Wednesday, August 29, 2007

TURTLEHEAD

Wow, it's been awhile since I have added anything to my blog. I don't know how you blogger's who post daily do it, especially this time of year.
I feel like there is nothing going on in the garden. I know that I am just waiting for a little cooler weather so that I can start dividing, and moving plants. I really enjoy getting the beds ready for fall. When I divide or move plants, I can almost feel their relief, and their promise that I will be paid back next year with wonderfully lush foliage and beautiful flowers.
One of the plants that is blooming right now is the Turtlehead (Chelone). This planting is about 3 years old. It starts out small, and slowly spreads. I like it because it blooms when not much else is. It likes to be kept moist, so it has not looked it's best this year because we had no rain, and I didn't get it watered as often as I should have.
A few years ago a friend of mine stopped by, and as all gardeners do, we walked around the lawn. This planting was not very old, but was blooming. I went on and on about how thrilled I was about this plant, and what a wonderful specimen it was. My friend nodded in agreement about what a wonderful specimen it was. Several weeks later I stopped by her home, and noticed a Turtlehead plant about five times the size of mine, in full bloom. I realized then that this was a true friend. Someone who would let me go on and on about this wonderful plant that I had grown, knowing full well that the one she had at home made mine look like a piker.
I hope that everyone one of you has a friend like that in your life.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

FINALLY RAIN!!!

We are finally getting rain this evening. It started rumbling around 6:00 P.M. and has rained off and on since then. It seems to be getting a little more serious about it now. I just puttered around the garden today, watering and fertilizing the container plants. The tomatoes are starting to get to the "to many at once" stage, so I need to find someone to take them off my hands, or get out the canner kettle. The pickles, beets, and green peppers are still going strong despite the lack of moisture. I think I will plant some potatoes and some more beets this next week.
I planted this "Tiger Eye" sumac this spring. I bought it last fall on a clearance and did not get it planted. It over wintered in the garden, and the rabbits pruned it almost beyond recognition. I didn't have much hope for it, but it has done very well. It looks especially good next to the tri-color beech. I was a little concerned that it would get to large for this area, but read somewhere that you can just trim out the largest branches, and it should stay at a manageable size. It really looks good with purple, so I have planted coral bells, and "Red Emperor" sedum next to it.
It is supposed to rain all day tomorrow, and then get very hot again this week. I'm hoping that we get enough rain that I won't have to drag hoses around all week.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

DINNER TIME

This is a picture of what my husband does to perfectly good tomatoes. He slices them, coats them in a mixture of flour, parsley, and seasoned salt, and then he fries them. It looks like a mess to me, but he loves them. As soon as the tomato plants start producing, he cooks up skillet after skillet of these. So tonight, he cooked his tomatoes, and I picked fresh peppers, zucchini, and onions from the garden, and sauted them in butter. Yumm!!! Nothing better than picking vegetables straight from the garden to eat.
Another day without rain. We have cooled off a lot, and the plants seem to appreciate that, but we are supposed to be back into the 90's next week. The only good thing about this weather is that the weeds don't seem to be growing either. I just keep dead heading and fertilizing hoping that we will get some rain and when it cools off, the plants will take off and look good through the Fall.
I just can't get into doing anything else in the garden. I don't want to plant anything because then I have to keep it watered. I will just wait until September to plant the new plants that I picked up in Indy last weekend.


Sunday, August 12, 2007

SHOPPING TRIP AND WATERING

My sister and I spent the day yesterday in Indy, plant shopping. We usually go down once a year, in the late summer, just to search for plant bargains. We try to hit all of the major garden centers, have lunch, and maybe even get to a half-price bookstore. We found our bargain plants a Habig's, we each got about 10 new plants at $2.00 each. They still looked really good, so we were very excited. We didn't find much at the other nursery's, so after getting lost a few times, we found a half-price bookstore, and spent about an hour there. I always head first to the clearance area, and then check out the gardening section. I picked up several garden books for $1.00 each, and in the garden section, found the newly released "The $64 Tomato". I was surprised to find this book, considering that it was just published this year. I am about 1/3 of the way through it, and have to say that I can so relate to a lot of what he writes about. I wonder how many of us gardeners have spent this much money to grow the perfect tomato, or other vegetable. It is a very humorous book, and well written.
The hibiscus are at the height of beauty right now. This one, "Blue River II", I bought at a local nursery a few years ago for my moon garden. When I took it to the counter to buy it, the employee ringing up the sale claimed that is was mis-marked, and should be priced a lot higher than the tag said. They gave it to me for the price it was marked, but weren't to happy about it.
I spent most of today watering. I was thinking about last year and remembering that I never once had to use a sprinkler all of last year. That was the first time that happened since we moved to this property 17 years ago. I am definitely making up for it this year. I am so tired of dragging hoses around the yard, and trying to decide who needs water the most, the vegetable garden, the shrubs beds, or the perennial borders. I try to get them all at least once a week. Every time I water I think to myself that we surely will have rain before I need to water again, but that isn't happening. Oh well, enough whining about the weather, it's Indiana, tomorrow we could have snow!

