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Thursday, July 31, 2008

Garden Bloggers' Book Club Virtual Meeting for July 2008

Welcome to the Garden Bloggers’ Book Club Virtual Meeting post for July 2008.

Don’t you just love virtual meetings? You pick your own time, place, and refreshments. If it was evening and you did happen to be here, you could run out and see my vegetable garden as the sun sets.


Or if you prefer morning, let’s make it brunch, and you could see the vegetable garden here at May Dreams Gardens before the heat zaps the squash leaves, causing them to wilt each day by noon.But it’s no problem, they perk up again by morning. If they don’t, it’s time to water.

Or we could pretend that the virtual meeting occurred on the same night that the night blooming cereus (Epiphyllum oxypetalum) bloomed. It actually did bloom a few nights ago, and I posted some pictures of it on Twitter. I’ll post more on that event at a later time.

Shall we get down to club business, the discussion of our primary selection, People with Dirty Hands: The Passion for Gardening by Robin Chotzinoff?

As always before reading the various reviews and related posts, we’ll start out with some background information.

It’s really helpful when the author has her own website. You can find out more about Robin on her website, then you can check out her blog, People With Dirty Hands where she “bares her soil” and writes occasional posts about her own gardening and other gardeners she’s met. From there you might also click over and enjoy her other blog Letters to My Agent.

Before we go on, show of hands, are you finding it difficult to go to all the links and come back here for more? May I suggest you right click on each hyperlink, select, “open in new window” and then you can close that new window when you are done reading and you’ll be right back here in “the meeting”.

Continuing on…

Several of us were fortunate enough to meet Robin for a few minutes at the spring fling, when she dropped by Pam’s house during the social hour.

Dang! Wouldn’t you know it, I talked to Robin for a few minutes, but I didn’t have my book there to get it autographed, plus it didn’t register with me until later that she was the author of People with Dirty Hands. But it was fun to meet her anyway.

So with that background and helpful instructions, I think we’re ready to dive right in and read these posts with thoughts and reviews of the book, People With Dirty Hands.

Pam at Digging read the book while she was a big road trip this summer.

Mr. McGregor’s Daughter is fascinated by the hot peppers.

Cindy from My Corner of Katy shares some of her favorite passages from the book.

Kathy at Cold Climate Gardening writes about how fun it is to read about people who are also crazy about gardening.

Carol at May Dreams Gardens asks the questions “what is it about gardeners”?

Melissa at Garden Portraits, a native New Yorker like Robin also offers a review.

Also check out these posts from those who took me up on the offer to write about their own favorite ‘people with dirty hands.”

Dee at Red Dirt Rambling writes about her grandmother, her first garden mentor, plus she has another post with an unusual way she looked at the book.

Jenny at Life in the Family Patch is new to the book club and wrote about her gardening friend, Sharon.

That’s it for this selection of the book club. Everyone take some virtual squash and peppers on your way out, and thank you for joining in!

In a week or so, I’ll announce the next selection for the Garden Bloggers’ Book Club. If you have any suggestions, send them my way! Or, if you are an author and you have a gardening book that is of general interest to all gardeners no matter where they garde, let me know, and we might choose it, especially if you’ll post along with us!

And finally, if you were planning to join in this month but just didn’t get your post written in time, let me know when you have posted, and I’ll happily add a link for you to this post.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

The Secret of the Hoe

What do you really need to be a gardener?

You need a place to garden, a plot of land. It could be as small as a four inch clay pot filled with dirt or big enough to be measured in acres.

You need some plants. You might start out with a handful of seeds or few passalong plants from another gardener, or maybe you are fortunate enough to have a truckload of nursery grown plants.

You need some tools. It’s helpful to have basic tools to dig, to cultivate, to prune, to rake, to water, to hoe.

Anyone can buy places, plants and tools and be ready to garden, but to really become a gardener you need more than what money can buy.

You need a desire to garden. With that desire comes a willingness to get your hands in the dirt, to sweat, to toil to exhaustion. And you need patience, a willingness to wait for seeds to sprout, winters (or hot summers) to end, flowers to bloom, trees to grow.

Depending on where you garden, what you grow, how you toil, you can get away without having some of the tools. Good tools do make it easier to garden, but a gardener will figure out how to garden without all of the tools as long as they have that place and some plants and the desire.

And that’s the secret of the hoe…

It’s not the hoe that makes a garden, it’s the gardener.

The hoe just makes it easier, as does a shovel, a rake, or good pruners.

But without them, gardeners will figure out ways to garden. They can't be stopped. They’ll still toil and sweat and plant and make their gardens. And those gardens won’t be just collections of plants, those gardens will be personal spaces that reflect back the nature of the gardener.

Because, it’s not the hoe that makes a garden, it’s the gardener.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

A Hoe Review For Dee of Red Dirt Rambling

There are gardeners who claim they don't use hoes in their gardens. And then there are gardeners like Dee of Red Dirt Rambling who have more than one hoe, and freely admit it.

There is, after all, no shame in using hoes in the garden, and no shame in not using hoes in the garden.

It's all about the gardener's preference, I won't judge!

But Dee did ask me to take a look at her hoes and see what I thought, if I had any suggestions for her, just for fun.

The first hoes shown are her long-handled hoes. She has the basics covered with a stirrup type hoe and a regular straight hoe.

The hoe hidden behind the others looks like one with a triangular shaped head. Those are nice, but you can use the corner of the straight edged hoe to serve the same purpose, so it is just a bonus to have that one, too.

What's missing? Well, for starters, I think Dee might find it useful to have a scuffle hoe. It cuts weeds off in both directions, as you pull the hoe toward you and as you push it away. Dee has some raised beds where she grows vegetables intermixed with flowers, or is it flowers intermixed with vegetables, where that might be useful.

She says it confuses the bugs to put flowers with vegetables. It also makes for a prettier garden! I need to do more of that because the bugs were not confused when it came to attacking my squash plants this year, even though I added some flowers.

The other hoe that Dee might use for that red dirt of hers is a grub hoe. It's really good for breaking up hard clay soils, which I assume she has quite a bit of in her Oklahoma garden.

Dee also has a lot of roses, nearly 90 last she counted. Even though we garden in different hardiness zones, if when I decide to grow more roses, Dee is one of several garden bloggers I'll be asking for recommendations from. The other one whose advice I'll seek is Annie in Austin because she gardened in Illinois prior to her garden life in Texas.

Between the two of them, I bet they could come up with quite a collection of roses for me to plant at May Dreams Gardens!

But I digress... back to Dee's hoes, this time her hand hoes.

I count seven in that picture.

