|A danger garden, of sorts...|
|Fantasy flowers and foliage grace a temporary construction fence.|
|This color saturated acrylic yarn is not something I would want to wear, but it's held up well here for several months now|
|It's different, it's colorful, and it's fun. Well done!|
Summer seems to have ended but our rooftop garden is now ready for winter.
We harvested lots of onions and carrots.
As well as many red and green tomatoes.
Tomatoes need to be harvested, even if still green. If left on the plant during cool temperatures and rain they will develop blight and turn black instead of red. Wrap your green tomatoes in newspaper and store them in a cool dark place until they ripen.
Tomato plants were then removed and put in our yard waste bins for composting (blight may spread in a cold composter, but in Vancouver yard waste is mechanically composted using heat).
We also planted some more fall crops (many winter crops should be planted in July or August, but due to extreme heat on our roof in these months not many seedlings were started successfully)
We planted overwintering broccoli starts, kale seeds and garlic after amending the soil with compost from our worm bin composter.
Garlic is grown by separating the cloves of the garlic bulb and planting pointy-end up roughly 4 inches deep in the soil. Each clove will form a new bulb. We simply bought local organic Red Russian garlic from a nearby grocer.
- Plants are no longer blooming or their growth is elongated/spindly because their once sunny setting is now shaded. (Or the opposite; shade has been replaced by sun.)
- Plants are encroaching on walkways, windows, roof lines, etc., because they’ve outgrow their designated space.
- Plants are stressed due to water restrictions and/or irrigation failure.
- Damaged or uneven surfaces that present a hazard to moving through the space
- Failed retaining walls
- Faded, stained, or discolored surfaces.
- Broken or sagging fences, gates, arbors, or stairs
- Drainage problems
- Changes in lifestyle
- Changes in aesthetic tastes
- Changes in gardening interests and/or values
- Changes in physical capabilities
|Before: a welcoming entry and a seating area were lacking|
|After: a new deck/porch and...|
|... an entry walk, and refreshed garden plantings|
|Before: home renovations created a need for new access and plantings for the extended side yard|
|After: the perfect place for raised gardens and a destination seating area|
|After: walkways serve as a unifying element throughout the landscape|
Andrew Keys : Garden Smackdown : Boston, MA
Carolyn Gail Choi : Sweet Home and Garden Chicago : Chicago, IL
Genevieve Schmidt : North Coast Gardening : Arcata, CA
Jocelyn Chilvers : The Art Garden : Denver, CO
Lesley Hegarty & Robert Webber : Hegarty Webber Partnership : Bristol, UK
Rochelle Greayer : Studio “G” : Boston, MA
Susan Cohan : Miss Rumphius’ Rules : Chatham, NJ
Susan Morrison : Blue Planet Garden Blog : East Bay, CA
|goldenrod, switch grass, and junipers in the Sand Hills of Nebraska|
|this beautiful Asian pear tree screens the entry garden from the side yard dining area|
|Viola 'Purple Showers' left, blooms all summer|
|a bubbling water pot adds a light, refreshing sound along the path|
|a beautiful textural contrast; a fern and lady's mantle|
|overgrown patty-pan squash looks charming here, and will soon feed the goats!|
|gate with dog door|
|run and play, run and play!|
|hunt and peck, hunt and peck!|
|a small patio seating area in the heart of the garden. bags of grass trimmings ready to be spread as mulch.|
|red runner beans|
|Barbara Miller displays her greenhouse with crops growing directly in the soil floor.|
|Pinot Noir pepper, a summer crop in the greenhouse|
|sanitation and safety are critical|
|doesn't that look cozy?!|
Good news / bad news in the water garden. The good news is that Kyoto, my favorite koi, totally recovered from his ailments of last winter (read about that here and here). He's happy tearing around the pond with his pal, Lucky:
|Kyoto and Lucky at play|
And participating in the evening feeding frenzy:
|Kyoto, center, fights for his share of the food|
The bad news is that our water clarity has been terrible this year. For whatever reason (suggestions, anyone?) our usual crop of water hyacinths and water lettuce, which we depend on to shade the water and also filter it, did not grow at all this summer. The result was murky, pea green water (caused by suspended algae) that made fish viewing almost impossible. Grrrr!
How have your water gardens fared this year? Did you try any new plants? What are your favorites? Tell us about your fish, too...
Grass plants are prized for their wonderful variety of textures, forms, and colors. But their flowers? Not so much. Grasses are wind pollinated; no need to put on a showy flower display to attract insects. Technically, what we see is an inflorescence composed of tiny flowers, or florets, protected by bracts. The bracts are the showy structures that add a second tier of visual impact to the landscape. Here are a few of the grasses that are blooming now in my garden:
I love switch grass, and my favorite is this blue cultivar, Panicum virgatum 'Prairie Sky' Note the tiny burgundy-red flowers.
|This panicle type inflorescence looks like beads on crimped wires to me!|
|Red flowers here, too, on a spike inflorescence|
|Although this also looks like another spike inflorescence, it will open into a raceme as it matures a bit|
|Note the minute yellow flowers. The hair-like structure is an awn|
|Russian sage and fernbush, Chamaebatiara millefolium|
If you would like your own copy of Durable Plants for the Garden from Plant Select, contact participating retailers listed here, Denver Botanic Gardens, or your favorite bookseller.
Mark, contact me with your mailing address and we'll get your book to you ASAP!
As the summer winds down:
We dry and collect seeds to use again next year or for winter crops (some seeds are very easy to save and others take a bit of effort but you can replant most things from your garden for free if you save your own seed).
Compost plant debris left over from the growing season
And plant winter crops that will continue to grow for the cold season to produce food early in the spring, like broccoli, kale, and brussel sprouts.
The beginning of September means lots of tomatoes are ready for eating. We have so many beautiful ones. Tiger tomatoes, and Sun Drop cherry tomatoes are the ones we have mostly harvested so far.
We've also harvested more Tromboncino zucchinis.
A pile for each gardener to take home.
This week we tried planting a mushroom patch from 'mushroom spawn'.
It comes in a bag and needs to be layered with straw or hardwood chips and covered with cardboard in a moist cool place in the garden.
First we dug a space 10 inches deep to grow them in.
Laid newspaper down in the space.
Then layered the mushroom spawn with layers of straw and hardwood pieces.
Watered it, and covered it all with sheets of cardboard.
In a few weeks, once we can see the mycorrizae, we will add 2 inches of soil on top. It will be next spring before we have any mushrooms.
This type of mushroom creates a mycorrizal network of roots underground that feed beneficial nutriets to nearby plants. Plus they are edible and apparently delicious. So we hope they grow.