Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Wednesday Workdays - Lots of them!

Clearly, i have not been hanging out at the keyboard keeping you up to date.  Rest assured that i have been either in the garden or learning more about plants, so that i can get back to the garden!

One of the things i love most about retirement is that i can do what i want, when i want ... within reason.  So, here's what i have been working on recently. 

The Veggie Garden.

Somehow, i just can't call it the "potager", even tho that is what i had planned.   It came out too rustic for that fancy colonial name.  When we left it in October, it looked like this:

and now it looks more like this:
I've been harvesting greens (lettuce, spinach, kale and arugula) since April, but also broccoli for a month now, and English peas for the past week.  We are loving all the fresh food, but experiencing the "farmer's dilemma of having to eat the same thing for many days in a row.  I really don't want to freeze any of it, but it may come to that. 

The tomatoes are setting small fruit and we may have many sweet potatoes in the fall - time will tell.

The Cutting Garden

Sweet peas were my big experiment this year and they have done well (see first photo).  I have cut two large bunches and hope to have two or three more small bunches before they are bloomed out.  The spot was good until early May, but as the sun has risen in the sky the shade has encroached.  (Retirement has also given me a lot more time to follow the track of the sun.  I hope that will help in future planning.)  I'll plant them (the sweet peas) again next year, but will move them to the back fence where it is sunny all day.

Dahlias and zinnias are up and will be blooming in a few weeks.  Meanwhile the roses and lilies around the yard are starting to bloom so i will have flowers for the house.

The Front Entry Garden

Have been working on this area for a couple of years and it's still "in progress".  The chrysanthemums have all died, so have replaced them with small everygreens and removed all the vinca minor.  i also did a big pruning on the azaleas to clear back the walkway and re-shape the entire area.  The dogwood has canker and is dying, but there is a volunteer crepe myrtle coming along fast to replace it.
A new plant for me - Distylium 'Blue Cascade' - whose new growth is red that "fades" to green and then to blue.

Other than that, it's been weed, weed, weed for the past month.  A friend recently described her garden as "oppressively green".  It's the perfect description for these last weeks of "cooler" weather before the heat and oppressive humidity of summer arrive. 

Sunday, June 5, 2016

What's Bloomin' Sunday

After several years of procrastination, this year i finally made a bed for sweet peas.  Was it worth the work?  Absolutely!
This may be the only large cutting i get, but there should be enough over the next couple of weeks for a few small bowlfuls.

The "old wife's tale" in these parts is that one should plant peas on George Washington's birthday.  I took that to mean the "real" one and not the second Monday in February.  Using the various warm days in January and early February, I had the bed ready - the sunniest part of the cutting bed and where i could see the progress from my desk.

My support system worked (well, marginally).  It needs to go higher and i need to be more pro-active with the twining.

I've watched, watered and weeded for three months now and have finally been well rewarded.  Will definitely try this again ... with more support and in a more sunny place.  It's not Floret Farm, but they smell as good as they look!