So many of my favorite flowers have come into bloom in the last week or so, I have decided that this is my favorite part of the summer in my garden. But I'll probably feel the same way when the nicotiana, four o'clocks, balsam, snapdragons, and everything else come into bloom later on!
The peonies are lovely, but sadly we've been getting downpours almost every day, so they won't last long. The Sweet Williams always amaze me...every year the same plants bloom in a different color! This year there are even a few doubles. And of course the foxgloves...I just love them! Unfortunatetly, the seed company I got them from no longer has them, so I plan on saving as much seed as I can!
The single stocks aren't very showy, but I like their simple flowers and they smell to me like cloves or allspice!
Another storm on the way...
Someday I would like to make a formal herb garden. I was really inspired by the herb garden at the NYBG, as well as a friend's herb garden that I got to see last week!
For now, my herbs are just mixed in with all the flowers. The small garden around the birdbath was supposed to be an herb garden, but I couldn't resist planting some flowers there, too!
Here are some of my favorites in the garden this afternoon...
There are 2 petunias open in the barrel planters now. They are so fragrant...one of my dogs buried her nose in a flower yesterday, and then sneezed!
In the vegetable garden...
And just for the fun of it...a close-up of one of the heliotrope, or cherry pie plants. They are really pretty now, but I had my fears when I first planted them out. Maybe it was because the night temperatures were often in the low 40s, but they sulked for a couple of weeks. Then just when I had almost given up and was thinking about pulling them out, they recovered!
While on a trip to NYC this week, I had the opportunity to visit the New York Botanical Gardens! It was wonderful! There wasn't enough time to see everything, but I did get to see the Conservatory and the Rose Garden, and some other areas along the way. It is such a huge place and I did get lost a few times!
Thain Family Forest
A few other pictures I took along the way. I was a little lost and went on a few detours so I don't remember what areas of the garden these were...
I came home yesterday, and was shocked at how much my gardens changed in just 4 days! The foxgloves are in full bloom now and are some of the prettiest flowers I've ever grown! The Sweet Williams are opening as well as a few peonies, and more petunias and valerian. The young rhubarb plants seem to have nearly doubled in size, and everything in the vegetable garden has grown a lot too, except the cucumbers who aren't doing well thanks to the cucumber beetles. But the lily beetles seem to be all gone after just a few days of hand-picking them. I've been wandering around in disbelief, taking pictures of everything-as usual!
Some close-ups of the foxgloves...
some of the rosemary seedlings. I'm so glad they came up!
The petunias are doing so well in the barrels and hollowed stump I planted some of them in! We've already had a few compliments on them and they aren't even blooming yet!
The thing with having such jumbled up flower plantings is that it can be easy to overlook something! But that can also lead to pleasant surprises! I just noticed this evening that one of the valerian plants is starting to bloom! I've read that not everyone is fond of it, but I can now agree heartily with Tasha Tudor that it is "a fine old herb"!
And while I was out with the camera I snapped a few pictures of the heartsease and the first petunia flowers. :)
Walking through my gardens this morning, I was amazed at how suddenly they have changed from spring to early summer! When I step into the front yard I am overwhelmed with all the wonderful scents! The old rugosa roses (I'm not sure what variety they are) have begun to bloom and a few Sweet William flowers have opened as well, and even a few petunias!
However, a few garden pests are starting to make themselves at home. One of my oriental lilies was attacked by the scarlet lily beetle. The odd thing about it is that another lily just a few feet away is totally untouched-so far! Since I discovered it, I have been going out and hand-picking them off a couple times a day, and it seems to be working. The first time I did it a few days ago, I picked off at least 8, and also had to crush a cluster of eggs on the underside of one of the leaves. Since then, there have been fewer each day, and today I've only found 1 so far, and no more eggs. I am going to be gone for a few days this week, though, so I'm hoping they won't come back again in full force while I'm away!
Also, it seems I spoke too soon when I said that I hadn't seen any cucumber beetles. They made their appearance yesterday, mainly on the cucumbers, but there were a few on the pumpkins, too. I have been hand-picking them also, but it doesn't work as well because they are so quick to fly away. I am going to experiment by sprinkling wood ashes around the base of the plants and on the plants themselves. But for when I'm gone, I will probably cover the cucumbers with cheese cloth to keep them off. I'm not so worried about the pumpkins because in past years I've found that they are so vigorous they quickly recover from any damage done by the beetles. But I have lost cucumber plants to them before.
The 2 lettuce varieties I'm growing this year are delicious! Sanguine Ameliore, or Strawberry Cabbage Lettuce, is a 19th centruy French heirloom introdused to America in 1906. And Tennis Ball was listed in Thomas Jefferson's garden book several times between 1809 and 1822.
