Tuesday, July 21, 2020

Garden Talk

 Spring always arrives with the hope that this year the plants will thrive and that we'll get plenty of free rain to keep them watered. It was exactly that this time around. Having topped off the beds with a wonderful new mountain of compost, purchased and delivered, made me even more confident. Everything was grand until July heat arrived. While sun is great for growth and color, a little too many days of 90+ temps made withering inevitable. Regular prayers for rain is a must. There is a 35% chance today, so let hope flow.

I watch a lot of British garden shows on Youtube and get ideas which I try to bring home to the patch I have. This season I added four new Japanese Maples and a Pink Dogwood to the flower bed. Thankfully they are thriving and have new growth to prove it. But realistically, British weather is not Tennessee weather and I keep having to remind myself of that fact.
When I planted the trees I discovered corms of Calla Lily, on the left here. I transplanted them and they are huge, but alas, no flowers yet! I promised myself not to crowd the plants this time, ha!, and was semi-obedient until I accidentally found a new garden shop with oodles of irresistible plants at great prices.

The Salvia family is a favorite and now Cherry Pink and Desperado Sages have been added.
Desperado Sage is from Texas and has lovely lavender flowers which come and go and come again, while the Cherry Pink is a constant bloomer. These are both new plants to me, and thus have enlarged my collection which include Blue Bedder, Black and Blue and of course the herb varieties of purple, variegated and regular green sage.

We found some reduced for dead Knockout Roses at Lowe's and of course they revived with water and care and have been blooming continually since May. Our neighborhood has oodles of these roses and we are guaranteed that they will be happy in our crap soil, and will get huge with little or no attention from us. I plan on getting more, in an effort to hide the raised beds (bunkers) and assuage my neighbor's complaints. "Why must I have so much trouble with the people who buy your house, making a mess of the yard? And why can't you  have grass like everyone else! It looks like a cemetery!" This from a woman who has only once spoken to Dave, in three years, as he was out there spreading wood chips on the bare clay. Also pictured here are the four fig trees, two of which are loaded with figs and nothing at all on the others. Go figure. 
Last year I planted loads of veggies in the raised beds, which grew only modestly and so this year, flowers were planted and they are thrilling. Zinnias, one of the easiest flowers ever, are jam packed in the end of the bed, next to a disappointingly pitiful few lupins, and then a huge glob of cleome, always guaranteed to make an impact.


And in the last bed, a mess of asparagus amid the anthills. I haven't done a thing to this bed since planting and getting stung by those dirty buggers. But apparently asparagus doesn't need my TLC. It will be a couple of years before we actually start harvesting spears, but I am patient. Dave only began eating asparagus within the last five or so years, so hurray for us that we will have an ample supply, eventually.

Pretty excited about the fig crop. This is a different variety and I am not sure when they will ripen.  It doesn't matter. My sister and I will be there, drooling, with goat cheese and crusty bread.
 Some surprises this year were the brown gallardia that was supposed to be dark red and the unplanned crop of purple basil. Never bought the seeds, they just appeared when I sowed the Mammoth basil. I have more seeds awaiting a second planting, along with a packet of purple string beans, which we had and finished a few weeks ago. 
Tomorrow I will focus on the current veggies. See you then.

Ooooo...PS. I gave away my quilt fabric but I kept all my fused hand dyed fabrics, so I can still make small art quilts. Yay!


  1. Glad to see your new posts. I've missed reading them. Your plants are beautiful.

    ~Becky from Indiana

  2. I can see what’s keeping you busy….so lovely!

  3. Garden is glorious....

    Today I told my daughter about the blogger who made the art we were looking at quit quilting after 39 years and gave away her fabric... and what brought this on??? Well, Fiestaware's new color is butterscotch. I was lucky and got four of the candle holders and I asked her what color candles besides black for a week at Halloween..... and her eye found your picture which is butterscotch and black, white and a bit of cherry or lavender so I will be looking for candles in those colors. FYI See you tomorrow.

