Remains of the garden

Ok, ok, ok, OK already!  It’s been awhile since I posted on this blog. Truthfully I was discouraged by the WEATHER this gardening season.  First the barrage of water.  OMG. I planted peas at just the right moment and then depended on the WEATHER to continue the water so those peas would germinate and bloom and set peas…….. and right.. it didn’t happen.  Not a pea….  Then the rain held off and the summer seeds went in and the rain held offffffff…… and the entire garden suffered even tho I watered religiously thru July and August.    The fact that our TREE started losing its leaves in August did me in.  That and the reality of not being in any kind of shape to tend a garden shaken by heat and lack of water.  Major bummer.  But now its October and there has been a major reprieve for this gardener and my mini, mini estate.

The tomatoes are long gone and notes made as to what plan to proceed with next season.

A major change is the removal of the raised Iris bed.  They have been lovely BUT taking up major real estate.  Next year that bed will be the new tomato home;  then there will be room for more cukes and maybe space for onions. It turned out to be a good idea to put in the 2 smaller raised beds and the 2 bottomless pond circles for tomatoes and herbs.

In retrospect the real challenge was the weed disaster in the pie garden. The weeds within the raised beds weren’t the problem; it was the unending scourge of low matting weeds in between the raised beds. They are still there: sending out their roots, flowering and producing seeds and then seedlings-on and on and on. I need a plan to keep this problem at bay. No matter what goes into the beds all the ‘dead’ space is almost a deal breaker——-wha….wha….wha.But here are high points and saving graces and why I’m plotting and planning for next year.

scarlet runner beans drying

September Meal

The 2nd season for this cutting from the club

Parsley setting seed

Late Thai basil

swiss chard

Dahlias are still going

The front bed in Sept


A thankful shout out to Carol at May Dreams Gardens the hostess of garden bloggers bloom day.  Can you believe it’s already the middle of October.

August 15 Garden bloggers bloom day

The gardens here are a mess.  The stress of the heat and drought of July has caused our back garden maple to drop its leaves prematurely. So all the perennials and veggies have crumbly old maple leaves draped over them.

early leaf drop

So even if there are blooms out there they are probably gonna obscured with leaves.  A favorite of mine is the lycoris

or resurrection lilies-well-lily. It’s in the front  so not as likely to be covered in leaves. And this is only the 2nd time in 10 years that it’s bloomed. But it’s worth the wait because it just glows. I planted half a dozen bulbs last fall and even though they had a few leaves early in the spring I don’t see any sign of bloom stalks.


I love this year’s lantana. The color changes from yellow to peach to rose as it matures.

Lantana, Sunrise Rose

Along the back fence, this year I have twice the number canna I had in 2010. However none of that year’s plants bloomed. After the cloud bursts of the past weekend there’s a frond flying high above one the tallest plants. Promising, eh?

Canna frond

Also close to the back fence I planted a couple of different dahlias. They actually are not that different from each other; but pretty none the less.


Of course I have all the usual August bloomers struggling with the deluge of leaves. Let me just say that the scarlet runner beans are a joy to behold. They seem to be slow to produce beans, as are the Kentucky Wonders.  Meanwhile I’ll just enjoy the show.

Scarlet Runner Beans


As usual thanks to Carol at May Dream Gardens for hosting this edition of GBBD.

Tomato ID’s

Wow  it is really tough to decide whether some of these heirloom tomatoes are ripe.  I’ve had to make a chart of where each type of tomato is in the garden and make note of what color each will be when ripe. What do you think?

goose creek

These are near ripe, in fact we’ve been eating them a week now.  they are on the small side with average tomato flavor.

San marsano 2

Also ripe with a meaty body.  Good for sauce or paste but lacks the flavor of those grown in Italy.

Prudens Purple

Ripe and very attractive on the vine.  Taste is blah. Too bad.


Not quite ripe but a taste of an earlier fruit was wonderful. ( It’s green on the inside)

Black cherry

Ripe. This cherry tomato has the sweetest taste of any of the nine. It is well worth the growing and I don’t like to share it with Ernie.

Fantome Du Laos

This is a white  tomato. I picked one with these yellow shouders and a near white bottom and it was pretty tasty. I hope so because it looks to be the most proliphic of the group.

Pork chop

This one I haven’t sampled yet. The description says it’s yellowish gold with orange flecks. Soon—very soon.

Grub's Mystery Green

This is the toughest one to call. Green is green, right? Well if I press the flesh it doesn’t give much so I think they need a few more days.

I have two more varieties. There’s the currant that I thought Ernie might like and a volunteer in the asparagas bed. The currant is kind of a pain.  It spreads like wild fire and the fruits are not only very small but quite tart. This one I’ll not grow again. As for the volunteer; its behind all the others but I’m interested to see what it produces.

