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End of the Month View: July

Since it’s not yet time for the End of the  Month View for August, I figured I’m still somewhat timely for the July View.

July is a time of deep heat and fullness. The corn towers over our heads and the tassels are showing!  There are two gigantic sunflowers reaching towards the sky. It must be the fertility of the chicken coop that stood there for so many years. 

The blue barrel holds the comfrey nettle kelp compost tea. The plants drink it up and keep on growing! The nettles are getting their second growth.  Nettle is a super compost ingredient. Each cutting gets layered into the compost heap. 

Hollyhocks abound! I counted five different colors.  Honey bees and hummingbirds visit frequently.  It gives me great joy to hear and see the bees buzzing around the blossoms.  

Zinnias are Harry’s favorite garden flower. Their vibrant colors and perky petals are a mainstay in the bouquets he brings to me.  It’s hard to be “uncheerful”  looking at zinnias..

My flower garden is in the second growth now. Daffodils and Sweet William have gone and the Painted Daisy, Crazy Daisy and Shasta Daisy are putting out their bloom stalks.  Snapdragon, cosmos, marigold and more zinnia transplants form a sweet curve in the garden entrance.

Echinacea is setting its first blossoms. I love their hardy strength and seed head. Most of all, we depend on the roots to make medicine tea for winter colds. 

It’s time to thin and trim the calendula next to the strawberries.  It will bloom again through the autumn if we get the midsummer deadheading done.  The whole row was a self seeding gift.  The calendula petals can be infused in oil and used to heal wounds and skin.  Your fingers may get sticky with calendula flower juice as you pluck them!

Fresh garden food right now includes broccoli, Costata Romenesca zucchini, Ailsa Craig onions, cucumbers, beets, chard, carrots and green beans. Often our supper is a giant pot of vegetables fresh from the garden.  The taste of vegetables unadorned in full fresh flavor is a seasonal headiness that passes so quickly. 

Preserving season is ramping up as well.  I’ve made cherry jelly from my garden buddy Andy’s cherries and a combination jam with raspberries from our daughters garden and blueberries Harry and I picked in the western Maine mountains. My hope is to have canned beans, tomatoes and carrots going into the winter. 

This week is garlic pulling week. The garlic looks beautiful!  We grow Music Pink and a braiding variety.  We used our last garlic off the braid about two weeks ago.

I’ve been away from our garden since early August. My dad lives far away on the Oregon coast. I got a call and learned that his heart has failed and may stop at any time now.  So I left the garden and flew out to sit with my dad, hold his hand and sing him songs one last time before he makes his final flight to freefall into the pure light. 

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End of the Month View: May

All things seem possible in the garden at the end of May. Harry and I have been busy with laying out paths, setting the string line for planting rows of garden goodness. It is a sweet time of year we enjoy together. I find a deep fulfilling satisfaction working the land with love together.

Petunias are potted up and setting first blooms. Daffodils are through with blooming and Sweet William is growing strong. We will have our first garden salad soon. Strawberry blossom bursts show the beginnings of berries. 

The blue barrel is full of nettle brewing into tea for a nourishing watering. I plan to add the comfrey to brew with it. Rhurbarb is ready to sent out it prehistoric giant flowers. We like to let it bloom in its magnificence. 

Harry mulched the onions and leeks. The corn, carrots, beets, turnips and scallions have emerged. Parsnips and parsley are planted and the tax day peas are going strong!

There are still Zinnia and tomatoes under the row cover.  It’s been a bit chilly still, but they are going out too!

We will be putting in beans, squashes, Brussels sprouts, cabbage and broccoli this week.

End of the month garden view: April

What a difference a month makes!  It’s been a long snowy season and I welcome spring.  It’s a time of discovery–greeting old friends in the garden and making room for new beginnings. There is a lot going on.  The Hill is greening up. Harry is pruning the Nanking cherry bush. Strawberries look promising. The nettle patch can’t be stopped and the garlic is coming up gangbusters.  Tax day peas have germinated.  Every day we can is spent outside, clearing, digging and in love with the land. 


