This is a journal of my vegetable gardens. Skippy was my first dog and he thought the garden was his, even though I did all the work. But Skippy always stood by me and was a great friend. Now Suzie and Charley follow in his footsteps and garden with me. We're located near Boston (USDA zone 6A). I have a community plot, a backyard vegetable garden, fruit trees and berry bushes, chickens and bees. I use sustainable organic methods and do my best to grow all of my family's vegetables myself.

Friday, June 30, 2006

June 30, 2006
















The weather is dry enough to run my sprinklers today.

Dorothy Perkins wichuraiana rambler rose (1901)

I have found two other roses around my neighborhood that look like mine. This week it is in its glory. My plant (center, bottom) looks quite neat in comparison with the two others as I just replaced its fence from under it last year. I suspect these are all very old plants. The plants in the two top photos are intertwined with other vines and shrubs. I have not seen another rose that cascades so nicely and has such a relaxed, carefree and graceful appearance.

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Thursday, June 29, 2006

June 29, 2006



Today the bee balm has begun to bloom. Such an intense color! This is a variety my parents have had for years in their garden. Sometimes bee balm will be pink or magenta - this plant is just solid RED.

Pink Rose













Another picture of Dorothy.

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Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Rudbeckia "Prairie Sun"

My green-eyed flowers do look like "Prairie Sun" http://davesgarden.com/pf/go/54909/index.html. After more research, it looks like this is a newer introduction than the old-fashioned 'Irish Eyes' http://davesgarden.com/pf/go/49951/index.html. Prairie Sun is the same species as the black-eyed Susan, Rudbeckia hirta, but a different cultivar. It also looks like it will be an annual in my zone (6a). A description I found "The single, daisy flowers are a unique combination of gold and primrose yellow. ‘Prairie Sun’ is the first Rudbeckia with this pattern and a lime green central cone. Slightly later to flower than the old-fashioned ‘Irish Eyes,’ ‘Prairie Sun’ flowers prolifically from mid-summer until the plant is killed by freezing temperatures. The variety is distinctive from a distance due to the lighter pastel flower colours. ‘Prairie Sun’ offers all of the fine Rudbeckia qualities such as tall plants easily grown with little pest damage. ‘Prairie Sun’ is best grown as an annual." Thanks for the help in identifying this plant.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Green-eyed Susan?

I should have looked at the label of these flowers before I planted them. I don't know what they are called. Something new, I guess - I never seen them before. They look very cheerful in the garden. I put them in next to my black-eyed Susan's, which will not bloom 'til late July or August.

June 27, 2006

Even with all my weather complaints, we have had beautiful weather the past two days. 80's and partly sunny. I was able to catch up with some gardening. Everything has now been fertilized (with GardenTone and I added a bit of super-phosphate to plants that should bloom or fruit and RoseTone on the roses). I cultivated, mulched (with Very Old Maine whatever-it-is) and supported the tomatoes, cukes, squash and basil. I had to replace a few basil plants that I lost to wet rot. I really like the velcro tomato ties - quick to apply and they look neat. I put in a few new annual flowers (I'll post photos soon). And since the vege 6-

packs are now on sale ($1.99!), I got a few of these (celery and jalepeno peppers). I sprayed my cuces and squash stems with Seven, since we have bad borer problems and I gave the roses a light coat of general purpose rose insectacide. I also moved the beets, which didn't do well, to make room for some bush beans and I planted some pole beans on the trellis next to the peas.



Solanum lycopersicum

What kind of bee was that?

If you were wondering about the bees on the foxglove I posted on June 21, 2006, so was I. I submitted the photo for identification to BugGuide at http://bugguide.net/node/view/6/bgimage. They identified the bees as Species Anthidium manicatum - Wool Carder Bee (see http://bugguide.net/node/view/59217/bgimage and http://bugguide.net/node/view/7744). It is a fairly uncommon bee that its quite particular about the type of flowers it visits: it loves small-flowered foxglove. It is also very aggressive. It is a non-native European import that is speading through the northeast US. Now we know!

