Not so simple

The humble zinnia is still brightening up the garden as it weathers the late season temperature changes. It is only an annual, a flower that completely dies at the end of the growing season and won’t re-grow again from the roots.

Still, there is no need to plant them every year, in spite of their transient nature. The birds, while collecting the prized seeds after the blooms are spent, inadvertently scatter some seeds in their feeding frenzy.

The blooms themselves, in spite of the often vivid coloring, would appear to be the very essence of simplicity due to their plain form. At first glance, they appear to have the classic “petals around a yellow middle” type of shape that we all drew in kindergarten. Continue reading “Not so simple”

The glory of the moon

Those gardeners who plant moon gardens have my admiration. I never indulged myself in creating a place where we can enjoy the flowers that open as the sun goes down, but it sounds like a wonderful way to enjoy the best part of the day — the evening.

There is an unparalleled wonder in flowers that exhibit that rare characteristic of opening up AFTER the sun sets rather than when it rises. Continue reading “The glory of the moon”

Who says?

Those tomatoes and peppers really should do better.

For that matter, there must be a couple dozen plants that don’t thrive in the garden as well as I’d like. Many times it is just a matter of simply not noticing that there is a problem, before I have a chance to correct it.

Luke 13:6-9 tells us of a farmer who wanted to give one tree some special treatment before he gave up on it. It wasn’t bearing figs.

His solution was one that was tried and true. Continue reading “Who says?”

Coulda, Shoulda, Woulda – The game our hearts play

Eleven new daylilies. That’s what came home with me when I went to a friend’s garden to pick up one or two, maybe three.

In the hurry to put them into the ground in my own garden, quick decisions had to be made before the plants became stressed for lack of water and nourishment.

The prettiest one of them ended up between the garage and a large stand of rather tall cannas and a crape myrtle.

Why would I put them there? Continue reading “Coulda, Shoulda, Woulda – The game our hearts play”

Isolate the cause

Green peppers are ripe in the garden! Oh, the possibilities — pepper pizza, fajitas, stuffed peppers, and any number of dishes with these tasty green fruits as a flavoring.

I brought in the first two bell peppers from the garden yesterday. One was perfect! The other was a terrible disappointment, after cutting into it and finding brown spots on the inside. I needed to know how to prevent the rest of my pepper crop from succumbing to such an unappetizing problem. Continue reading “Isolate the cause”

Garbage as food

The ultimate recycling technique consists of using your own kitchen vegetable waste to feed the soil in the garden where you grow more vegetables. Our family also adds the weeds that come out of that garden.

This week we enjoyed some sweet corn, although we didn’t grow it.

Corn husks are not the best thing for the compost bin, but they go there anyway. We wouldn’t think of eating them. If I were a better international cook, I would save them for tamales, although they STILL wouldn’t get eaten even after they were used to hold together all that delicious corn and beef goodness. Continue reading “Garbage as food”

Faith of our fathers

June is the month for garden tours featuring daylilies in Tennessee, as they are usually at their peak. Today was no exception. With two friends as “enablers,” I went shopping at another friend’s beautiful garden for a few more daylilies to add to my burgeoning collection.

Some new varieties will now grace the garden, with features such as ruffled edges, petaloid segments, and vivid eye zones.

Of course the garden still contains a few “heirloom” daylilies, in stark contrast to some of today’s fancy new additions. I like the old, but also love the new. Continue reading “Faith of our fathers”

Stone of stumbling

It was no surprise to me to hear the nickname our son’s friends gave him — “Pyro.” From an early age, he was fascinated by fire.

His passion for fire has now matured into expert welding skills and the ability to make the best smoked pork shoulder on the planet. He must have gotten his firebug trait from his Dad, my own dear Yard Boy, who will take any opportunity to burn things in the yard. Continue reading “Stone of stumbling”

Garden first, house second

The tomato seeds are still sitting on the kitchen counter, waiting to be planted. Here it is, way past the last expected frost date, and all the genetic material for juicy deliciousness is still in the form of tiny round, dry discs in paper packets.

This has been a busy spring for — it seems — everything BUT gardening. The delays in planting were begun in February, when a bad case of bronchitis set in. Given the choice of scrumptious heirloom tomatoes and continuing the privilege of breathing, I chose the latter. Continue reading “Garden first, house second”

Honor to whom honor is due

It was with happy thoughts of a yellow climbing rose that I planted something on the west side of the old white trellis. The lady who traded plants with me wasn’t sure it was really the old-fashioned “Jude the Obscure,” because her tag had only been labeled “Rose by the trellis.” She has four trellises! She gave me the names of all the possibilities, and most of them were climbers.

The weeks plodded by as I anxiously awaited the blossom that would reveal the variety of my new acquisition. Being behind a three-foot wall, the first bloom came and went, unheralded and unseen! Imagine my disappointment when I saw the spent rose hip instead of a bloom. More weeks dragged by. At last, Jude opened in all his fragrant wonder! Continue reading “Honor to whom honor is due”