    1. I've been quitting quilting for a long time, and the fabric that I had was making me feel obligated. Obligation is no way to enjoy life. So once I decided to move the sewing room upstairs, it was easy to get the Tuesday quilters to take the fabric home for their quilts. Sigh of relief.

  4. You are so inspiring. I love seeing the photos of the garden. Ever since you posted the photos of the concrete block planters surrounding the patio I have been itching to get my own raised beds started.

    I got back to gardening with a vengeance this year. It started with a lot of rain in January, February and March. Always nice for arid Southern California. My parents went on a cruise and I house sat the dogs so I took the opportunity to dig up a fallow planter full of weeds that can be seen from the sofa in the living room. It was replanted with a tangerine tree and many California native flowers that pollinators like. Now she has butterflies, bees and hummingbirds all visiting the garden. And except for the tangerine tree it is drought tolerant and re-seeding.

    At my own house I started seeds for the first time and had moderate success. While the pots were going I started building my own raised beds. Rather than use the concrete blocks I bought some special corner blocks at Lowes that you can slide boards into. The first bed is done and almost full of dirt salvaged and moved from the back yard. I just need to amend it a bit and then my seedlings will be ready to transplant. A bit late in the season but our season runs into October. Plus I find that I just move a bit slower now that I'm on Medicare. Sage and Salvia were two of the pollinator favorites I planted in my Mother's garden and will be putting in mine as well as Asclepias or Milkweed. For the Monarchs. My Salvia is "Hot Lips."

    HA! I suspected you might keep the hand dyed stuff. Small art quilts indeed. Define small.

    With the first raised bed completed except for planting and the other three on the way, I am contemplating a winter garden of veggies. We can do both warm weather and cold weather crops here. I've never done more than tomatoes and basil before so I am looking forward to experimenting with zucchini, eggplant and peppers as well as lettuce, spinach, corn, beans, potatoes, onions etc. I'll have four raised beds slightly bigger than 4x8, all with drip irrigation. And a lovely bird bath in the middle. Next summer one bed will be entirely tomatoes and basil. I hope to eventually grow enough to can and freezer for the winter. It won't save me any money on groceries but it might save me some trips to the store.

    As for my projects, I have returned to stained glass in the form of stepping stones. Indirect method. Got myself some great running pliers and nippers and I'm cutting glass and then pouring stones. I'll have four pathways to fill in the front yard between the new raised beds. I've decided to plant clover in between the stepping stones for the bees. There will be flowers amongst the vegetables for the pollinators.

    I added fruit trees in the back. Two apricots, two lemons (Meyer and Eureka) and soon a Moro Blood orange and a Mexican (Key) Lime. Now I just have to find a spot for a Satsuma Tangerine. I have a Valencia orange already. The Valencia and both lemons already have fruit.

    I love figs when I can get them. I made a killer jam one year using figs, Marsala wine and star anise. Not a fan of anise but this stuff was wonderful with goat cheese on toast.

    Grass is a waste of water, time, effort and space. It doesn't even sequester carbon very well. It just sucks up water, fertilizer, you have to mow and there are always weeds. You can't eat it. Hedges make for great neighbors. Nice tall ones. As long as they don't shade your property. I have a line of Italian Cypress along my north property line. I can still hear the music but at least I don't see the neighbors any more. If that is all that woman had to say to you for three years, you are better off without her. Hedges. Tall ones.

  5. O how I covet your garden. Do you have pictures, a blog, or can you send me some privately. You know my email. PLEASE!

  6. I LOVE YOUR GARDEN!!!! My how it has grown!!!! I find it very tranquil and inviting. Pooh on your neighbor. Grass is boring.

  7. You amaze me with the variety in your gardens but then you always were all color all the time. I think it was genius to put in the cement block set up for all of your plants. Not so much bending and guaranteed good soil.

  8. as to the neighbor, that only complains and does not talk... ignore. Your yard does NOT have to compliment hers. Might even tell her to look the other way if the vision of the 'graveyard' is so bother some. Otherwise I think it all is glorious!!!

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