June 27, 2011


The party’s over, the pace is slower, and my “baby” is transitioning from high school to college. Meanwhile, the gardens are transitioning from spring to summer.

My sunny “kitchen garden,” in particular, is beginning to make great strides. While I neglected the weeding for the past week or so, it’s encouraging to see that the Zinnias are about to bloom.

Zinnia elegans 'State Fair Mix'

The Tomatoes are full and setting fruit.

Lycopersicon esculentum 'Better Boy'

The Purple Coneflowers soon will be ready for cut-flower bouquets.

Echinacea purpurea

The Scallions planted around the perimeter of the garden to ward off rabbits (and to eat) are ready to harvest, and some are going to seed. I pull off the seed tops and sprinkle them nearby to encourage new onion sets.

Allium (various varieties)

The Cucumbers aren’t doing so well. This is the first year in a while that I’ve planted them. They got a late start, and now the heat might be holding them back.

Cucumis sativus

The Drumstick Alliums soon will turn purple. They’ll make great cut flowers, too.

Allium sphaerocephalon

Oh, and the Liatris also will be exceptional additions to flower bouquets.

Liatris 'Blazing Star'

There are other highlights, too, but now it’s time for me to transition on over to pull out those weeds…

June 21, 2011

A summer thunderstorm

A moment the wild swallows like a flight
Of withered gust-caught leaves, serenely high,

Toss in the windrack up the muttering sky.
The leaves hang still. Above the weird twilight,

The hurrying centres of the storm unite
And spreading with huge trunk and rolling fringe,
Each wheeled upon its own tremendous hinge, 
Tower darkening on. And now from heaven's height,

With the long roar of elm-trees swept and swayed,
And pelted waters, on the vanished plain
Plunges the blast. Behind the wild white flash

That splits abroad the pealing thunder-crash,
Over bleared fields and gardens disarrayed,
Column on column comes the drenching rain.

~Archibald Lampman

June 14, 2011

GBBD: Timing issues

Weird how the weathers affecting blooming plants this year. Blame it on La Nina, I guess. The Peonies usually bloom near Memorial Day. And they’re just now popping in mid-June:

Paeonia lactiflora

Oh well, there are plenty of blooms to celebrate:

Philadelphus coronarius

Spiraea betulifolia

Polygonatum biflorum

Cleome spinosa

Weigela floribunda

And others to look forward to:

Hemerocallis fulva

Lilium (Asiatic hybrid)

Rosa 'Sweet Mary'

(Note: The milky white substance on some of these plants is...you guessed it! Cottonwood fuzz! I hope the rain washes it away soon.)

Thanks to Carol at May Dreams Gardens for hosting Garden Bloggers Bloom Day!

June 09, 2011

Camera phone chronicles

Salvia leucantha
There’ve been times in the past couple of weeks when I didn’t have time to stop, run into the house, grab my camera, and make sure its settings were just right for a photo. Either the light seemed transitory, the composition was good only at the moment, or I was hauling water or weeding when I noticed a good shot.

So I started using my camera phone—to experiment and see what kind of quality I could achieve. All the photos in this post were taken with my camera phone. I won’t say what brand it is—I imagine there are several that can achieve this level of quality when the light and the conditions are right.

These photos were captured at 72 dots per inch, which isn’t great resolution and doesn’t work well in print at all. But the file sizes were large enough that I could reduce the images down and increase the resolution to 300 dots per inch.

Iris germanica

Certainly this is not a good practice if you want to sell your photos or if you’d like to achieve high-quality prints. But I’m impressed with the results. Again, the light has to be pretty bright, and you might want to adjust the size and resolution later.

Lamium purpureum

Most of us carry our camera phones around with us now. So they’re always handy to whip out, frame the subject, and snap the photo. Sizeable contributions to a good photo, anyway, are the light, the composition, and being in the right place at the right time.

June 04, 2011

In the absence of smellavision

Picking up where my last post ended, I wish I could share the fresh scent of the Dwarf Korean Lilac (Syringa meyeri). Since I can't, I'll do the next best thing. Check out this video, and imagine the heady fragrance wafting through the air:

The common Lilac (Syringa vulgaris) was lovely this year, too. We have one at the back of the garden near the woods. But Syringa meyeri blooms a little later here—usually into the first days of June. We have two bushes, both near windows. So the scent carries easily on the mild summer breezes into our home. Yum!

I snapped these photos a couple of days ago. The blooms are fading fast in the heat, but they're still fragrant.

On May 5, my "Hope Grows" entry referenced Lilacs. Next month, I'm looking forward to lots of progress in my small, sunny "kitchen garden."