Yellow Show

May 7, 2014

It is 80 degrees fahrenheit today!  My tomato and pepper plants arrived in the mail and I put them in the ground.  There seems to be a number of yellow things in the garden that I thought I might group together.

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Mammoth yellow quill chrysanthemum.  I got three of these plants in the mail this spring and they are starting to bloom.  I wonder if they will bloom again in the fall.

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Dandelion.  I hate to admit that it was not hard to find one to photograph!

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There are a lot of strawberry blossoms now.  You can see the green strawberry starting to form in the center of the flower.

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American plum blossom.  This is not really yellow, but I had to point out that there is only one blossom on my two trees.  Last year there were about 10 blossoms.  I wonder why.

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We still have a number of yellow and white daffodils around the yard.  I think this one only gets partial sun, so it opened later.

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I put together a container over the weekend.  The big plant in the middle is a cornflower.  It was taking over the flower bed, so I took it out and stuck it in this planter.  I also put in some marigolds, purple petunias, and a little goldenrod. In the back left the wonderful agastache is starting to come back.

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Goldfinch.  I think this is a male goldfinch.  The picture is not so great, but he was singing his heart out when I zoomed in for this shot.

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Speaking of birds, we have a number of cow birds in the area.  Here is the male.  The female is harder to get a good picture of.  They lay their eggs in songbirds’ nest and the songbird ends up feeding the baby bird for them, often to the harm of her own chicks.

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I noticed the yellow on this bird’s throat, but I don’t know what kind of bird it is.  Can anyone identify this bird? Dan was shooting bird pictures from the kitchen.

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The garden is getting more colorful.  There are the pinks of the foxglove and geranium and the purples and blues of the salvia and catmint.  There are the huge irises, right by the patio, but today what stands out is the yarrow.  It is almost fluorescent.

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Achillea – Yarrow.  Here is another attempt to show the yarrow with the three patches of blue from the salvia and catmint.  If you zoom in to the salvia way in the back of the picture just to the right of the tree this is what you will see.

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Blue hill salvia.  Salvia has a very strong odor I dislike, but the bees love it and frequent it all summer.  I love these huge bumble bees that zone in on these spiky flowers.  When the salvia stops looking good it can be cut back so that it blooms again later in the summer.

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Another patch of yarrow is in the vegetable garden.  I tied it up earlier, which is fortunate since this plant can smother other plants.  Here I have put up some cages to prepare for cucumbers and tomatoes which are starting to grow taller.  It could get to be a tangled mess!  Also in this picture are yellow kale flowers, sage flowers and purple clematis.

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Close up of yarrow with tiny red spider.

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Veronica – spike speedwell – royal candles.  The spike speedwell are turning a brighter purple.  In the background is black-eyed susan foliage, miscanthus – morning light, red-hot poker foliage, and between the spike speedwell clumps is pennisetum little bunny ornamental grass.

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Freshly picked strawberry.  Organic strawberries are $5 a pound at Whole Foods.  I have been picking between a pound and half a pound of strawberries every day for the past few days.  Every once in a while I get a really funny looking strawberry like this one.  I love eating them right out of the garden and thinking about all those vitamins I am getting from eating them fresh!  I have made rhubarb-strawberry sauce a few times, too, which is great over a little ice cream!

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Solidago fireworks goldenrod tied up to keep it tidy.  I pinch off the taller plants to keep them from flopping over and to get them to bloom a little later.  I finally finished pinching off the goldenrod, phlox, and sedum.  I also pruned the dry flowers off the lilacs.  My back is a little tired, but that is done for this year!

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Getting ready for an extended winter harvest!  We pulled up some more sod, put down sand, compost, manure and good soil and mixed it up.  Now we will let it sit for a month to settle and get the biological life boosted up before we either plant vegetable seeds or transplant in plants that we will harvest under a low plastic hoop in the fall and winter.  We thought we would start small and see how this works.

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Centaurea – cornflower.  I called this bachelor’s button last week, which it may be, but I purchased it as cornflower.

Seen in the garden this week:  A black swallowtail butterfly of some kind.  I could not tell if it was a spicebush swallowtail or not, as it was flying around wildly.  Also, we have had many visits from the hummingbird, who seems to especially enjoy the pineapple sage and the catmint.

Garden eats: We have a lot of leaf lettuce, a good portion of which is arugula, which has quite a strong flavor.  Dan has been putting it in his smoothie, but Phil and I think the strong flavor is not muted by all the berries and fruit, so we seek out the less bitter lettuce leaves to gobble up.

October Blooms

October 14, 2012

Just when you think there is not much left to take pictures of something else blooms.

Pink Chrysanthemum.  First the red mums bloomed, then these, and finally the purple ones should start opening any day.  These mums will be great for all the pollinators that are still active.  I hope they will attract butterflies, as they did last year.

Purple dome asters and goldenrod ‘fireworks.’

I thought I planted purple dome asters here, as well, but these asters look very pink.  I might move them or replace them with something else next year.

Geranium ‘rozanne’ and columbine foliage.

A few cornflowers are still blooming.

Pink turtlehead flowers.  We had an inch of rain in the last 24 hours, but that is just a start to repair the damage of the drought this past summer.  Still, I am glad these flowers are blooming a little, though not looking their best.  I was afraid they would completely die this summer.

It is always hard to capture a picture of our Chinquapin Oak, but wanted to post one for the record.  We planted this and it was about 6 or 7 feet in April 2009.  Three and a half years later it is looking healthy and growing well.  In the background you can see our silver maple on the south side of our house.

Can’t help throwing in a picture of the first and only praying mantis egg sac I have seen this year.  It is hidden inside a clump of ‘morning light’ miscanthus.

The curly kale is still beautiful and productive and we consume it every day in our chocolate smoothies.  I picked a few green pole beans today and might go out and pull up the two beet plants to see if they are edible.  I also planted lettuce and spinach and am watching to see if they sprout at all.  If so, I might set up a cold frame and see if I can grow salad for another month of two.

June Close Ups

June 17, 2012

It finally rained last night!!  This morning I cut back, pruned, dead-headed and harvested around the yard.  This evening I bought some tomoto cages for the cucumber plants that grow quickly once it rains.  The funnest part of gardening is wandering around taking pictures, but I got a few bug bites doing that today…  I love the art, wonder and surprises in the garden.

Maybe the rain brought out the first sweet pea flowers.  Stephanie’s birthday flower for April.

The first cornflower blooms.  I ordered these annuals online and now when I looked this up it is also called Bachelor Buttons, I think.

 

Heliopsis Summer Sun – This is a “false sunflower” perennial I planted recently and has started to bloom next to the lavender flowers in the back – Wonder of Staffa Aster.  They are both bent over from the rain.  I suppose I need to stake them.

It is time for daisies!  I always try to pull them up each year, but they seem to come back with a cheery smile.  I like them until they fall over on top of other plants, but this year I tied them up, so we will see how long that lasts.

A moth rests on coreopsis moonbeam.

Knee high before the fourth of July.

Curly cue cucumber tendril latches on to wire cage, while above, a flower starts to stretch into a becoming a cucumber.

Cooking adventure:  We have a lot of kale and I understand that it has more vitamins than most other vegetables, so I am trying to find good recipes to get the family to eat it.  Today we cooked sauteed kale and new potatoes from the garden topped with cheese.  Also in the recipe from the garden were an onion and some basil.  After sauteing with olive oil I added chicken broth and steamed it for about 30 minutes, which is what it needed to sweeten up the kale.  Enjoyed by all!