Thursday, July 29, 2010

Rose Mallows in Late Summer

Here are those rose mallow (hibiscus moscheustos) I saw on my walk at a church
garden near my house.  Gotta find out who the gardener is...

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Grab a sweater

It's in the 70s tonight! After yet MORE rain today, the humidity is finally breaking.  That's something I love about living up here versus the South where I was raised.  We do get a break from humidity from time to time in the summer.  I'm looking forward to getting out in my garden in the next couple of days and checking just how weedy everything is after all the rain.  The news says July is shaping to be the hottest on record, and you can really tell by all the washed out colors out there.

It feels like the tropics out there

At 8am in our New England location here in Connecticut it felt like a soupy mess outside. I can't even get up the energy to go deadhead a little. I'm going to just dream about spring today. The humidity is supposedly breaking tonight and tomorrow will be a lovely day. Let's hope so because everything needs some cleaning up out there. I'm keeping up with the watering and that little meal of fertilizer I gave my pots the other day seems to be working already. The tropical ones are loving this heat and the yummy food I gave them. They look very happy in this heat. Glad someone is.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Rain barrels

Why oh why haven't I been following the advice of my organic gardening teacher?? We've had so much rain lately and the smart thing to do, according to Mr. Carr, would have been to set up strategically placed rain barrels, or at the very least buckets, to catch all this rain. I practice organic gardening so I better get out there and get some of this good rain into my gardens! Gotta practice what I preach.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Cucumber Yogurt Smoothie

I tried a variation on my cucumber yogurt smoothie I posted about a week or so ago. If you don't like the sound of buttermilk, use feta cheese instead. I made it today with my non-fat plain greek yogurt, cucumbers, lemon juice, feta and salt and pepper, and it was so yummy. But I'm betting that people who don't like buttermilk probably don't like feta cheese either! My husband would be in that camp.

Today in my garden

Here's what's happening in my gardens today...I planted Mark's Prickly Pear Cactus he picked out at Gilbertie's Nursery in Westport last weekend. And we learned it's hardy and will survive our winters and come back every year. Pretty cool. I also planted the other plant we bought -- I don't know its name but it's a succulent that looks like a bunch of green sticks. Only a 9 year old boy could love it. We learned it's not hardy in Connecticut so we'll have to bring it in once it gets cold. I'll post a picture of it soon. I also found Mark's one tree -- the dwarf conifer we planted in one of his rock gardens I posted about already -- dead and beyond recovery. The persistent and so intense heat we've had killed it. It was in a rock garden with succulents that don't need much water, so I let it go too long, and well, guess I should have gotten more water around it! My white 'David' phlox is coming into full bloom right now, and my 'Summer Snowflake' viburnum is blooming like crazy. The goldenrod is about to bust open with its bright yellow blooms that the bees love, and the butterfly bush is going strong and starting to bring the butterflies. The black eyed susans are full of happy blooms, and the dahlias are still blooming -- their buds are smaller in this heat, but they're still going and they'll give me big fat blooms in the fall once it cools down some. Oh, and the yellow jackets love the little water bowl on a post I have in my back garden! They are loving their daily baths and drinks, and it makes me realize how much our bees need water, too! The pots are still going crazy, and I'm hoping that first meal of fertilizer I gave them today will keep them going through the heat in August and on into fall. That's about it for today. This is the time of year I get really tired of the garden. It looks bleached out and overgrown and I just want to let it go. But I know once it's cooled off in September, I have lots of digging up and moving to do, so I have to stay inspired until then. Luckily, the late summer bloomers keep me interested and excited until fall....

It's hot, hot, hot

It's so hot again today, and it looks like another summer storm is coming. We have had spectacular, but scary, thunder and lightning lately. I was out in my gardens today and after 45 minutes of weeding, a little deadheading, watering and fertilizing the pots out front (the first time of the season!), I was totally soaked with sweat. The mid-summer heat has just leeched any flowering out of most of my annuals, so I'm hoping the little boost of food I gave them today will get them perked up and flowering again. It's so hot -- heavy and humid -- not a good gardening day.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Mark laughed because I pulled over today to get a picture of this Crape  Myrtle.  I couldn't, and still can't, believe it!  You never see these here in Connecticut...they are all over the South and I miss them. They bloom all summer and are so cheerful!

Friday, July 16, 2010

Yesterday again...shut my eyes and I could almost be in the Caribbean...the beach plum roses' rosehips look like little apples.

A snowy egret hunting for breakfast yesterday in this creek by the Sound on yesterday's walk.

These daylilies look good enough to eat

From yesterday's beach walk. I cant get over these apricot and coral and peachy hued dayliies.

