What’s Happening in the Garden — July 14th

July is kind of a funny month in the garden. It’s in-between in terms of blooming and beauty but it’s so hard at work!

I love watching things grow and change at this time of year.

Our potatoes are flowering! I didn’t know that potato flowers were this pretty.

I have to apologize for the less than clear shot, my camera focus has a mind of its own and this is what it was doing for potatoes this morning.

The Black-eyed Susan are ready to pop!

This is Scarlet Runner Bean climbing on the trellis. It’s ornamental and so pretty.

If you live locally give me a shout if you’d like some seeds for next year.

We have peppers!  There are lots of buds… I hope they make it! I’d better reign that cucumber vine in if I want that to happen.

The dill is ready for pickles. 

Here come some Kentucky Pole beans that I planted as the  peas were winding down.

I hope they make the little leap over to the fence/trellis and start climbing.

This Rosemary plant wintered over. We covered it with a bucket on the coldest days. I usually pot Rosemary up in November and bring it in. It makes it until the middle of January, then I forget to water it just once and it dies immediately.  I had the great pleasure of hearing Adelma Simms speak about herb gardening at Caprilands many years ago. I still remember her saying “a dry rosemary is a dead rosemary”.  I find that to be true almost every winter.

In the coop, the younger side of the chicken flock is still favoring the corner.

They do come forward to eat and drink and their all interacting a little bit more every day. It just takes time.

The tomatoes look happy!

Balloon flower is blooming… such a fun plant!

Kids really enjoy it.

The Liatris bulbs that I planted in June popped up.

They went in kind of late but I think we’ll see some blooms.

As I looked through these photos I saw one common denominator… can you guess what it was? Here’s a hint, there’s some weeding to do  🙂

Thanks for stopping in! Have a great weekend!

Michele

What’s Up With This Hydrangea?

A few days ago my friend Blaire sent me the photo below with this question:

I am attaching a picture of my largest hydrangea bush. I love it, but for 2 or 3 years it has had pink AND blue flowers- fine with me- except i don’t know why.  I have seen others like this, so the soil is acidic and base?  One year it was pink and turned blue; acid rain?  Originally it was a pink plant.  I have a white bush next to it that stays white; a newer different species pink that has stayed pink and a container “blush” pink that has stayed that way.  Any ideas why the one bush does that?

So I’ve been looking for an answer to Blaire’s question and I really can’t find one. There’s plenty of information on the basic concept that acidic soil produces blue flowers while alkaline soil produces pink. There’s also lots of information about how to change flower color and what species of plants favor each color. I’m curious now too about what would cause a consistant multi-colored bloom.

What do you think? Help us solve the mystery!

What’s up with Blaire’s hydrangea?

What’s Happening in the Garden

It’s always fun to return after a good amount of time away from the garden to see the changes.

Here’s what we came home to this week after our twelve day road trip.

Our pot of potatoes took off!

The bee balm had bloomed

along with the lavender

.

The cucumbers had come along nicely.

Maybe this will be a good year for cucumbers since I only planted a few?

The carrots needed  weeding and thinning asap.

There were plenty of peas for the 4th..

Did you know that in the state of Maine salmon and peas is the traditional Fourth of July dinner?

It was time to pinch back the basil!

And the zucchini had done it’s thing

along with the Roma tomatoes!

It really felt like magic to come back to this.

What are you growing?

How are things in your garden?

Leave a comment! I’d love to hear from you!

Michele

The Fourth of July at Salem Willows

We are back from our road trip just in time for the 4th of July in Salem! We got up early this morning and headed down to the Willows neighborhood for their annual Horribles parade and party. There’s no place else like the Willows on the fourth of July. The whole neighborhood has a party and many of us who live in other parts of the city go down to enjoy it too.

Here’s our friend, Jane Dionne!

Of course there was music..

and some social/political commentary.

The Secret Service were there

like you’ve never seen them before 

The “mayor” marched too, as she does every year…

The game theme was fun and creative.

There were red drinking cups… I think I kind of  missed the message here, leave a comment if you can help me with that. They were having a great time!

The decorations are amazing!

beautiful

patriotic

and fun!

It’s a party like no other!

Happy Fourth! Tomorrow there may be fireworks, let’s hope that my camera works..

I’m so happy to be home and blogging again!!

Michele

Sweet Peas, Veggies and Herbs!

First of all, thank you, thank you for all of your wonderful suggestions yesterday about what to do with the Green Monster! I’m newly energized and I’m  working hard on pulling that area together. I was feeling quite overwhelmed before I asked for your help.  Hopefully I’ll be able to share a photo of our progress soon. It’s such a shady, private spot. I love to sit there for a minute first thing in the morning or when we take a break during the day. It’s going to be a little oasis in our oasis.

Here’s an update on how things are going out in the garden this week:

The sweet peas are almost ready!

Here’s a beautiful post about sweet peas that  AmySue at A Healthy Life for Me wrote last week

http://ahealthylifeforme.com/2012/06/05/peas-peas-everywhere/

Her recipes and photos are wonderful!

The basil and tomatoes are coming along (notice that the bunny food/poop grass is still trying to surface). I decided to try  salt marsh hay as mulch this year to retain moisture and keep weeds and wilt away. We’ll see how it goes. I’d better get cages around those tomato plants soon.

