Six on Saturday – Dog Days of Summer -August 11, 2018

Hot and humid  dog days here. Typical Eastern Shore summer weather. Occasional thunder storms may bring rain or just spectacular lightening in the night sky.  The garden work never ends. A load of mulching chips is now in the driveway. We will start moving it a few loads at a time in the cool of the mornings. It’s hard to believe that September is just around the corner.

Here are my six on Saturday, a meme started by The Propogator, a UK gardener. This is the link to the rules if you’d like to join in.

  1. Naked ladies (Belladonna Amaryllis) – I can never remember where this clump of bulbs is, but in August they appear and bloom. This year I found a stray one and moved it to its sisters. Google tells me that there is foliage that disappears before the flowers appear, but I don’t remember seeing that. I’ll put some flags by this clump so I can plant something low around them to hide the stems. These ladies do look undressed.

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2. I saved some seeds from zinnias in a Community Garden bed (not mine) last fall. This is my reward.

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3. The liriope (Liriope muscari) is beginning to bloom although it is becoming something of a nuisance as seedlings are appearing in the gravel drive.

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4. Tomatoes continue in my Community Garden bed. When I picked this morning I realized the strange yellow/white tomatoes were from the Shah plants I started. I tasted one and wasn’t seduced. I’ll throw them into the sauce pot but I wouldn’t can a kettle of just white tomatoes as I suspect they don’t have as much acid as the red ones. The chewed tomatoes were on a plant at home. Squirrels! The eggplant in a pot keeps producing.

5.  A fresh flush of ferns in an area where they all died back when we didn’t have any rain for six weeks. The hosta is a Francis Williams. Still no significant slug damage on the hostas this year which is miraculous considering how wet it has been in between the weeks of no rain. Might it be those fireplace ashes I spread around the hosta? The ashes have not deterred deer in another section, however.

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6. This is an early morning  photo of St. Michaels harbor, a ten minute walk from my house. On the right is the Maritime Museum, a world class facility that is keeping Chesapeake Bay history and waterman culture alive as well as rescuing and rebuilding some of the boats used by the watermen. Every time I go I am astounded that our little town has this jewel. A friend of mine is in charge of the gardens at the museum. He has recreated gardens from different time periods, including what would have been a typical garden at the small home of a freed slave. I’ll take some photos and share them.

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That’s my six for this Saturday. I hope you’ve enjoyed what I have to share in my garden on Maryland’s Eastern Shore.

Six on Saturday – April 21, 2018

These are my Six on Saturday. The plants seem to believe that Spring is here.

  1. The Angelique tulips on the far side of this bed are just getting ready to bloom. There’s also a clump in the foreground.  They are a peony tulip and it looks like each bulb sent up several blooms. I think the pink and yellow tulips are a Darwin variety.

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2. The grass is greening up. I had to get the mower out and make a couple of passes where it was getting too tall. Repairing a grassy area that was full of Green Kyllinga (Kyllinga gracillima) last fall is on the agenda this afternoon if the lawn is dry enough. I sprayed it in the fall with  Sedgehammer which killed it, but I hadn’t realized there was so little grass. I’m not a lawn fanatic by any means. I’ll never get rid of the wiregrass (an uncultivated form of Bermuda grass that is just an evil weed in the Mid-Atlantic), but I don’t like the bald patches of dirt.

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3. Miniature hostas define a seating area on one side of my house. I always forget where the perimeter is in the winter, but the hostas, which get about 6″ tall, let me know. I put two Adirondack chairs in this area facing toward the back of the property so I can sit and enjoy the garden. The chairs are still behind the shed and it’s too wet to get them out. My father built them for me over 50 years ago. They are cedar and we have reinforced them several times, but amazingly they are still functional.

The cord of wood was delivered last week. It has to be wheelbarrowed (once the yard dries out) to the back of the shed where it will be stacked under roof and continue drying for next fall’s fires. To the left of the wood pile are white arches make of plastic electrical conduit. They are 16′ long and slip over pieces of rebar I pounded into the ground.  Originally there were four arches but I took them down this year when we were hauling debris from the back of the lot. When I put them back up it occured to me I could cross them over which might make a better foundation for annual vines like hyacinth beans. I’ll see what happens.

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4. I managed to get three raised beds ready for seeding before the latest rain. The one at the end has some transplanted kale that wintered over. I had to move it from another bed so I could dig it before planting. The other end has some iris I didn’t know what to do with last fall.

I have two more raised beds at the Community Garden. One bed is ready for  my tomatoes which are still in the garage waiting for warmer night weather when I will put them outside in the shade for a couple of weeks before planting them. We are still about twenty degrees lower than the normal temperatures for this time of year. The bed on the right in the foreground is garlic I planted last fall.

In the bed on the left (foreground) I found some sprouts of the Yellow Finn potatoes I planted last spring. There were ten seed potatoes in the bag and I didn’t get much of a harvest. They were, however, delicious. Perhaps I’ll do better with the babies I missed when digging the parents. I moved a few to corral them all in the same area. I still have to dig the rest of the bed.

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5. The epimedium blooms don’t last long, but are lovely pop of color. Wikipedia tells me that epimedium, also known as barrenwort, bishop’s hat, fairy wings, horny goat weed, or yin yang huo, is a genus of flowering plants in the family Berberidaceae. Mine has new leaves with reddish copper coloring. The leaves then turn green and are leathery by summer. Deer don’t like them and the plants spread. These are under a River Birch and tolerate dry shade.

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6. The first azalea is blooming. I think this one is a Lavender Lady. Many of my azaleas  began with plants my mother gave me. She started with a few plants and began to propogate them by air layering. Twenty years later she had an acre of azaleas of all varieties in a beech wood in rural Pennsylvania. Locally she was known as the Azalea Lady. One year, on my May birthday, she brought me a trunkload of azalea plants from her garden that bloomed on my special day. Babies of many of those plants, including this Lavender Lady, were brought as tiny plants from our old house to the new one in St. Michaels twelve years ago. I don’t air layer on the woody stems as my mother did, but if there is a low branch I pin it down to the soil and propogate new babies that way.

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That’s my six for Saturday. I’m not sure that Spring is finally here, but the plants believe it is.