I see a Cape Cod weeder in there; those are good, and I love mine. I also see the blue handle of a Cobrahead, another good one.

But I'm really excited to see that we both love the other kind of hand hoes, the ones with those angled heads, what I call the Japanese hand hoe. We both got our favorite one at Smith & Hawken, but they don't seem to carry them any more. That's a shame. One of the reasons I think Dee has so many of that type is because she's afraid she'll lose the one she loves, and can't bear to be without it. I know I am afraid of that and guard mine with my life!

She and I both know that the other hand hoes just aren't the same. The angle of the head isn't qujte right, the length of the handle is a bit off... it has to be THAT one. It just does. If you know of a reliable source for them, please let us know. I'm sure we'd each buy a spare to have, 'just in case'.

Dee has mentioned that her hoes 'go camping' and sleep under the stars. I take this to mean that she leaves them outside to fend for themselves on occasion. She knows, we all know, they'll last longer if she puts them away after using them and keeps them clean and sharp.

My only other recommendation for Dee is she might want a five tine hand cultivator. The one I like is from the the DeWit hand tool company in the Netherlands and I'm not sure of a source for it in the United States. The place I ordered mine from is now wholesale only. If someone knows of a 'state side' source for them, please let us know.

Did you know I met Dee in person once? Yes, at the Spring Fling. It adds a whole new dimension to blog reading when you've met the blogger in person.

So when I was preparing this review of her hoes, I sent Dee an email and asked her what one lesson gardening has taught her. After questioning "just one", she wrote back, "That the entire natural process of life with its birth, flowering and death is a miracle. Also, to not fear mistakes. They are part of the glory of life itself."

Well put! Embrace mistakes for a happier life, for a glorious life!

Thank you, Dee, for sending me your hoe pictures and giving me a chance to review them for you! I think I've learned something by doing this, too. Actually I think I've discovered 'the secret of the hoes'.

More on that later.

*****

This is part of a "dual post" with Dee of Red Dirt Rambling. Visit Dee to find out about our virtual chat over an iced green tea!

Monday, July 28, 2008

Gardening Magazines: Just the Beginning

How many gardening magazines do you subscribe to?

In my case, I’ve decided I subscribe to too many magazines, both gardening and non-gardening.

I’m overrun with magazines, some stacked on the floor, some semi-organized in magazine holders, others in baskets waiting to be read.

Everywhere I look, there are magazines.

It is like the proverbial elephant in the room, all those magazines.

Hey, look there's the elephant!

The magazines can no longer be ignored because as it turns out, there’s a limit to how many magazines can keep and how useful they are, even years later.

So, spurred on by a “Plurk” from Robin of Bumblebee and the Examiner announcing that she was making last week “organizing week”, I decided to round up all the magazines and deal with them.

Quite a few stacks, I know, and the picture does not include all of them.

My older sister stopped by and took about 50 of them from me. Every time she picked one up and read out loud from the cover something like “Oh, this one has an article about Tasha Tudor, I’ll take that one”, I wanted to keep it.

But I was strong. I left her the room and let her take what she wanted. Yes, there were a few back issues of a couple of the magazines that I wouldn’t let her take, like those Kitchen Gardener magazines, but for the most part, I told her to take what she wanted.

There are a few other plurkers getting into the organizing spirit. After all, it is more fun when you know others are doing it, too.

So far, Leslie at Growing a Garden in Davis is organizing her recipes and Cindy at My Corner of Katy is going through some of her files. Anyone else?

I do actually like to have things more organized and straightened up, than the other way. I find it hard to work around clutter and disarray, unless it is straightened up “disarray”, or “disarray” that is in my control to straighten up.

I think that’s why when I go out to the garden, if the grass is tall, I’ll mow it first, so I have a nice background to do the rest of the gardening! Less disarray! Well, maybe not, maybe I just like to mow the lawn.

Anyway, I’m getting rid of old magazines and organizing those I decide to keep.

Then this morning I looked at the new blog of a colleague and he’s beginning the “great household purge”. I need that! I’m going to do that, because getting rid of what I no longer need or want will make it easier to organize.

I’ll start with the garden…

Magazines. I’ll give away the gardening magazines that I don’t want with strict orders to pass them along or recycle them when they are done with them. And I’ll reduce the number of new magazines I get. If I have any subscriptions for magazines that I rarely read that go beyond one year, I’m going to write and ask them to cancel the subscription and refund the unused portion of it, and donate that to charity. I’m still going to subscribe to a couple of the magazines… just not ALL of them.

Clay pots. I’ve got some ideas for some ways to use clay pots as sculpture in the garden. I saw something in a magazine, of all places, that looked easy enough to do. I’ll try it out and if I like the results, I’ll share them. If I don’t… who has some suggestions for re-using clay pots? (I’m not anti-magazine, by the way, I just need to figure out a way not to end up with so many.)

Plastic pots. I think I know a greenhouse owner who will take used plastic pots. I’ll stop by and ask her this weekend if she wants them.

Tools. Hey, let’s not get carried away with this. I’m not getting rid of the hoes, though there are a couple of worthless rakes I should get rid of and handful of trowels!

Books. I’ve got all my gardening books cataloged on LibraryThing, so I feel like they are organized. I just need to do some rearranging of the bookcases to get them all to fit. And truthfully, there are a few I could get rid of.

Catalogs. These go right to the recycle bin almost as soon as I get them, especially if I know I’m definitely not ordering from them. I need to find that place you notify to get your name off all the direct-mail marketing lists, so I get fewer catalogs, and do it soon before the Christmas catalogs start to arrive.

Seeds. I think I’m finally ready to get rid of some of the old seed packets

Is anyone else interested in reducing stuff and organizing what’s left, especially related to the garden and garden shed? Feel free to join in, the more the merrier!

By the way, would you subscribe to that Garden Bloggers magazine shown above? Isn’t there a certain irony to subscribing to a printed magazine about online activities? Why, sure there is! And by the way, you know that’s not a real magazine, right? I made up that cover using this site.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

What Is It About Gardeners?

What is it about gardeners?

What is about gardeners that they’ll wait for years for the perfect bloom on a special plant, and never question the time, attention, and space they give that plant for all those years?

What is it about gardeners that they’ll go out in the fall and take their neighbors’ bagged leaves in the early dawn hours so they can use those leaves for compost in their own garden?

What is it about gardeners that they can be perfect strangers one minute, and then upon realizing they are in the company of other gardeners, talk at an alarming pace about dirt, bugs, compost, flowers, seeds… gardening… as though they have known one another for years?

What is it about gardeners that they can rattle off the botanical name of a prized plant, but not remember the last name of the non-gardeners down the street?

