By Penny Stine
Saturday, June 18, 2011
Growing lots of flowers is relatively new to me, but seeing them bloom makes me happy, so I decided to share the joy. I’ll pass on a few tips while I’m at it.
This is a penstemon (I think). It’s a perennial, so it will get larger every year. There are a bunch of different types of penstemon and they don’t look alike at all. This one has gotten quite large, and has reddish leaves so it adds color and interest even when it’s not blooming.
I think both of these are also penstemon.
I planted them too close together. I’ve seen the red one take up a three-foot square space in the yards of people who know what they’re doing and they’re quite beautiful.
I love the snapdragons in my veggie garden. I’ve read that you can cut them back to encourage blooming in the fall or you can let them dry and produce seeds where they stand. I’m hoping they reseed, because I want them back next year.
Speaking of reseeding, this is borage. I’ve heard that once you plant it, you can never get rid of it. I planted it last year and it came back this year. It will get unruly by the season’s end. The flowers are edible and taste slightly of cucumbers. An interesting addition to salads.
This is bellflower. It’s a biennial that I started last year. It didn’t bloom last year, and now I’m trying to figure out how to make it act like a perennial, because I want it back next year.
Coreopsis. Easy to grow, gets bigger every year, blooms for a long time. It doesn't get a lot of water where it's planted, and it doesn't seem to mind. A great addition to the raspberry patch.
The official name for this is gaillardia, but it’s also known as blanketflower. I started a bunch from seed last year and was disappointed when they didn’t get very big, nor did they bloom. This year has been a pleasant surprise because I’m finding the plants in a couple of places that I’d forgotten I put them. They should bloom all summer with very little help from me, but these two will be overshadowed by the tomatillo plant next to them by August or September.
Starting perennials from seed is great when you're on a budget and you've got enough patience to wait a year or two to see them in their full glory. It can be tricky if you don't know how big a plant has the potential to grow, so perhaps my flower power tutorial has been helpful. I'll do a July update when later season specimens start to bloom.
By Laurena Mayne Davis
Friday, June 17, 2011
See how pretty these sunflowers were last year? I save seeds and grow these Mammoth sunflowers every year, for the beautiful blooms and the abundant seeds. Boy oh boy do they make lots of seeds — so many the wild birds even quit eating them this winter and I gave the rest to the chickens. But for some reason I gave each and every seed to the chickens and didn’t save even a handful to plant. Doh!
I have had two forehead-slapping planting lapses this spring. About the time I realized I had no sunflower seeds saved, I figured out why my cucumbers hadn’t come up: I’d never planted them. I'd tilled, watered and examined for shoots, but while everything else came up around the cucumber patch, only weeds sprouted there. After trying to think back if I had planted too deeply or didn’t sow thickly enough, I realized I had no specific memory of putting seeds in the ground. Double doh!
In my defense, I do most of my gardening in the early morning hours before work and in the twilight, drowsy hours before bed, but still … at this rate, who knows what I’ll be harvesting this summer.
By Amy Hamilton
Thursday, June 16, 2011
I'll admit it. I'm not much of a gardener.
If a plant is bent on dying or some bugs find it really tasty, who am I to get in nature's way?
That's why I love growing hops. They're so easy, at least some varieties make me feel like I'm not a total plant killer.
Case in point: About three years, I planted Cascade hops at the base of a trellis in the backyard and another variety, Brewer's Gold, at a trellis in the front yard.
I planted both set of hops (or rhizomes as they're called) in a mostly compost mixture, I make sure to water them excessively and occasionally bolster up the root base with decomposed leaves or some extra dirt.
The Cascade hops have traveled nearly to the tree above the garden, about 30 feet up on jute that we connected to a branch high overhead.
Brewer's Gold hops, however, don't impress me much. They're just now starting to wind their way around a few of lower trellis rungs. I swear, I don't treat the front yard any differently than the backyard ones. They also both receive about the same amount of sunlight- probably about 6 to 8 hours a day.
Already the Cascade hop vines are showing the furry first signs of hop buds. If we can get the vines down and out of the tree by harvest time in early fall, it should be enough for a batch of beer.
Yum. Making beer from the hops is a story for a different day. But if you are so inclined, Cascade hops tend to work wonders here in our warm clime. They grow abundantly enough to make it look like even the novice garden knows what she's doing. Sometimes that's just enough of a confidence boost to tackle a whole garden full of greens.
By Melinda Mawdsley
Wednesday, June 15, 2011
A few coworkers have asked me if I'm participating in the CSA again this year, so I thought I would take a moment to answer that question.
The acronym CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture, and I have been a part of the Cameron Place CSA for three years. To participate, I pay a lump sum to the CSA during the spring ($415 broke up into three payments this year) to pick up organic produce weekly from early June until — weather permitting — late September.
The first pickups are typically very green (lettuce, spinach, broccoli, cabbage, etc.) and this season has been no different.
I'm in Week 2, and I've already got the tasty fixin's for a lettuce topped with a summer treat...radishes.
By Laurena Mayne Davis
Tuesday, June 14, 2011
These aromatic phlox started in the scrappy Rock Springs, Wyo., garden of my husband’s grandmother, then traveled to Colorado and finally to Tennessee, where they’re flourishing in my sister-in-law’s expansive lawn.
With temperatures heating up, if you're ready for a desert reprieve, let your garden voyeurism take you to the lush South in my sis-in-law’s new and informative gardening blog, The Imperfect Gardener.