• 07Sep

    This is a long, photo-heavy post of what’s been going on in my gardens. I’ll put the photos behind the cut.

    It’s been feeling like fall is in the air. I’m not ready yet, but I feel this way every year. I always see so many fruits that just aren’t going to make it by the time first frost arrives. It’s not over yet of course. Our first frost average is mid to late October, and this year, I have row covers that I plan to use to try and extend my season.

    BTW, you can buy row cover material by the foot at Pinetree Seeds. I bought four dollars worth so I could try it out. If I like it, I’ll buy more next year. Read the rest of this entry »

  • 26Aug

    I’ve got one of those two-tiered metal hanging baskets. You can line them with coco mats, but I’ve been using moss. Last year I grew laurentia on top (lovely and smelled like lilacs) and a black ivy geranium on bottom. It looked kind of shabby and the black color just didn’t look good.

    This year, I saw something on the Gardening By The Yard show on HGTV (Paul James) and it involved plain old begonias, the kind that comes in six packs everywhere. I decided to try it, and I’m so happy with it, I think I’ll do it again next year. You basically just stick begonias in all of the holes and fill in with sphagnum moss.

    Here it is in May when I first started it:

    And here it is recently:

    Somewhere in there are a couple of tuberous begonias, but they got lost in the shuffle.

  • 02Jul

    One of my favorite wildflowers is wild chicory. There are some plants that take me back to my childhood, fallow fields, grazing pastures and along country roads: chicory, Queen Anne’s Lace, milkweed, and cattails along streams or in bottom lands.

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    Chicory is a pale blue, almost lavender, flower that farmers consider a noxious weed. And when my Uncle T, a farmer, says noxious, he says it with oomph. But my eyes nearly glaze over when I see a large patch of it growing wild; it’s so dainty and pretty and I just travel back to sunny days, swimming and chasing cats and dogs.

    A couple of years ago, I dug a chicory and carefully carried it home. It comes back every year bigger and better. But I keep it in a pot, because I don’t want it invading my gardens. So far, that’s worked and it hasn’t spread. Yet part of me wants to set it free and allow it to take over.

    Yesterday I noticed it was leaning to the north quite a bit; not sure why. There’s sun all day on that back garden, so it shouldn’t be straining towards sunlight. But I decided to rotate the pot and discovered the roots had gone through the drain holes into the ground. They weren’t deep, and I tore the pot off the ground.

    Today, the pot was turned over. It seems those roots were keeping the pot upright. I hadn’t noticed, but that chicory has gotten so tall that it’s top heavy. One more thing on my to-do list: put the chicory in a bigger pot (or throw caution to the wind and plant it directly into the ground).

    Some interesting facts about chicory:

    • It is used as a coffee substitute and was the main source of “coffee” for Americans during WWII
    • It’s related to the dandelion and its foliage looks very similar to the dandelion
    • Herbalists use chicory as a remedy for various ailments
    • When harvested early, its leaves may be used as a salad green or boiled like spinach