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Monday, July 29, 2013

Blue Monday, Macro Monday, I Heart Macro, Favorite Plant Picks

Welcome to my Blue Monday post, to see other Blue Monday photos, hosted by Smiling Sally, from around the world, click on the link.   I'm also linking with Macro Monday 2.  And I Heart Macros.

What could be more blue than some nice ripe Blueberries?

I'm also selecting blueberries as my favorite plant of the week, in the edible realm.   I can enjoy looking at plants and flowers, but they don't taste great and sustain life.

In the realm of flowers, for favorite plant of the week I would have to go with my new annual plant experiment, Browallia, which are going on to make nice bushy plants covered with flowers just like the people claim, the number of blossoms increasing almost exponentially from the first blooms just on the tips of the plants.   Note the cute heart-shaped leaves.

I'm also linking up this post with Loree's Danger Garden for Favorite Plant of the Week.

Smiling Sally

Shine the Divine


Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Wildflower Wednesday, July 2013

Welcome to my Wildflower Wednesday post, hosted by Gail at Clay and Limestone, who is featuring Cup Plant this month.  One of the many assertive natives in my yard is Thimbleberry, Rubus parviflorus, which is found from Alaska to California and east to the Dakotas and New Mexico-

It is useful in that it has an edible berry, but the bush can get 5-6' tall, and doesn't have a very big crop of berries per plant.  It would not be a very high-yielding plant to grow as a food crop.   It spreads rapidly by underground suckers, rather like raspberries, and after taking over a large area can get really disgusting by flopping all over.  I made the mistake of trying to eliminate Thimbleberries from an area and plant raspberries there instead, but after a few years the Thimbleberries managed to overrun the poor raspberries, and the area was enclosed in a deer fence, which made it very hard to deal with the tangle of plants.  So while the fruit is tasty, it is something I tolerate or rather can't quite control, so is not very suitable to a city lot. The fruits come loose from the receptacle in the shape of a cup, hence the name Thimbleberry.

I would rank it far behind other native berries in my yard, like Salal and Oregon Holly Grape, in nutritional content and the attractiveness and desirability as a landscaping plant, though the fruits are pleasant raw, whereas Salal and Oregon Holly Grape would be better cooked and perhaps mixed with other fruit to moderate the strong taste, similar to Black Currant or Aronia, which fruits also have a high antioxidant value.  It is very persistent and hard to eliminate once it has roots and runners in the ground.   On the other hand, it will grow in difficult situations like on dry banks.  Indian tribes used the leaves dried and powdered or made into a decoction or poultice for various health problems.  Native American Plants by Daniel Moerman is a good reference for how Indians used various native plants for medicine and food.

Too much of a good thing.   -Hannah

Monday, July 22, 2013

Blue Monday July 22, 2013

Welcome to my Blue Monday post,  click the link for more posts.

Veronica officinalis-

This week features Browallia americana, which surprised me with the first flowers on plants I grew this year from seed, sown on May 2.  It is exciting when plants I grew from seed succeed, I an interested how much they will bloom-

Larkspur flowers, more open that last week-

Rozanne  Johnson's Blue hardy Geranium, I realized I misidentified this, they are similar in color-

Smiling Sally

Also linking to Macro Monday 2

Here a macro, there a macro, everywhere a macro macro   -Hannah

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Belated Monday Mellow Yellows, July 15, 2013

Welcome to Monday Mellow Yellows, to see other yellows click the link to Gemma's blog.

Layia platyglossa, Tidy Tips, a new California native plant I am trying this year, and intend to seed this fall to see a display of 10 or so native species next spring-


Monday, July 15, 2013

Mandarin Orange Monday July 15, 2013

Welcome to my first Mandarin Orange Monday post, to see other orange posts, click here.
Also linking with Macro Monday 2, hosted by Gemma.

Calendula 'Neon'-

Orange you having a Macro Monday?   -Hannah

Blue Monday

Welcome to my first Blue Monday post, for other Blue photos, join hostess Smiling Sally.

Blue Larkspur-

Have a Great Blue Monday, Hannah

Garden Blogger's Bloom Day July, 2013

Welcome to What's Blooming Now, to see other people's flowers, join gracious hostess Carol at May Dreams Gardens.    Some roses are still blooming past their first flush, like long-blooming Betty Boop-

Long-lasting Dublin Bay-

But daylilies are at peak bloom, Avant Garde-

Pink Cotton Candy-

The enormous Tuscawilla Tigress-

Here's a rampant bed consisting of my seedlings from crosses with Erin Farmer as one parent, she features a white midrib-
Some offspring-

Some early hardy geraniums are finished but some keep blooming now and on into fall, like the fabulous Rozanne-

The large Buddleia has started to bloom, to the delight of the hummingbirds and Swallowtails.

