I can’t believe it’s already July!
When we planted the cucumbers, squash and Brussels sprouts (mid-May), we had to then cover them in plastic for the next few weeks due to chilly nighttime temperatures! They are doing quite well now, and I just picked our first cucumber and should be able to pick zucchini in a few days.
All the potato bags are filled with a second layer of dirt and then mulched. The stalks are so high I need to water every other day. The lower leaves are starting to yellow, and it’s only a matter of time when the foliage will die and the waiting game begins before we can dig for the spuds!
Flower Gardens Update
I believe the cooler nighttime temperatures had an effect on some of the flowers I planted. Some of the zinnias’ foliage turned black (as did a few of the tomato leaves), and they and the cosmos have not grown as tall this year. This could be due to other factors (such as with the growers), but at this time last year, every one of the zinnias and cosmos were at least three feet tall. The cleome, on the other hand, has grown as before. The cleome I bought first have grown fuller, but the cleome plants I bought a few weeks later are gangly and thin.
Another thing I have noticed about purchasing this year’s flowers is the delay of some varieties to arrive at the nurseries. Also, many plants were still available weeks after they would normally be sold out—a stark difference from other years.
This year, I planted two tomato plants (Tidy Treats and Sun Sugar) in the square mobile planter, and they are surrounded by an assortment of flowers including celosia, gazania, marigolds, cleome, zinnias and ageratum (dwarf and towering varieties).
The bee balm was desperate to take over the deck planter closest to the stairs, but I thwarted its spread by digging a trench at about the midway point and inserting a piece of vinyl flooring. While this prevented the spread, the bee balm has no choice but to proliferate in one-half of the planter. Therefore, I need to water them almost daily. Next spring, I will dig up many of them and plant them elsewhere.
The Front Garden
The zinnias I planted in the front garden, in a small, semi-circle plot against the house, are perhaps half the height of those I’ve grown the last few years, and they are not as vibrant. In addition to the zinnias, the four Stella D’oro daylilies I planted three years ago have grown remarkably, and the blooms have greatly multiplied. I had often forgotten to deadhead the spent blooms last year, and this year I am determined to keep up with the task! Two years ago, I planted two smaller Stella D’oro daylily plants in the triangle garden, and this year they are finally blooming. I have already been forced to trim the Tiger Eyes (Staghorn Sumac) to keep it from engulfing the triangle garden, and I am slowly trimming the Dappled Willow (Hakuro Nishiki) to a more manageable shape. I will need to prune the Japanese Lilac Tree (Ivory Silk-seen on the left), and it will be easier this year because I will be able to avoid trimming the branches with spent flowers.
The last few years I have planted a sweet potato vine in the porch planter and each year, about this time, the beetles begin to devour the leaves. After spraying the sad-looking vine, it would grow back, but it wouldn’t look like its old self until the end of August. This year, instead of a sweet potato vine as a “spiller” container flower, I planted Purple Queen (Setcresea purpurea), Dichondra Silver Falls and Torenia (Amethyst).
The other half circle bed, topped with a Red-Leaf Japanese Barberry, is filling in nicely with ageratum, celosia, geranium, petunias, snapdragons, marigolds, dianthus, verbena and vinca. I obtained a small bag of dog hair from our local pet salon and buried some of it under the mulch. So far, the cottontails have avoided this bed!
Returning to the Back Gardens
I planted a sunflower plant in each of two large containers on the deck. This sunflower is a smaller version of those I planted by seed, and they are supposed to grow to about four feet. They grew quickly, and I was lucky to get a few images of perfect flowers until…the invasion of the goldfinches!!
Gardening Tip of the Day
Many of the potato bags on the bench situated on the deck have stalks that reach three to four feet tall. The bags are quite close to each other, and in order to water each one, I need to push aside the stalks to make sure the water reaches inside. Up until a few weeks ago, I used my hand (and arm) to push the stalks aside. The day I decided to never again use my appendage for this task is the day I found a tick on my arm. Now I don gloves and use a two-inch wide by three-foot long scrap piece of wood to push aside the stalks. The tick probably appeared via bird or squirrel, but whatever the transport system, I now use my trusty piece of scrap wood to water the potatoes!
I hope you enjoy my garden images!