Saturday, 29 September 2018

Wicked Unrest


It's #SixOnSaturday time again.  I, for one, wasn't ready.

The endless harvest, pets needing their jabs, political melodrama back home, CFS giving me stick - no way I'd post this week.

Then El Punko asks if he can take my SoS photos in order to get some practice with his new camera.

No rest for the wicked, it does seem.

1.  Harvest continues.

Last week, you saw all the peppers lined up in the shed after being picked early to protect them from the wind.  I've been bringing them inside as they develop colour.  Between them & the daily gathering of maters, the windowsill is always full.

The red CA sweet pepper has a symbiotic twin.

2.  Cucumelons.

I learned on Twitter from Rob Smith (@RobsAllotment) that cucumelon form tubers that can be lifted & stored over winter.  Mine are still producing at a great rate, although a few leaves have turned colour.  I suspect it'll be next month before I think about digging them up.

Cucumelon on the bed spring trellis.

Continuing the standard set by the California sweet pepper . . .


3.  Autumn berries.

They say lots of holly berries means a heavy winter & our trees have lots of berries, but they're going a little bit funny on us.  Hopefully none of them will make it into tiny, spiky holly saplings.

What's happening, Mizzy HollyTree?

There's also a volunteer snowberry in the garden.  Like the holly, I love their berries, hate their propensity to spread.  There's just the one this year, but give it time.

Snowberry caught in a web.

4.  Changing foliage.

In the field where we walk the dogs, the chestnut trees (buckeyes, to me) have started to change colour.  Along our street, however, the trees are holding their own.  Not so, for the flowers . . .

Columbine on the cat grave starting to fade.

. . . or the shrubs.

Gillenia getting a bit orange around the edges.

5.  Sedum, at long last.

My sedum with the purple stems & leaves (name buried somewhere out of reach at the moment) bloomed in July.  This great precursor of summer's end - Autumn Joy perhaps? - has finally got some colour.

Sedum & the oft-spoken of, crooked cherry tree.

6.  Last Rose.

The only roses in my current garden were grown from seeds I scavenged during a birthday trip to Paris a few years ago.  They've all bloomed, but not vigorously, so this last blossom really pleased me.

Last of the year's blossoms.

To me, winter, spring & summer are all single purpose.  Autumn, on the other hand, is complex, incorporates birth & death.  It's got my vote for best out of the 4.

Now for a snooze.

And that's my Six for the week.

I'm so glad El Punko wanted some photography practice.  Equally glad you stopped by for a gander.

Make sure to run over to Mr P's for links to other blogs.  And if you've got a garden to share, he's got guidelines.

See you again, soon!

Saturday, 22 September 2018

Big Wind

Mizzy BunnyButt heads inside before the Big Wind gets here.
Hurray, it's #SixonSaturday time again!

If you like snooping around other folks' gardens or if you've got a garden for us to snoop around, drop over to our SoS guru, Mr P who'll explain everything.

It's been the week of the Big Wind here.  With plenty of things still ripening, it was time to scramble!

1.  Family Heirlooms.

You know the hypothetical - if you only had time to rescue one thing, what's the first thing you'd grab?  Threaten me with high winds & no question, I save my pears.

Precious pears!  And o, some other stuff, too.

2.  Braving the storm.

Thankfully, we had plenty of time to prepare for the Big Wind, but there was no way to safeguard my pepper plants.  There's my neighbour's one tree, my raised beds, then lawn after lawn after lawn for the Big Wind to race across.

Hope to see you on the other side, guys.

3.  Gather the booty.

So I picked any pepper close to full size, & put them in the shed where mater cuttings & pumpkins hang out.  Hopefully, most of this will ripen.

Pepper mania.

4.  Mater huddle.

After picking any tomato with the faintest blush of colour, we moved the caged plants down from the terrace & snuggled them in with the potted trees.  A couple of heavy pots in front, & good to go.

Kinda like a garden sleep over.

Although the corn's been harvested, I've left the stalks to discourage critturs from trampling the pumpkin vine.

