Tuesday, July 17, 2007

More fun with hardneck garlic

So what if you can't braid hardneck garlic? You can make a lovely bouquet that won't wilt.

Allium sativum 'Music'

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day, July Edition

Courtesy of Carol at May dreams gardens, it's bloom day!

(It's also Green Thumb Sunday but apparently I was kicked off the GTS blogroll for failing to participate sufficiently! Bad Molly!)


Here's a mysterious passalong plant that I received from my landscaper. It lights up the shady corners of my border. I've never seen it anywhere else except in my cousin's garden in Hilversum, Netherlands. She told me the name but I forgot to write it down. Anyone recognize it?

Update: Lina from Iceland (wheee! A gardener in Iceland read my blog!) correctly identified the mystery plant as Lysimachia punctata. Thanks, Lina!
Googling the proper name turned up the common name, yellow loosestrife. Further googling reassured me that this particular loosestrife is not invasive, at least not in the Pacific Northwest. If it were Lysimachia vulgaris, I'd have to rip it all out. whew.

All of the hostas are in bloom, including this miniature that I moved to a pot on the porch so it wouldn't get trampled or lost, both of which were happening to it in the garden:

hosta 'Blue Mouse Ears'

A trio of thalictrum. Um, thalictra? thalictrums?Three species of the genus thalictrum:

Thalictrum flavum ssp glaucum

Thalictrum delavayi (Chinese meadow rue or Tibetan meadow rue, depending on your politics)

Thalictrum 'Elin'. Ten feet tall, so I'm not even sure what the flowers look like.

A trio of hydrangeas:

Hydrangea paniculata

H. Macrophylla 'Miss Belgium'

H. Serrata 'Blue Deckle'

In the woods, besides the ubiquitous blackberry brambles, one of my favorite native shrubs:

Holodiscus discolor, aka Oceanspray

All of the daylilies are in bloom, too. Enough that I think they need a post all their own.

Where was I?

Right. Well. Sometimes you have to choose between gardening and blogging about gardening and that's been the choice I had to make for the last month. Gardening, harvesting, jam making, spending time with my daughters, caring for a dying dog (she was diagnosed with cancer less than a month ago), and of course the omnipresent day job, which pays for the roof over our heads, the garden, and the internet connection. I started taking pictures this evening for Garden Blogger's Bloom Day and discovered the camera battery had gone dead. While it recharges, (boring entry alert!) a state of the garden report for my journal.
  • Soft fruits: I'd attribute the record strawberry harvest to the fact that the dog was too sick to do her share of surreptitious harvesting, but everything else is bearing heavily this year as well. The black current bushes were so loaded that some of the the branches lay flat on the ground. I put up 4 pints each of black currant jam, jelly, and strawberry jam. The golden raspberries are bearing better than ever, but nothing we can't manage to eat out of hand. Likewise the cherries that we were able to get to before the birds stripped the tree. The wild red huckleberries seem to be having a banner year as well but I never had time to go down to the woods to pick them.
  • Peas: I normally get just enough shelling peas to use as an ingredient in some other dish (pasta shells with peas, chopped mint, and prosciutto, mmmm). This year we are pigging out on peas, and I've even put some in the freezer. Same with the sugar snap peas, which in spite of the heat wave last week, are still going strong. The secret to getting a good crop seems to be: get them in early--late January is not too soon, inoculate the seeds, and most of all, cover the planted rows with floating row covers, well anchored, to keep the field mice from digging up and eating the seeds! (Seriously. My two worst garden predators are not deer and rabbits, they're field mice and slugs)
  • Speaking of slugs, they have wiped out my last three plantings of lettuce, in spite of my best efforts at controlling them. I think they may have actually acquired a taste for Sluggo pellets. Diatomaceous earth doesn't faze them in the least.
  • I've harvested nearly all of one row of carrots, out of fear that the temperature fluctuations would cause them to split. It must have been too warm by the time I got the Japanese turnips into the ground. They all bolted, without ever bulbing up. As soon as the weather cools off I'll replant root crops for Fall.
  • Harvested most of the main heads of broccoli, but the varieties I planted will provide plenty of side shoots for the rest of the summer. My romanesco broccoli hasn't formed heads yet.
  • Out of 6 or 7 zucchini plants, I still have three (slugs again!) and one or two tiny zucchs that will be ready to pick in a few days.
  • In the greenhouse all the tomatoes, except Anna Russian have set at least some fruit. Ferline and Sungella are leading the pack, with Early Girl and Early Goliath not far behind. San Marzano is, quite simply, in a class by itself.
  • Eggplants are blossoming. This next week will tell whether I've gained anything by burying the heating cable in that bed, if those blossoms turn into eggplants. One pepper plant has set fruit, as have some of the melon vines. I had hoped I wouldn't have to artificially inseminate my melons again this year, but looking back at last year's entries, I had bigger melons on the vine on this date.
In other news, the ducklings look like actual ducks now, and they've moved to their new digs in the orchard. (photos to follow when the camera is ready). The Cornish hybrid chicks are huge, and I've lost a couple to the heat. I won't raise them again. They are just too fragile, not to mention stupid.

While I wait for the battery to charge here's a a couple of parting shots of my gardening companion for the last 10 years. There never was a better dog.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Nothing to Say

I will get around to updating this weekend. Right now there's a huge hole in my heart and I have nothing to say.