What is it about gardeners that they’ll name their gardens?

I’m not sure what it is, but I recognize gardeners when I see them, by these traits and other clues.

And I’ve been reading the June-July selection of the Garden Bloggers’ Book Club, People with Dirty Hands: The Passion for Gardening by Robin Chotzinoff for further insight.

Robin travels around the United States talking to a variety of gardeners, some smitten with a particular type of flower, others in love with ‘playing in the dirt’, all getting their hands dirty.

Some garden for themselves and some garden for others.

And they all seem not to be able to help themselves. I’m nearly finished with the book, a good read, and just keep thinking about those questions… “what is it about gardeners”.

I’ve also read the alternate choices at various times. These books include

Otherwise Normal People: Inside the Thorny World of Competitive Rose Gardening by Aurelia Scott

Orchid Fever: A Horticultural Tale of Love, Lust, and Lunacy by Eric Hansen

Backyard Giants: The Passionate, Heartbreaking, and Glorious Quest to Grow the Biggest Pumpkin Ever by Susan Warren

These books are about gardeners who are ‘smitten’ by a particular plant, and overtaken by a spirit of competitiveness to grow the perfect rose or orchid or the biggest pumpkin.

What is it about these gardeners that they will give up virtually any other ‘life’ in their quest?

Maybe I’m too close to gardening myself to see the answer to “what is it about these gardeners”? Maybe my hands are too dirty from my own gardening?

Whatever the answers, I enjoyed reading all of these books at one time or another, reading the stories of other gardeners and thinking about some of the gardeners I know who could be included in books like these.

And reading about some of these gardeners, I feel just a tiny bit like them, like I understand them... just a tiny bit.

*****

If you’ve been thinking about joining in the Garden Bloggers’ Book Club, this is the perfect time to do so, with so many ways to do it.

It’s easy to participate. Read one of these books and write about it or write about a passionate gardener you know and post it on your blog. You have just a few days to do so before I publish a virtual “club meeting post” on July 31st with links to everyone who participated.

Just let me know when you have posted, and I’ll pick up a link to your post to include you.

Questions, comments, or suggestions? Leave a comment or send me an email. All are welcome to participate!

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Sibling Rivalry in the Garden

Sibling rivalry in the garden isn't what it used to be.

For example, for sweet corn, I always just assumed that my youngest sister and I were competing to grow the sweetest, earliest sweet corn of the summer. But my corn has just been okay this year, and I think it is a bit behind.

So when I went over to my sister's garden, ready to admit defeat, I was shocked to find out that this year, she didn't even plant sweet corn.

I checked with my older sister to find out how her sweet corn was doing and found out she didn't plant any either.

I win!

I win the sweet corn growing competition. When I harvest those two ears shown above, in a few days, it will be the sweetest sweet corn in the family. It will also be the only sweet corn in the family.

Let's move on to tomatoes.

My sister had these tomatoes all lined up on the window sill.

"Hey, Sis, some of those 'maters look awfully green to be a-picken them, what's going on?"

Turns out that her husband knocked them off while he was weeding. Now how does that happen? Well, they caged their tomatoes and some of the tomato plants were sprawling all over the ground, so when he moved the vines to weed around them, I guess some of the green tomatoes fell off. Oh, and the tomatoes were suffering from sun scald.

Based on this mis-treatment of tomatoes I've disqualified them from the tomato growing competition. But I didn't do it just because of the cages, though I ought to, I actually disqualified them for buying their tomato plants in the spring and not starting them from seed.

Those are the rules. I don't just make them up, I follow them, too. We can't have people just doing as they please and expect to win. Tomato plants must be started from seed and staked!

I'm not even going to mention, by the way, that she doesn't remember which varieties of tomatoes she has.

But I will say she had a lot of cherry tomatoes, and they were good.

My older sister also bought her tomato plants, so even if she doesn't have a ripe tomato yet, anyway, she's still disqualified.

I win!

I win again when it comes to the tomatoes.

Which brings us to green beans.

This competition is really just about having some to harvest, or not. My oldest sister does not have any beans to harvest because the bunnies ate her plants. And it wasn't my fault!

My youngest sister has green beans and has harvested some, but I had to disqualify her because I personally had to point out that she had green beans to harvest before she picked any. Apparently she hadn't been out to the garden for a few days.

But even if had not disqualified her and had instead let her stay in the competition, I still beat her to the first green bean harvest of the season, fair and square, so again...

I win!

I win the green bean growing competition.

I win all three competitions!

Would anyone like to join our friendly competition?

Friday, July 25, 2008

When A Gardener Goes to the Movies

When a gardener goes to the movies, she likes to watch...

Greenfingers
It's about bad guys who turn into good gardeners.

Saving GraceThis one includes that classic line... "It's a plant, I'm a gardener", or something like that.

The Secret GardenIt's one of the classics, good for kids, too.

Dennis the MenaceIt has that memorable scene where Mr. Wilson's garden club comes over to see his rare flower bloom. Did I mention my night blooming cereus is going to bloom any night now?

84 Charing Cross RoadHey, what does this movie have to do with gardening?

Nothing. It's about a book lover in New York City and an antique book seller in London, England who become friends through business correspondence and then letters exchanged over several decades. But they never meet in person. It's based on a true story.

Doesn't that remind you of garden blogging, in a way?

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Bare-handed Thistle Pulling Explained

Come admire the sunflowers (Helianthus annuus 'Monet's Palette') and I'll explain how to pull thistle weeds with your bare hands.

On a previous post about the lessons we can learn from our weeds, I noted that I've taught myself how to pull thistle weeds bare-handed, and there were several readers who asked in the comments how I did that.

So I'm going to try to explain it.

The first thing you should know is that the old age is true, "know thine enemy". Study it, find out its strengths and weaknesses and then learn how to overcome those strengths and exploit the weaknesses.

The strength of the thistle lies in its leaves and roots.

The leaves are fill of thorniness and evil and will scratch you and attempt to hurt you if you try to grab them with your bare hands.

The roots are strong and deep and the thistle can grow back from any root left when the thistle is pulled.

But the thistle has weaknesses.

It, too, starts to wear out as the summer progresses.

Remember this rhyme:

Cut thistle in May,
They grow in a day.

Cut them in June,
That is too soon.

Cut them in July,
Then they will die.


Here's a thistle plant waiting for me, taunting me in a garden path.

It just looks mean and evil. It's bad. You really should wear gloves to pull out this evil weed, but sometimes you'll see one and you won't have your gardening gloves with you.