I planted  few red cabbage plants in this  extra space and we’re enjoying the lettuce. Better get it while we can because lettuce is happiest in cool weather, once it gets hot it will bolt and be gone! The zucchini has settled in nicely and I planted a treat just beyond the lettuce… zinnias to cut and enjoy in August

Lemon balm, thyme and lavender…

And here’s our first purple coneflower blossom of the season! There will be many more to come..

It’s very rainy here  but it’s supposed to clear up over the next few days. Perfect weather for growing everything!

Thanks for stopping!

Enjoy Everything today!

Michele

A Big Pot of Potatoes!

I tried to plant potatoes in a raised bed a few years ago with  no success at all. My memory of the failure is that we thought that raccoons might have dug them up.  We found the seed potatoes scattered around the garden. Since it’s been a few years it seems like time to try again. I’m hoping that if we plant them in a container and keep them outside the back door, we’ll have greater success. So in the middle of all the rain yesterday my youngest kids and I did some potato planting!

 I sliced the potatoes in half early in the day. The owner of our local Agway recommended this when I bought them. Everything that I read said that drying the potatoes out for a few hours would help prevent rot.

Before we started we gathered up our materials:

  • the cut potatoes
  •  a bag of organic potting soil
  • A great pot that my Mother-in-Law painted for me (I love this, it’s so cute!)
  • A trowel
  • A kid, ready to dig!

We filled the bottom of the pot with broken up clay pots and rocks to help with drainage. Ideally, I would have put a layer of screening on top of this but I couldn’t find any and I knew that my husband was busy at a conference this afternoon. So, we skipped that step. I think it will be okay.

The kids added soil to the pot.. of course they loved this!

When the pot was half full it was time to add the potatoes. We placed them in with the sprouts facing up.

We added another two inches of soil and moved them outside, then we watered them in with rainwater that had fallen throughout the day.

And now we’ll watch them grow! We planted them halfway up the pot with the idea that as the potatoes form we’ll keep mounding the soil over them so that more can grow. I’m looking forward to seeing how this goes. We’ll keep you posted!

I can just hear them growing in there! I think the cats can too!

What a Rainy Monday!

We are in the middle of a Nor’easter here this morning. For those who don’t live in New England, A Nor’easter is a storm that comes in off of the ocean from the northeast. Nor’easters often bring damage to homes, roads and of course, gardens. Salem is under a flood warning today as the tide is expected to be unusually high. Many of our roads here flood when this happens because water going out to the ocean through the storm drains backs up and has no place to go. There can also be damage to homes on the water when the ocean gets higher and closer than we’d like it to. Let’s hope and pray that everyone is okay and the beautiful homes on the coast and in town don’t sustain too much damage.

I’m a little bit of a  planner so here’s an overview of what  may happen this week at the The Salem Garden if all goes well. Of course we  know that in a household with this many people anything could happen but we’ll hope for the best!

Some of my  kids and I will be planting something together… look familiar? I’m excited about this project!

I hope to show you something else about Salem. It won’t be the Friendship because the ship is away for repairs.  She should be back very soon and we’ll be visiting then.

Things are growing in the garden! We’ll be sure to take a look.

I think we’ll be visiting our chickens too. Here’s one of our babies about eight weeks ago. Just like my human babies, they grow so quickly!

Sounds busy!  Let’s get going!  A little rain is nothing!

Some Clarification and Whats Growing this Week

Good Morning Everyone!!  It’s a perfect day in Salem!

I want to clarify my statement in yesterday’s post about peonies taking time and patience to grow. It’s not that peonies are a high need plant, once their settled and growing they will thrive without a lot of attention. I would love to have inherited some but I never have. I’ve only grown them from scratch in which case they can take a few years to get going… hence my comments about “time and patience”. I am very lucky these days because I can look over my fence and enjoy my neighbor’s very well established peony bed.

Here they are this morning, about to bloom!

When I asked for permission to take and post this photo  and explained what I was up to my friend  shared that she has divided these and experienced that lag time before the recently planted plants bloom again. I felt so much better hearing that. It’s not just me!!

Just to cover everything I feel obligated to emphasize that I have NO formal training in the fields of gardening or horticulture. Everything I say here is based on my personal experience, the reading I do and my general love (maybe “passion” is a better word) for gardens and gardening.  Michael, the kids and I just enjoy growing things together!  As you read remember that I’m learning right along with you!

Here’s a quick view of some things that we’re growing this week… taken yesterday (by me this time) on my daughter’s I-Pod. I want my camera back, but who would have ever thought that an I-Pod could take this many photos.. not the best quality, but I’m forging on anyway!

Here’s the view as I walked out the back door to take the photo at the top.. things are very green today.

off to my left, the Yellow and Siberian Iris are blooming, along with Soloman’s Seal.. this area needs to be weeded and the plants divided.

Down in the garden the foxglove are happy and that little eggplant in the foreground is settling in. I plant the eggplant because I think it looks cool in the garden.. I usually end up giving most of it away because we don’t love to eat it.

The zucchini looks happy too. i wonder if it will take over that  space between it and the lettuce? The lettuce will be bolting as it gets hot out, we could train something to grow in that direction..

A few cucumber and pepper plants are coming along.. I didn’t plant much cucumber because I had so much wilt last year… cucs either thrive or are frustrating. Last year was frustrating so I’m stepping back and buying them at the farmer’s market this year.

Here comes a row of bush beans. Their staggered but I may need to thin them out as they grow.

And I’m off to Agway to buy chicken food and mulch.. We’ll see what else I find to fill in a few gaps!

Thanks for visiting and enjoy your day!

Michele