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Thursday, June 13, 2013

What's growing in my garden

When I buy hydrangeas from the garden center, they look like this. But after a couple of years in the ground . . .

. . . they come up like this, and only have 2 or 3 blooms per bush. I'm planning on keeping the hydrangeas well-watered this summer, in hopes that will help with more blooms in future years. Do you have a knack with hydrangeas? What is your secret?

This is the area of the woodland gardens that I've been working on this spring -- lilies of the valley, hydrangeas, hostas, grape hyacinths, rhododendrons, and in fall, I'll plant a bunch of yellow daffodils under the river rock. I still have a bunch of work to do on this area, but I have ALL summer to finish digging out the salal, haul rocks, add mulch, stepping stones, etc.

Basil looks good this year. I've got it in a large trough-style planter on the deck. In my yard, basil does best in large pots on the deck.

Now lookie what I found! If the seed packet was correctly labeled, this is an itty bitty eggplant. Imagine that, here in the cool pacific northwest I have an eggplant growing!

On a whim, I planted a purple potato. They had purple seed potatoes for just a few pennies a piece at the produce stand last month. So I bought a couple of purple and a couple of Yukon Gold, to go with my regular garden potatoes.

The four strawberry beds are looking full this year. Strawberries are just beginning to ripen here. Beyond the strawberries is the raspberry hedge. Bees are busy as ever in the raspberries this week. Should be a good year for both strawberries and raspberries. And that's a good thing, because . . .

 . . . the blueberry harvest will be poor this year. Only 3 of my 8 bushes have a significant number of blossoms. Last year was a stellar year for blueberries here. Maybe the plants have gotten into an alternate bearing habit, or maybe we didn't have enough winter chill hours this year. In any case, it looks like I'll actually be buying blueberries this summer. And that's not the only fruit that isn't going to be super-productive this year.

The apple trees just have a handful of apples on each. We'll probably take a day to go apple picking at a local orchard in late summer, early fall.

My rosemary is doing very well this year. I've got the two plants in large pots on the deck. I've been taking snips for roasted rosemary potatoes this last month. Mmmm, I do love rosemary!
Can't wait to bake some rosemary bread.

And finally, some impatiens that I planted in a pot next to the kitchen door, late last week. I planted these just for smiles. I'm taking really good care of them, giving a jar of water every other day, and adding some bloom-boosting fertilizer. I'm hoping the pot will be bushy with blossoms by the 4th of July. They look like lipstick, don't they?

So now you know what's growing here, tell me, what's growing in your garden?


  1. One new item in our garden is golden beets! Even the stems are beautiful yellow. I will post a picture whe they are bigger.

    Today we are starting summer vacation!!

    1. Hi Jen,
      I've never tried golden beets before. I'd be interested in knowing how they taste compared to red beets.

      Lucky you! We still have two more days left. The public schools around here finish today. My kids passed the sign at the nearby school and commented how "lucky" the kids were to get out today. I reminded them that they had a 4-week break at Christmas, so it all evens out. In fact I think my kids fared slightly better!

      Enjoy your first week of summer!

  2. Lili, your garden is gorgeous! I love the pavers around your strawberry plants, it looks so welcoming not like the weedy paths between my beds.

    I have no idea what plants will survive the constant rains we have been having here so far this year. My celery hasn't made it, same with the watermelon. My strawberries are doing nicely as are the carrots, radishes and spaghetti squash. The tomato plants ate just barely holding on and only a small amount if the onions and melons are going to make it. I have no idea about the rest, it's just a waiting game and hopes the rains end soon.

    1. Hi Lois,
      Thank you. The pavers are very nice for the berry patch. I was struggling with weeds constantly in there before.

      If it's any consolation, I lost all of our cucumbers during a rainy week (which brought out the slugs). I reseeded the cucumbers, but I'm not sure if they'll survive or even have fruit in time. Oooh, spaghetti squash would be wonderful! I may have to give that a try next year. Good luck with your garden. The weather should turn shortly, the sun will blaze bold and your garden will take off!

  3. A picture of abundance! I hope to do some raised beds next year when we do more landscaping. I really like the stones between your beds.

    1. Hi Cheapchick,
      The pavers not only make the walk neater, but I've read that surrounding tomatoes and strawberries with a red base (like red plastic mulch or brickwork) increases fruiting. I'm hoping these pavers do that for our strawberries.

      I'm eager to see how you choose to landscape your yard. A new place feels like a blank canvas, even if there are already plants in place.

  4. My poor hubby had to re-plant beans yesterday. He does several varieties--bush beans, climbers, and he includes an heirloom variety (rattlesnake beans) which did great last year but seems to be a bust this year. As beans are, hands-down, my family's favorite veggie (although technically it's a fruit, I recently learned ... ), this is sad news. If we have to, we'll buy a bunch from the farm market and freeze them ourselves. My kids do NOT like store-bought beans! However, we are having a banner lettuce year. Too bad you can't freeze it.

    We have an overgrown hydrangea in front of our house but the blooms are an ugly greeny-white. It's so prolific I don't think we'll ever be able to totally get rid of it. I think it thrives because it knows I don't really care for it.

    1. Hi Kris,
      Oh, the poor guy -- how discouraging. I know how he must feel. In spring, when I first plant things out I totally forget that some will get eaten by slugs and squirrels, cold rains will cause rot in others and later heat will dry up it's fair share, and we'll be left with about 1/2 of what I first thought we'd have.

      A good share of my beans got eaten by slugs this year. Fortunately I planted more than usual, so at least we'll have enough for fresh eating and a few jars of pickled green beans.

      Too funny about your hydrangea. Yep! I think it's trying to spite you! You know, those green-white blooms are all the rage in complete green bouquets. Maybe you could think of those blooms as trendy?

  5. Lili,
    Your garden looks great-so peaceful. I had to chuckle over your hydrangea-this is the sort of luck I have as well! If you figure it out, please let me know!
    Happy Hugs-

    1. Hi Jemma,
      If only I knew what to do with my hydrangeas. Most of the time, when I can't get a plant to do well in my garden, I just give up on it. But for some reason, I feel determined to have big beautiful hydrangea blossoms. I'll keep trying! I just know that someone knows the secret, and if they would just tell me, I promise I won't tell a soul, just me and anyone who reads here will know!

  6. Wow, you have such an abundant garden! My grandma used to be the master of hydrangeas, so I must ask her how she made them do so well (she now has next to no garden, which is why the 'used to')

    1. Hi Sarah,
      Yes, please let me know your grandma's tricks with hydrangeas. They are supposed to do well in my area, and so far, I've had less than stellar results.

  7. I noticed that you have a couple of herbs on your patio. I like to plant them in boxes and put them by the door we go in and out of. Sometimes we brush them as we go by and the smell is wonderful.

    1. Hi live and learn,
      I like having herbs so close to the house. Like you said, they're fragrant when passing by, and also, I'm more inclined to use them in daily cooking if they are right there. And for us, with cool-ish summers, herbs like rosemary and basil just do better up away from ground level.

      What herbs do you like to keep in boxes near the door? Your comment made me think that lavender would be especially nice in large planters near our back door to the deck.


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