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July 2011
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September 2011

August 2011

Angels in Waiting

Brugmansia 7-21We all know that some things are worth waiting for and the blooms on Angel trumpets, Brugmansia, are included. I purchased one Brugmansia 'Cherub' on a trip to Logee's in late winter/early spring. I did take some cuttings in order to have more than one of these pricey plants but only one cutting survived and it is still much smaller than the original plant. I planted this year's 'front of the greenhouse' containers with this Brugmansia in the two pots on the ends and in the middle, I added a Strobilanthes dyerianus or Persian Shield in the center to complement the purple heliotrope and the vanilla lantana.  Brugmansia in budThe containers are elegant if a bit uneven this year. The Brugmansia on the left was the original plant. The advantage of the cultivar 'Cherub' is that it blooms heavily at a much earlier stage than some of the other varieties. This one has sent out one or two blooms here and there but it finally budded heavily about a month ago and this is the result. Brugmansia 'Cherub'Of course it has been nurtured with Mother Nature's Fish Cuisine, an organic liquid fish solution. In the spirit of disclosure, MNC Fish Cuisine is sold by The Garden Guys and, in spite of not being a 'guy' at all, I am included.  The Garden Guys consists of two 'guys', Sam Jeffries, CEO of OSM, Inc, and me. We co-host a gardening radio show which airs each Sunday from 7-9 A.M. on WTKK 96.9 FM and it is available for live streaming or a podcast if you are not in the Boston area. Just click on the correct icon on the website for either application.  Back to brugmansia and sorry for the commercial...  I think that the other brugmansia will bloom this year and I do hope to overwinter these two containers in the basement under lights. I am dreaming of a greenhouse in which I can overwinter many of the tender perennials. The structure attached to the house is an office and the temperature isn't regulated for growing. Greenhouse containersI think many of us dream of such a structure. Do you? What kind would you choose? 


Bloom Day - The Day After....August 15, 2011

DSC_0011This August Bloom Day was filled with torrential rain. Not just a shower but steady, heavy rain. Flowers bowed their heads in appreciation but the gardener, while thankful for the rain, had a hard time balancing an umbrella with a camera.  The garden in August is mostly texture with spots of color. DSC_0004The abundant bloom of June and July has given way to a more refined palette of green with the late blooms of hosta, daylilies and the ever blooming annuals. The Ligularia dentata 'Britt Marie Crawford' is lovely all season with the exception of now although the bright, school bus orange flowers glow in the garden on a rainy day.  Ligularia dentata 'Britt Marie Crawford'They do start to bloom about the time the school bus starts to roll. I keep meaning to cut off these flowers but they show up from a distance and not everyone has my cringing reaction to their bright, neon orange color. Hydrangea p. 'Limelight'The 'Limelight' hydrangea is a beacon in the garden and I must remember to plant a few more. Nothing in the garden says 'late summer' as much as the pale yellow blooms of the yellow wax bells, Kirengeshoma palmataKirengeshoma palmata. This is a large plant, four by four. It always elicits a comment from a visitor. Annuals add continuous color to any garden and while the marigold is considered by some as 'pedestrian', it is sturdy and pairs well with these petunias in a planter which has small soil volume. DSC_0010I am late to the table with Bloom Day. Thank you to Carol at May Dreams for hosting this monthly event. I hope to see the blooms in your garden, wherever that might be.   