Every sunny day there are new “daffy-dills” sporting their colors. 


The daffodils are a delight. They remind me of my mom. She would tell me I was born on a beautiful spring day when the daffodils were blooming.


Spring dug transplants and cuttings.  There is so much abundance and life around me.  Here are roses, Shasta daisies, comfrey, sedum, wild strawberries and rhubarb!


The south side hoop tunnels is now filled with petunias, alyssum, crazy daisies and pansies.  


The onions are looking great!  I’m growing Talon, Borretanna Cippolini and Ailsa Craig onions and Bleu Solaize leeks–all Fedco seed.  We will plant them as soon we get the plowing done.


Have I mentioned pansies? They will all be in the ground or in buckets soon!  I’m very impressed with the beautiful lavender flecked color in the Sorbet variety 


Saint Francis keeping watch in the flower garden. This statue is on loan for the summer. It belonged to my mother in law Mary O’Connor. She was my flower growing mentor.  Mary gave me a package of cosmos seed and said “Even you should be able to grow these, dear.” Thank you Mary.  I miss you and our garden talks.

I really have fun with this End of the Month Garden View project.  Check out other end of the month views at The Patient Gardener

End of the Month Garden View: March

It’s the last day of March on The Hill and we are expecting more snow.  The view of the main garden from the upstairs window makes me think getting peas planted by Tax Day might be pushing it.  I still have high hopes.  Peas and larkspur are planted by seed at the same time.  I love the bold blue the larkspur brings to the landscape.  I’m hoping to plant them both in mid April and again at the first week of May.

CALENDULA


Taking advantage of a south facing window. Light is at a premium right now. Every available space is filling up with seedlings and transplants. This is calendula. I love its blazing color. If I keep it picked regularly, the blooms keep coming. It will be one of the last blooming flowers in my garden. This is one of three calendula that showed up in one of Harry’s “winter surprise” pots. He will bring in a planter of soil before the ground freezes, keeps it watered and in sunlight and we see what happens! We had calendula, pansies, pigweed and clover this year. I transplanted out the calendula and will see what happens!

TRANSPLANTED PANSIES

I have about 100 seedlings from three varieties of pansies- all from Johnny’s Selected Seeds.  Penny is reputed to bloom all season long.  The fairly colors are unusual for pansies–orange, yellow, blue. Majestic Giants, traditional pansies with extra large flowers and Sorbet, an early flowering variety.   Most of the seedlings will be transplanted into containers for the Green Love Renaissance garden.  I also have a few choice spots for them in the main garden too!

NEXT STOP FOR PANSIES AND ONION SEEDLINGS


It’s like saying hello to an old friend to go out on the south side of the house.  Harry and I sat outside sunning ourselves in this oasis of ground.  The cold frame may not look like much, but it works really well for the pansies and the onion seedlings.  I won’t start hardening them off out here until this next batch of snow has passed.

I’ve used this method successfully for years. What I like is being able to remove the apparatus and store the until I need it again.  This area is quite shaded when the trees leave out, but right now it is the perfect place for the seedlings that can tolerate some cold.

For materials I used plastic tubing, old tent poles, greenhouse plastic and dimensional lumber from previous projects.  The tent poles are from tents that are missing pieces.  I stretched them out and cut them apart to make “stakes” to poke in the ground.  The black tube goes over the “stakes” and I shoved it into the ground to secure it a bit.  The lumber and plant pots secure down the plastic. It’s crude, but I had a blast putting it together.  The sun was shining as I stood on my little island of soil surrounded by snow.  Sweetness.

STRAWBERRY FIELDS FOREVER


I was lifting up a piece of wood to hold down the cold frame plastic and found new baby strawberry plants saying hello to me.  One of my plans is to pot up plants that are already growing around the yard or self seeding in the garden. This is my first challenge I think.  Wild strawberries transplant well and make excellent container plants.  There is no cost for the seed and I can keep the potted plants outside.  I wonder how they would do with attention and care?

Thanks to The Constant Gardener for the inspiration to share an end of the month photo.

“Every so often you get shown the light, in the strangest of places if you look at it right.”