Monday, July 27, 2009


Johnny Jump-Ups, violas and alyssum in the flower bed in front of the kitchen window. They are reliable self-seeders, which is great for this year when I haven't had much extra time or energy to put into the flower gardens. Just when I was worried there wouldn't be much out there, they volunteered to put on a show.

Sunny flowers out front.

Johnny Jump-Up, up close.

An English lavender. I have since trimmed it down quite a bit on the sides since it started to grow over the dwarf dahlias. My bumblebees really hang out on this bush a lot. I like growing lavender because it likes our hot, dry summers. If I don't harvest the flowers, they actually still look and smell nice into the fall. I just let them dry on the bush.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Getting to Know the Bees

I am surprised to say that I am fond of my bumblebees. I say they are mine because they live in my flower garden out front. They even sleep there. They like to curl up inside the daphnias at sundown, and when they wake, they spend their entire day buzzing around my garden.
I say I am surprised because I am just slowly getting over an intense fear of bees. Just a few years ago, I could hardly stand to be outside if I heard anything remotely similar to the buzz of a bee. I would just run inside and not go out again that day. I remember on more than one occasion when I bravely went out to quickly put a flower in the ground, but then heard a bee. I ran to the front door to go inside but husband had LOCKED the door out of pure habit. I pounded on the door, heart pounding and furious. I was sure the neighbors thought I was insane.
One step forward was when I would run inside after hearing a bee, but would only stay in for a few minutes until I calmed down. I might go in and out of the house several times, but at least I was returning to the great outdoors.
Last summer was a huge turning point for me. I got most of the flowers started before it really warmed up, so there weren't many bees around. When I went out to enjoy and water the flowers in the summer, I saw how many bumblebees were around. Husband was really great and told me that the bumblebees are very gentle and slow and aren't going to harm me. I started to watch them buzz around the lavender. I got to where they could fly over my head and I would stay outside with them. I started to like them. I felt like I was giving them a place to stay and food to eat, and they were helping my garden.
I still don't like to pick flowers if they are out there. I wanted to harvest some lavender but there are so many bumblebees out there and I'm just not to the point where I can harvest in the midst of bees yet. I was able to get close enough to a few to get their pictures taken. I still don't like the regular honeybee very much, and I sure don't like anything with dangly legs. (Mud dabbers, wasps, yellow jackets, etc.) However, I might just go outside and watch my bumblebees this evening.

Friday, July 17, 2009

What in the World?

What do you think this is? Have you ever seen anything like this before? This is its first appearance in my flower bed.
I believe it is the flower for the hen and chicks. I thinned out the ever growing hen and chicks patch to make room for more pansies and violas this spring. By thinning out, I mean I just pulled out and off all the extra plants until I got down to the lower layer. All the activity must have spurned the plant into action to go to seed. We transplanted the ones I pulled out to a rock wall in the back, and two of those are also now showing this strange growth. I thought it was worthy of being shared.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Taking Care of Itself!

Well, of course the garden can't totally take care of itself, but it sure feels like the hard part is over. Most everything is seeded and growing. The fertilizer has been added. All I have to do now is keep things watered and picked. Then there are all those weeds that are enjoying the water as well. I will admit I'm not keeping them under control as well as I'd like. But with a needy baby and busy toddler, I have to let some things go. I pull a few weeds when I can. This is such a nice time. We have been enjoying some harvest for over a month now and things just keep growing.

The only vegetable produce we are buying are onions. The rest of our vegetables with dinner are from the garden. That has meant a lot of salads, but the salads have chopped green onions and fresh peas on top. And since I'm growing four kinds of lettuce, we always have a variety on the plate. I was under the impression that the lettuce would bolt by now, but the first set is still growing. I did some succession planting and now we have 16 heads of lettuce! All still going strong. So, anyway, we may have salad every night, but at least we didn't get it at the grocery store. Soon we will have so much more to add to the salads. See below!

Cherry tomatoes "Sweet 100." I have four of these plants and they all are full of little green tomatoes. What I love about these are that they are so small that they ripen really quickly. It can't be too long and we'll be tossing these into just about every dish!

Green beans starting to tie themselves on the trellis and climb up. I think it's so cute how they are leaning toward the fence. They really seem to know what they are doing. What a money saver these will be. I saw green beans at the farmer's market for $1.99 a pound. Whatever happened to the saying, "Ain't worth beans?"

Cucumbers. This year I'm growing them on the trellis to save room. They need a little help finding the fence though.

OK this doesn't go on a salad but the hydrangea is blooming! Must have done and OK job with the pruning this spring.

Miniature bell peppers in pots. We have lots of little blossoms. I will be so happy and surprised when we get a pepper to grow up here, especially if I can get some to turn red!

Yes, these are Roma tomatoes! The plants look very healthy.

The whole vegetable garden plot. Still waiting on the broccoli but the peas are feeding us well for the time. The zucchini is really starting to take off. Just heard from my folks 6 hours south of here that they are eating zucchini already. Oh well. We're just a few weeks behind up here in the north parts.