Friday, July 3, 2015

A Little Weather for Tomato Ripening

This spring and early summer have been a tonic for my casualty ridden garden. Water arrived as if on cue, and it looks as if the hot summer weather is a day or two away - which is a good thing:  The arugula has tasted green, not peppery; aside from the choking hazard, our peppers posed no problems for small children; and the tomatoes are all form and no function.

The grass looks like I almost care.  And, the fat lady has been told to stay in the wings, as I discover on my stretcher-to-the-morgue duty in my big beds - you know those big honking plants - I'll yank you when I have my shovel in hand - are asking for the fridge door to be opened.  "I am alive! you fool!"  Anyone watching me would have thought I was nuts as I exclaimed, "oh look, you're not dead!"

Observations and a question for anyone who might know.  I've been growing a Heptacodium micanioides (Seven Son Tree) for about 10+ years.  Very cool plant - exfoliating bark, blooms in September, smells wonderful, monarchs love it, the calyxes turn red and look like a second bloom.....but is this year I noticed everything beneath it looks miserly.  Kevin's words, "Now Barbara, these all look like weeds, and if they aren't weeds, they sure look like weeds, you know I've pulled out things that look exactly like this that I'm sure are weeds."  They are Phlox paniculata.  There's a bit of David in there, some 'come-with-the-old-house-never-mildews-variety', and one other kind I can't remember, but look at how small and weed-like the leaves are.  It's not as severe as a black-walnut juglans destruction, but boy, it doesn't look good and it's just in one spot.  Perhaps the tree is taking all the nutrients from the soil and the plants are starved?  My first option is to put down some manure and compost.  Fingers crossed that does the trick - has anyone had a similar experience?

I'm asking you to put on your imagining hat with this photo - took one today, but Blogger and iPhoto don't seem to want to look at today's pictures - and let's face it today's photos will soon be yesterdays so no doubt I'll be able to haul them in tomorrow - so what you see is the Heptacodium and the sparse leaves below to the left are the Phlox - in another section of this same garden they are twice the heft and bulk. Today's photos had my nicely done edge as well....

Lots of pollinators in the garden - m.i.a. monarchs.

So much for plant it and they will come.  Where are they?  Lots of other butterflies though.  Found this nice little caterpillar chowing down on some native asters - being a butterfly-identifying-Luddite thought I might have a swallowtail butterfly....had a look at my reference book, and no, I've got a potential moth called Gluphisia septentrionis that spends the first part of its life bald and green, and the second part needing a back wax, and what a marvellous digestive system!

My Loblaw pots are chugging along:

And found one of the stocks of my Tricyrtis 'Lightning Strike' that really does look like its been struck by lightning.

If you are looking for a plant that does well in poor soil, in the shade, in the sun, in dry, in cold, in heat that is enjoyed by pollinators, and seems to never be eaten by any other insects it is Aruncus dioicus:

My tiny little patch of martagon lilies I grew from seed - in honour of my first trip to Mr. Cabot's Quatre Vents.  (He had an acre of them - I have three plants - and several seedlings that never seem to get much bigger.)

The Persicaria polymorpha is in bloom - had to cut a lot of it out after the torrential rains, but fortunately there is still a lot left.  And for those of you who remember, this is the biggest Japanese Beetle draw.  And unlike the Milkweed that hasn't brought in my beloved orange friends, I found my first horny pair having their way with each other.  So far have kept them at bay squishing them while they were busy, no need to reinstate the Japanese Beetle Bucket of Death (J.B.B.o.D) just yet.

A new-to-me-this-year Cosmos 'Rubenza' - starts out red and then fades to one of those other-worldly plumy Heuchera shades.  The little creatures seem to like it as a morning hang-out spot.

H. montana macrophylla:  

First lily in bloom two days ago.  (While H. 'Stella D'Oro' have been blooming for several weeks - this dandelion of the of the day lily world gives me less and less pleasure.)

Another from seed:  Tripterygium regelii that seem to be a real magnet for blue-winged wasps - who lay their eggs in ground grubs.  They absolutely swarm the blossoms.

My Canada Day flowers:

For years this Inula was plagued with insects that chomped down on its blossoms.  In fact I took one of the plants out because it was so ugly post-buffet - strangely for two years, no chomped blossoms. Hooray.

Early spring there was nothing here but weeds.  Because I had so much to do, I pretty much just left it and was delighted to find that my Acanthus had returned.  Obviously now that it's alive it is going to need a bit more room.  Still a bit of a puzzle trying to figure out what is going to do well in this garden now that the big ash is gone.  But, based on this phoenix performance, I'm thinking I should be looking at a few more sun lovers.


And I'll leave you with a morning walk photo - the pots have been changed from spring to summer and there are five of them, and the other three are about 3x the size.  I get so much delight in seeing folks with money spend a little of it on flowers, don't you?


CanadianGardenJoy said...

Barb girl I will have to come back to comment on this post ( love your Giant Fleece Flower and by the way mine had 2 flowers this year .. hehehehe)
OK .. I am full of silliness because of the comments you left on my blog concerning the "peeping" gnome ... I almost spit my water on my monitor from laughing so much !
You are a real card ! LOL
Joy : )

Jennifer said...

I am so impressed that you have grown martagon lilies from seed. I would love to try my hand at growing some from seed. They are so dang expensive to purchase by mail order. Where did you find the seed?
I have a problem with one of my phlox, but I doubt it is the same problem you describe. In my case its ants messing about around the root of the phlox. Hopefully the extra nutrition you have used will do the trick.
I haven't seen any Japanese Beetles yet, but it will be any day now I am sure....
Have a great weekend!

Kathy said...

About your phlox--I wonder if something is eating them from underneath? I will have to read up on your Japanese beetle bucket of death. Is that just the flick them into a pail of soapy water trick, or do you have a different trick? I grew Chinese trumpet lilies from seed my grandmother sent me. Well, if your grandmother thinks you can grow lilies from seed, of course you can! After several mishaps I got two of them to blooming size, and I have one left. Or maybe two, since one is growing where I moved it to, and one is growing where I moved it from. I think. Will know for certain once they start blooming. It was great to see what's blooming in your garden.

Barbarapc said...

Joy, Glad I gave you a giggle. Your fleece flower will be a thing of abundance in no time at all! And, hopefully never found by the dreaded Japanese Beetles!
Jennifer - Gardens North sells 30 seeds for 4.50cdn - germination was pretty good as I remember, flowers in 3 years, and every year since. I can save you some seed too if you like? Am going to be a little less vigorous about disturbing soil to see if I can encourage some children. The phlox almost seemed to have a bit of rust - tiny brown spots here and there - I'm definitely going to pull one or two out as Kathy suggested to see if there might be something having a feed below the surface.
Kathy - yes, just a bucket of soapy water - found things were so bad some years, didn't even bother with the soap - those years there were so many the bugs would fill the bucket and run across the backs of their colleagues to escape - yuck - hence the soap I learned to slow the escape. I'm going to look up Chinese trumpet lilies when I leave here - hope they're blooming very soon. Hooray for grandmothers and the faith they have had in us.

Beth @ PlantPostings said...

What a beautiful floral arrangement! And I love that 'Rubenza' Cosmos. My Cosmos are just starting to bloom now, and it's good timing because I need to work on some arrangements for next weekend. It was great to meet you at the Fling! I miss everyone!