5.  Another suspect?

The Big Wind came & the peppers survived.  The mater huddle worked well, although the second pot from the left (in the photo up ⇑⇑⇑ there) did topple, which pushed the one next to it off kilter.  Since the Wind continues this week, we've adjusted the front planters, which seems to've worked its magic.

But was it the Big Wind messing w/my maters?  Could this rather pungent evidence suggest another suspect in the case, one fond of jumping up on my pots?

Fox scat.

Some colour to that stuff, eh?

6.  And the seasons have changed.

It was sometime during the Big Wind that I finally had to break out a hoodie for the BigNose walks.  Summer is officially over.

Mlle DoodleFace waiting to go.

And that's my Six for this week.  Until next time, happy gardening!

My never ending harvest.

Saturday, 15 September 2018

A Scant Autumn

Mizzy BunnyButt among the cosmos.

Weather, eh?  First the ravaging Beast of the East, followed by relief at a great spring, then the despair of a long drought.

The hot summer did give us a good veg haul, (thanks to my relentless watering).  On the other hand, our summer bulbs staged a go-slow, & in some instances, died.  If not for annuals, our summer flowerbeds would've been a bust.

However, the good news is, there are real gardens out there more wisely planted than my own, with actual flowering flowers in their beds.

You can find these beautifully burgeoning gardens by visiting Mr P for his Six on Saturday & links in his comment section to said wonderlands.

Now, because it's you doing the asking, I've found Six things in my own garden to share.

1.  Begonia

These came free with an order from some nursery or the other.  They started with great promise, poking little hairy leaves through the soil . . . and then stopped.

This week, we've finally got our first bloom.  The plant itself is no bigger'n my outstretched hand.

Small but mighty.

2.  Actaea

The garden was pretty flowerless when we moved in this past spring, although had evidence of long ago beds in the usual places.  One shady bed ran the length of our boundary fence, giving me plenty excuse to buy rakes of shade tolerant plants.

Among others things, I got three actaea.  The only one to bud is the Black Negligee.

Just beginning.

Rather than growing straight up, this one looks like a goose chasing a too-nosy dog.  That dark stem, those burgundy buds, then the white flowers - spectacular combo.

3.  Cyclamen.

There was a single cyclamen in that shady bed when we arrived.  I thought I'd given it enough room when I planted the brunnera.  Apparently not.

Outa my way, brute.

4.  Woody

During my shopping frenzy, it was the fern's description which sold me on woodwardia.  The new growth was meant to come out scarlet, then go through colour changes until the mature fronds turned green.

Mine never started scarlet, but did give a nice burgundy red in the beginning . . .

New unfurled frond on left, 08/09/18.

. . . which mellows to a coppery bronze that's stunning.  Don't look real, do they?

A week later.

The mature green isn't bad, either.  I like my woody.  May have to get a second one in hopes of that scarlet new growth.  Purely for investigative purposes, of course.  Sacrifice is the byword in gardening, you know.

5.  Tomato cuttings.

Yes, I'm really scraping the barrel to get Six here, guys.  I've never taken tomato cuttings before, so perhaps you'll forgive me.  Since my rosella cherry tomatoes did so well this year - both in numbers & taste - time to forswear my foolish non-tomato cutting ways.

Grow roots, my little darlins.

6.  What is this thang?

I posted this a few weeks ago, hoping for an identification.  Most folk suggested rosemary, but if it is, it's not the usual kind.  The foliage is much more delicate & flexible to touch, plus smells a bit citrusy in the lemon/lime spectrum.  There is an underlying herb scent as well.

In bud.

Maybe now that it's in bud, that'll helps with identification.  And if not, you'll be seeing it again when it blooms.

Shattered from harvest duties.

Even though the flowerbeds've been slacking, the veg've kept me busy harvesting, slicing, seeding, saucing, jamming, freezing, collapsing.

Autumn.  My favourite time of year.

Thanks for stopping by.  Hope to see y'all again, real soon.

Saturday, 25 August 2018

Six Little Peppers & How They Grew

Babies in pot size #2.

Last Christmas, I got a seed kit from son El Punko that included 6 types of chilli peppers.  Because we don't have a greenhouse, I start my seeds in April.  These guys stayed in the box until then.

