Garden Update: Signs of Summer

I haven’t posted garden photos in awhile, and people have asked for an update. Today marked the first sunflower of 2016:

First sunflower of 2016

I’ve taken other photos in the past few days to give a sense of life in that middle period when few things bloom. Thankfully, in our yard, we still have signs of growth and color:

roses

These roses are slightly past their prime, but will bloom all summer with almost no work at all. Called Robinhood Roses, these lovelies are salt tolerant, drought tolerant, and don’t even require deadheading. Quite the change from the original weedy patch in the front easement!

The Garden Tower 2 has really started to take off. We’ve already harvested some green beans and kale, and I’ve got lettuce started from seed to benefit from increased shade once the older plants grow in:

Garden Tower 2Bean tower

I haven’t had the best luck with pole beans or soy beans this year, mostly due to critters, but this bean tower has managed to beat the bunnies’ munchies, along with marigolds, nasturtium, chard, and kale.

All the three-tiered beds are planted with polycultures. In this one below, you can see Thai and purple basils, bok choy, a volunteer tomato, various peppers, calendula, chives, marigolds, beets, and a volunteer watermelon. In the background is a hearty rhubarb and vigorous grape vine. You can just see the rocks of the herb spiral behind the picnic table, centered in what will eventually become the asparagus circle:

Raised bed

In the blue house yard, just planted last fall and this year, you can see that the tree stump turned herb spiral has begun to fill in. Those herbs need lots of nitrogen rich compost since the tree continues to rob nitrogen from the soil, but eventually, it will function as a nice, rich hugelculture bed, not to mention eyesore turned focal point. Behind the herb spiral, you can see paw paw trees, asparagus, geraniums and hollyhocks. To the sides of the herb spiral, we have also have 10 asparagus beginning to grow in. (Actually, 9. The squirrels got one, which will need a replacement.)

By next year, faeries willing, we should have 16 asparagus plants getting ready to produce. I wasn’t sure about planting so much asparagus, but after our two older ones started producing this year, David and I went gaga for grilled asparagus! We also fell in love with a nettle, zucchini and asparagus “lasagna” topped with shredded raw goat cheese after baking. Oh, my goodness: gluten free heaven! So many things taste unbelievably different when you grow them yourself, and our friend Jon keeps us well supplied with nettles. Anyway, the herb spiral, one of the paw paws and friends:

herb spiral

We’ve had a sort of mini-drought this year, which has delayed growth until the more recent rains of the past few days. Thankfully, between soaker hoses, tree rings and hand watering, I’ve managed to keep most of the new perennials, fruit and nut trees in good shape, minus that one asparagus and some geraniums.

I created a new “community” on the front easement in between the two houses. This one features a dwarf Reliance peach tree, three Hansen cherry bushes, a red twig dogwood, ground juniper, foxglove, comfrey, campanula, petunias, and aster. The second most recent community — or guild, as the permaculture folks call it — sits outside the south window of my writing office near the north side of our garage and includes one of the nine hazel trees, surrounded by alpine strawberries, hostas, primrose, nasturtium, comfrey, a gooseberry bush, kale (far away from the tree roots), kalette (a cross between kale and Brussels sprouts, courtesy of reader Karen),  calendula, and one of the three zepherine roses on these properties. Those new communities are so fledgling that photos don’t show much, so you’ll just have to take my word for it!

One particular joy comes from the day lilies I planted last year (also courtesy of Karen — thank you!!) by our back door, where David can see his favorite orange blooms on the way in and out each day. Did you know that every single part of day lilies is edible? Quite the versatile plant! I’ve not actually tried any parts, but according to Backyard Foraging, day lilies are one of the top edible ornamentals. I’ll leave you with some rain barrel and day lily cheer, in company of our mulberry tree, various mints, lamb’s ears, black lace elderberry and a bee-friendly shade flower mix:

Day lilies

Happy Growing!

One response to this post.

  1. Posted by James G on June 24, 2016 at 12:07 pm

    Beautiful!! Love your garden Laura. It’s an awesome piece of paradise.

    Liked by 1 person

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