Weed rant

So OK while the tomatoes are ripening and the green beans are climbing and the cukes are producing; I am weeding,weeding , weeding. Of course I expect weeds but this year the oxalis has been ridiculous.  The entire iris bed has been drowning in oxalis.

oxalis PLUS crab grass

Meanwhile the open spaces between the raised beds have been harboring multitudes of weeds.

spotted sedge



rose of Sharon treelets

nut sedge

These weeds are the main offenders but there  are  plenty more in lesser amounts that add to the burden of this gardener.




July recap 2011

Two words for the month: heat and drought.  Of the two the drought was the most worrisome.   There was a paltry 1.25 inches of rain in the garden here. We were out-of-town the first ten days and rigged a sprinkler in the pie garden to a timer and moved the containers into the circle. On our return it didn’t look as if it had run correctly but at least nothing bit the dust.  As for the rest of the yard; well the 2 tiny blueberry bushes out front shriveled and died, The grass turned a deadly shade of pale and it seemed as though I could hear the flora join my fauna (Ernie) in panting.

scarlet runner blossoms

swiss chard



Back in February I thought it a great idea to choose veggies that would lend color to the garden as they grew.  It didn’t matter to me if we would actually harvest or eat any of it and indeed I paid little attention to WHAT part of the plant is edible.  The swiss chard caved to the rain in april and I got barely 3-4 plants of which the leaves are the palatable part of the plant.  But the stems!!!!  They sure are lovely.

Then there’s the scarlet runner beans. Look at those flowers! I  wish there were more.  Finally the amaranth.  They are very colorful. Both the leaves early and the seeds later can be used in the kitchen. I want those colorful leaves in my garden so I thought to harvest seeds only.  Hmmm, they need to be dried and ground into flour. I MAY get enough for a cupcake!

Coleus 1



Coleus 3

coleus 2


coleus 4 Henna





Boy I’m really happy with all the coleus I picked up this spring.  There are even a couple that I took cuttings from last fall that are growing to beat the band. I especially like ‘Henna’; maybe because, Heather, my daughter has been experimenting with henna on her hair.  But check out that perilla!  What astounding color.

As for the veggie harvest it looks as if August will be THE month for veggies.  Already I have been grabbing cukes off the vine.(there’s only the one vine). But the tomatoes and beans are getting ready to shine.

Tiny currant tomatoes with cilantro overhead


tomatoes ripening deep within the vines


Ernie's first harvest

Finally check out this dahlia.

new dahlia




GBBD July 2011

This month I’ve been somewhat taken unaware because we vacationed for the first ten days of July. We set up a timer to water the pie garden and moved the containers into that circle so that they could benefit from the prearranged sprinkles.  Those beds survived without a stumble.  however the rest of  the gardens suffered greatly from the lack of water. Although we had 8 plus inches of rain in May, we had just one and a half inches in June and so far here in my backyard we’ve had zero rain in July.

The established astilbes went from bloom to seeding in that ten days. The new astilbe taquettis withered. With subsequent water they appear to live for now. Meanwhile in the front garden I lost at least one of my tiny blueberries and the other one doesn’t look too perky.

Yet I’m up for reporting the following bloomers.

dry as a bone

future cukes

dill blossoms

Tuscan sun


thanks once again to carol at may dreams garden for hosting this event.

Back from vacation

We went cruising again this summer on Lake Ontario. We decided to follow the wind this year and sail the line of least resistance and most under sail time. The ten days turned out to be mostly motor sailing due to rough seas or little wind. And in fact we headed home early with reports of sweltering temps and little or no wind. We did most of our sailing between  CFB Trenton Yacht Club and Bay of Quinte Yacht Club.  Going east we patiently traveled at 2.5-3.5 knots.  Returning we tacked all 9 miles.  Neither trip had any frets or worries.  We were just traveling under sail.

At each of the two yacht clubs they have a very active junior sailors learning to sail program. CFB Trenton Yacht Club also hosts a program for the physically challenged of any age to learn to sail.  The young people who conduct the programs are impressive.  They have loads of patience and upbeat attitudes. Here’s a kid on his 2nd day of sailing finally coming into shore.

end of day 2

After they’ve been out on the course sailing there’s a shuffle to get each boat secured and then a chance to cool off before lunch.

securing the rig

cooling off at BOQYC

Leap into summer

Docked at BOQYC

At first we were planning to head east thru the Bay of Quinte but as time passed we began to hear forecasts of thunderstorms further east and decided that we had gone there done that last year; so we went west thru the Murray Canal and Presqu’lle Bay to Coburg. The trip after going thru the bay was excellent. It was our third opportunity to actually SAIL.  Coburg offers lots of opportunities for meals off ship, so we had lunch at Oasis. Had cold cucumber and strawberry soup with a pizzerella. Yummy. Returning to the slip we met up with the crew of Marimba. It seems we were playing tag thru the Bay of Quinte with no notion of each other’s whereabouts.

