Early August in the Gardens

Some photos from today’s wandering in the yard. 🙂


So far, I love everything about this Serpent Gourd plant! A single plant has covered my 4′ x 8′ trellis, and then some. The leaves are edible; the flowers are innocent and delightful; it’s completely resistant to normal curcubit diseases; and from what I hear, the young gourds are like a white version of zucchini. This will be fabulous, since we mainly use zucchini for making raw food “pasta” or dehydrated “French fries.” We won’t need to explain the green to any skeptical guests.


The Fairy Tale Pumpkins have also begun to blossom, and they look so pretty in their polyculture with Scarlet Runner Beans, red geraniums, borage, sea kale, peppermint and calendula.

From the north

Even the view from the north side of the gardens looks lush. This peppermint has flowered, and continues to provide many, many iced teas for me, David’s sister and other guests. The zinnias seem to like it, and some beans have claimed the mint as a trellis! To the left, you can see a watermelon bed, more zinnias, borage, and to the upper left, my new periwinkle blue raised bed. I couldn’t resist! I have wanted one of these since I saw a similar wooden one years ago on the cover of Gaia’s Garden. When Gardener’s Supply put them on sale, I figured I can always use another raised bed. Plus, it will provide much needed color in the winter.

apple tree

In other exciting news, my 5-in-1 apple tree, which I planted bareroot a couple weeks ago, has new leaves! You can see it here with one of the strawberry plants that will eventually provide groundcover over the mulch.

Cottage garden and Mini Mt. Mulchmore

Speaking of mulch, here’s part of the front yard cottage garden, looking out toward the street. On the easement, you can see Mini Mt. Mulchmore, which will hopefully disappear today, only to be replaced by its larger cousin as I continue to mulch out pretty much the entire yard before replanting. That very front area with Mini Mt. Mulchmore will eventually become a dedicated hummingbird garden to appease the little guy who now calls our yard home.

butterfly garden

Our butterfly garden up front appears to be more popular with the bees than the butterflies.

Butterfly on Liatris

For some reason, the butterflies appear to prefer the same plants in other parts of the yard.

morning glory

No matter, though, our entire yard is a pollinator’s delight!

Bee and Butterfly garden

I am seriously considering a beehive next year, but I’d rather get on the list for the guy in South Bend who keeps wild bee populations all over Elkhart and St. Joseph’s Counties.


Once this cardoon (a relative of the artichoke) blooms, we should be even more popular with the bees.

Guarden bed

In case it seems like mostly flowers growing, rest assured, we have a lot of food, as well. The “Guarden” Bed cold frame supports have become a summer cucumber trellis, with vinyl trellis wrapped around them and reinforced by bamboo poles. I still haven’t decided if I’m pleased or disappointed that my “Brussels sprouts” plants from Whole Foods turned out to be very large cabbages. I think I’m pleased, since David’s sister found two fermenting crocks for me. We will have some yummy sauerkraut, and unlike the Brussels sprouts, those cabbages can come out soon enough to plant fava beans for winter soil replenishing.

Also shown in the above photo: some prolific Red Russian kale, marigolds, geraniums, mint, cilantro, garlic chives, parsnips, carrots and lima beans, plus in the far background, sunflowers, cantaloupe, basil, mint, zinnias, calypso beans, grape vine, calendula, borage, watermelon and pumpkin. We will have loads and loads of cantaloupe and a respectable crop of watermelons, but they are not ripe yet. Alas, every day, I sniff the cantaloupe, but it’s not ready. As my friend Raven tells me, “Patience, grasshopper!”

Blessings and abundance to you!

16 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Demitra M. N. on August 3, 2014 at 3:21 pm

    WoW!! A veritable paradise! 🙂



    • Thank you! We live on an ugly street that used to make me cringe when I walked outside. No longer. I love all the Nature, color, abundance and activity … and so do the neighbors, who have also now begun little gardens. 🙂



      • Posted by Demitra M. N. on August 3, 2014 at 3:54 pm

        Well, I must say then, your green thumb has most definitely raised the value of your neighborhood significantly! Very nice, too, to have influenced others around you into making similar efforts. 🙂

        As a city dweller all my life, I’ve never had more than a shady balcony area many floors up to work with, but this year life’s seen fit to grant me with a small plot of land and I’ve certainly done as well as I could considering I had never done this sort of thing before. Lovely, that is, until the dreaded Japanese beetles began to devour my best layed efforts. 😦 Oh, well.. As an inexperienced gardener, I just couldn’t have seen THat coming. I’ll no doubt be more cautious next spring when I make my flower selections (these beetles seem focused on certain types of vegetation over others).