garden bees
Hymenoptera

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Monday, June 26, 2006

Birds have fledged

News from my parents is that all of the birds have now fledged. The catbird babies snuck off sometime mid-week and the wrens and robins made a commotion of it yesterday. My parents were occupied the whole day, it sounds like, watching through their binoculars and worrying about the fledglings, which they said looked very vulnerable on the lawn. But no hawks decended, no cats, so it seems like a success.

garden birds (Hortus Aves)

Weather woes

Just some comments on how the New England weather is affecting farmers from a Boston Globe article today: farmers are increasing fertilizer schedules because the rain is washing away the nutrients, ... crops like tomatoes are slow to grow because of the poor weather, they have yet to be flooded out but there is about a 2-week delay in these crops. We've had 22.26 inches of rain in May and June - our normal is 5.8.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Pink Rose




This rose drapes over the fence by my vegetable garden. It blooms briefly, but is very pretty. I suspect its name is Dorothy Perkins (http://oldheirloomroses.com/Dorothy_perkins.htm), though it was in my yard before I took over as gardener.

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June 25, 2006


A baby tomato!!! Yes!!

I get really jealous reading blogs of gardeners in other zones. Especially http://earlysnowdrop.blogspot.com/. I mean, holy cow, she already has tomatoes, and beans, and peppers, and squash ….. Well, my first tomato is now on the way. (If it doesn’t get washed away.)

I am now sustaining the salad bowl with garden lettuce. The lettuce is unusual this year – it doesn’t have any bugs in it. No slugs, or miners, or crawly things. Maybe they’ve all been washed away? I won’t complain. I'm on my way out now to seed another patch with a nice mesclun mix.

Solanum lycopersicum

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Window views














My gardens from the coolness of the indoor AC. Its been hot out there. I like the way the camera caught the screen on the vege garden picture. The top pic is my dishwashing view, the other two are the diningroom.

Garden Blogs Newspaper Article

I saw in Garden Voices that the San Francisco Chronicle had an article last Saturday on Gardening Blogs. Though they failed to list the outstanding (ha!) blog you are now reading, they do list a bunch of Californian ones. Full article is at http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2006/06/17/HOG3OJE6P41.DTL. They point out that "Roughly 37 million blogs existed as of May 1 (Wow!), with 376 gardening blogs." I'm surprised there are only 376 gardening blogs. (I hope they found mine! - But I guess it didn't start 'til mid-May.)

Friday, June 23, 2006

June 23, 2006


Today's garden photo.

Lettuce









Looks good enough to eat. This will be the first thing we harvest from the garden this year. More rabbit food for the salad bowl....

Lactuca sativa

Thursday, June 22, 2006

baby birds



I just got some new photos of the baby birds (robins top, catbirds bottom). My dad took these pictures. They look pretty cozy in there - not much extra space. I think its about time to fledge.

garden birds (Hortus Aves)

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Wednesday, June 21, 2006

June 21, 2006

Summer solstice, first day of summer, longest day of the year, last day of school. My garden is celebrating! In Massachusetts, we have 15:17 hours of sunlight today (sunrise 5:07, sunset 8:24). Maybe it’s a good day to get a lot of work done. Or a day to just hang out and enjoy the sun.

Floribunda "First Kiss"

Straw foxglove











Bee (Species Anthidium manicatum - Wool Carder Bee, female) enjoying foxglove (Digitalis lutea).

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Orange lily


The tiger lily (lilium, Asiatic) opened it blossoms for the first time this morning. They are shiny and new looking. Amazing how they were closed buds just yesterday, now this morning beautiful blooms.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

June 20, 2006


Tomatoes are blooming! I found a website that says "It takes about 30 days from the time the tomatoes bloom until fruit is full-sized and ready to start ripening". http://www.oznet.k-state.edu/hfrr/hnewslet/2002/ksht0222.htm I'll be looking for fruit on July 20! Nothing like fresh tomoatoes. These blossums are my Supersonics. The Early Girls are in bloom, too.

