Thursday, September 24, 2009

Another Show in the Sequence

The grasses provide a seasonal show in September.

The white purple coneflower and Liatris offer up a beautiful show in July.

The meadow is especially nice in June with these oriental poppies and assorted other flowers.

I continue my work with my "meadow", or as I read in Peter Thompson's book, The Self-Sustaining Garden, my matrix garden. While trying to construct this self-sustaining planting, the aesthetics have not been forgotten. I am conscious of having a series of big seasonal shows. After the early spring daffodils comes the June show of blood-red oriental poppies and company, then in July the garden features white purple coneflower with Liatris. Now that a grass (Calamagrostis brachytrica)I planted last year has matured I have a show in September that precedes the fall color show in which the Amsonia hubrichtii is magnificent. I need to bolster the daffodil show and add something more for August. I have a lot of Crocosmia 'Lucifer' that I need to move. Perhaps it will help the late summer show and fit into the community.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Heroin Chic in the Garden

Now here is something different for the garden - the parasitic look. Of course there are many fascinating parasitic plants that would be kind of fun to have in the garden, but they would be tough to grow. The above picture of Colchicum (autumn crocus) at Kingwood Center sending up their leafless flowers in the shade always remind me of parasitic plants. Could this be a step toward reviving the heroin chic motif but this time in the garden?

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Harvesting Mixed Feelings

Around the country, apparently in response to economic hard times, a record number of people have grown fruits and vegetables this year. I wonder how their harvests have been. Because in spite of my many years of experience, I am still frustrated by my failure to make satisfactory use of what I grow. I have concluded that unless I am committed to a concerted effort to can, freeze, or otherwise preserve. I will never do more than amuse myself with small bits of food now and then. For example I grew a row of beets this year and we ate beets four or five times. We could have eaten beets every day for months. I don't want to pickle or otherwise process them, so most of the beets are going to go to waste. The same is true for the green beans I grew. One seed packet of beans or beets is enough to provide fresh produce to twenty people! I am processing cherry tomatoes from my eight plants while the two full size tomatoes are largely going to waste. I bought a machine to dry the tomatoes and have amassed enough dried tomatoes to make all my friends and family hide from my anticipated dried tomato largess. Raspberries are great. I eat them with my cereal every morning like I did with blueberries before them. My five Asian pears from my young but precocious trees were delicious, but what do I do when that number is two hundred and five along with my existing Bartlet pears? Potatoes are satisfactory because they can be stored. I can provide home grown potatoes for most of the year. I am about to harvest about a bushel of carrots from another individual seed packet. What am I going to do with all of those?

Obviously I am growing some of the wrong things and/or growing them in too large of a quantity, but I never seem to learn. I need to hone in on the produce that suits my lifestyle and just forget about the other things. Spring is when that resolution goes out the window. Oh! let's try Brussels sprouts this year, and Lima beans; how about kale; I've never grown that!