Tomatoes' Promise


'2010 Green Zebra'
The garden has been producing. Lettuce, garlic, green beans, zucchini, yellow squash, dill and cilantro but the king of the crops is really the tomato although the EM might argue that corn is his favorite (that is coming). DSC_0036This year's tomato crop was started on April 15th. I know that sounds late but it is six weeks before the estimated last frost date. I start them under lights in the basement on two six foot tables. There is not a lot of room in the basement but there is water and while not pretty, this works. Thirteen new varieties were started along with the beloved 'Mortgage Lifter' and 'Green Zebra '. DSC_0054I forgot to start some 'Sun Gold', which is a cherry tomato, so I picked up a couple of plants and added them to the garden. I am still in awe of the power of a seed. From something the size of the head of a pin, a huge plant is generated. The seedlings were planted out the traditional time for New England, Memorial Day weekend at the end of May. DSC_0082All the plants started were indeterminate varieties which means they just keep growing. Growing they are. The Sungolds are producing bright orange fruit which never make it into the kitchen as they are plucked off the vine and eaten while still warm from the sun. I have picked some small 'Stupice' which are just award winner there. A 'Bull's Heart' was starting to color up and is finishing that task on the kitchen counter as I just could not wait. After a morning of gardening I decided to grab the tripod in order to show just how tall these plants are right now. I thought about changing my clothes since I was so dirty but it just didn't matter as you can see. I am 5'12".  DSC_0095The tomatoes are taller and still growing with lots of fruit on the vine. The tomato tasting was great fun last year but I fear that this year with so many asking to attend, I may have to call it a 'festival'. Did you plant tomatoes and if so, when? Are they ready? What is your favorite variety?


Seattle Flingers

Seattle Flingclick on collage to enlarge
Garden Bloggers Fling 2011 was held the weekend of July 22-25th in beautiful Seattle, WA. There are many reasons for attending a Garden Bloggers Fling. Seattle Fling4
For me, first and foremost, is the opportunity to speak with other gardeners, garden professionals, garden writers and just plain garden addicts. Seattle Fling1There is synergy in a group of like minded individuals no matter what their interest but gardeners are special. Gardeners are well rooted people and this Seattle Fling brought a great mix together for fun, laughter, conversations and garden touring. I had hoped to meet all bloggers but the group is large and time and energy are limited. Have you ever seen a happier group of people than those in these pictures?  Seattle Fling2
I did manage to get some photos of the participants although not all of them. My apologies to those of you who are missed in the photos. I will work harder to capture you next year so be forewarned. Seattle Fling3
I look forward to meeting you in Asheville, NC for the 2012 Garden Bloggers Fling. For a list of all participants for 2011, click on this link.


Summer in Seattle

Space needleI was in Seattle for summer this year. On Sunday, July 24th, the temperature in Seattle reached 81F under sunny skies. The day after, the newspaper headline read 'The Day After Summer' as temperatures plummeted to fifties and sixties under cloudy, rainy skies. No matter, in any weather Seattle still shines. Hanging sunshinePerhaps it is from the glossy coating of moisture on trees and leaves or the abundant bright hanging plants everywhere in the city but, shine it does. It is hard to believe that Seattle receives less rain than Rhode Island, 37+ inches to our 42 inches but those are the facts. Seattle residents are purported to buy more sunglasses per capita than any other city in the U.S. When the sun does shine, it is very bright compared to the 280 gray days of usual weather. Seattle was the location for the fourth Garden Bloggers Fling which drew over 70 garden aficionados from all over the U.S. and even two from England. Spending time with other plant lovers is magic. Plant lust is the norm and if there is a plant one doesn't know, someone in the group does and shares the name easily with others. Seattle is home to the longest continuously operated Farmer's Market in the U.S. Farmer's market At the Public Market Center, one can find an abundance of fresh fruits, vegetables, flowers and fish all looking tantalizingly tempting. The fish market had some surprises in the form of entertainment. I think the action in the video serves to tenderize the fish. Well not really but this group at Pike's Fish Market know how to entertain the masses.  Grapes at marketThe Rainier cherries are ripe and available and the market was crowded with people when I was there on a Thursday afternoon. Seattle sculpture parkAs a group, we enjoyed the Olympic Sculpture Park which is situated in the sharp shadow of the space needle. SculptureA former industrial site, this park is filled with dramatically large sculptures. Mt RainierWinding paths lead visitors around the park in a multi level landscape which brings Mt. Rainier into view on the southern edge along with Cascades and sculpturethe Cascade Mountains a bit to the north. Tree sculpture - SplitThe sculptures are varied and interesting and this park is well used as evidenced by the crowds of people during our visit. Seattle was the perfect setting for the Garden Bloggers Fling this year. Seattle skyline from ferryI had not been to Seattle prior to this trip and what could be better than seeing a city for the first time with great friends and great gardens?