Saturday, July 31, 2010


Enjoying a Phlox

Take-off from a Hydrangea

High up in a Butterfly Bush

As there is little joy in photographing plants these days, I am in pursuit of the butterflies. The yellow Swallowtail is everywhere, every day; the black one is less conspicuous, but visits too, from time to time. I did not see any today. Or, I did not stay out in this heat long enough to see one!

When does a garden get listed as 'critical'?

Mine may be approaching that point. I'm throwing out the last of the tomatoes. Those pretty Cerinthes? Not so pretty any more. The stately Butterfly Weed? Seriously drooping. The Salvias? Gasping for air. Aye, aye, aye!

I still water, but with less enthusiasm. Especially since receiving a water bill more than twice the usual amount. Rain chances today range from 10% this morning (not a drop!) to 40% this evening (here's hoping!) and less tomorrow. It's tough to be a gardener in North Georgia these days.

Sunday, July 25, 2010


Grown from last year's seeds, these new plants, of which I have about two dozen, will be ready for the garden in the fall.

One of the many seed pods on this year's plant.

Lots of seeds to share with friends and colleagues!

This could become my favorite plant! Three years ago, Salvia was my favorite plant. Then I switched to Yarrow. Now, with the success of the seedlings, my prime attention may just switch to Baptisia. It does not bloom very long, but when it does . . ., oh, my, spectacular!

Butterfly Weed

This is my first experience with Butterfly Weed - wonderful plant and the swallowtails are crazy about it, but I wonder if this is not awfully early for its seed pods to begin bursting. I had not expected to see this for another month or two. Normal? Or is the hot weather of this summer speeding the process up?

Verbena 'Princess Dark Lavender'

This Verbena, which I have kept in a container since I received it two months ago, made a slow start, but it is now coming along nicely and the color of the flowers is very pretty.

I thought of taking its picture this morning not only because it is now a pretty plant, but also because Karen Platt's book about Lavender is coming out soon -- nothing to do with Verbena, but there was that memory connection . . . :-)

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Gardening! - not food, not cooking.

This is a gardening blog. Not a food blog. Not a cooking blog. However . . . When one is offered a splendid bag of greens for purchase, as I was this morning at the local farmers' market . . . Well, you understand we've got to talk about food and cooking.

First thoroughly wash and then roughly chop or tear the greens.

Cook a some garlic and red pepper flakes (or, in this case, Sambal Oelek) in a little olive oil for a minute or two.

Add the greens, cover and cook for 5 minutes. Remove cover, stir the greens, cover again and cook for another 5 minutes.


A fabulous lunch, with a chunk of your favorite bread, spread with pesto. And, of course, a glass of your favorite wine (a California Chardonnay in my case). If there is a better lunch to be had, more easily prepared, on a hot Saturday in July, tell me about it!

Greens for Lunch

I wish I could say that these greens are from my own garden. No such good fortune. Rather, they are from Paradise Found Farm. I bought them this morning and turned them into a fabulous lunch.

Cerinthe 'Pride of Gibraltar'

This Cerinthe came up well in my garden and has been producing pink flowers; according to what I read in other blogs and in seed catalogs, the flowers should be blue. Oh, well . . .

Friday, July 16, 2010

Garden Writers Conferences

I’ve ignored the Garden Writers Association symposium calls so far, but the promo stuff landed in my mailbox yesterday, compelling attention.

In my third year of GWA membership and I’ve not attended an annual symposium yet. So, this year . . . to go or not to go?

Keynoter Kierstin De West intrigues, Felder Rushing is a draw anywhere, anytime, but is a 4-day conference with 24 break-out sessions still a viable model? The garden tours have no appeal for me (what grows in East Texas does not necessarily grow in North Georgia) and what can we learn in person that we cannot learn online? I recently spent half a day attending a virtual summit (fee: $99) with speakers that included Arianna Huffington, David Meerman Scott and Edie Weiner. For three months afterwards, a few mouse clicks will take me back there and I can make sure I caught all the salient bits.

How do accidental gardeners and business writers like me justify a $1,500 (conference fee, airfare, hotel) adventure? I’m not interested in “winning” a camera or iPad, I don’t care who sponsors the name badge holders and attendance assures me that I’ve got a two in three chance of picking the wrong break-out session – eight times!

What if, instead, I followed Kiersten De West’s vision of sustainability and innovation more closely on-line for the next year or so? What if I attended Felder Rushing’s next event in North Georgia (you’ve got to see his truck-bed garden, y’all!)? What if I spent $500 on more books? I could sit in my garden, read books, add $1,000 to my cash flow, and would not have to take off my shoes at any time - unless I just wanted to and make a toe connection with the turf . . . 

Now that’s appealing!

Friday, July 2, 2010

Daylilies in The Deep South - are they Doomed?

For as long as I can remember, and for generations before me, Daylilies have adorned Georgia gardens in June. This year . . ., not so much! The heat in May turned their foliage brown prematurely, and the three weeks of 90F+ temperatures began just about when the blooms started to open. As a result, Daylilies did not shine this year and for the most part they are done. But . . ., there’s always next year!

To-may-to, To-mah-to . . .?

Every autumn since 2006 I have said to myself: "Next year, I am not going to grow tomatoes". Then the winter catalogs arrive and I am once again seduced. This year, though, I've got it figured out. I will continue to grow tomatoes, but only small ones!
Top: Red Currant. I pick a handful every day now and toss them in a salad. Delicious flavor; this tomato deserves its name.
Center: Micro Tom. Only three harvested so far; I have not yet tasted them.
Bottom: Red Robin. None picked yet.
I also have "Early Wonder" in my garden (nothing early about it, in comparison to the three noted small ones), "Black from Tula", which has developed blossom rot, and "Black Krim", which has so far produced, in addition to some "green golf balls", one fist-size fruit that is still green (and creased) on top and already dark red at the bottom. For the past few days I have wondered: "Should I pick it or leave it on the vine longer". It's still on the vine.


Last Saturday, during a garden tour, one homeowner (with a very nice garden -- actually a 'garden within a garden') told me she had been at it for 13 years and was still far from finished. That gives me, as a 6-year gardener, all sorts of excuses, doesn't it?
That includes not knowing much about many plants. Cerinthe is one of them. Never heard of it, but when Renee's catalog (see blogroll, on right) arrived in my mailbox last winter, I thought I should give it a try. I don't even remember what appealed to me. But I'm glad I added it to the list. It now grows (from seed) in two areas of my garden, and here is a picture of the first-blooming plants.

Watering Not Required

This lovely sculpture is by Dennis Primm, who has a studio at Tannery Row in Buford.