Archive for July 15th, 2010

Once again the middle of the month has rolled around, time to share with all the folks in Internetland the answer to the question, “What is going on in our gardens?”  This question was originally posed several years ago by Carol, of May Dreams Gardens, and has turned into quite a popular monthly activity.

The short answer is:

Of course, I’m going to go into a little more detail.   The front garden is starting to phase out of day lily mode and into the late summer mode of garden phlox, black eyed susans and, a little later, asters.   I have truly enjoyed the day lilies, and am sad to see them winding down.

Out in the rain garden, things are looking quite spectacular, since we just had 3 inches of rain.

When I looked out my bathroom window this morning, I knew that the hardy hibiscus had got the memo that today was GBBD, for it had chosen to put on a spectacular flush of blooms.

The bees were not unaware of their availability.

At the feet of the hibiscus, in the sedum/hen and chicks bed, one of the hen and chicks is blooming.   Notice that the dear little black ants have made themselves an aphid farm there.   How industrious of them.  I must go do something about that little business.

The grapes in the vineyard have started ripening, so we have deployed the netting.   In this shot you can also see that we have caged the espaliered apple trees in chicken wire.

This has effectively excluded the neighborhood squirrels, so I’m pretty sure that WE will get to eat the apples on those trees this year.   This will make a nice change from last year, where we noticed that the squirrels were busily eating all the little green apples too late.  There’s a pretty good crop set, too.

The sauna garden is looking quite good today, despite the fact that the rabbits ate all the annuals I purchased to fill it in.  The perennials have settled in well, and the marigolds and cosmos and cleomes reseeded themselves nicely from last year.  For some reason I didn’t get a single zinnia, but perhaps the rabbits like them too.

I have featured the vegetable garden rather fully just a few days ago, but there is still a lot going on.   The tomatoes are about to drive me crazy though.  There are tons of fruit set on them but it is stubbornly staying green.  I’m pretty sure all the varieties I planted are supposed to turn red, too.

Check out that cucumber row in the back.  I swear that plant seems to think it is some sort of antebellum damsel getting prepared for the big dance.   Look how she has her skirts spread.  If you get close up to that plant, you discover that cucumbers are the Big News as far as the pollinators are concerned.

The dragon flies are hunting for aphids over here as well.

They are commuting from over by the pond.

There is more than one variety of dragonfly over there, too.

I despair of getting a decent picture of the pond until I clear some of the overgrowth away.   But this is the little waterfall that flows into it.

That little pool is one of the most popular spots on the place for the birds.   They drink and bathe in it all day long.   The forsythia forest that surrounds it I thought was going to be a prime nesting area.   How wrong I was.   It is the waiting room, and because there is so much diverse traffic through it no one makes a nest there.   Still, it’s a great place to watch the birds.

So, what am I going to do with all that cucumber?   The variety I have planted there is called Parisian Pickling cucumber, and my plan is to make sweet gherkins out of as many of the tiny cukes that I can.    Experience has told me that you rarely catch all the babies when they are 1-2″ long, which is when you are supposed to harvest them for gherkins.   But this cucumber makes a very tasty dill pickle when it is allowed to get 3-4″ long, and the ones that lurk and get even larger make wonderful slicers for snacks and dinner.   So the question is, when we are going out there and picking over the vines twice a day, how do we ever miss those great big ones that are on the right in this picture?

I shall leave you with an artistic macro shot of the wooly thyme, which is busy blooming right now.

It’s worth making the time to visit other participants in GBBD.   There are many beautiful gardens being featured by their proud guardians.  You can find links to them here.

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