In those situations, when you find yourself staring down a thistle barehanded, you can take advantage of the weakness I've discovered after careful study and trial and error.
If you scrape back the mulch or soil to reveal the stem below ground level, you'll see that it is smooth. That is the weakness of the thistle, a smooth stem below ground level!

Grasp the thistle on the smooth part of the stem and pull firmly.You should be able to pull out most of the roots along with the plant.

I've resigned myself to pulling thistle not only in July, but also in May, June and August. But at least I don't have to run for the gloves every time I see one.

Now go out and try it yourself. If you are successful, let me know, and you can join me as a Gardener of the Order of the Bare-handed Thistle Pullers, a mostly ceremonial title.

If it doesn't work for you, let me know that, too, and put your gloves back on.

Good luck and embrace weeding!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Whimsy in the Garden

If you go out very early in the morning, before the dew has dried on the grass, you might find a bit of fairy lace, left behind by a garden fairy hurrying off at the first light of dawn to hide beneath the shrubs or in the shade under the leaves of cucumber vines in the vegetable garden.

Later in the morning, the lace disappears. Who knows who or what comes and takes it away, it just disappears as the sun dries the dew on the grass.

Across the way, the foxglove (Digitalis purpurea) blooms. A favorite plant of the fairies, they often leave their footprints inside each flower
I've never seen a foxglove without the spots, so I'd recommend planting foxglove in your garden if you want to make sure to attract garden fairies.

How does a coreopsis bloom (Coreopsis lanceolata) end up in the middle of a drift of coneflowers (Echinacea purpurea)? There can be only one answer.

The garden fairies put it there, to play a trick on the gardener. Then they hide and watch and laugh when the gardener comes out, and upon seeing the flower, scratches her head and says out loud to no one in particular, but loud enough for the fairies to hear, "Now, how did that flower get in there?"

If the gardener is really quiet, she might even her the slight tinkle of a fairy's laugh.

Whimsy in the garden is really in the mind of the gardener.

Or it may be in a fairy garden, filled with miniature plants, a few small garden ornaments, and a door for the garden fairies to come in out of the rain and cold.With all of this evidence, how can one dispute the notion that garden fairies are here in the garden, bringing their own brand of mischief and making sure the gardener doesn't get too serious about it all?

And if you listen to the garden fairies, they'll give you some good advice about how to make the garden a place that both you, and they, will love.

With their permission, since it was their guest post, I'll repeat some of their advice here.

From the Garden Fairies...

1. Don’t keep the garden too neat and tidy. If you try to keep things too tidy in the garden, you’ll drive yourself nuts with all the weeding and deadheading and you won’t enjoy the garden as much as you should. And you’ll remove a lot of good plant debris that we garden fairies use to make our houses and clothes, that birds use for their nests, and that microorganisms break down to enrich the soil. When you do clean up the garden a little bit, put the plant debris in a compost bin, please, and we’ll make sure you get good compost from it.

2. Get out and observe your garden year around and around the clock. The more time you spend in your garden, the more you learn about it. We think the more you learn about your own garden, the better you make it for us garden fairies. You observe where the sun shines at different times, what areas are wetter than others, where you need more plants and more. We promise to leave you alone, most of the time, as you wander about in your pj’s in the early morning. That is, we promise to leave you alone as long as you give us some space, too. As we make our way home after a night of partying about in your garden, we aren’t always as sharp and on the look out as we should be. And perhaps we might have a tiny bit of a hangover, too, if you know what I mean, so we can be grouchy in the morning. So just leave us alone if you see one of us.

3. Try to have flowers blooming as much as you can throughout the year. We garden fairies love flowers and generally settle in gardens where we know they’ll be a good, steady parade of blooms through spring, summer, and fall. Then in the winter, if we happen to live in a midwestern garden like Carol’s, we’ll sneak inside and play amongst the blooming houseplants or write an occasional guest post. Yes, we do sometimes envy our southern cousins who get to play in gardens outside all year long but it does get quite hot for them in the summer. Anyway, try to grow as many flowers as you can.

4. Lay off the pesticides. Those chemicals don’t just kill off the pests, they can take out the bees and garden fairies, too. Have you ever seen a garden fairy who didn’t run away fast enough when someone started spraying that stuff and got soaked with it? It’s just an awful sight! If you saw it once, you’d figure out other ways to get rid of those pests in your garden.

5. Mix it up in the garden with lots of variety. We like trees and shrubs for shade, along with flowers and foliage plants, maybe even some tall grasses and a bit of lawn. Oh, and we like lots of ground cover to nap under in the afternoon. And don’t forget to find a spot for a vegetable garden. We garden fairies don’t just sip flower nectar all night long, you know, we get hungry for real food, too. And we promise we’ll only eat a tiny bit, never as much as the rabbits eat. Aren't those rabbits just like pigs in the garden? And it is so funny to watch Carol try to chase them out of the garden!

*****

Thank you to Gardening Gone Wild for hosting the Garden Bloggers' Design Workshop each month and for choosing Whimsy in the Garden as the July topic!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

A Lot Of Gardening Involves Waiting

How long are you willing to wait for a plant to reach peak performance in your garden?

We’ve all heard the saying about perennials. The first year they sleep, the second year they creep, and finally the third year they leap.

This isn’t always true, but generally, the point is there are no instant gardens. Gardens can take years, decades, to mature and become the plant paradises that we all dream of.

In my garden, I planted the white-flowering shrub clematis (Clematis integrifolia ‘Alba’) ten years ago.

It’s been an interesting plant, one that people ask about. It has bloomed each year, but for some reason this year, after ten years, I feel like it has come into its own. It is no longer a background plant with a few white flowers each year, it’s a focal point that draws attention.

Or maybe I just wasn’t paying attention?

In my sunroom, the night-blooming cereus (Epiphyllum oxypetalum) sat in a large pot for 13 years before it bloomed for me. Then it was another five years before it bloomed again, I assume because I repotted it.

My night-bloomer seems to bloom best when I let it get pot bound, withhold fertilizer, and water sparingly. Under these conditions, it has bloomed more consistently the last several years, twice last year, and has a flower bud on it now, so I should have a bloom in a few weeks, or maybe a week.

When it does bloom, it is a one night event, and it is the closest you can get to ‘instant gratification’ in terms of a bud opening and flowering in just a few hours. I’ll use Twitter if I’m home when it blooms to post updates so others can see the rapid progression from bud to bloom.

But rapid is a relative term. It will still take a few hours.

And in this age of instant gratification, a few hours can seem like forever. We want it, and we want it now. Have we lost the ability to be patient, to wait? How often have you heard someone say “I can’t wait?”

In the garden, it doesn’t matter if you can’t wait, you have to wait.

