High Summer Sunflowers fill the vase barely leaving room for echinacea, wild daisy, salvia and black eye Susan.
The wall of sunflowers has emerged. Squash is vining and claiming it’s ground. What seemed like too much space is really not enough when it comes to squash—every time. My surprise of the season is watermelon. I’ve never grown it before. I was gifted a seedling from Linda, my comrade in so many adventures. This year I have the honor of tending actual watermelon babies.
Green Love is strong, healthy and growing. What a joy to be legal, to care for the plants right in our fertile garden soil. So much more bountiful than five gallon buckets and secret patches hidden through the wild land. “The secret space of dreams, where I dreaming lay amazed.”
Sunflowers and larkspur abound!
The self seeding annual flowers are showing their colors! I recognize the seedlings when they emerge with the peas in the early spring now. The hardest thing about planting larkspur is to get it in as soon as the ground can be worked. I plant them in mid April after the snow melts for lovely blue blossoms in July.
Not in a vase, but an unexpected surprise. My amaryllis didn’t bloom this spring. I discarded it in my seedling box and forgot about it. The pot tipped over and somehow the bulb woke up. I was greeted by this beauty on my morning garden inspection.
These are the days I dream of in the mid winter when pouring over seed catalogs and gazing out over the snow covered fields. Sweet summer sunshine daydreams…
This week in the vase are Tricolor salvia , the last poppy buds, Zeolight calendula, baby’s breath, echinacea, self seeded larkspur and sunflowers.
Welcome to the July garden. Sunlight, warmth and water are what the plants have been craving and they are thriving. Jacqui-cat is looking for some petting as she gingerly steps between the marigolds and the King Richard leeks.
Top Hat open pollinated corn is a seed crop this year. I am concerned about seed availability next spring and want to have as many seeds as I can produce for next years food crops. If you are interested in how to “de-hybridize” an F1 crop, here is an interesting story of how Top Hat was selected from Tuxedo corn.
Greens, beans and ganja. We eat a lot of greens. I try plant rolling patches to keep us in ready supply, moving from spinach to chard to bok choy and back to spinach again in the fall. This year I am planting an overwintering greens garden. I have often had unintentional early spring goodness from the newly emerging garden and believe it will work well to plant on the other side of the calendar.
The garden tour ends in the Prelude raspberry row. We have been rewarded with a bumper crop to graze on. They haven’t made it to the jam pot or freezer yet! I need to find a place outside of the vegetable garden so they have enough room to spread into a true raspberry patch. I would love to see your mid July garden photos! What delights you in your garden?
Self seeded sunflowers were planted the year my daughter married. She asked me to grow sunflowers for her. It was a magnificent season, the garden burst with lemon, yellow and maroon sunflowers from July through September. I let them grow and leave them for the birds now. Every summer I am delighted again and send photos to my daughter. A legacy of love.
Shasta Daisy was planted three years ago and is happy in the corner spot of the garden. I like the way the white and yellow petals balance each other .
Tricolor Salvia is a favorite of mine in bouquets. It is subtle but adds color and shape to the mix.
Mint fills the room with its aroma and gives the house a pleasant undertone.
Purple Clover, Meadow Daisy, and Black Eyed Susan all perennial flowers returning every summer to dance in the field with the wind.
Returning to the virtual world to share my dearest activities—growing the garden, tending living growing plants, creating wholesome nourishing food from garden bounty.
To me, my gardens are more than cultivated, plowed strips and sections of soil. Gardens are also places I share with the wildness, sacred sites of trees, herbs, grasses and flowers tucked away here and there around the land.
COVID times have brought physical isolation. I’ve turned again to electronic, internet based communication because I am lonely and miss my people—garden walks, tea parties, swapping seeds and cuttings.
FaceBook is problematic for me. It is easy. But I am uncomfortable about a platform that spreads white supremacy recruitment propaganda, the commodification of my personal information and the need to fiercely guard my data. I’ve signed off for the month of July 2020 in support of Stop Hate for Profit.
I want to share flower love, germination hope and transforming the land with joy.
”Will you come with me? Won’t you come with me? Oh, I want to know….”
Harry introduced me to the exuberant Zinnia. Their bold, enduring colorful flowers bloom all summer until the frost comes. I try to extend the season by covering them with row cover or plastic and sometimes get an extra week or two of color. Hummingbirds and butterflies come to Zinnia blossoms and I feel the love flowing from my heart to fly with them.