The new rhubarb plants are looking really good. I transplanted some alpine strawberries to the same bed (they had been planted in the vegetable garden, but I needed the space they were taking). They have been sulking ever since, but are now looking a lot better after we had a good rain.
And I know it's about time to keep my promise of sharing ideas for the winter window garden but I still haven't have time to research all the possiblities. However, I did plant some Rosemary seeds about 2 weeks ago and am thrilled that a few of them are germinating already! They will have to be an indoor plant for the winter since they aren't hardy here.
This book caught my eye in an issue of Heirloom Gardener magazine. I haven't bought it yet, but it is definitely on my wish list!
So that's about all I have for now. Eventually I will do a whole post about this!
Planting is nearly accomplished! There are just a few more flowers to put in the ground, and the rest of the runner beans. However, my garden has been having a mysterious visitor the past several nights. Almost every morning I find several transplants dug up and either buried or left there on the ground. When it first happened to my runner beans, I suspected turkeys, as the ground looked like it had been scratched. But now that it has also happened in the flower garden right outside my bedroom window, I'm not so sure! Whatever it is, I'm not feeling too friendly towards it right now!
Other than the nightly visitor, the vegetable garden has been doing very well. I am very happy that I haven't yet seen any signs of cucumber beetles on the cucumbers or squash. They were very bad the past 2 years. I will be harvesting lettuce today for the first time.
We had a little bit of wind on Sunday! Besides ripping the plastic off the greenhouse door (which was soon fixed), the wind ripped out a few of my sunflower plants.
The tulips are pretty much done now. Some of them are still holding on to their petals, but they look like they've been baked (which they have-it was 91 a few days ago!).
I didn't plan it this way, so it's kinda funny that all the flowers coming into bloom now are either blue or purple (along with a few white lupines and Bridal Veil Spirea)! Irises, mountain bluet, forget-me-nots (they are still in bloom but rather past their prime), lilacs, columbine, evening dames rocket, lupine, chives, and comfrey! The evening dame's rocket is very fragrant on cool evenings.
This is the view that greets me coming around from the side of the house. The garden is still best viewed from the sides right now because of the blank areas in the middle where the anuuals haven't filled out enough yet. I want to plant more biennials there this year and just tuck the annuals in so it will be full all season next year.
From the other side...
Flowers on the mountain ash tree in front of my vegetable garden.
Buds on my Benjamin Franklin peony after a shower...
Comfrey...I'm thinking about planting several more along the back of the garden. They are almost indestructable, and anything else I plant there gets beat up by the wind (the sunflowers, for example).
The hyacinth beans are planted under the bean arbor, along with trailing nasturtiums that I hope will grow out across the path in imitation of Monet's Grand Allee! Other than that, I haven't planted anything there, and am planning to focus on improving the soil this summer. I'm very seriously considering turning this whole area into a second vegetable garden, but with some flowers and shrubs added, too. I'd really like to plant lilac bushes at the entrance.
I can hardly wait to see the Apricot Beauty foxgloves in bloom!
And now it's back to work for me. Have a great day in your gardens!
In the past, there has always been a rather dull break in my gardens from early June when the tulips fade until the end of June or the first week of July when the roses, peonies, irises, sweet williams and canterbury bells all seem to burst into bloom at once. Not so this year! Columbine, evening dames rocket, mountain bluet, and lupines all come into bloom just at the end of the spring bulb season.
The lupines bring back fond memories...I gathered the seed along the river on a kayak trip 2 years ago. I planted them that fall at the same time as I planted bulbs, and they came up (to my surprise!) next spring. They even bloomed a little bit at the end of the summer last year, and have already self-sown themselves in a few places, which I'm very happy about!
The columbines and mountain bluet were gifts from gardening friends. I've found mountain bluet to be a convenient filler as it increases rapidly, and will bloom all summer long if dead-deaded.
Evening dames rocket is a flower I've admired in a nearby garden for a few years, so I'm thrilled to finally have some, though I really wish I had planted more!
The lilacs have come into bloom this week! I love when the wind catches up their perfume and blows it over me as I'm working in the garden. It has to be one of the most delightful fragrances in the world! One of the features of my dream garden would be a lilac walk!
Some cheerful heartsease!
Here's that mystery bush in bloom...
A robin enjoying the view from the top of my pumpkin trellis...
With the weather finally warming up this week, it looks like I'll finally be able to plant corn. There is still a lot to transplant, too!
Celery that I've been growing for a friend. We're not sure how it will do as it really should have been started much earlier...
Black Krim tomatoes growing in the greenhouse...
And I know I promised to share some ideas for a winter window garden...I don't have time right now, but I do plan to write a post about that sometime in the near future. :)
I am a passionate gardener and seed-saver, who also enjoys playing the violin and accordion, running, spending time with my 4 golden retrievers, keeping chickens, photography, and reading. I also blog for Heirloom Gardener.