We can be impatient with the rest of life, but in the garden impatience gets you no where. You have to wait for seeds to sprout, for the weather to warm up, for flowers to bloom, for trees to grow tall, for tomatoes to ripen, and for perennials to sleep, creep and leap.

If you can’t wait, get out of the garden!

How long are you willing to wait for a plant to flower in your garden?

Notes:

I believe I have effectively used botanical names in this post without going overboard or distracting from the content.

It occurred to me while I was writing this post that I could have told you to "embrace waiting" but I might have gotten a comment or two telling me, "Oh, yeah, well embrace THIS! It really is too soon to ask anyone to embrace something else besides weeding, bugs, your weather, your soil, mowing, and botanical names. I'm going to WAIT before I ask you to embrace anything else.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Apparently, You Can Be Too Pretentious!

Two versions of an update on the vegetable garden at May Dreams Gardens…

Version 1

I spent some time in the vegetable garden this evening, harvesting and making a list of what I need to do now to make sure the garden continues to produce up through and beyond the first frost. Our first frost is likely to be sometime in early October.

The Cucurbita pepo ‘Amabassador’, C. pepo ‘Eight Ball’, C. pepo ‘Cue Ball’ and C. pepo ‘Gold Rush’ vines are gradually dying off, no doubt due to squash vine borers. I’ve gotten a decent harvest so I’ll clean up those that are beyond hope, and carefully inspect those that are left to see if they can be saved. I don’t plan on planting more as I don’t know that I would get too much from them, and I planted all the seed I ahd.

The three sisters garden, begun with a lot of promise, has fizzled. First of all, I only planted two of the ‘sisters’, Zea mays and Cuburbita pepo ‘Hi-Gold Beta Winter’ and ‘Spaghetti’ . I was waiting for the Z. mays to get taller before I planted Phaseolus vulgaris ‘Kentucky Wonder Pole’, and well, you know how it goes sometimes. I never planted those P. vulgaris , though I still might. Maybe.

Oh, and the C. pepo ‘Spaghetti’ vine is also shriveling up and dying, so I don’t think I’ll get any harvest from that.

Phaseolus vulgaris ‘Provider’ and ‘Maxibel' have been a big success. I’ve picked several messes of P. vulgaris beans and did remember to plant more P. vulgaris ‘Provider’ a few weeks ago to extend the harvest into August. My method of keeping the rabbits out of the P. vulgaris patch is working for me, as unorthodox as it may seem. And I know there are rabbits out there, because I’ve seen them on several occasions.

I’ve also done well with the Beta vulgaris ‘Rainbow Mixed’ ; it’s very pretty though I’ll confess I’ve not tried to eat any of it, so I don’t know how it tastes.

And why do we really plant a vegetable garden? For the fruit of Lycopersicum esculentum, aka Solanum lycopersicum of course. I did find two ripe Solanum lycopersicum ‘Sun Sugar’ fruit this evening and popped them into my mouth, after a quick wipe off on my shirt. They were tasty, but they aren’t that big fruit of Solanum lycopersicum that I am waiting for. I’ll need patience this year, as I don’t think I’ll have a big fruit from Solanum lycopersicum until sometime later next week.

Finally, I made a list of some clean up I need to do. Of course, I need to weed, as there are some late season weeds showing up including Chenopodium album, Ambrosia artemisiifolia and a spreading weed that I haven’t yet identified.

I also need to do something to try to straighten the Malus domestica ‘MacIntosh’ tree, which leans quite a bit in one direction. I noted no blooms on it this year, so there will be no fruit from it here at May Dreams Gardens.

But I’ll make up for it with plenty of fruit from Vitis sp. ‘Concord’ , and let’s not forget how well the Fragaria sp. did earlier this summer.

That’s how my garden’s doing right now, how about yours?

Version 2

I spent some time in the vegetable garden this evening, harvesting and making a list of what I need to do now to make sure the garden continues to produce up through and beyond the first frost. Our first frost is likely to be sometime in early October.

The zucchini squash vines are gradually dying off, no doubt due to squash vine borers. I’ve gotten a decent harvest so I’ll clean up those that are beyond hope, and carefully inspect those that are left to see if they can be saved. I don’t plan on planting more as I don’t know that I would get too much from them, and I planted all the seed I ahd.

The three sisters garden, begun with a lot of promise, has fizzled. First of all, I only planted two of the ‘sisters’, corn and spaghetti squash. I was waiting for the corn to get taller before I planted the pole beans, and well, you know how it goes sometimes. I never planted those pole beans, though I still might. Maybe.

Oh, and the spaghetti squash vine is also shriveling up and dying, so I don’t think I’ll get any harvest from that.

The bush green beans have been a big success. I’ve picked several messes of beans and did remember to plant more beans a few weeks ago to extend the harvest into August. My method of keeping the rabbits out of the beans is working for me, as unorthodox as it may seem. And I know there are rabbits out there, because I’ve seen them on several occasions.

I’ve also done well with the swiss chard; it’s very pretty though I’ll confess I’ve not tried to eat any of it, so I don’t know how it tastes.

And why do we really plant a vegetable garden? For the tomatoes, of course. I did find two ripe cherry tomatoes this evening and popped them into my mouth, after a quick wipe off on my shirt. They were tasty, by they aren’t that big tomato that I am waiting for. I’ll need patience this year, as I don’t think I’ll have a ripe tomato until sometime later next week.

Finally, I made a list of some clean up I need to do. Of course, I need to weed, as there are some late season weeds showing up including lamb’s quarter, ragweed and a spreading weed that I haven’t yet identified.

I also need to do something to try to straighten the apple tree, which leans quite a bit in one direction. I noted no blooms on it this year, so there will be no apples here at May Dreams Gardens.

But I’ll make up for it with plenty of Concord grapes, and let’s not forget how well the strawberries did earlier this summer.

That’s how my garden’s doing right now, how about yours?

*****

Apparently, you can go overboard embracing botanical names. Sometimes, yes, the common name, if it is really common, is the appropriate name to use.

*****

And apparently the spoons don't scare the rabbits away, they just keep the rabbits away from the beans... I think.Hey, bunny, that's my Cucurbita pepo 'Homemade' fruit!

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Embrace Botanical Names For A Happier Life

You are a gardener; you’re enamored with gardening, with flowers, with plants. People describe you as an ‘avid gardener’, ‘obsessed with gardening’. They may even refer to you as a gardening geek.

But to reach that next level of “gardenerd”, you have to embrace botanical names for a happier life, at least for a happier gardening life.

Yes, I’ve heard the excuses of why some gardeners don’t like to use the botanical names of plants.

Shall we go through those excuses and eliminate them?