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

PARTY, GARDEN ART

The party is over! Now I can relax. Sunday we held my husband's 50th birthday party. His brother and nephew were here form Seattle, and his sister and her husband from Michigan. This was a surprise to him, and I had to keep it quite for weeks. I did, and he was very surprised. We ended up with a very hot day for the party, but still we had a good turn out of just over 50 people. We had a very good time, and my husband got to visit with a lot of people that he hasn't seen for awhile. He also got to spend a lot of time with his brother and nephew.
The picture to the left is a part from some farm implement, but looks kind of like a metal flower. It has a funny story behind it. My niece, (a city girl), has met the love of her life, (a farm boy), and plans to be married in October. She has five aunt's. Her fiance came with her to the party and brought this for me to put in my garden. When I saw it I told him that he was definitely "in" with me now, and welcome into the family. He had a big smile on his face until the other sister's started asking where their "metal flower" was. They tried to take mine, an we were going back and forth about who should get this one. He tried to make peace and give mine to my older sister, and then would bring me one later. I replied that then he was definitely "out". He hasn't been around me enough to tell if I was kidding or not, and the look on his face was priceless. Here he stood with all these women arguing over who gets the metal flower. My older sister finally took pity on him, and told him that he could get her one later, and he was off the hook. We had him going for awhile though. I am sure that he thought he had really screwed up big time.
The picture below is of a bird bath that had a cracked bowl. I glued it back together but it still
leaked, so I had my husband drill holes in the bottom for drainage, and then I planted it with sedum, added a few garden fairies, and, made a very nice planter out of it. Like I have said before, I believe that there is a use for everything, and this bird bath still had some life left in it even though the bowl had been broken.
I don't expect that the sedum will over winter in it very well, so I will probably transplant it to a more permanent spot this fall.
We still need rain here, it keeps missing us. It is also very hot and windy. So, I guess I will start the sprinklers up again tomorrow. I hate to say it, but I am looking forward to fall.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

HERB GARDEN, TOMATO CAGES

The herb garden is at it's height of glory right now. The Joe Pye Weed is awesome. It is so hard to believe that in the Spring the herb garden is flat, with no plant material showing. I always look at it and think that it just isn't possible that in a few short months it would look like this. This is my favorite place, there is always something blooming, and the butterflies are most abundant here. The bronze fennel is the only plant that is not as tall as it should be. I think all of the plants froze out this winter, so these are seedlings, and won't reach there usual 5 foot height until next year.
Marc, at the gardening desk blog, has asked about the different means bloggers use to keep tomato plants under control. In previous years I have let the tomato plants sprawl all over the ground, and I ended up with a lot of rotten tomatoes. The 80 year old lady that I help in her garden has a unique system, she puts one tomato cage into the ground, then wires another cage upside down to the top of the first one, and stakes the whole thing with aluminum pipes. She has been using the same ones for years, with great success. I tried this with mixed results, maybe they just don't make tomato cages like they used to, but mine usually fall over. I have tried all of the cages, and spiral wires, etc. on the market, but have never come up with anything that I have been happy with.
So this year I was not sure what to do. I also planted way to many plants, so buying more cages was out.
We had a concrete approach poured for a new garage, and when the work was done, there was a partial roll of the wire left that they lay on the ground to reinforce the concrete. We couldn't get anyone to take it off or hands, and because I believe that there is a use for everything, I decided to make tomato cages out of it.
I couldn't believe how many cages I got. I thought that I would need to stake them, but have not gotten around to it yet. I keep thinking that I will go out some morning and they will all be toppled over, but is hasn't happened yet. I have kept any branches that venture outside the cage trimmed off. So far they have worked out really well. I know that storage could be a problem, but I think that I will just leave them in the garden over the winter. I also kept one to grow potatoes in. I will report on how those turn out at a later date.