Sunday, December 16, 2012

It Snowed. It's December. This Plant is Still Flowering.

This is Kenilworth ivy, a groundcover. I don't recall seeing in bloom in December before. What a nice surprise.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Still December

They don't look delicious now, but these will be Jerusalem artichoke plants next year. I'm planting them this weekend.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Seed-starting, and Yes, It's a Little Early

A little seed, a medium-sized seed and a large seed. That was the assignment in my Master Gardener class. I have to get these babies to 5 inches tall to receive "credit." Fingers crossed. In just two days, I already "see" the radish.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Taking Down the Hummingbird Feeder

This chunk of ice probably won't help any lingering hummers. I haven't seen any hummingbirds, but I wanted to offer help, just in case.

Monday, November 19, 2012

More Bulb Planting

These drab-looking things are supposed to be orange-y dreamy daffodils. We'll see. I also put about 100 tulips bulbs in. 75 to go. I think I'll force some indoors. Mostly, because I'm tired of planting bulbs.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Bulb Planting - Alliums

Planting these allium bulbs makes it clear that they are related to onions. Big onions. I planted three and am hoping for a tall, crazy display of purple pouf in June.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

The Last Rose?

I think it might be. A couple of hard frost nights and not much is left in the garden.

Friday, November 9, 2012

The Fuchsia Lives

I've never had one limp along into November before. It's in a covered space. It's tempting me to try to overwinter it indoors....although I know that can be tricky.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Overwintering Chocolate Cosmos

I purchased two chocolate cosmos this summer to use in planters. They were about $6 a piece. I loved the chocolate-scented, red velvet blooms on long stems amid airy foliage. But in our climate, I don't think they would have survived the winter. So, I chopped off all the foliage and re-potted them to bring them inside. At first, I assumed I had killed them, but new stems are growing. Below is a picture of one of the flowers from this summer. 

Monday, November 5, 2012


The weeping fountain cherry was charming at sunset last night. It's charming in the spring, too. The rest of the year - it's a constant battle to find balance between the bug infestations and the tree's health.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Compost is Cooking

Outdoor temperature was 52 degrees. 106 shows that the materials are being eaten by critters, bacteria and fungi - which is exactly what has to happen to end up with rich gardening material. Since we're headed into the cold season, I don't expect this pile to be "done" until spring.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween

Wishing you all treats and no tricks.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Zinnias Hanging On

Nice to discover this shot of color. Most of the zinnias are freeze-dried.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Our Extra Cat

Athena, on a backyard field trip. She's normally indoors-only, so climbing the tomato cages over the weekend was a fun treat. Athena is our foster cat.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Still. Alive.

Barely. But nice to see during a yard clean-up weekend.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Time for the Weekly Compost Stirring

Mulched leaves, grass clippings, fallen pears, coffee grounds and kitchen scraps are in the recipe so far. I'm stirring and keeping it moist. I'll add more leaves and "greens" before sprinkling with nitrogen and monitoring the "cooking." The mixture needs to get close to the 140 degree ranges. Will that happen even in winter? We'll see.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Droopy Rose

Last-of-the-season rose that drooped against a shepherd's hook.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Hollyhock Assignment

 These seeds look like snails. One of my assignments for my Master Gardener internship is to grow hollyhocks from seed, and keep a journal. I did some research that indicated planting them in the fall is best for our climate, in hopes that they'll germinate and grow a little before next year - in order to ensure flowers the first year.
 Below is one of the seed pods I was given for the assignment.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Kenilworth Ivy

This is a "polite" ground cover. It creeps without being too pushy and it's easy to remove if it shows up where it's not wanted.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Evergreen Thyme

Most plants are dying or going dormant for the winter, but thyme stays green year-round.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Seed-saving: Green Beans

I left some pods on the vines, so I could keep some seeds for the Blue Lake Pole Beans. A few pods weren't dry enough, so those are waiting in the garage until they're crisp.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Pretty Dead Stuff

Shaggy zinnias after a few hard frosts.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

The Last Pumpkin

It didn't quite finish rounding up before the frost hit. It's a Cinderella pumpkin, so had it been "ripe" it would have become flatter while rounder, and turned orange-y red.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Autumn Grape Vines

The recent frost has sent these leaves quickly into the red zone.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Learning to Compost

The composting experimentation begins. I'm taking the University of Idaho Master Gardener class, and the instructor said, "If you aren't composting, you should be." Autumn is an excellent time to start because there are a lot of ingredients available.

