Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Not on Blooms Alone

Jackmanii Clematis

     One of the casualties  of this season's frantic pace has been a report  on our vegetable garden. I picked spinach daily through our April-like May until the weather shifted to August and my plants bolted.

     By then we started to get overwhelmed with broccoli. In addition to all our broccoli-based dinners, I began to blanch a pound or two for the refrigerator so I could toss some into a quick salad at lunch.

First Crop

     I still had one head of the first crop in the fridge when a second crop was ready to  cut. We had to prevail on some old friends to take much of #2 home with them. After the first large single heads, broccoli plants  will  continue to produce smaller heads for the rest of the summer.

     Yesterday we picked our first snow peas and had a big chicken and  snow pea stir fry for dinner. Our pea plants are over 6 feet tall.

     We are starting to use our leafy greens like Swiss chard, kale and collards. Herbs like mint, oregano, parsley, and basil are open for business. Our little patch of fingerling potatoes is also thriving.

Fingerling Potatoes

     Bringing up the rear, as usual, are our "fruit" crops like peppers,tomatoes, and cucumbers. We saw our first tomato flower today, but it will be July before we get to eat any of these treasures. We will have a few real fruits as well -- like raspberries and  blueberries. But that will be another story.

Saturday, June 11, 2016

June Rushes By

This Rhododendron began to bloom two weeks after
 the pink one in my last  post.
          Numerous shrubs and perennials have bloomed in my yard in the last few weeks without getting the attention they deserve. Another species for which bloom can be stretched by choosing multiple varieties are the lilacs. Once restricted to the large common lilacs of our ancestors, lilacs now come in many shades, shapes and varieties, including a tree form. I recently designed an all-lilac shrub bed that I hope to see  in real life soon. My own poor yard, however, lacking a lot of sun, has only two Meyer lilacs. But I am not complaining.

     The white peony I showed off in my last post was beaten down by a heavy rain. Fortunately, the buds  on the pink one next to it were still closed. While we removed white bedraggled blooms, the pink peony stepped forward and replaced its cousin.

     Meanwhile May and early June produced a flowering frenzy that was simply impossible to keep up with. These Cranberry Viburnums we will revisit at another time.

     Our roses were slow getting started but came into their own in mid May. Roses are one of my favorite flowers because, unlike many others, they will stay with us  past Thanksgiving. We lost one of our climbers this winter so you see here only half of our display. But a new one is growing and will catch up eventually.

     And   our final entry for early June is one of our few true poppies:

     The bumblebee here is getting a closer look.