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The Great Cape Escape

Last week my family escaped to Cape Cod! It’s one of the most beautiful places on earth, and there’s so many fun things to do. We trekked from one end of the Cape to the other and a little bit beyond up to Plymouth. Michael spends time down there every year for work but we tend to head north on vacation so it was new to the kids and I hadn’t been in a long time. DSC04529We saw gardens… some really amazing gardens! This is a bed at the Heritage Museums and Gardens. I didn’t know that this 100 acres of surprises existed until a few weeks ago. I’m hoping to do a post or two about this wonderful place!

IMG_7127We loved the beaches…lots of wild and beautiful beaches!

DSC04557We encountered some very large insects…

DSC04632And lived in a very untypical dwelling for seven nights.

DSC04662There were gardens in unexpected places…

IMG_7082and unexpected seal sightings in harbors.

IMG_7172 We saw pristine views of Cape Cod Bay at Plimoth Plantation.

IMG_7199And I learned all about the gardens that the pilgrims grew!

I’m planning to write a lot more about our great day there later this week.

IMG_7111We visited a Cape Cod windmill…

DSC04676and drank camping coffee.

It’s the best coffee in the world!

We swam (actually the kids swam), ate lots of cupcakes and had ice cream for dinner one night.

It was a trip of beautiful views, new experiences, family time and some great garden visits! Truly an escape like no other.

This week we’re back in Salem preparing for the start of school next week and harvesting things in the garden.

What are you up to? Are your kids back to school? How’s your garden growing?? questions, questions..

Enjoy everything (and answer one of my questions in the comments)!

Love, Michele

 

 

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What’s Eating the Petunias?

Hmmm…IMG_7042Do you see chewed up flowers on your petunias?

IMG_7043 They look like this..

IMG_7044And in worse case scenarios, like this… Yikes!

IMG_7041 Here’s the culprit… the green hornworm.

They can be very tiny and they’ll try to blend in with the stems and leaves. You have to look carefully to see them but their there, munching away.

Just pick them off and give them a little smoosh and your petunias will start to come back. There’s usually just one or two per plant.

IMG_7046This pot of lemon ice petunias has been beautiful this year. I’ve been watching closely for the “petunia worms” as I call them. I think I caught them in time. I’ll keep you posted.

Don’t be shy, pick them off and smoosh! You can do it! It’s simple!

I’ll be on the road this week but checking in from our family vacation on Cape Cod :)!

Enjoy everything!

Michele

 

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Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day- August 2014

Happy Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day! We had a lot of rain the other day. It was nowhere near the thirteen inch amounts that were reported in areas to the south but it was a continuously driving rain all day. In anticipation of that I took these pictures on Tuesday because I wasn’t sure that there would be any blooms left after. We ended up doing okay in the rain. Everything got a good drink but we didn’t have too much destruction.

IMG_7016Last fall we scattered knockout roses across the front and side yards and while their very common, they have added a nice bit of color. I’ve been reading about rosa rosetta virus and worrying so I pruned all red canes and branches back to the ground a few weeks ago. I’m pretty sure that mine have it and there’s not a lot you can do to stop it other than try to cut it out before the mites make their way to the roots. We’ll see what happens.
IMG_7019I like the way the reddish pink flowers look against the worn fence.

IMG_7013The scarlet runner bean is taking off. I enjoy this plant because it’s pretty while it grows and it produces beautiful purple beans at the end of the season. It’s just a great, easy vine for filling in tall, long spaces.
IMG_7015It’s starting to creep up the bird feeder pole. I should have provided strings or a trellis.

IMG_7009We have lots of lilies. These were all planted in the years before I would have saved the packaging and made note of varieties. I like this pretty pale pink..
IMG_7005Deep orange…I don’t think it’s a ditch lily? Betsey, what do you say?
IMG_7004And a beautiful deep red…
IMG_7002I planted a few varieties of zinnia this year. The only ones blooming as of today are “peppermint stick mix.” I’m a little disappointed in them. I expected big beautiful bunches but so far the few seeds that germinated have produced single, scattered flowers.IMG_7001 That does resemble a peppermint stick. It was pretty on the package but I’m not so sure now.

IMG_7000Volunteer sunflowers are scattered around.

IMG_6996And I’ve been enjoying these deep shaded coleus this year.

IMG_6999This is my favorite deck planter. It’s about three feet high.

IMG_7022The rose of sharon that my sister sent me in a manila envelope a few years ago is in bloom. I love these plants.

IMG_7012  Here’s the big picture… lots of blooms from last month are still raging out there!

Does your garden “rage” too?

I think I need to get back outside, lol.

Be sure to visit May Dreams Gardens by clicking here  to see the other GBBD posts. They are going to be amazing!!!

Love to you all,

Michele

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Sort of a Stream of Conscious Garden Post

There is so much going on in my head… happy things, sad things, things I just can’t understand and things that are perfect. Often times if I sit down and blog it all settles down and feels better. It’s amazing how cathartic blogging can be. I probably won’t even write about what I’m really wrestling with, but sharing my garden thoughts helps me put something in a place. I guess it gives me some control over at least a little part of it. Stream of conscious can be scary, can’t it? Okay, out to the garden….

