Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Tips on Picking Berries

~ loganberries fresh picked ~
 This is going to be a bumper crop year for berries - especially the raspberries (just made my 3rd batch of jam) & loganberries.

Here are a few tips to help you get all you can from the cane to the freezer.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

They Grow up so 'Quackly'

 They are now just 10 weeks old & practically all 'grown up'. Well, technically they are still 'teenagers' but we are settling into our routines - on both sides of the fence.

We've introduced the ducks to cracked corn - which wasn't appreciated the first time we gave it to them, but how was I to know they would LOVE it in their snack dish, vs just sprinkled on the ground...

Friday, July 12, 2013

Gardens in their Glory - Part 5

~ raspberries ~
 I seem to do much better with certain berries than I do with veggies (how I miss beans & carrots...) & it's actually a relief to know I CAN harvest food, even if most of it goes straight into the freezer.

My raspberries this year are starting to come on strong. I've actually not done much in the way of thinning out or pruning the new growth coming in, so I might be in for a bit of trouble this fall when the fall harvest is ready. But for now, I head out every day after work, while the sun is still shining on the canes & I weave my way through the tall & dense canes, looking for those wonderful ripe berries. Next year, I'll have a new area ready for transplants & I'll be able to thin out my current patch quite a bit - which to help to maintain their health & vitality.

~ loganberries ~
My loganberries are a few days away from becoming full-on monsters. I did a lot of work this spring in cleaning out the old, dead canes & tying/weaving the new canes along the fencing. As a result, there are so many berries this year, I just might be able to make wine (after making my required amount of jam). I will have to find a step ladder to bring out with me as a lot of the berries are along the top & well over my reach - what was I thinking?!

Wine...that's right....

~ harvest time! ~

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Gardens in their Glory - Part 4

~ hydrangea ~
 The deer fence is working wonders! Nary a deer to be seen in months!

That means the hydrangeas will bloom this year...some for the first time ever! My favourite are the blues - these ones are the lace caps (versus the big mop pom-pom flower heads) & I find them a little bit more sturdy & hardy when it comes to the dry summers & then the unexpected summer rain storms. Plus they last all the way through the fall.

~ Sweet William ~
 Yes, more Sweet Williams - all grown from seeds given to me & I'm not sure if the seeds were all different sorts or if the plants have decided to alter their own appearance. These ones are going on my 'seed gathering hit list' this fall.

~ calendula ~
Ever since my mom sent me seeds for calendula, I've had to have these in the gardens. For the most part, they will self-seed or even survive the winter. I'm not too fussy about the yellows or the oranges - they are wonderful to look at & a great addition to the salads! I'm sure the ducks will eat them too, once they are finally allowed out to forage on their own.
~ spirea ~
My spirea is now starting to bloom. This shrub is supposed to be a dwarf but has taken over the entire flower bed. I will be moving it this fall (to where???!!)

~ greenhouse predators ~
 The greenhouse - a collection of pots, either empty & stacked or filled with a plant that never gets watered & a bed with extremely dry soil, no matter how often I water it. I'm really quite amazed that I actually grow tomatoes in there! While I was inspecting things yesterday, I noticed something on the underside of a tomato leaf - a spider with its dinner - an earwig. Lovely! I know I have lots of spiders in there (probably a snake or 2 as well) so I tread lightly when it comes to moving pots around as sometimes those spiders are darn huge! At least someone is getting fed from items in the greenhouse!

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Gardens in their Glory - Part 3

~ Asiatic lily ~
 The lilies are now starting to show off.

Some of them I love & some of them I'm really not impressed with at all.

This Asiatic lily has no spots & no scent - forgive me, but I find it such a boring plant! It's also slightly hidden under a shrub, so it's not really in a show case spot. I should find a new home for it - maybe amongst the blues & then I would appreciate it more as it really is a healthy & strong plant.

The front flower bed is stuffed full of a huge variety of plants. Over-stuffed if you ask me, but until I figure out the rest of the yard, I'll keep things here. These are my 'Deep Purple' day lilies. Love the huge blooms & the dark colour amongst all the green.

The orange-yellow day lilies are quite nice too - a different shape & also nice contrast with the greenery.

These day lilies are not positioned properly (story of my life!) but they are a great find amongst all the other taller growing plants that surround it. I call it my 'Wild Horses' lily, but may be wrong. Who can remember the names of all the plants they purchase or find over the years??

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Gardens in their Glory - Part 2

~ dianthus ~
 Continuing around the gardens these days are more flowers than veggies. I enjoy them almost as much as the insects do & the hummingbirds at least have something to go to when I'm slow to fill their feeders.

Dianthus are pretty incredible flowers. I don't know why I've not put more in!

~ foxglove ~
The foxgloves are actually almost finished & I've had to remove a few that have fallen over. Growing to 10 feet tall, I'm amazed that they stay upright for as long as they do! I'll save a few for seed, but the rest I do have to remove to make way for the later blooming plants.

~ mullein ~
 The mullein (I'm quite sure I spell this one differently every time!) all fell over during a rainfall last week, so I pruned back the mostly-spent flower stems. They will recover later on in the summer & send out another set of blooms. They are just so 'old fashioned' looking!

~ orange lily ~
 The orange lilies are quite fun too - just bright-bright-bright orange & rather small - growing to only about 12 inches tall. I'm glad I planted them along the edge of a flower bed or else they might disappear in the lavender plants beside them!

~ peony ~
A few of the other peonies bloomed this year too. This one is supposed to be pink, but is more white than I anticipated. I wonder if it will change over the years as it becomes more established. Either way, I'm pleased to see the blooms.

 Now that the front flower bed isn't overwhelmed with feverfew, I find that I miss having so much of it around! Funny how that happens... I'll see about saving some seed & spreading it some of my more difficult growing spots... let it get wild again...

~ feverfew ~

Monday, July 8, 2013

Gardens in their Glory - Part 1

~ Sweet William ~
 I spend a lot of time outdoors these days & now that we have ducks, I have given over most of my computer time to them, which makes sense... But I've fallen behind in keeping up with my garden blogging & notes.

I'll try not to overwhelm with too many photos.

Please enjoy a short break:

Sweet Williams - the deer habitually ate these early in the spring, which resulted in bushier plants that produced a lot of blooms. I'm wondering if I will have to pinch them back from now on to achieve the same results.