I purchased two rolls of hardware cloth (rabbit fence would work, too) - 36 inches by 10 feet. They were shaped into two "bins," secured at the seam with wire, and secured to the ground with landscape staples.

I'm dumping in frozen tomatoes and mint clippings in the photo. I'll also add kitchen scraps, lawn clippings and mulched leaves - when the trees shed a bit later. The "greens" and the "browns" need to be about 50-50. Stir well and moisten, and add nitrogen. That can be done with manure, but I happen to have some nitrogen fertilizer in the garage. Regular stirring and moisture and, hopefully, the compost will be done by spring planting time.

Last year, my lawn guy dumped mulched leaves directly into my garden beds. He thought that would be excellent for soil health. Well....yes and no. The leaves didn't decompose enough, so they "stole" nitrogen (used by bacteria during composting) from my plants during the growing season. It was most noticeable in my tomatoes. Even though I fertilized, I couldn't overcome the demand of the decaying leaves.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Cool new bird feeder with junkyard birds. Found this at the Capital City Public Market.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Prepared for Frost

The first hard frost is expected tonight or Thursday night. Let me say for the record: This was not a good summer for tomatoes.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Potato Harvest

Sixteen pounds so far. One more plant to go, as soon as the vines have withered. Boy, some STRANGE looking specimens this year. I'll feature a potato fashion show later this week.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Italian Plum Harvest

 About a dozen fruits on the Italian plum tree this year. My daughter and I ate them all, right there in the yard. Excellent. This tree was a $7 special I picked up two years ago at a nursery sale. Hoping for two dozen plums next year.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Autumn Flowers: Zinnia

Technically, zinnias aren't "autumn flowers," except they do continue blooming into autumn. And this one in particular is interesting because the seed selection and location were not my decision. It's a volunteer.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Autumn Flowers: Hostas

Not usually considered a "flower" for the garden, or landscaping, but hostas do sent up flower stalks. Some bloom earlier in the season. Mine are fall show-offs.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Autumn Flowers: Hibiscus

Each flower the size of a dinner plate. And each flower lasts just one day.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Autumn Flowers: Garden Mums

Right on time, the chrysanthemums are blooming.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Rose Colors Brighter in Autumn?

I think so. Maybe they just look that way because the foliage is fading, but I love the late season show.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Pears. Soon.

This tree underwent some extreme pruning in the spring. It didn't hurt pear production. We have more than we can possibly eat. My guess is that these are Bartlett pears. They do not ripen on the vine. We pick them and they ripen weeks later.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Mutant Tomato

Oh dear. Well, since most of it was ripe, I plucked it off the vine. It's destined for the tomato sauce batch, where looks don't matter.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Frost September 12

This is my neighbor's roof - covered in frost this morning. It's been a tough gardening year. We had a light frost the first week in June - so barely three months frost-free. I don't think this was a killing frost, but I'm sure my tomatoes and basil are unhappy.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Busy Bee on the Butterfly Bush

We have two of these shrubs. One I purchased and the other one? I clipped a branch from the original plant and stuck it in the ground...and it grew! True story. I think that's also a clue why this shrub is considered an invasive species in some areas of the country.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Dewy Cosmos

Nights and mornings are suddenly much cooler.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Swirly Beets

A chioggia beet from the garden. It's sometimes called a candy cane, or bullseye, beet. I planted quite a few seeds, but I only have 3 beets. This was the first one ready, so I sliced it up and roasted it. It caramelizes beautifully although the color variation isn't as clear as when it's raw.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Another Garden Giant

Such a big face on this one. For the gardening record: the biggest and prettiest sunflowers in my garden this year just showed up on their own. Well, maybe they had help from a bird, a squirrel or the wind.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Morning Glory

A late summer bloomer. This is not the morning glory "weed" - sometimes called bind weed. This is a decorative annual.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Weird-looking, Yet Yummy

"Mortgage lifter" tomatoes. They're huge. These came from a packet of seeds handed out by Edwards Greenhouse about 15 years ago. Germination rate for the two seeds I planted: 100 percent. Very tasty fruits with lots of meat. More sweet than tang.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

All Ready for the Fairy Godmother

A Cinderella pumpkin, Rouge vif D'Etampes, that harvested itself this weekend. I hope it turns into a carriage next.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Edible Flowers - Allegedly

When I was a kiddo, I remember my grandmother growing nasturtium and telling me the flowers were edible. I swear I ate one and thought it was good. I ate one yesterday and it wasn't good. What went wrong?

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Little Sunflowers

About three feet tall. They might have been taller, but they planted themselves in a pot, which probably limited their growth.