You are afraid you’ll mispronounce the botanical names and everyone will gasp and point and laugh at you. How do you know your way of pronouncing these names isn’t the right way? Or maybe a name can be pronounced more than one way? I’ve heard my own last name pronounced three different ways. Even with ‘the family’ there are some who pronounce the name one way, and others who pronounce it a completely different way. No one laughs, it’s okay.

You think the botanical names are too hard to remember. Well, yes, some botanical names don’t just roll off the tongue and do take some effort to remember. You could help your memory by keeping a plant catalog so you can look up the botanical names, or just write them down somewhere, or just practice saying them and memorize them.

You think you’ll sound pretentious. You won’t sound pretentious to real gardeners. You’ll sound like someone who loves plants and wants to be sure you get the right plants for your gardens.

Now that we’ve removed the excuses, let’s review some good reasons to learn the botanical names of plants.

- Using the botanical name ensures that you’ll always get the plant you want when you go shopping (providing the seller labeled it correctly).

- Knowing the botanical name sometimes tells you something about the plant.

- Learning botanical names will give you more confidence as a gardener, and make it easier to talk to other gardeners, since you are using a common language.

- Embracing botanical names will lead to a happier gardening life.

To help you embrace botanical names, here a tiny bit of information on botanical names to get you started.

All plants are classified into families and family names generally end with ‘aceae’. You’ve heard of some of them, like Asteraceae is the Aster/Daisy family.

Within each plant family there are genuses (or genera if you prefer) and within each genus there are species. The botanical names that most of us learn are the genus and the species.

The genus name is usually a noun, and the species is usually an adjective that tells you something about the plant.

The correct way to write a plant name is to capitalize the Genus name and italicize the name in print or underline it if handwritten. For example, Helianthus is a genus in the Asteraceae family and an example of a species is annuus. That’s the common sunflower, which has the botanical name Helianthus annuus.

If there is a cultivated variety of a plant, it can be part of the name, too, and is put in quotes in plain text, following the botanical name, like Helianthus annuus 'Monet's Palette'.

Now, when two plants of the same genus are crossed to create a hybrid, the hybrid name is noted with an “x” between the genus and species, like Helianthus x multiflorus, which is the result of a cross between Helianthus annuus and H. decapetalus

Whew! That’s enough info to start embracing botanical names. If you aren’t quite sure you want to embrace them, you might be bleary-eyed by now.

But there’s more to know!

To make sure that a plant has only one official botanical name, there is actually an International Code of Botanical Nomenclature that can only be changed by the International Botanical Congress. And, to make sure they don’t rush into any botanical name changes, they only meet once every 6 years and require a 60% or greater majority to make a name change.

If you really are afraid to say a botanical name out loud, for fear of mispronouncing it, there are some websites that pronounce them for you like Fine Gardening and others that spell them out phonetically, like Botanary on Dave’s Garden. Or you can buy one of dozens of books on botanical Latin, such as Botanical Latin by William T. Stearn.

If you are already embracing botanical names, and some of my favorite gardeners are, you can help other do the same by never correcting their pronunciation of a botanical name in public; you should help them with it in private, but remember, they could be right!

If you are a gardener who is a still timid about using botanical names, give it a try, embrace the name, say it loudly, with confidence, and I promise, no one will laugh.

Embrace botanical names for a happier life!

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Plant Placement: Art or Science

When Zinnias start blooming on and on
Hurrah! Hurrah!
We’ll know that summer is here for sure
Hurrah! Hurrah!
The flowers will bloom, the gardeners will smile
The bees they will be all about
And we’ll all be happy when Zinnias start blooming on and on.


Look at that nice straight row of Zinnias. Have you ever seen such precision planting?

That’s why a march like “When Johnny Comes Marching Home Again” came to mind when I looked at those Zinnias. Feel free to sing the words above to that tune as you gaze upon that nice straight row.

For some reason, as I’ve noted before, I often find myself planting in straight rows. It’s not like I use a yardstick to make the rows straight… wait, check that, I have used a yardstick to make my rows straight. But usually just in the vegetable garden where nice, straight rows make it easier to harvest some vegetables like beans and lettuce.

Yet, in some of my flower beds, you might look at the plant placement and think that to decide where to put a plant, I turned my back to the flower bed, tossed a trowel over my shoulder, and then planted wherever the trowel landed.

Figuring out the right placement for a plant in the garden is both an art and a science.

The ‘science’ part is picking a location with the right amount of sunlight or shade, appropriate drainage, the right soil type, and room for the plant to grow, both horizontally and vertically.

The ‘art’ part is picking a location that is part of an overall planting design, that allows the plant to play off other plants in that garden bed, to be showy when it is in bloom, but then blend into the background when other plants are blooming.

I’m still figuring out plant placement, not so much the science part, but the art part. I try to avoid straight lines, but it takes some work on my part. And sometimes a few months after I plant something, it just looks wrong, so I move it. And we know moving plants multiple times doesn't help them grow.

I think I should find a basic landscape design class for gardeners and sign up or find a good book on garden design and study it. Any suggestions? Maybe a garden design book would be a good selection for the Garden Bloggers' Book Club?

I did read in the local paper about some gardens in northern Indiana that have lots of straight lines. Local gardeners there planted several flower beds to resemble quilt squares. I ought to drive up to northern Indiana and see those quilts.

Or, maybe I can give in to my straight-line planting ways by planting a knot garden in my backyard, something like these gardens at White River Gardens?

Friday, July 18, 2008

Porch Chat: Lessons from the Weeds

Come sit up here on the porch next to me and let's chat over a a tall glass of your favorite iced beverage.

Awhile back, I boldly declared that we should all embrace weeding, because no matter where you garden, weeding has to be done. There is no magic answer to controlling weeds that doesn’t require some effort. There just isn’t.

Oh sure, some methods of weeding and controlling weeds require less effort, but you will never be entirely free from weeding as long as you garden. I can promise you that, so embrace it for a happier life!

I’ve been doing a lot of embracing of weeding this season, and yet it doesn't seem like I'll ever get caught up on my weeding.

All the rain we had in May and June have caused every weed seed within the top two inches of dirt to germinate. Even my container plantings, filled this spring with fresh potting soil, seem to have more weeds this year.

The weeds are having a great year.

Fortunately, the plants I chose to put in my garden are also having a great summer, so it all looks nice and green. Just don’t get too close, or one of those thistle weeds (see below) might scrape you.

Did you ever wonder why sometimes you can walk by a little weed day after day, thinking each time you see it that you ought to pull it? It would only take a few seconds. But you don’t pull it for so many reasons.

