Occasionally, I forget that everybody has something to sell. Garden magazines, while pretty to look at, tend to exaggerate. They stick in potted plants to fill out an empty spot before the picture is taken. What you see is a photo enhanced version.
Same with the individual plant write-ups. For example, so much lauding went on over Stella D’Oro Lilies – how they light up a bed and bloom all summer into fall and up to frost. Guess what? They don’t. Not in my garden although they looked lovely in early summer. I don’t like the way the foliage turns brown no matter how much water I give them. Hell, you have to be pruning off the dead stuff every day in order for them to look half decent. Sure, after the spring flush of blossoms, you get the odd one here and there during the warm months and now that it’s cooler, we get more but so what? Well, I’m not a lily fan, in any case.
Same goes for Giant White Fleeceflower. It really should be planted at the back of the yard since they are big and look awesome when they bloom, which is mid summer but they don’t bloom non-stop. Hell, it even won Best Large Perennial of 1998 or thereabouts. I have three of them. Well, as long as they get enough water, the leaves don’t shrivel and die but they need lots of water, I’ve found.
I also have another Fleeceflower called Persicaria amplexicaulis ‘Firetail’ that I’ve never seen written up. It has red bottle-brush-like spikes and is turning into one of my favorites. It also gets nice and bushy. Another plant I like is Tiger Eye Sumac. Hopefully it will reach seven feet or so. I love the foliage and it is so lush looking. In fact, I really like sumac and I transplanted one from the back of the property into the heart-shaped bed. I hope it takes so that next year it will have grown tall and add fall interest to that bed.
Also, a plant they didn’t lie about too much is Bloomerang, the reblooming lilac. It does rebloom and is doing so as we speak. It is supposed to keep its blossoms till frost, so we’ll see if that’s true.
It looks like the Speckled Willows are a success, although I don’t want to talk too soon. Oh, there are others so I shouldn’t be so negative. All I’m saying is, everybody is trying to sell something and you have to try it yourself to see what works in your garden. Amen.
Boy is it ever hot. Hot and humid. Yesterday, I ripped out all the tomato plants and all the eggplant plants except for two with each having one eggplant maturing. I reseeded lettuce, radishes and beans. The beets I reseeded a couple of weeks ago are coming along. I hope I get a good crop. I’ve made 8 pint jars of chili sauce, 8 pint jars of pickled beets, 6 quart jars of tomato sauce and will probably do another six jars when all the tomatoes ripening on the counter are fully ripe.
Now, I’m waiting for the peppers to turn red so I can roast and can them. I won’t be growing them next year. Easier just to buy in the summer. I will stick to those things that were little trouble and gave me good return for effort. That means, I will grow lettuce, radishes, Italian beans, beets, and herbs. I’m not sure of peas although I had a good crop. Probably not. Anyway, I have some time before having to make up my mind.
I’ve put my heart and soul into my garden. I think I’m making some progress with my goal of creating a stress free garden. We’ve planted a lot of trees – deciduous as well as coniferous. We’ve planted a lot of flowering shrubs and perennials. With plenty of mulch as well as “Silver Brocade” as a ground cover, the weeding as well as watering should be greatly reduced. Of course, there is always work but the biggest grunt work should be almost over. I must remember to invest in soaker hoses. That will also help a lot.
We have lived here for 4 years and 2 months. I am very pleased at the progress. My husband has felled all the Manitoba maples – the last one just a few days ago. Now the clearing is mostly done. There is lots of stuff to burn this winter. Next Spring, we should be ready to channel the springs and dig a pond. Then it’s time to plant out the lower garden. I’m mostly interested in a nice long lawn, planting more trees and shrubs. It will be fun.
Well, here it is: This is the very last time I’m growing tomatoes. Way too much work. I’ll leave it to the experts. If it isn’t fungus it’s critters. I’m tired of fighting them. My time is lots more valuable.
Successes: The jury is still out on eggplant although so far it looks good. Peas, radishes, lettuce, beets, beans and peppers are all success stories.
I seem to have much more luck with cool season vegetables than warm season but eggplant and peppers are warm season so there are exceptions.
Shrubs and Trees: I can’t complain. They seem to be doing well. I made mistakes but gardening has it’s learning curve.
Discouraged, in a word. Pissed off, in two words. This could easily have been the biggest crop of plum tomatoes, ever. This morning I walked to the kitchen garden and found half eaten tomatoes all over the ground. I am fairly sure it was the work of a skunk or two. I saw holes in the veggie patch – a sure sign. So tonight, I’ll put out the skunk bait. Damn it! All that back-breaking work only to have it all ruined by a smelly beast that nobody likes.
So much for kitchen garden. I will turn it into a patio next year. I’ll make a raised bed for the herbs and lettuce. In the shade yet. With summers getting progressively hotter, we need more shade.
All my maples have black tar spots. All of them!!! I am so angry I want to do something crazy. I don’t know what else can go wrong. We haven’t had any rain although thank God, it’s cooler than it has been. The grass – what grass? That dried up stuff that used to be grass? Well, no rain and I’m not about to waste collected rainwater on grass. I need it for my trees and shrubs. Maybe I should just cement the whole damn yard and call it a day.
Well, that’s how I’m feeling today.
According to the Farmer’s Almanac, the origin of the phrase is this; “Named for the Dog Star, Sirius, which rises and sets with the Sun during this time, the Dog Days are associated with uncomfortable levels of heat and humidity. Thunderstorms are nearly as abundant as ants at a picnic, and the hot, sultry time known as the Dog Days has begun—and lasts 40 days, from July 3 through August 11.”
What that usually means for this part of Ontario is drought. Oh, how I long to hear the roar of thunder and the pelting of rain. My garden needs it. No matter how much I water by hand you can’t replace a good downpour.
Here’s hoping I can keep it all alive until after the dog days.