Tag Archives: Summer

Wordless Wednesday: Mina lobata

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Mina lobata 30 Aug 2014

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Presented For Your Amusement,

the evolution (not yet complete) of the vegetable garden:

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Looking forward to improving this every year!

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Wordless Wednesday: Lilium ‘Bonbini’

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The Opposite of S.A.D. and 50 Jars of Jam

I have a dear friend who struggles every winter.  It’s dark; it’s cold; the days are short; the sun isn’t around.  She has Seasonal Affective Disorder (S.A.D.) and needs extra light in the winter to stay healthy.  I have just the opposite problem:  I hide when there’s too much light. She’s an anthropologist and assures me that my ancestors didn’t LIVE in caves, but sometimes I’m not so sure.

It’s a funny thing for a gardener–I don’t like summer.  I’m passionate about gardening in the fall, weeding, seeding, planting, building.  I plan great empires of gardening during winter, reading books, drawing designs, perusing catalogs, winter sowing and continuing to build and plan.  I start off with a bang every spring, waiting impatiently for last frost dates, buying and planting great volumes of plants and seeds.  Then about June, it gets HOT, and I retreat to my cave in the forest.  Okay, it’s not really a cave; it even has windows that show the sunlight outside.  This year was hotter than the last couple of years, so I was even less motivated to get outside.

But that undefinable moment has come.  Deep inside, I can tell fall is coming.  About two weeks ago, I got an urge to venture outside and view the devastation wrought by summer.  Surprisingly, the yard’s in pretty good shape.  Thank heavens for heavy mulch–where it didn’t keep down weeds, they’re not too hard to pull.  So I’m hard at work, pulling weeds, taking inventory of beds, planning what gets added this fall and spring.

I started the year with plans to eat more sustainably–local, organic produce is the ideal, and it’s particularly nice if it comes from my own yard.  Then I broke my ankle in February, and I’m still walking carefully and putting ice on it in September.  Nothing out of the ordinary for this kind of recovery, but not helpful for gardening on a large scale.

Despite that, I’ve learned a few things.  I didn’t make huge changes, but I’ve made some small changes.  We’re paying more attention to where our food comes from, and trying to make better choices.  We switched to some organic canned goods, tomatoes & peanut butter in particular.  I can make ranch dressing from scratch, so my house has one less jar of scary chemicals in it, and it’s something we eat a LOT of.

After Berry Picking, 25 August 2012

I’ve visited a farmer’s market or two.  I’ve gone berry picking a couple of times.  I’ve made my own flavored vinegars (chive flower & tarragon in the spring, raspberry this weekend.)  I’ve found at least a few things I love to can.  The Onion-Maple Conserve was so popular I need to make another batch.  I tried Pomona’s Universal Pectin, and the whole family loves lower sugar berry jam.  A conventional recipe calls for 6-1/2 cups of sugar for 4 cups of fruit–we’re made multiple batches with 1-1/2 cups of sugar for 4 cups of fruit.  It’s amazingly good, and very easy to make.  We’ve gone berry picking the last two weekends, picked about 30 pounds of blackberries and raspberries and canned about 50 jars of jam.  There’s also a small batch of blackberry cordial steeping.

Berry Jams, 19 August 2012

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Scottish Bluebells (Campanula rotundifolia)

It was a very pleasant surprise to see these in the garden this morning:

Scottish Bluebells, 31 May 2012

I planted seeds of Scottish Bluebells (Campanula rotundifolia) in Spring 2010 after the Chief of Implementation and I finished building the Terraced Driveway Bed.  I also planted white Sweet Alyssum (Lobularia maritima) and Adonis aestivalis.  The Sweet Alyssum germinated right away and has reseeded and spread each year since.  There was no sign of either the Adonis or the Scottish Bluebells in 2010.  I was pleasantly surprised when the Adonis showed up in 2011, but there was no sign of the Scottish Bluebells.  I assumed they were growing in that great Garden in the Sky.

I noticed them for the very first time while touring the garden today.  Presumably, they just took their time growing.

Dave’s Garden has a lovely article on this plant.  Here’s to unexpected surprises.

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Wordless Wednesday: Peace Rose

Peace Rose, 10 May 2012

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Ribbit! Splash!

One of the very first gardens I planted after moving into the Garden in the Woods was a small water garden consisting of two whiskey barrel liners sunk in the ground surrounded by a variety of miniature plants.  I’ve been steadily filling in around this miniature water garden with miniature treasures.  Yesterday, Rose captured some amazing photographs of one of the visitors to this little pond.  Here’s the best shot:

“Hoppy” summer to you!

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