My summer snowflake is back! I am really going to enjoy this sweet bloomer that is the gift that keeps on giving in the summer.  It blooms all summer wig white lacecap-type flower heads and will grow to 5 or 6 feet tall and about 3-4 feet wide. It sure will cheer me and my garden up this time of year when the pretty spring bloomers have faded.  I'm so glad Mark and I picked this baby out on that early and warm spring day this year.

Aaah Annabelle - this hydrangea is so hardy - it even survived our 3 days of 100+ degrees last week.

This is my tree hydrangea Tardiva just coming into bloom today. I love how it shines in late July and into the fall.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Walking by Southport Beach this morning

The Sound at Southport Beach this morning... Cloudy and gloomy but still peaceful and beautiful. I love the fiery red of these daylilies I saw in front of a fence I passed.

The Mint Monster Now!

The mint!! You can see above the mint now, the top picture, and the mint in the second photo, from a couple of weeks before. It's going crazy! And here is another pot from a couple of weeks ago -- and see it in the post below. I love this time of year when everything is getting big and lush and nutty in the garden and my pots. >


My pots in front of my house are looking lush. I'm going for that tropical look this year. It's working ok - unlike my gardens which are looking overgrown and monstrous. The bottom photo is a "before" shot from a couple of weeks ago. Guess that intense heat and sunshine we've had (and all the watering!) is working. I haven't even used any fertilizer yet.

Minty Fresh

So like anybody else who grows mint, I have it running rampant in the pot it's in. I purposely didn't put it in the ground since it will take over any space it is allowed to occupy. Just how many mojitos can I make with my lovely mint?? Especially since my husband doesn't like them...I need to have a mojito party!

But I have another way to use my mint -- and my basil for that matter. I make a cucumber-mint-basil smoothie. Here are the ingredients: Non-fat greek yogurt (or full fat if you want, it doesn't matter, I'm just trying to keep it healthy), non-fat buttermilk (or lowfat, same principle), cucumbers -- peeled and cut in cubes, some mint, some basil, some lemon juice, salt and pepper. You can adjust the ingredients as you like. Put all this yummy stuff in the blender and blend til as smooth as you want. I use the low setting so it doesn't totally pulverize right away because I like it a little lumpy/chunky. This is so, so good -- take my word for it -- and trust me, you will not taste the buttermilk if that grosses you out. It just adds a little tanginess, as does the lemon juice. But you can add regular milk if you want.

I also use my mint in marinades for meat, along with the basil. For some reason, this basil-mint combo is really good. And of course, I use the basil for so many other things, including our summer absolute favorite -- fresh mozzarella and tomato salad. We don't have any good local tomatoes yet, so I hold off on this one til August and September and even into October if it's warm and the tomato crop is heavy.

I took care of my kids' school's organic garden -- with the kids' help when they weren't running off to the playground or baseball field :) -- last week, and I brought home so many cucumbers that I had to give a bunch to my next door neighbors. But I have been enjoying my cucumber smoothies every day. I think I better go make one now.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Hydrangea Burn-Out (Literally)

I am so glad I took all those photos of my beloved hydrangeas (and my neighbors'!) because after our 100+ degree heat several days last week, lots of the flowers are literally burned on the edges of the petals. I was out there last night pruning off the fairly dead flowers to leave the ones that were buried underneath foliage and other flowers, so still lookin' good, and a neighbor walked by and said "is that hydrangea dead"? I was so taken aback, and so protective of my sweet plant, that I quite defensively said "well, no, the plant is still very healthy -- see all the green leaves -- but that heat last week burned up some of the flowers!". She looked at me pretty suspiciously, and was thinking, I could tell, "well, it looks dead to me lady"!

My lacecap's delicate blossoms are all pretty burned so I took out the worst ones but left the rest.

But my little dwarf "Pia" with the intense purply-fuschia flowers is still going strong. That color of flower doesn't seem to get burned up as badly as the lighter blue and pink ones. It's still beautiful with its darker green leaves and incredible hues in its blossoms. I love it -- I need more dwarf ones -- but that means I've got to dig something else out... hmmmm... I also want an 'Ayesha' and a "Limelight'. But not sure how to fit them in my tiny gardens.

Thank goodness my 'Tardiva' is about to pop out for its regular late summer entrance. I'll get photos of it on soon.

Monday, July 5, 2010

I designed this garden in may and it's really filling in nicely. I love this daylily - it's the reblooming kind like Stella d'oro but in rosy pink.

My endlesss summer hydrangeas in a vase. I just had to bring some in to enjoy. And now that the heat wave has hit us, mine are getting droopy even with lots of watering.