“And we’ve got to get ourselves
Back to the garden”
from the song Woodstock by Joni Mitchell
We have been away from the garden for some time. We went on a trip to Pennsylvania among other things. There has been rain in the form of thunderstorms nearly every day since we have been away. That should make the garden very happy. Let’s go check on what has happened in our absence, shall we? Above, the poke berry plants, Phytolacca americana
, are flowering and setting fruit. The berries are eaten by birds, which are not affected by the toxin because the small seeds with very hard outer shells remain intact in the digestive system and are eliminated whole. This ensures the supply of poke berries for future generations of birds. In my garden, it is everywhere. I leave a few to grow to ten feet tall for them. Poke salad has been a staple of southern U.S. cuisine
, despite campaigns by doctors who believed pokeweed remained toxic even after being boiled. The lingering cultural significance of Poke salad can be found in the 1969 hit song “Polk Salad Annie
,” written and performed by Tony Joe White
, and famously covered by Elvis Presley
and the El Orbits.
On the way up to higher ground we pass the raised bed box. The grape salad tomatoes are ready for eating. The ruby chard looks ready also. The cucumber at the end on a tomato cage has given us enough fruit to make pickles. I am shopping for a canning pot today.
You can just barely see the compost bin behind all the plant material. The Joe Pye Weed, Eupatorium purpureum
, tomato volunteers and tall wild sunflowers, (we have never found an ID for these) have blocked the path to the compost. Where is the machete?
The eight ball squash has gone beyond pool table size. The one on the left is like a cantalope, the smaller is like a softball. Still usuable I suppose.
Black Krim tomatoes are turning the smokey red color that gives the best flavor. They are a little cracked on top from the excess rain, but no complaints here about that.
Looking to the right is the veggie bed between the arborvitae and chamaecyparis hedges. Looks like the Golden Gem salad tomaotes will fill a bowl also.
Behind golden gem is a couple of Brandywines. Carol of May Dreams
wrote about letting tomatoes ripen on the vine. I think this one qualifies. I usually try and pick the tomatoes just as they begin to turn color to save them from being pecked by the birds. The foliage of the tomato plant has probably protected this one from that sad fate.
No need of worrying about the jalapeno scare, we are loaded with them, guaranteed untainted. I am thinking of pickling some with my new canner.
Not for human consumption, too hot, the perennial pepper given as seeds from neighbors Mae and Mickey eight years ago are still growing well. I love the orange color which lasts into winter. The peppers seed themselves all over in addition to the mother plants returning each spring.
We don’t just grow food for ourselves, the large row of pyracanthas will feed many of the birds. It should be a good harvest for them this year. Click here
to read the story written earlier about their abundant flowering this spring.
While in Pennsylvania we tried to inject a financial boost into the nursery economy there. We visited three locally owned establishments and made a few selections for our garden back home. In the large blue tub, I cannot say enough good things about these plastic trug/tubs, is a multi petaled white echinacea, mislabled as a pink double decker, HA, a red and orange butterfly weed and Phlox paniculata ‘Orange Perfection’
. This is not what I would call orange, but what else is new? At the bottom of the photo is Coreopsis ‘Red Shift’.
A daylily to the right will be featured in another post.
I also bought this nice red square pot. Inside are some green santolinas and thyme plants for the knot garden.
For the rest of this season, the coreopsis will fill the new planter nicely until I decide what to plant in there in the way of bulbs, if any.
Hey, KITTY!!!!! What are you doing outside???? That scoundrel Kitty has figured out how to open the doors that have the long door handles. How long have you been out? Bad Kitty, you better not have killed any birds! And what about Hazel? She has never been out for more that a few minutes and was terrified even then. I hope she didn’t escape when you opened the door.
Whew! Good Hazel, alarmed at what Kitty did but with enough sense, or fear, to stay inside where it is safe. That’s my baby girl, here is some love for you. Pet, stroke, scratch. Purrr.
Okay, after that little bit of excitement, on with the tour. Along the back wall the planters all have been watered by the rains and look nice and lush. The Japanese blood grass, Imperata cylindrica ‘Rubra’
in this one, newly planted last fall is showing off for us backlit by the sun. Heucheras ‘Petite Marbles’
give a color echo to the red.
Allright! The surprise lilies, Lycoris squamigera
are blooming! I love the sedum ‘Matrona’
that surrounds them. Another color echo.
Walking around to the front we see the thorn in our side at the moment, our furniture is all in these two pods sitting in the street. Argh. Double argh. A couple of weeks before ourPA wedding trip
, our kitchen sink developed a leak at the shut off valve. A puddle of water on the floor and quick action by a plumber fixed the leak that night. But the oak flooring was buckled by the water standing on it, even for only a few hours. Industrial fans and same size dehumidifier dried it out, but the damage to the floor boards remained. Our insurance company decided the floor needed replacing in the kitchen and because the whole floor of the main house is continuous to the kitchen, the whole thing would have to be sanded and refinished. What a nightmare. We had to move to a hotel and are still there. The work is almost done, however, and most of our goods are back in the house. We may get to go back in a couple more days.
Here is the new floor. It matches the honey maple kitchen cabinets better than before and looks great. I have to say to anyone within hearing distance DO NOT PUT HARDWOOD FLOORS IN THE KITCHEN. Just for your information.
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