Jenna passed these seeds on to me last fall after she watched my Zinnia’s growing last summer. Her job on The Hill is to manage security. She strides across the fields with strength and confidence. Like the Zinnia, Jenna is tough and beautiful. We shared a number of pleasant flower conversations.
The seeds are sorted by blossom color. Seeds with no petals are groups together as mixed colors. One of the sections is for immature, unformed seeds. I’m planning a bold red Zinnia section in the flower garden.
Zinnia are happiest when planted by seed directly into the warm soil. They are fussy transplants, but will make it into the garden with some attention and coddling. These little babies are from two plantings. The seeds were saved from my Zinnia and I don’t know if the parents are open pollinated or hybrid. Time will tell.
I choose beauty and color to bring solace in this hard, sometimes hurtful world. Turning toward joy, the seeds call to be planted, to germinate, to burst forth reaching for the light.
I left off blogging last summer when I got the call that my dad was dying. Now the long Maine winter is over, spring has officially arrived and the garden calls me back. St. Francis is peeking out from under the snow and the solar lights that stayed out all winter get enough light to shine at night again.
I’m growing tomato seedlings to sell this spring. Grandma Mary’s paste tomato is a reliable and meaty favorite. It cooks down to a rich sauce and make an outstanding dried tomato. Cosmonaut Volkov tomato is hands down my favorite red eating tomato. It ripens in mid to late August and keeps pumping out juicy good sized fruit until frost.
Alyssum seedling are happy and thriving. They are a lovely frothy white flower I use to accent in potted flower containers. In the garden they make a sweet border.
In the cellar window, the onions and seed lettuce are doing well. The onions are second year seed and germinated much better than I had expected. I’m growing open pollinated Ailsa Craig and Borretana Cipolini and a hybrid variety called Talon. We are still eating our fresh stored Talon onions.
I’m growing out a lettuce seed crop this year. This red leaf lettuce is from my saved seed. The 25 most vigorous seedling will be selected and grown for seed. I worked on Will Bonsall’s seed farm in Industry for a couple of seasons and learned how to grow out plants specifically for seed saving. The lettuce plants are started early to give them enough time to fully mature and develop fully ripened seeds.
Here is the view of the snow covered garden in September before the frost. Soothe my soul with color and abundance.
With gratitude, with love and joy.
July is a time of deep heat and fullness. The corn towers over our heads and the tassels are showing! There are two gigantic sunflowers reaching towards the sky. It must be the fertility of the chicken coop that stood there for so many years.
The blue barrel holds the comfrey nettle kelp compost tea. The plants drink it up and keep on growing! The nettles are getting their second growth. Nettle is a super compost ingredient. Each cutting gets layered into the compost heap.
My flower garden is in the second growth now. Daffodils and Sweet William have gone and the Painted Daisy, Crazy Daisy and Shasta Daisy are putting out their bloom stalks. Snapdragon, cosmos, marigold and more zinnia transplants form a sweet curve in the garden entrance.
Echinacea is setting its first blossoms. I love their hardy strength and seed head. Most of all, we depend on the roots to make medicine tea for winter colds.
It’s time to thin and trim the calendula next to the strawberries. It will bloom again through the autumn if we get the midsummer deadheading done. The whole row was a self seeding gift. The calendula petals can be infused in oil and used to heal wounds and skin. Your fingers may get sticky with calendula flower juice as you pluck them!
Fresh garden food right now includes broccoli, Costata Romenesca zucchini, Ailsa Craig onions, cucumbers, beets, chard, carrots and green beans. Often our supper is a giant pot of vegetables fresh from the garden. The taste of vegetables unadorned in full fresh flavor is a seasonal headiness that passes so quickly.
Preserving season is ramping up as well. I’ve made cherry jelly from my garden buddy Andy’s cherries and a combination jam with raspberries from our daughters garden and blueberries Harry and I picked in the western Maine mountains. My hope is to have canned beans, tomatoes and carrots going into the winter.
I’ve been away from our garden since early August. My dad lives far away on the Oregon coast. I got a call and learned that his heart has failed and may stop at any time now. So I left the garden and flew out to sit with my dad, hold his hand and sing him songs one last time before he makes his final flight to freefall into the pure light.