        Still, in the meantime, I can certainly appreciate the wonderland you have created around your home for yourself and for others. Enjoy the bounty of your visual banquet, Laura, from your photos alone I know I am! 🙂



        • Thank you! Also, if you can attract birds to your plot of land, even with a bird feeder, I think they eat Japanese beetles. Many flowers bring in predator insects, in addition to looking pretty and supporting bees and butterflies. We have some Japanese beetles, but they’re kept in check by all the variety in this little ecosystem. 🙂

          Enjoy your garden! In only started gardening in 2011!


        • Posted by Demitra M. N. on August 3, 2014 at 4:05 pm

          Appreciating your helpful insights, Laura, I will keep all things in mind. Thank you!!


  2. Posted by sky on August 3, 2014 at 4:48 pm

    Ahh, the splendor of color and form in your garden now! Summer is busting out all over! I also love the variegated leaves in the photo of your Fairy Tale pumpkin. Something inside me just melts and goes “aw” whenever I see variegated leaves.

    Meanwhile the sunflower sisters chorus is singing its heart out with blooms. The life principle is pulsing deeply throughout your garden this year. Did I see some “four o’clocks near a corner of your house just beyond some lavender?

    Sigh. The riot of colors, the variety of leaves, and heights, a veritable summer’s feast for the soul.



    • Thank you, Sky! I think those are four o’clock’s by some Veronica, which looks like lavender. In the morning glories picture, there is quite a bit of lavender, along with zinnias, calendula, borage and Russian tarragon, in front of some yew. It does provide deep soul tonic!



  3. I love your garden, nice garden barrel too! I was wondering if you have tried some hugelkultur in any of your beds? I was thinking of getting a garden barrel and mixing hugelkultur and orgonite pucks in layers throughout it, while also utilizing the worm composting tube….another experiment to try out! 😉



    • Thanks, Nathan! Yes, I have a hugelkultur bed for my blueberries. So far so good, but they are new plants, so next year will better show how it works. 🙂



  4. Posted by Mitch Mattraw on August 4, 2014 at 12:06 am

    Looking Ms Bruno!!! yippie!!!



  5. Posted by Mitch Mattraw on August 4, 2014 at 12:07 am

    Looking good!!!



  6. Posted by manyhahama1955 on August 4, 2014 at 2:23 pm

    Lovely garden, Laura! : ) love, Sophia



  7. Posted by beth on August 4, 2014 at 11:58 pm

    Just fantastic and so amazing Laura, LOVe! wow, the variety and the thriving plants loaded with vitamins/antioxidants truly make me wish for more land! we have a teeny bit of land, and it is overplanted to the max, yet i’m still looking into any nook and cranny where I can fit a bit more, lol….and, container gardening for the fall? what is easy to grow, sure to take in the fall?
    Gardening and picking one’s own food is lovely beyond words, I have got to get better at this…Great work, Laura you’re all set for the next season etc. etc. etc 🙂



  8. Thank you, Beth! Good luck with your own bit of land. 🙂 As for container plantings — you would for sure want to bring them inside when it gets towards freezing. Containers are more vulnerable to roots freezing than the same plants in the ground or a raised bed. Containers don’t have the same mass to keep things warm. That said, good outdoor fall plants include arugula, kale, kohlrabi, garlic, carrots, beets. If you want to overwinter things indoors, you can still plant carrots in a pot. I am considering doing this for the winter, as well as growing arugula as a pot plant indoors. Basil works well on the windowsill, and so do herbs like parsley and oregano. You can also grow cut and come again lettuces indoors. If you have a grow lamp, you can grow large amounts of microgreens. Without the grow light, you can still grow spouts!



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