Monday, September 27, 2010


Continuing with the butterfly theme for early fall, since the vegetable gardens look like this, and there is not a lot to say about that, except that okra rules.
spinach and arugula seedlings below okra
root seeds planted in a row--radish, beet, carrot (round! purple!), and parsnip

I noticed some striped caterpillars on my bronze fennel yesterday, which I immediately thought were monarchs, but they only eat milkweed, so now I am thinking black swallowtail. You'll have to excuse my bad photography--more pics to come if I spot chrysalises, or if these caterpillars escape predation from the birds, mice, and wasps that call my garden home.

Friday, September 24, 2010

As Summer Wanes...

Still getting okra in late September. Another "crop" (well, 5) of eggplant is coming soon. The peppers are a bust, and though we had plenty of tomatoes for slicing and tons of golden cherry tomatoes, something was up with the tomatoes that I'll have to address next year. Ditto with the peppers. Limas were the other success, but I still had to buy some from the farmer's market to freeze. Last, we'll have pesto all winter.
Looking ahead: My Brassica seedlings have amazingly survived; I've planted some parsley, cilantro, and dill; and some favas sprouted up. My two additional cold frames are on the way (the other one worked super well last winter). I just hope I can get some lettuce, arugula, spinach, tat soi, carrots, radishes, and other root vegetables planted this weekend before it's too late!

Butterfly Bush indeed

I resisted buying a Buddleia (butterfly bush) for a long time, fretting about them being invasive. But this one was too gorgeous to resist. In my urban area, I don't think it is too bad a transgression. And look, before I even got it into the ground it was visited by a monarch and this black swallowtail. I'll make sure to finally get my butterfly weed (Asclepias) seeds planted in time next year so I'll have larval plants as well as nectar plants.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Woodpecker caught snacking

Lots of birds have been enjoying the sunflowers as they go to seed. Unfortunately I scared this one off before I could get a better shot:
I think it was a downy woodpecker, based on this comparison.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

A burst of productivity

8 ft tall tomatoes
red peppers
okra forest

12 okra plants, 2 eggplant, peppers, lima beans, marigold

A little bit of the Mediterranean

The pomegranate seems to be happy, utterly unfazed by the heat and lack of rain this summer. Maybe it's its mates: fennel on the left and lavender on the right, just like in one of its habitats, my favorite vacation spot, the Mediterranean! It is fitting that in ancient Greece (one of my current obsessions, ancient or not), the pomegranate represented the changing seasons, as we look forward to some cooler weather this weekend.
It is a dwarf variety, so we likely won't get much in the way of fruit--but just a few for cocktail garnishes would be grand, and the foliage alone is beautiful--not to mention the gorgeous, hummingbird-attracting flowers.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Pruning Fail

I neglected to research before I started pruning the Chaemycyparis (false cypress) that was threatening to block the sidewalk, and I made a hole. One that will never grow back. So, time to remove what was a very poorly placed shrub anyway. Who has time to finely trim a shrub so that it does not get too large? Bad job, landscaping center who shall not be named. I hate all of your old fashioned and ill conceived design choices. Why did you plant a holly tree two feet from the house? I think thorns along a sidewalk must be bad feng shui at the very least. Do not get me started on the Liriope!
I have to admit I changed my mind about the Nandina. I actually looked up how to prune it, and now it looks fabulous.
Now on to the business of choosing a new plant more suited to the space. The other plants there are Yew and this annual hibiscus thing that people seem to get a kick out of.

Curb Appeal

I haven't done a curb appeal post in a while, because well, there has not been much curb appeal this summer! Luckily we had the fresh paint and storm door to distract passerby, because my plantings suffered in the 100 degree heat and scarce rain. I had to cut the poor Pieris way back. Then all of a sudden, the little bed regrouped. The Dahlias and Sedum started blooming. The Dianthus maintained all summer. We added "inland" sea oats and rearranged some things a bit. The finale was me finally getting around to edging the bed and ripping out the grass that was infiltrating--which only took one day when I put my mind (and body) to it. I even like the color scheme I have going--some chartreuse and gold in the foliage and pink and orange flowers. I never wear pink, but in flowers it is hard to go wrong.

Sedum--look closely at the leaves and you can see where finches eat them!
I need more Dianthus around the Japanese maple, or maybe some creeping Phlox.

Along the side of the house. I have a shade garden, behind the Viburnum are two fall-blooming Camelias and a Hydrangea, which is drying beautifully. I am trying a Japanese Anemone, which I will photograph if it blooms. My soil has too much clay for it to thrive, but it is doing okay so far. If I can make it work with a raised bed and lots of compost, I will be planting lots more. The Heuchera back there does well, as does the lone Hellebore. I may have killed the Astilbe, which is sad since it bloomed so well.