Clematis 'Jackmanii" blooming, along with a few others-

Crocosmia 'Lucifer' has its intense red tropical looking blooms, I just wish mine didn't get so tall and flop every year, so I have to tie it up.

To my surprise the annual Lupinus succulentus I started from seed with Gibberellic Acid are blooming-

Hypericum frondosum 'Sunburst'-

Self-sown Oxeye daisies are prolific, I'm trying to tolerate them this year-

As well as Prunella AKA Self-Heal, the bloom stalk being used as a Chinese medicinal tea.

A nice surprise is to see how Houttuynia cordata has been filling in a little bed that has tended to be weedy, though it has pretty much lost its variegation and reverted to green, though the white flowers make me think of stars-

Also blooming are Yarrows, annual Phlox, Nasturtiums, Oregano, Calendulas, Marigolds...

Isn't summer grand?   -Hannah

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

July in the Vegetable Patch

My vegetable garden is on schedule, except the current list of activities have been delayed by my over-exuberant flower seed starting this year, with the consequences that I have a lot of plant starts to get set out in the garden hopefully before it gets too hot.   Meanwhile the temperatures are rising.  Anyway, the chores that need to be done are laying the soaker hoses, partly done, and then mulching heavily with sheet composted/cooled grass clippings that will keep the water in and the weeds down.  Then the garden can just be maintained by connecting a different soaker hose every day.   The tomatoes are only partly staked up too, so that needs finishing, with bamboo poles I have already cut.

  The cucumbers are doing very well, I hadn't checked for a while and found one plant, Armour (parthenocarpic, disease resistant), that had 5 cucumbers on the bottom and another slightly bigger one above them, so I picked one to try them out-

The other cucumbers, Diva (parthenocarpic- ripens without pollination), and Tanja (big and productive), are   blooming and setting small cukes.  North Carolina Pickling is a fantastically yielding yellow cuke.  Eureka and Gemini from former years didn't grow.  

Squash I'm growing are my favorite Crookneck with that wonderful buttery flavor, and Cocozelle which beat with the first female flower hence the first gardener-pollinated fruit-

BTW if you want to identify a female squash/cucurbit flower, they have a tiny fruit under the flower.

My tomato list this year has determinates- Orlovski, Napoli; 
Roma types- Tegucigalpa, San Marzano,  and here tiny Heidi-

Hearts- Verna's Orange Oxheart, Shapka Monomaka, Monkey Ass, and my record high producer beefsteak Gogosha, big and potato-leaved-

 Black Sea Man at 1 1/2", 4 cm-

 plus late blight resistant and smooth unblemished Legend.

I'm trying Burgundy Okra but don't expect much since it's not hot enough here for them.  

My bean list is extensive and includes Bush Snap beans- heirloom Romano Yer Fasulyasi, heirloom early cold tolerant wax Pisarecka Zlutoluske, planted out April 15, picked the first beans today-

Compared with another bean planted a couple of weeks later-

That's why I count on Pisarecka Zlutoluske for early beans, 12 oz first picking, yummy-

Regular bush snaps pencil-thick Speedy and Velour, black-seeded Romano Marconi nano.   Here are a couple of bush bean/half runner beds, I need to get supports up for the half runners-

Half-Runners Red Peanut, Wood's  Mountain Crazy, 

Pole snaps Zelma Zesta, North Carolina Speckled Greasy Cut-short, Uncle Steve's, Grandma Robert's Purple Pole, yellow shrimp Annelino Giallo, and Runner beans Corona AKA Bianco di Spagna and Sweet White Runner.  Corona and runner beans can be planted out April 15.  Corona has grown past the top of the trellis now, and is blooming.

I'm in the process of clearing out last year's turnip, radish, and kale that have gone to seed, throwing the seed heads over the fence to do some winnowing and seed saving, and also removing a lot of weeds as well,  and will be replanting greens in that bed before July 15, which is my deadline for getting greens into the ground that can overwinter and will make early spring greens next year.   I overplanted last year so have quite a jungle to clear out.  But I did get greens and turnips way into the fall and lots of greens in the spring if I keep the flower buds picked, also edible.

I will post photos of my beds in my large garden area above after I get the rest of the weeds out and get the greens planted.   This is the bed that has my tomatoes, squash, and cucumbers.  I have to have fencing to keep out the deer.   I saw a mother with 2 spotted fauns this week.

Happy growing, Hannah