Sunday, August 26, 2012

Where did August go?

~ loganberries ~
Have you noticed the change in the air lately? I finally took a moment yesterday to stop & listen & breathe... August is such a crazy month that most times I forget that I'm growing food in the gardens. The end result is smaller crops & plants not growing to their potential. I'm lucky if I remember or find time to spend standing out there with the garden hose!

But there are many things in the gardens that take care of themselves & provide no matter how little attention you give them.

The loganberries are just one of such pleasant bounties I can count on. As you can see in the photo, they are a very large berry - how could you not love having something like that in the gardens producing for you? Well, other than the fact that they have thorns everywhere - on the canes, on the underside of the leaves & I had to prune back the plants just to get to the fruit! They grow very much like blackberries & will take over your yard if you aren't careful! The nice thing is the deer leave them alone...

~ crocosmia ~
 Speaking of deer, they ate my crocosmia blooms again this year, but I found a cluster in the middle of the clump that was missed & so I get to enjoy these flowers for the first time in 4 years on my property. Need to find a way to keep the deer away from them so I can enjoy more showy blooms.

~ hydrangea ~
The deer also let some of my hydrangeas bloom this year too. I have several cuttings given to me by a Bamfield friend who has since moved. The blooms starts out creamy white & then slowly turn blue-purple & finally mahogany towards the end of the season. It's taken many years for this plant to become comfortable in it's spot so I'm hoping with a bit more attention from me, it will eventually grow larger than just 2 feet!

~ hydrangea ~
My other hydrangea(s) are also in mid bloom, with a brighter, almost fluorescent blue. I'm sure I could get them brighter if I added seaweed & maybe a few more pennies to the soil. These ones also dry nicely, but I'm not too much into having dead flowers in the house, so I'll enjoy them outside for as long as they last.
~ calendula ~

All my calendula this year are orange. They are also all self-seeded plants, so I'm not complaining too loudly (other than they have total control of one of my veggie beds...). They will keep blooming all season as long as you regularly dead-head them. And dead-head them down the stem til the next emerging bloom - don't just rip off the spent flowers or you'll have long, scraggly stems that can't support themselves.

~ moth mullein ~
Another plant to reemerge in the late summer is my mullein - moth mullein I believe to be the correct name. I cut the spent flower stems right back in July & they have returned for a 2nd showing - which is always nice when everything else is pretty much done.
~ borage ~

The borage plants are still producing - again, they have all self-seeded & have taken over one of my veggie beds. I spent years looking for seeds & now they are doing their own thing each year - showing up in unexpected places & keeping the bees very happy. I get to enjoy the flowers in my salads & the occasional small leaf (which tastes like cucumbers). I haven't been very attentive on collecting the seeds this year to move them to a more appropriate home, so maybe next year I'll try transplanting the new little plants as soon as they emerge - although I know they don't take well to being moved.
~ chives ~

Chives are a very hardy plant too. I can't keep up with all my plants (additions to salads or potatoes) so I end up cutting back each plant on an alternating basis so that I always have fresh chives & the gardens don't look completely bare. I think I have about 6 or so clumps currently growing. I should divide them up & share them around the community!!
~ gladiola ~

One year I planted gladiola bulbs & had an amazing show of tall, frilly flowers. Than I read I had to dig them up each fall because they don't like to be frozen or to drown in the winter rains. That was the end of my gladiola affair. I chose to leave half the bulbs in the ground & the others I brought inside to plant out the following spring. Neither did very well for blooming that following fall. But there are a few out there still holding on for dear life & they bloom about this time for me - some times I even get a surprise one blooming in the middle of September! Now, if they were only a colour other than corally pink...

~ bush beans ~
 The bean story is a sad one - again. I don't really like to tell it, but the sow bugs (pill bugs - or what ever you call them in your gardens) ate all my emerging beans - each time I reseeded, they got munched. I happened to see these yesterday & am going to head out soon to eat them! They won't last too much longer as I have removed the deer fencing around this bed. I throw my hands up to bush beans - phaaa!!
~ cilantro ~

I was tossing seeds out like crazy very late in the season & only just remembered that this clump is cilantro - well, now it will be coriander since it's gone to flower & will produce seeds soon. You know those gardeners who have lots but don't eat most of it - I have turned into one of those people when it comes to certain times of the year!! Argh...
~ peas ~

The peas are still producing & I'm still eating them & so is the hubby. Thankfully we haven't gotten sick of them - yet. I'm just amazed that the deer haven't eaten them too!
~ scarlet runner beans ~

I'm growing scarlet runner beans for the first time & am just so pleased to see them in flower!! I won't mind the fact that I'll probably not get to eat any beans this year, but they are growing up the pipes & lines of twine I have provided for them. Next year I'll try a few tricks to give them a better start (pill bug munching again) & maybe I'll have better success. But I do love the flowers & so do the bees.
~ winter squash ~

One of my veggie beds is doing quite well & I should take a larger photo of it. The squash have exploded through the fish netting to drape & trail all over the place & invade the lawn. I see many little squash being produced & have my fingers crossed that they'll get larger (considerably as they are only slightly larger than golf balls right now) & that the deer & birds will leave them alone. Maybe it was the addition of a thick layer of Sea Soil that did it for this bed? I am going to have to invest in more next spring for all the other beds....

~ bergamot ~

Someone gave me a bergamot plant & I realize that trying to grow these from seed is a study of frustration. Yes, I have a tray of these little seedlings in the greenhouse that are taking forever to grow. They might be ready next spring for transplanting - or they might require another year in the greenhouse!! I really should stop being so thrifty & just buy a couple plants & let them go wild!! This is the red I'm looking for at this time of year & one lonely clump is just so sad...

~ heather ~
Last one for today - the heather is starting to bloom again. There are so many types of heather out there - purples, whites, reds, creams, some with flowers that are brilliant, some with leaf tips that change colour & all different ranges of bloom time! I'm happy to have a few clumps that bloom at the end of summer & some that bloom at the end of winter! Now that I know how to prune them properly, they look much better & healthier & produce more blooms. (prune when all blooms are finished & one suggestion is to use your weedwacker to do it - but I like the hands-on approach to cut off all the spent blooms & shape the clump).

So, August is nearly done as are the gardens & I've not spent very much time in them or in anyone else's this year. I hope once we get a couple of solid rains in September, things will perk up & freshen the air around. It has been a fabulous berry season - I'm in the middle of salal harvesting & the blackberries are just starting to come along. The loganberries will last another few weeks & then my fall crop of raspberries will come in late September. I know I'll have more time in a couple of weeks to spend time out there & share photos in a slightly less time consuming fashion.

Enjoy the remainder of August!!

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