Tuesday, July 2, 2013

...how does your garden grow?

Welcome to part 2 of my mid-summer garden update. You are thrilled I am sure. Whatever, I am doing it anyway.

The play area looks really different. The daisies have filled in, the grasses are growing but short, (I may replace them with something taller in the fall) and the grass has filled in except for all the places we killed it by leaving toys out. (The shade on the sand box is fine, it just rained and I forgot to straighten it before taking this picture.) The climbing wall has become a place for building forts. Adorable, yet not pretty. Good thing this area is more about fun than pretty.

Then there are the tomatoes. Holy cow, the tomatoes!

Truthfully, these are the best looking tomato plants I have ever had. I have barely watered them, and have not put any fertilizer on them at all. Growing flowers out the sides was a bit hit or miss, but overall, the experiment was a success.

And they are LOADED with green tomatoes and blooms!

The other tomatoes I started in the ground are only about two feet high at this point, and not nearly as bushy. Can you see them? They are the little plants with the stakes around them, you know, just in case.

What is really exciting me about the back fence area is the sunflowers...

They are supposed to get 12" tall! And the sweet peas...

yum...and the butternut...

Look baby butternut! So cute!

The gourds are growing, but seem to have stopped. I expected them to keep pace with the butternut. Perhaps they need more heat less rain? It has been raining nearly every day for what seems like two weeks. The little vine to the left is sweet autumn clematis. I have been slowly spreading it around the fence line. It is spectacular in the fall.

The swing has been painted and the lavender is in full bloom. The roses have come and gone, but they were gorgeous. The fountain hasn't been running lately, but it has been overcast every day. I am hoping it re-energizes when we finally get sun, otherwise, it may be dead already, and that would be a shame.

Oh well, the honey and bumble bees are happy.

And check out the daisy/lavender combo. So pretty.

In the front the foxglove has gone by, and the mums are starting to get bigger-ish. This area is bugging me. It looks great in the fall, but the rest of the year is is unremarkable, and very visible. They have one more fall to impress me, then I will need to but in some thing more exciting.

The daisies are slightly past their prime, but still pretty. The day lilies are just getting started.

I am on pins and needles to see the full display this year, this is their second year in this spot and they are looking promising.

There is a lot of weeding that needs to happen. The foreground of this picture is a shrub planting area that has yet to mature. Azelas and rhododendrons, there is a lot of empty space between.

Just past that area, the queen of the prairie and toad lilies are looking great. The queen is just past her prime, and the toad lilies don't bloom until fall, but they are looking lush and happy.

Which brings us to "the mess". I have lost my battle with crown vetch. But, it looks kinda great and is growing where so many other plants have failed. It also seems to be choking out the thistle, so I think I will let it be.

The sidewalk area needs some weeding and some mulch, but otherwise, the view is what I've been shooting for: white and purple prairie flowers framed by the yews and trees. The miniature euonymus I planted to blend in with the existing this spring are holding their own. They will bro ably take a season or two to "catch".

Here's a better look at my "prairie". Not traditional by any means, but I see so many happy birds, humming birds, and bees. And no one has to mow with cleats on.

There were also some hen and chicks in bloom...I love little garden surprises like that.

Finally, these dwarf azelas near the foundation have been in for 3 or 4 years. I expected better things from them by now. It is a tough spot, morning sun, other wise shade, east facing, top of slope, right at the drip line. I want something more impressive here, preferably evergreen, not to big, (under a window, near a path) but what? This will require some pondering. I the meantime, these may be moved down slope to crowd in with the other azelas. This mulch path has been a perennial weedy mess, but I think I have found a solution.

We fed our grass weed n' feed this spring, because it was a mess and I was all out of patience with the organic approach. I wasn't happy to do it, but it worked. The grass clippings cannot be composted now because they have absorbed chemicals that will prevent seeds from germinating. Not good for the garden, but actually pretty great for this area. Since I started spreading the grass, not one weed has popped up. I topped the first application of grass with the left over straw, and will let it all compost in place, lasagne style. I may add a layer of newspaper and mulch whenever I get around to mulching the front hill.

So that's my garden tour. The flops and the successes. I like to keep a garden journal to have a record of what I have tried where, it helps as the years go by and the details get fuzzy.

What is growing in your garden? What successes are keeping you going? What flops have you learned from? I would love to hear all about it?



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