Saturday, August 11, 2012

The Cutting Garden

A year ago, the generous - and multi-talented - Belinda (Wild Acre) provided a 10-week series on how to grow a cutting garden.  With dreams of her English abundance of flowers all summer, I dived in and made creating a cutting garden my project for this year.  It's time I shared the results - and the lessons learned.

First, the site.
We have always called this "the bowling alley".  When we first moved in, there was absolutely nothing in this long, straight side yard.  Altho there is now a lot planted to break up the empty space, the name stuck.  I did the lay-it-out-with-a-hose-trick, and Round-up and finally spaded it out by hand and added compost, etc.  You know the drill - all last September.  So that I could plant.

Ordered lots of seeds - way too many, of course - but that was part of the fun!

And, then the real work began.
But in a relatively short time, up came the little flower plants - all last fall.  While Belinda had assured me that they would look like weeds, they looked more like little soldier plants to me!  All lined up and waiting to bloom in the spring.
And, bloom they did.  By late May, I was looking at this every morning.
The larkspur, bachelor's buttons, nigella and stock did beautifully and produced their little hearts out. 
Sadly, by July it was pretty much gone. The seeds I planted in the fall did very well, but the seeds that I added in the spring just ignored me completely.

Lessons learned:

First, I love having a cutting garden and it is well worth the time and effort.  I just need to learn some more about what does well in my humid, hot zone.

Two.  Virginia "ain't" England.  Spring is not spring, and summer is not summer.  While Belinda is enjoying an abundance of flowers now, mine have been gone more than least a month.  By the time the zinnias were blooming (in the old garden) everything else was gone.  I never really had a chance to make the big, fresh-picked bouquets I wanted.

Three.  I can't go by what happened this year.  Does anyone remember when spring began this year.  I think it was around February 15th and the "first" summer was in April.  This was not a "normal" year - at least not using previous history as a model.  Was this the new "normal"? or just an odd year?  the answer to that will be very important to gardeners all over the world.
Four.  It's time to start again.  Actually, I have already cleaned out and turned over the bed.  Am ready to spread some compost and feed it, and have gotten the first order of seeds.  Am going to plant more varieties this fall and take one last piece of Belinda's advice.  No soldier rows for me this year.  I shall plant in swaths and let them look for wild when they come up.  i know what they look like now and won't mistake flowers-to-be for weeds.

Thanks, Belinda.  It was great fun.  You have created a monster!

Monday, August 6, 2012

Olympics - week one

You'd have to live under a rock to be totally ignoring the Summer Olympics, but I do understand that everyone is not as avid a fan as I am - or would like to be!
There have been exciting moments in the pool, in the gym, on the soccer fields, in the skuls and just about everywhere else - with more to come in track and field this week.  So, it seems to me that it is time to take a moment and  talk about what really matters - the U.S. uniforms. 

[In the Olympic spirit, I am not in the business of dissing the uniforms of other countries.]

Actually, I have been totally impressed with the high quality - read that as "good looking" US uniforms.  Love the bright reds and the good dark blue.  

How can you not like these rowing team uniforms?
 Or ladies' tennis?
 Or, gymnastics - men's ...
 or women's ...
or swimming - they all wear the same thing ...
 or track and field?
 even trampoline (who even knew that was an Olympic sport?) ...
or volleyball ...
 or, soccer ... [They have navy uniforms and white, too, but I love these with the broad stripes!]
I do have a question, tho.  Who thought that gray warm-ups would look nice for the medal ceremonies?  Could they have made a worse choice?

Yes, they could have - and they did.  The folks in the shooting sports are wearing brown.  Yes, brown.  That sure is the the color I think of first for the U.S. - well, right after gray.  
What were they thinking?