Somewhere, I got the notion they'd be hard to grow in this climate, so planted all the seeds.  A high incident of germination resulted, except for the California Capsicum.

I kept 4 plants of each variety, gave away the rest, then researched what happened next.  Apparently peppers like to start in a small pot, stairstep through a medium, up to a large pot.

Rather than buy lots of individual pots for a crop I expected to fail, I decided to take my chances outdoors & plant them in a raised bed.

Then we got a hot, dry summer.  Here's what's happened so far. 

1.  Cayenne

These weren't the first to fruit, but they've been the first to go ripe.  As you can see, quite a haul going on here.  Multiply this by 4 plants & you got yourself cayenne heaven.

The very green.

I've already picked a mess, which've been chopped & frozen without being tasted or photographed.  There's plenty more beginning to ripen, though.

Getting red.

2.  Etiuda

The bells were the first to fruit & the second to get ripe.  With a much slower growth rate than the cayenne, they also don't produce nearly as much fruit.  This plant only has 2 peppers on it.


A beautiful sheen & a slight blemish that I pretty much ignored until the . . .

3.  Bull's horn.

A professional veg grower recommened that both tomatoes & peppers should be fed less often during this summer's drought.  The thinking behind the advice was that, with dryer soil & higher temps, the roots could be burned by the plant food's minerals.  I did as I was told.

Then I noticed one of the bull's horns had a huge 50p sized brown spot on it that was soft.  Back to the books with me to hone my diagnostic skills.  And there I learned about blossom rot, caused by irregular watering & lack of food.

Reprieved bull's horn.

My watering'd been fine, so the reduction in feeding seemed the likely culprit.  I tossed the 50p bull's horn, gave one with a smaller blemish a reprieve, & returned to my regular feeding schedule.

No more spotty fruit.  And maybe coincidence.  The name 'blossom' rot would indicate the cause happened during flowering.  Being pepper-ignorant, I haven't a clue, but keep on feeding my babies.  Would love feedback here.

As you can see, not so many peppers as the cayenne, but more than the etiuda.  Since these are some big bad boys, I think we've got a way to go until they're ripe.

4.  Jalapeno

Like the cayenne, these've been high producers.  I'd read they could be eaten when they were about 3-4" & still green.  However, if you left them alone, they turned black, then red, & could be eaten at either stage.

One's already fallen off while still green, so into the kitchen with it to be finely chopped & put on a cheese pizza.

Jalapeno bounty.

It tasted great - bit of a zing & really sweet.  We'll see if its taste changes with its colour.

5.  Californa Capsicum

Only 2 of these seeds germinated, & they've also been the next to last plants to fruit.

California cuties.

In addition to fruiting late, they've only produced two peppers each.  That means both the bells've been slow growers & produced limited fruit.  Does anyone else have experience with these peppers?

6.  Habanero

These were my problem chillen.  They were expected to be the tallest at a full metre, yet were the runts from the very beginning.  Once moved to the raised bed, one of them died - my only loss.

Here be blossoms.  At long last.

They've only begun to blossom, so I've no idea if we'll get fruit.  Perhaps they didn't like the high temps & waited for cooler weather to bloom.  And they're still the runts.

Peppers in bed, veg on the lawn
<= There's my Six peppers.  It's been fun, growing a new crop.  I'll be sure to report back at a later date on how they taste.  Until then, if you've got some advice, I'm all ears.

If you'd like to check out more gardens, drop over to The Propagator who not only has his own Six, but hosts links to SoSers from all over the globe.  He's even got guidelines, if you think you'd like to give it a try.

As always, I appreciate you stopping by.  Hope to see you next week.

Saturday, 18 August 2018

2 Pumpkins, 3 Questions, 4 Glads, & 5 (maybe 6) Pears

Catch me if you can.

Many thanks to everyone for your well wishes regarding the BigNoseDog who suffered a vestibular episode a fortnight ago.