And then one day you look down (or up!) and realize that the weed has gotten so big that you might have to rent a back hoe to dig it out. Well, maybe not a back hoe, but you do need a hori hori knife or some other tool to dig it out.

How does that weed do that, sit there looking tame and innocent until it gets big and mean? I guess it is part of their way of surviving, of living. Those weeds can teach us something about living.

Here are five lessons we can learn from the weeds…

Weeds aren’t fussy about where they end up. They will grow anywhere under less then ideal conditions. They make the best of it. Do you need to have ideal conditions to do your best, or do you make the best of whatever conditions you find yourself in?

Weeds accept a helping hand. Birds eat the mulberries, birds poo purple mulberry droppings with the seed included and the little seed quickly sprouts to establish a new, weedy mulberry tree. They accept the help of the birds. If they didn’t, all the seedlings would be competing for space right under the original mulberry tree. Do you accept a helping hand when one is offered?

Weeds come up with alternate plans. Even if a bindweed vine never flowers and sets seed, its back up plan is to grow up from the roots, again, and again, and again. Do you have an alternate plan if your first plan doesn’t work?

Weeds grow quickly and get right to work. They take full and quick advantage of the sun, rain, and freshly dug earth. Do you get right to work when you can, when you have a WOO to do something, in the garden or out of the garden?

Weeds don’t give up. Some weeds grow back from the tiniest piece of root left after you’ve pulled them. Or their seeds lie dormant for years, waiting to be turned up in a scoop of dirt and shown the light of day so they can germinate. Do you give up too easily?

Weeds do have a purpose, even if it doesn’t seem obvious. They are plants, after all. They quickly grow on bare soil which helps stop erosion. They provide food and shelter for birds and all kinds of critters and insects. And they can be pretty in their own way with blooms as attractive as many cultivated plants in the garden. And they can teach us a lesson or two or five about living.

Can you think of any other lessons we can learn from the weeds?

*****

You might also be interested in other lessons I’ve learned from gardening… from the peas and from the hoes.

*****

Thistle is so ugly...

I've learned where to grab thistle bare-handed and not got stuck. It's a necessary skill around May Dreams Gardens, home of the thistles.

*****

Thanks for stopping by to sit and chat on the porch. On your way out, could you pull that little weed over there? Yes, that's the one. Thanks!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Preparing for the First Tomato

Waiting for the first tomato is almost like waiting for Christmas. Well, not quite, because we are never sure exactly when the first tomato will ripen and be ready to eat.

I follow certain guidelines on what qualifies as the first tomato here at May Dreams Gardens.

First, it can't be a cherry tomato. Those are like garden candy, and technically, I've had a few cherry tomatoes already, from a variety called 'Micro Tom', which is a very small container grown variety.

Second, it can't ripen off the vine in the windowsill. I know this guideline will cause some controversy, as many gardeners pick their tomatoes a few days before the tomatoes are really ripe to make sure they get them before some bird or rabbit does.

Maybe it's just me, but I like to have a least one good tomato, vine-ripened, warmed by the sun, that I can pick and eat without leaving the garden.

Then I am ready for a deluge of tomatoes of all kinds, shapes, and sizes.

I follow a few simple practices to ensure that my tomato plants stay healthy so I have a chance at having too many tomatoes, weather permitting.

These practices include:

Try to give tomato plants an even and consistent amount of water. This is not always easy when there is a lot of rain, but, well, do your best.

Pinch off the suckers so the plant spends its energy on the tomatoes and not on a lot of foliage growth. Here's a sucker on this plant ready to be pinched out. 'Suckering' is especially helpful on the indeterminate varieties of tomatoes. These varieties continue to grow taller as the season progresses, where as the determinate varieties form more of a small bush.

If a sucker gets to be too big, use your pruners to cut it off. Go ahead, it won't hurt the tomato plant.

Continue to tie your tomatoes to the stakes that you placed in the ground before you planted the tomatoes. I know some gardeners are just now putting stakes in for their tomatoes, and I wonder why they don't put the stakes in before they plant, and then plant the tomatoes right there by the stakes. That seems so simple to do, so logical...

I've written before about staking tomatoes, not caging them, so I won't lecture on that further.

Trim off any brown or diseased looking foliage. Diseased foliage should go in the trash, not the compost bin.

Look for tomato hornworms or the damage they cause. Those hornworms are like the Grinch who (tried) to steal Christmas. They will try to rob you of your tomato harvest, and no, they want have a change of heart the morning you find the first ripe tomato. They'll just eat it if they find it.

This morning, I found evidence that a tomato hornworm was on this tomato plant, a 'Yellow Mortgage Lifter'.Even if I hadn't noticed the foliage eaten off, I would have noticed the hornworm's 'droppings' which are big enough to be noticeable.

It takes a few minutes and some patience to find the hornworm because they are good at hiding. I finally found this one.Once you find the hornworm, you must remove it and destroy it.

Some gardeners put the hornworms out away from the tomatoes for the birds to find and eat, other gardeners have other methods for killing them. Send me an email if you want the gory details of what I do. (Hint: it involves cutting off the branch with the hornworm on it, then throwing it to the ground in a disgusted manner, covering it with dirt and stepping on it. Cursing is optional!)

I spent some time this morning pinching out suckers, tying up the tomatoes to the stakes that were set in the ground before I planted the tomatoes, finding and destroying a hornworm and then looking over the tomatoes to see if I can figure out which one will be the first tomato, the ONE, the chosen, deserving of a ritual of some kind to commerate its ripening.

Will it be these one of these 'Early Girl' tomatoes?I don't think so. The earliest I've ever picked a good tomato was July 19th, back in 2001, and this won't beat that so I might disqualify it for not living up to the 'early' part of its name.

Maybe it will be this 'German Johnson'.I hope so, because this one reminds me of my paternal grandmother.

Or maybe it will be this 'German Red Strawberry' variety?This is borderline big enough for consideration. You want your offical first tomato to be a nice big tomato and this one might not be quite big enough.

And will there be a tomato contest this year?

Last year was a disappointing year for tomato growing around here so I started a ritual for the smallest tomato and it turned into a contest of sorts, which Chigiy won with a 'Red Currant' tomato. I planted some of those these year, just in case I want to repeat that ritual but I don't think that will be the contest.

I'll come up with something else for a tomato contest, something that I can win, or think I can win. Or maybe I'll get a real company to offer up a real prize, and then I'll be a judge. Hear that companies out there? Do you want to sponsor my tomato contest and offer up a free prize to the winner? Just send me an email to let me know.

In the meantime, how are everyone else's tomatoes doing this summer?