Both Marimba and Watercolors left Canada the next day.  We ended up going toward Brockport while Whitey went direct  Rochester.  NO joy, no wind That day nor on the following day for Watercolors returning to Roc cha cha.





Weathermen rant

Let me just say, when you live on a sandbar never trust the local weather forecaster when he says there’s a chance of thunder showers in late June.  Remember they are predicting for a gazillion county area and those ‘pop up’ showers may be miles from your dusty, panting flowers and vegetables. So water when your gut says water.  After all if it rains later there won’t be a flood on your little sandbar.

Check this oddity on the sandbar.

Mico strangers

spring review

The summer solstice is a couple of days away so I kinda want to review the hits and misses (mostly the misses) of the past few weeks. The biggest disappointment is the pie wedge that I chose for seeding veggies into. I put in harrier beets,(twice)  sugar snap peas, a lettuce blend, arugula, onions sets, a radish blend (twice), and swiss chard (twice). The only harvest has been the green onions and the lettuce. The rest? FAIL.  Even the reliable dill self-seeded everyplace else in the garden except that wedge.  Now that I think of it, there were few weeds even.

Meanwhile  seeds I planted in other wedges are doing OK.  There are basil varieties, cilantro, cukes and amaranth. The amaranth is slow but may yet produce a show. I ended up pulling out all the losers from that original veggie bed and planted Kentucky Wonders, Scarlet Runners  and bush beans. I guess I’m not really ready to blame the garden bed.  I suspect instead the deluge of May rains had more impact on this years crop.

The front yard is always kind of a mess between mid May to Mid June while the early daffs and grape hyacinths drop their blossoms and I wait for the leaves to decay to the point where they can be easily pulled out. I know I should just plant day lilies among them to hide the browning bulb leaves but I don’t like the lilies well enough to give them a spot in the front garden.

zinnia profusion

This year I ended up going to a local nursery on the 16th of June (I rarely ever shop plants this late) and found the bargain of the century.  They had marked down their annuals AND were selling all of them buy one get one free. OMG.  I bought Zinnia profusion in three different color lines.  They were $2.49 for six-inch pots with 2 plants each AND another of the same value for free.  Plus the plants are healthy and gorgeous and way bigger than plastic flats seen in the big box stores. I put the zinnia in the front yard oval bed and plan to go back to the market for more.

One more problem.  There is a groundhog living under our shed.  I’ve seen him twice and I suspect him of digging out all of my beets last summer.  So far I haven’t seen any damage except when I spotted him yesterday munching down on the Baptisia.  Maybe Ernie is a fairly good deterrent. His favorite thing to do is to have a barkfest with the neighbor dogs to our west just five feet from the entrance to the woodchuck’s  path to underneath the shed.

groundhog damaged canna

All of this soap opera is happening around our preliminary plans to cruise on watercolors this summer. I don’t think I mentioned our Sunday cruise in the fog just beyond the Genesee River inlet.  The fog closed down on us when we about three-quarters of a mile beyond the pier and we had to use the GPS to navigate back to the river. Today we went out again in rather hazy conditions and were able to sail out to the 200ft depth mark before we tacked to return to our slip.  Of course the wind died.  While we attempted to take in the sails the furler on the genny balked and we ended up pulling it down instead of in to get back home.  It took 2 hours to batten down everything at the dock..

garlic with curly scape

Back to the garden—-last night we went out for dinner at a local restaurant and each ordered a pasta dish with chicken, brocoli, black olives and mozzarella cheese. There was lots of it and it was exceeding bland. We brought home two large plates of it as a doggie bag. So after our afternoon on the boat I decided to doctor up the pasta dish for supper. I gathered garlic and onion scapes plus snips of rosemary from the garden  and sautéed them with minced jalapeno peppers. Then I heated the pasta dish, added  the veggies and herbs from home plus a couple of tablespoons each of olive oil and red wine vinegar and topped it all with parmesan cheese.——not fail—-excellent in fact.  Sometimes it’s all in the herbs and spices.

our lady of Guadeloupe rose with Roseanne perennial geranium

Tuscan Sun

Unknown from GYC cutting

Sedum, hens and chicks


Garden Bloggers Bloom Day-June 15, 2011

I didn’t start posting to GBBD until Sept. of 2010 so it gets a little difficult to figure what was blooming when last year.  This year, it’s very noticeable that I have a preponderance of purple and pink blooms.

Campanula blue chips

Campanula P.

Allium Globemaster

Iris (love It)

Johnny Jump-up


May Night

perennial geranium



Penny's wegelia

One of the few stray ‘other colors’ the rose Teasing Georgia:

Long shot

Mid Ground

Teasing Georgia

As always , thanks to Carol at “May Dreams Garden” for hosting GBBD. Check it out for more garden blooms for June 2011.


Here is a late addition to the pink/purple list-blooming for the first time today:

Rose Campion