Thank you all for your comments that helped us to identify Cindy’s  Purple Shiso (Perilla frutescens nankinensis). I’ve never seen it growing here and it seems that my southern blogging friends were the most familiar with it, although my new friend Kathy at Witchcitygarden.com chimed right in too so it might grow around here. One of the very best aspects of gardening is learning new things, so thank you all for your help with that!

Let’s see, what else? I harvested lots of onions over the weekend. IMG_6933

IMG_6935 Their curing and will be cleaned up and stored for the winter. I think we have enough to last until next spring as long as I don’t make huge vats of onion soup.

I also made five quarts of refrigerator pickles with our cucumbers and dill. If you have fresh cucumbers around you should really try these. Their quick and easy and no canning is required!

We spent quite a bit of time weeding and pruning. Michael did lots of edging so our beds look fresh and ready for the second half of the gardening season. I’m hoping to plant some more lettuce and Asian greens after I add fresh compost to the onion beds. The kids were busy playing in the neighborhood and hanging out with friends while we worked. Sometimes it all comes together.

We even did the Ice Bucket Challenge last night, right here in the garden! I tried to share the video, and to post it on The Salem Garden facebook page but something quirky was going on with facebook, google, gmail and wordpress. So, unless I magically figure it out you’ll just have to believe me. Michael and I dumped the ice water right over our heads in the middle of the zucchini and tomatoes! It was great, and of course we’ll make our donation to the ALS association.

I have another non-stop week ahead. We’re preparing for another family vacation, celebrating a twelfth birthday, welcoming a beautiful new baby to our extended family and praying for friends from church who lost their beloved granddaughter to cancer on Saturday. I have to remind myself to breathe. Hopefully I”ll pull more weeds and write another post.

Wishing you peaceful time in your gardens.

Love, Michele

Cindy's plant

Ask the Experts: What Is This Plant?

A few days ago my friend Cindy sent me this photo of a mystery plant that’s been popping up around her plot in her community garden in New Jersey and we speculated about what it could be. I’ve never seen it before. It looks a little like basil but doesn’t smell or taste like it. Cindy was told by her gardening neighbors that it can be used in salad. Maybe it’s some type of lettuce?

Cindy's plant

 

Anyone have any ideas? Curious minds want to know!

Thanks for your expertise!

Michele and Cindy

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What’s Happening in the Garden, July 30, 2014

I truly can’t believe that it’s been almost a month since I posted a garden update. Where does the time go?  We’ve been doing everything… camping, hiking, visiting, working, gardening… you name it! It’s a crazy busy summer! While we’ve been so busy lots has happened in the garden.

IMG_6833We have tomatoes!! These are super sweet 100s… I haven’t grown this variety before so I’m looking forward to tasting them.

IMG_6846There are tomato plants tucked in all over the place. One of the great things about growing from seed is the sheer abundance of  plants when it’s time to plant. I’d better get that canning thing down because I’m going to need to do something with these tomatoes.

IMG_6827Yes, their a little bit too close together but I think they’ll be okay. I keep watching for blight so I can remove the yellow branches right away, and believe it or not, hardly anything is touching the ground.

IMG_6822We’ve picked several zucchini and more are on the way. I like to get them when their on the small side so their not too seedy. There is evidence of squash borer. I haven’t figured out how to organically prevent it from hitting my plants, but I have figured out how to deal with it to limit the damage….

IMG_6823I bury the base of the plant where the borers work their evil and the plant reroots almost immediately and keeps right on growing and producing. If you cut open the stalk you will clearly see the wormy little borers eating away. Not everyone handles that well. I think it’s kind of interesting.

IMG_6829There’s basil everywhere too. The flowers on this plant should have been cut back at the beginning of the bud stage. The photo that I took after I cut it was blurry, but you get the idea. You’ll have beautiful basil for a long time this summer if you cut it back!

IMG_6824The red onions look just about ready. I planted them close to the surface as I think I was supposed to and now their very high in the soil? Should I have covered them with soil as they grew or is this okay? It seems like they would have gotten bigger if they had stayed submerged a little bit longer.
IMG_6834The asparagus is gone for the year. It needs to be weeded and fertilized to shore it up for next spring.

IMG_6835The cucumbers are incredible this year! I guess the rain helped, along with researching the variety. I’ve harvested many and there’s lots more coming!

IMG_6845Okay, so, this is kind of a problem. I clearly wasn’t thinking when I put watermelon, cantaloupe and pumpkin in the same row.

IMG_6840The good news is that we have some fruit.

IMG_6841The bad news is that there appears to be some cross pollination happening. This is a very watermelon like cantaloupe.

IMG_6843Just across from the melon patch is a huge horseradish patch. I still have some in the freezer from last year.

IMG_6862The blueberries, covered with bird netting, are happily producing.

IMG_6855However, these brown dying branches on one of the two plants is a concern. Anyone know what’s happening here?

IMG_6857We have potatoes in the cat pot again… I mixed tons of compost in so I’m hoping for great tuber development.

IMG_6825My favorite border is hanging on. Maybe some good deadheading will bring back another bloom?

IMG_6820We made a little goldfish pond on the deck this year. It’s just a plastic barrel filled with water, pond plants and fish. It’s so easy and a nice addition to our sitting area where we enjoy our view.

IMG_6859Life is so good here…

Enjoy your blessings today!

Love, Michele