Tuesday, June 29, 2010

This Year's Vegetable Garden

This year I decided to plant the Red Brandywine Tomatoes, the same as I planted last year. One change I made was to place the six plants in a single row, instead of two rows of three plants because last year, it was hard to get to the tomatoes on some plants. The Brandywines get pretty heavy, so I will have to stake the plants further when they get another two feet high.

The spinach, radishes, and red leaf lettuce are spent, but I still have beets to harvest in another week, as well as strawberry plants, and yellow beans.

Friday, June 25, 2010

What's Going on in the Garden this Week

My Astilbes are growing and doing very well this year, their third spring season. From left to right I am growing, "Burgundy Red", "Rheinland", "Fanal", and my newest one was just planted this year next to the step, "Ostrich Plume".

My Coneflower Garden is about to bloom and includes Blazing Star Liatris "Kobold", an "Endless Summer" Hydrangea, two varieties of Coreopsis -"Moonbeam" and "Limerock Ruby", and Black Eyed Susans "Goldsturm".

I have alot of Coneflowers in this bed and once they start blooming, I will photograph each one so you can see their color and petal characteristics:

  • White Swan
  • Harvest Moon
  • Sundown
  • Sunrise
  • Fatal Attraction
  • Magnus
  • Summer Sky
  • Ruby Star
  • Primadonna Deep Rose

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Dragonfly in the Garden

I have been seeing quite a few of these beautiful blue dragonflies in the garden all through June. The Red Headed Woodpecker that has set up shop in my backyard is going crazy chasing them down for a quick snack.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Poppies in the Garden

I have never given much thought to Poppies and really don't know much about them. But a couple of months ago while perusing the Home Depot garden center, my son spotted some poppies called "Champagne Bubbles", and he just had to have one of his own. So, we picked out this beautiful red flower, as well as a pink variety.

When the rabbits don't eat them, they bloom very well and are quite pretty, though short in height. It will be interesting to see how they do with their first winter, and if they come back. If successful, then I just might add a few more to the garden next year.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Drainage Makes all the Difference

Having just build a new home a couple years ago, I had to give new thought to where I planted my perennials. Seems the cities in Minnesota all have rules on how to grade the yard of new construction, so that water drains away from the house.

Unfortunately, this causes a dilemma for a gardener. The sides of our yard for instance, have such a steep grade that water runs right over it, and doesn't have a chance to soak in. The grass there is struggling, and anything that I plant on the side of the house has to either be drought tolerant, or heavily mulched to retain moisture.

At the back of our lot, the grade levels out, but unfortunately, retains all the water that drains down the lot and leaves the water with nowhere to go. The soil there is relatively moist, and in a few places, stays quite wet. In these places I have had to plant moisture loving perennials, some that don't mind getting their feet wet.

With all the rain we have had, the moist areas are soaking, and I have had to move a few plants out of that area as they were starting to rot. My "Coral Reef" Monarda and "Orange Perfection" Phlox were dropping all their leaves, so I moved them up the hill and they seem to be doing better. For two years, a Butterfly Weed had been doing well in the area, but all the rain rotted it out with-in a week and even though I moved it, it looks like it is not going to make it.

Getting to know the different areas of your garden and yard can take multiple seasons. You have to research what works in the sun or shade, and what takes drought or moist conditions in these lighting scenarios. You will lose some plants, as I can attest, so be prepared and keep a garden book for notes on what does and doesn't work.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Wild Blue Phlox Wildflower

I have to say that my favorite color is blue, so I am very attracted to blues and purples in the garden landscape. Spring is a great time to walk through forests to find Minnesota wildflowers, and you cannot miss the tons of Wild Blue Phlox that line walking trails. The flowers are very delicate and I had to get really low to the ground to take this photograph.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Perennial Bachelor Buttons

Last year a friend of mine got sick of her Bachelor Buttons, also known as Centaurea montana. She didn't dead head them or divide them, so they grew out of control. Hating to see a pretty plant go to waste, I took some off her hands and put them in my garden. They like a sunny spot with some shade during the day and might look wilted after a hot afternoon, but don't worry, they are great plants if kept under control not to mention very lovely.

Readers know I love to take photos of my flowers and I really like the one above of an emerging bud. Those yellow dots are aphids of some sort. Below is what the entire plant looks like, this being about 2-3 foot tall and a couple feet wide (they can get wider if not cut back).

Word of caution, once planted, these plants aren't the easiest to get rid of, some people calling them invasive. Their roots grow deep and self seeds readily. Make sure to deadhead to prevent self sowing, and cut back after bloom as you might get a rebloom in the fall.