It's been a battle of wills between him & myself this week.  He's a bit wobbly, yet madder'n a wet hen at having his walkabouts truncated.  When it's time to come home from his walk, he braces his terrier tank self in the middle of the path & refuses to budge.

But who can blame him?

While he's napping, it's on to #SixonSaturday - six things in the garden, on a Saturday, to quote our host, The Propagator.  In addition to Mr P's own Six at his link, you'll find SoS guidelines, should you wish to give us a peek into your garden.  There's also links in his comment section to other SoS-ers from across the globe.

This week in my garden, the rain has done away with the need to water plants.  That leaves me free to pick corn, eat all the cherry tomatoes on my way to the house, & wait for the lawn to need mowed.

Until then, a counting song.  One terrier terror . . .

1. Two pretty pumpkins

There are actually 3 pumpkins in the garden, but only 2 in this shot.

First & last to grow.

I've not done much about mildew this year, other than cut off the leaves.  Someone's sure to report me to the Pumpkin Protection League.

2.  First Question of Three - Tomatoes.

I grew my rosella cherries from seed, transferred them to vigoroot bags filled with new compost, & in time, supported them with cane cages (as seen in the background).  The tomatoes were supposed to have a smoky flavour but are super sweet & about the size of grapes.

Garden candy.

Two self seeders of unknown origin appeared in the pot containing the late, great Asian pear.  No new compost was added, but they're supported in cages.

Feral tomatoes.

The self seeders are a little behind the rosella, but their fruit is markedly larger.  Both types were regularly watered & fed.  What you think => vigoroot bags or tomato type account for the difference in size?  Another thought is that, because the self seeders started later, they were at a different stage in reproduction during the drought.

Maybe all/none of the above?

3.  Second Question - Who am I?

Last year, I gave a neighbour some plant food for her cosmos, so she gave me cuttings of an aromatic shrub that I admired.  The cuttings rooted & grew like Topsy.

While my neighbour's specimen was a narrow, willowy 6' beauty, mine grew horizontally.  In fact, mine've been so insistent about not growing upwards that they've taken their support stakes down with them.  I pound the stakes back in, but of course, the bigger the plants get, the less effective the stakes are in keeping them upright.

Laying down on the job.

They haven't produced flowers, but have a wonderful herby-citrusy scent.  Here's a close-up of the foliage.

The tips turn up.

They're in a sun trap, but are planted near the house, which might be why they lay down.  On the other hand, they're in full sun by 11:00 a.m. until sunset.

If I (or my neighbour) knew what they were, I might be able to figure out how to get them to straighten up & fly right.

Any ideas about the seed & breed of them?

4.  Third & Last Question - Empress Tree Seedlings.

A few weeks ago, I wrote about my kazillion seedlings coming up in a pot where I'd planted some empress tree seeds.  I was a bit of a Doubting Thomas that they were really empress trees.  Here's what they look like now.

Baby empress?

Now that they're bigger, they do indeed look like those in my image search of empress seedlings.  And I have scads of them.  Scads.  Can anyone confirm or refute my identification?

5.  Four glads.

Some nursery sent me a sack of free glad corms with an order, which I stuffed into my large planters.  There've been much more than 4 really gorgeous blooms, but I have 4 photos, so enjoy these beauts.

Some w/the hollyhocks.

Some w/the sedum

Some are a bit frilly.

Some for the kitchen.

6.  Five (maybe six) pears.

These are my Louis Bonne pears.  This tree bloomed its little pea heart out in the spring, but its pollination mate, the Asian pear, had no blooms, then subsequently died.  Since I'd been told the Louis Bonne don't self pollinate, you can bet this crop had me dancing under the new moon.  I might even've been a little bit nekked.

How many pears do you see?

The thick trunk in the front is actually my fig tree.  The fig & the pear seem very fond of each other & tend to mingle limbs.  All in all, I've counted a dozen pears on Louise.  Pretty happy, since this is its first year fruiting.  Here's hoping the critturs don't get there first.

Seen in the graveyard on the BigNose walk - a gardener lies here.

Once again, the tail end of my Six.

I do thank y'all for taking the time to visit.  Hope to see you next week.

Have fun in your garden!