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Commemorating Triumph Over the Rabbits

From the beginning of time it seems that we have had the desire to build monuments to commemorate great events, like the ends of wars.

We have put up statues to remember great leaders and thinkers of our time.

We need and enjoy these visual reminders of the past. They become great landmarks and rallying places for us.

In my own city of Indianapolis, we have a great monument, the Soldiers’ and Sailor’s Monument, located in the heart of downtown. It defines the city and serves as a reminder of all those who died in wars before World War I, and it is also a gathering place for happier events, like the ends of other wars.

And at Christmas time, lights are strung from the top to turn the monument into “the world’s tallest Christmas tree”, which should be on everyone’s gardener’s life list as something to see, even though we realize it isn’t technically a tree.

In my own garden, I wanted a monument, a sculpture to remember, because I believe I have finally won my own war against the rabbits or at least I have been victorious in enough battles to feel like I have the upper hand.

So far this summer, and it’s early yet, I’ve picked three ‘messes’ of green beans. Two messes were from two four foot rows of ‘Provider’ and one was from a six foot row of ‘Maxibel’, some fancy French green beans I’m trying. And there will be more! I’ve planted more beans so that the harvest will continue into August.

I believe much of my success is due to using plastic spoons around the beans to keep out the rabbits. But recently my older sister said she tried the same thing, and it did not work for her. The rabbits ate all her bean plants.

She was telling me about it the other day and she was not happy. As though it was my fault! I can’t take responsibility like that. I can only advise and wonder what she did wrong.

But giving her the benefit of the doubt that she used the spoons correctly, I feel I should offer a disclaimer that “your results may vary” if you decide to erect plastic cutlery fortresses in your own garden to keep the rabbits out. Apparently it may or may not work.

But it worked for me, and so I feel victorious, full of beans. I feel like celebrating.

I feel like putting something in my garden to remember not only all the frustrations, the anguish, the disappointments of having bean crop after bean crop devoured by the rabbits, year in and year out, but more importantly to remember that I can beat the rabbits. I can prevail in my garden and have green beans.

With that in mind, I found a new sculpture that I have added to my perennial garden.

May I present a remembrance, a bit of whimsy for my garden.
I’m calling it “Triumph Over Rabbits”, or in honor of my French green beans, “Triomphe sur les Lapins”.

Each time I see my new sculpture, I’ll remember. I’ll be vigilant and watchful. The rabbits are out there, they are eating, but there are ways to live with them. Peaceful ways.

A date for the formal dedication of this sculpture has not been set, but it shall be soon, to be accompanied by a great feast from the garden featuring green beans, squash, cucumbers, peppers, and perhaps, a tomato and some eggplant.

Until then may peace and prosperity continue in my garden, and yours as well.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day - July 2008

Early morning, mid-summer at May Dreams Gardens.

It's been an unusually wet summer, with abundant rain just when we needed it, and no really hot days so far.

The foxglove are starting to bloom on new plants purchased this spring. The little spots on the inside of the flowers are fairy foot prints, indicating a lot of fairy activity in the garden this year.

The shasta daisies dominate wherever they are.

I took this picture in the early morning, just as the sun was coming up on a beautiful day.

There are also nice clumps of coneflowers here and there.I'm showing these with the shrub clematis, which has been blooming non-stop for quite awhile. Those bell shaped flowers are attracting bees and garden fairies galore.

Out in front, these 'Eenie Meenie' daylilies are just starting to bloom.They are supposed to be rebloomers, but didn't do much reblooming last year, perhaps because it was so dry? We'll see what happens this year.

Another daylily blooming now is 'Strawberry Candy'.I found the tag earlier when I started my project to catalog all the plants in my garden, and thought I no longer had this one. But it has been blooming quite a bit to show me it's still here in the garden.

These 'Endless Summer' hydrangeas love all this rain!Now, that's pink!

I'm also seeing pink in the Zinnias, started from seed in late May.I should also see several shades of purple, white and my favorite, green, zinnia flowers.

Did I mention the garden fairy activity in the garden? I wonder if they are responsible for these double-white columbine?These should not be blooming now, but they are. They are like ghost flowers, reminding me of spring time in the garden.

Finally for those of you who looked at that picture of Shasta Daisies and immediately thought, "she needs to deadhead those spent blooms", I did just that.

I like how my garden is right now. I can tell you it is better to have a lot of rain than to have too little rain.

Comparing notes with last year, I don't have too many new flowers, at least that are blooming this time of year, but I'm happy with what I have, because there are more of them.

But there are a few flowers that were blooming last year, like False Sunflower and Four O'Clocks, that aren't blooming this year because I pulled them out for "conduct unbecoming a well-kept garden".

Here's a more complete list of blooms:

Currently in Bloom
Aquilegia - Double White Columbine
Coreopsis rosea – Pink Thresdleaf Coreopsis
Coreopsis verticillata – Threadleaf Coreopsis
Thalictrum kiusianum - Dwarf Meadow Rue
Echinacea purpurea – Coneflowers
Helianthus helianthoides 'Loraine Sunshine'
Hemerocallis – Daylilies, several varieties
Hosta – un-named varieties, purple flowers
Hosta ‘Pandora’s Box’
Hydrangea ‘Endless Summer’
Leucanthemum x superbum – Shasta daisies
Lilium – un-named oriental lilies
Nasturtims - several varieties
Phlox paniculata – Purple, White, and Pink
Platycodon grandiflora - Balloon Flower
Rudbeckia hirta - Black-eyed Susan’s
Tagetes – Marigolds
Zinnia – Purple, pink, white, and my favorite, green

Blooms in the vegetable garden

Corn
Cucumbers
Green Beans
Peppers
Spaghetti squash
Tomatoes
Zucchini squash

Blooms hanging on from previous months

Clematis integrifolia ‘Alba’
Clematis 'Comtesse de Bouchard'
Potentilla fruticosa 'Alba'
Rose – White Flower Carpet
Spirea japonica ‘Limemound’
Lychnis coronaria - Rose campion
Tradescantia sp. – Spiderwort
Various ground cover sedums
Lamium

In bud
Pardancanda - Candy Lily
Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’

There are also many blooms in container plantings which I'm too lazy to list, as it would be the same list all summer.

Do you have a garden full of blooms? Join us for Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day on the 15th of each month by posting on your blog what’s blooming in your garden, and then leave a comment here so we can find you and visit to see all your pretty flowers.

If you don’t have a blog, feel free to list your blooms in a comment below.

If you have too many blooms to list or not enough time, just go with your top 10 list and join us anyway. And botanical names are strictly optional! All are welcome!

“We can have flowers nearly every month of the year.” ~ Elizabeth Lawrence