Solanum lycopersicum

Monday, June 19, 2006

Nesting birds



Here are photos of the baby birds in my parents' yard. The top two pictures are the four baby catbirds. Lower picture is the three baby robins. Photos of the catbird eggs in the nest 3 weeks ago are at http://carletongarden.blogspot.com/2006/05/may-29-2006-memorial-day-3.html
garden birds (Hortus Aves)

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Friday, June 16, 2006

Another bird update

News on the nesting birds at my parents house: the chickadees and wrens have fledged. Robins and catbird are feeding their young big juicy worms and other bugs. I hear they bring back enormous mouthfuls of food and share it amoung all of the young. Mother Robin has become white and fluffy on her underside and seems to sit on the nest most of the time. It appears that it is Dad doing the feeding. Same with the catbirds. The Mrs is on the nest most of the time, even when people pass by on the walkway that is right next to the nest.

garden birds (Hortus Aves)

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Thursday, June 15, 2006

June 14, 2006




Peony flowers! This plant was in the yard when we bought our house 15 years ago. A scrawny little plant, I tried all that time to get it to bloom. For years, I kept re-planting it shallower, fertilizing. Making sure it had lots of sun. It expanded into a big mound of green leaves. Sometimes it would get a tiny bud, that wouldn't open. I threatened often to turn it to compost. Finally last year it had one blossum, this year, two. These past two years I remove alot of the leaves soon after they sprout and leave the buds. That seems to do the trick. (Maybe it needs a higher nitrate fertilizer? - I'll add some bonemeal this year.)

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

June 13, 2006






The blueberries and raspberries are coming along.

Monday, June 12, 2006

June 12, 2006











Our garden birds. We used to get more types, but now its pretty much just sparrows. I suppose its because I don't feed them anymore.

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Sunday, June 11, 2006

June 11, 2006


Notice the shadows today? Its sunny!










aerial view

What Flower Are You?

I am a
Violet

What Flower
Are You?

If you click on the link under the violet, you'll end up at a blog with a silly quiz that you can take to find out what kind of flower you are. I am a violet.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

June 10, 2006


Raining again. I don't think I'll take soggy garden photos today. I'll wait for the next posting until its sunny.

The Boston Globe writes today that more than 18 inches of rain have fallen in May and June and if it were all snow it would be 180 inches! (My math expert calculated that is 15 feet.) They say we have a trapped jet stream. Everyone's tired of all this rain.

Bird update

News on the nesting birds in my parents yard: the catbird, robin, chickadee and wren are all still sitting dutifully on their eggs.

garden birds (Hortus Aves)

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Thursday, June 08, 2006

June 8, 2006


























Here are pictures of my vegetable seedlings: basil, beets, carrots, cucumbers, lettuce, peas, scallions, squash and tomatoes. (I forgot to photograph the eggplants.) It is another wet day and the seedlings are all looking soggy and ragged. I think the basil is having the hardest time and I've already lost a couple plants. Clearing is not predicted until later next week with more heavy rains coming tomorrow.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

June 7, 2006


I've been out taking pictures in the rain again. Good thing the camera is waterproof. The flower is Goldflame Honeysuckle (Lonicera x heckrottii).

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

June 6, 2006












A garden gnome must have come by overnight and put up my pea trellis for me! Wow! But it was me who planted the squash and cucumbers this morning. I went ahead and hilled them this year, though I usually don't. Its been so wet that I think they will prefer this.

Pisum sativum

Monday, June 05, 2006

June 5, 2006
















Here's the vegetable garden today.

June 4, 2006



















Can you find any 4-leaved ones? I wish this clover was in my yard, but it's at a nearby park where Skippy and I went for a walk.

June 3, 2006




















These are beautiful Yellow Flag Iris (Iris pseudacorus) growing in a nearby wet-land. Unlike the Blue Flag Iris, which is native to the U.S. northeast, Iris pseudacorus is a non-native, invasive plant. It is fast-growing and fast-spreading and can outcompete other wetland plants, forming almost impenetrable thickets. http://aquat1.ifas.ufl.edu/seagrant/iripse2.html

Saturday, June 03, 2006

June 2, 2006



















My sister gave me these Blue Flag Iris (Iris versicolor) from her garden about 14 years ago. They grow in the full sun on the south side of my house. They have formed two large clumps that Skippy likes to flatten down into a comfy sleeping mat.

















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