Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Tomato Terror in the Kitchen

At first, I thought these were worms! These are tomato seedlings growing inside the mothership. The condition is called vivipary - Latin for "live birth." Seeds contain hormones that control their dormancy. This is likely a tomato that was picked weeks ago, and then it sat on the counter in the kitchen. The warmth of the kitchen and moisture inside the tomato caused the seeds to use up all the hormone that controls growth and boom! Babies arrive. 

These new plants would eventually poke through the skin of the tomato and keep on growing. You could plant these sprouts and eventually get new tomatoes. They likely would not be just like the tomato they came from, since the seeds were the result of pollination that included another tomato flower and genes from a different plant. I'm not sure if you want to eat these sprouts. In my research, there was conflicting information about whether or not they can cause tummy trouble and I'm not up for that gamble.

By the way, although this commonly happens in tomatoes, it can also happen in an ear of corn, peppers, apples, pears, oranges, lemons, limes, tangerines and avocados. 

Monday, July 30, 2012

Hops. Arrgh.

I know. I know. Some people grow hops on purpose for beer. But in my yard, they're an invasive weed and it takes constant vigilance to keep them out. Here's a vine I dug out last night.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Butterfly on Agastache

Western tiger swallowtail. Agastache is often also called hyssop. Hummingbirds love it, too. The leaves smell like licorice.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

So Blue that I'm Happy

Another successful year of my Nikko blue hydrangea actually blooming blue. The first two years I had this shrub, it bloomed pink. Our soil is naturally alkaline, and Nikko doesn't turn blue unless the soil is acidic. So elemental sulfur has to be worked into the soil each fall and spring.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Johnny Jump-Ups

Sweet violets that volunteer around the yard each year.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Hummingbird in Mallow

Add mallow to the list of plants hummingbirds like. I've seen them dining on honeysuckle, agastache (hyssop), delphinium, zinnias, orange carpet, cat mint, bee balm and lavender this year. They also sip from the hummingbird feeders.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

House Finch Cozy with the Cat Feeder

It did take the birds a while to use this feeder....

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Late Season Adoption

I usually try to pick up a few end-of-season plants now that the nurseries are clearing things out. I wanted an interesting vegetable. But this strange shrub caught my eye, instead. It's called a trailing flowering maple. The tag says hardy to zone 7 - which cuts it close for us, so I'll pot in a way so it can overwinter indoors.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Peas, Please

A sugar snap pea pod full of sweetness.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Yellow Roses

These have been among the most dependable roses in my garden. They bloom all summer.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Friday, July 13, 2012

Hurry Up, So I Can Eat You

A couple of cherry tomatoes have set on the vines.

These Aren't Bell Peppers

I planted what I thought were bell pepper seeds...and got jalapenos. At least I think they're jalapenos. I hope they are. It's all good.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Onions Getting Ready to "Walk"

An Egyptian walking onion getting ready to travel. The top will soon be weighed down by the new onions growing at the top. It will bend to the ground and the new onions will root. Every part of this plant is edible. Use the new onions like green onions. Use the stalks like chives. Dig one up for a big onion. And if you don't want them walking around the garden bed, just snip off the top set.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Hummingbird Perched

I waited near the backyard feeder last night to get a few photos, but the two birds buzzing around preferred the the plant goodies: bee balm, delphinium, honeysuckle and zinnias. I think the one above is a juvenile male black-chinned.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Baby Pumpkin

This little blurred blob of yellow is a pumpkin just beginning.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Bumblebee on the Bee Balm

A perennial that hummingbirds like, too. I have it in the corner of a garden bed - in hopes of attracting plenty of pollinators for the vegetables nearby.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Western Tiger Swallowtail

A butterfly getting a drink at the butterfly bush - which is starting to flower.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Mourning Dove Show-off

I didn't know their tail feathers had so many colors.

Hang a Feeder and They Will Come

No need to buy hummingbird nectar the store, either. Just mix one part sugar to 4 parts water. Stir to dissolve. That's it. The trick in this hot weather is to change the feeders every day because the sugar solution goes bad in extreme heat.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Scarlet Runner Beans

The flowers on a scarlet runner bean vine. This variety is a "first" for my garden. I plan to harvest the bean pods early so they can be frozen whole.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Potato Blossoms

Potato blossoms are similar in appearance to tomato blossoms, although, of course, potatoes don't grow from these blooms. The plants are related, though.

Crazy Daisies

These are a type of Shasta daisy with frilly petals. I started them from seed about five years ago. They're dependable perennials tucked into the corner of a garden bed.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Red Daylily

Daylillies are popular in landscaping in Boise. They sip water and offer at least one flower a day.