  And, tina, you were amazing identifying the plant from the seed heads!  Maybe mine will bloom next year.


As a bright spot, this bucket of vinca flowers is loving the heat.



Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Parsley Log

I planted flat leaf parsley this year and it has produced some nice looking leaves.


While it is great to have fresh parsley.  I like having some on hand outside the growing season.  In the past, I've put the leaves in an ice cube tray, filled the tray with water and made parsley cubes.
This year, I'm trying Margaret Roach's parsley logs.  Her step by step is pretty clear. Basically, you put the leaves in a zipper bag, squish them down to the bottom forming a log and roll the bag tight putting rubber bands on the log to hold it as a roll.

When you want some parsley, you pull out the log, cut off what you need and return the rest to the freezer. 

One little parsley log read for the freezer.



Monday, July 25, 2011

An All Around Garden Report

I spent a lot of time this past weekend checking the soaker hoses.  Those drips of water are keeping the garden alive during these 100 plus (Fahrenheit) degree days.


Some plants are doing just fine despite the heat and without any extra water.
The Russian Sage in front of the house gets only what Mother Nature provides.  It is tall, full and scented.  The bees are loving the Russian Sage.


Please ignore the hose.  The shrubs beyond the Russian Sage were getting a drink.


I have taken down all of my hanging baskets, and have them where they get shade for part of the day.  I also have them sitting on plastic buckets filled with water.  They draw water up into the basket through the day.


My Echinacea purpurea 'White Swan' was nearly nibbled off this spring by the bunnies.  It's getting water when I run the soaker hose and is now blooming.  Also, it produces seeds last year and I have a couple of volunteers in the same bed.


The gomphrena is blooming!!  I do need to make sure these plants get watered regularly.


I think the flowers are sweet.



I don't think I've ever watered the hens and chicks along the side of the house.  This year, they're looking a bit pale.  I have some more hens and chicks near our air conditioner.  They get a little more shade and a little more water.  They look happier.



Even the lamb's ears plants, which usually fill the bed under this window, are struggling without extra water this year.



The Maximilian's Sunflower which is native here is looking a bit distressed.


It got a drink Saturday.


The globe thistle seems just fine.

The shovel bird my uncle made us seems to be good no matter what the weather is.  :-)



My friend Melanie shared a butterfly weed seedling with me this past spring.  I was sad when one day I discovered it limp on the ground.  Imagine my surprise when it resprouted from the root.  I have an old hanging basket frame over it for protection.


The red cardinal climber plants are growing, but not blooming.  Maybe it is too hot for the blooms to make it.



A week ago, I gave the plumbago a good soaking.  Now, it is blooming!



The pumpkin is hanging on in this bed.  I'm worried that it won't make any pumpkins though.  Like a lot of the vegetable plants, it seems to be surviving but not blooming or producing in the heat.


The bed under the eave of the patio is usually full of self seeding four o'clock plants by this time each year.  After I remove the spent bachelor buttons and dame's rockets, they just need a nice rain to get growing.  I did water this bed Sunday morning in hopes that the four o'clocks will take off.


Purple fountain grass loves the heat.  I just need to water it.


The trash can containers on the patio are doing well.  I have Jacob's Coat, ice plant and a red trailing verbena planted in them.



I hung out the hummingbird feeders.


One of my sister-in-laws gave me these ant moats.  The idea is that ants won't be able to get to the sugar water if the little inverted umbrellas are filled with water.  I just hope the heat and the wind doesn't dry them out too quickly each day.  They are cute!


 I chased this butterfly around the garden a bit on Saturday.  Here he's posing.


Here, he's fluttering 


Tomatoes are making there way to the kitchen counter where they finish ripening.  Left to right:  brandywine heirloom, mater sandwich, sweet baby and chocolate cherry

I'm getting a little help from this baby praying mantis.


Here's my milo crop.  Purple majesty millet.
I think I planted it too thick but that's ok.


I bought a granular organic fertilizer recently.  I went for a balanced formula.  All the containers and most of the vegetable plants got some before I watered them well.  I'm hoping some of the vegetables will kick it in gear and produce better.  I know the containers needed a boost as all the watering has surely washed out many of the soil's nutrients.

Do you have a favorite organic fertilizer?  Mostly, I go for having healthy soil and adding compost but those containers usually need a little something more.  I'm open to suggestions. 

Hope your garden is doing well.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Growing Gomphrena

I started them from seed shared from a friend.


Not having grown gomphrena before, I wasn't sure if these little plants were the flowers or something else that seeded itself in the containers.


Now, flowers are forming!!!