Thursday, August 30, 2018

Going to Seed and Losing my Gourd

Okay, I may be going to seed, but I am definitely not losing my gourds!  They are growing very nicely!

The plainer round form of gourd is predominant.  Actually, I only have one that isn't the plain round kind.  As they are maturing the green bottoms are fading, so they aren't nearly as pretty as I'd hoped. They are bigger too, not the cute little ones you see for sale at Thanksgiving-time.  I've grown ornamental gourds before and got nicer ones than these.  There are quite a few, which is too bad, being they aren't edible!  So, these are one eBay failure as far as variety.

ornamental gourd

ornamental gourd

ornamental gourd


I've learned (thank you Internet) that the warty French pumpkins (Galeux d’Eysines squash) will form warts as it ripens.  The sugars move just under the skin and form them.  So, mine are fine for now.
The Sweet Meat winter squash is productive.  I do not like squash as a savory (which is why you have never read of me growing zucchini or patty pans!), but these are a winter squash with orange flesh, like what we call pumpkins (which are just squash with a different name), so these will join the wart pumpkins in pies, muffins, and cookies.  First they will cooked, mashed and frozen!

I've got only two mini pumpkins, both Jack Be Little.  I should be happy to have even two, what with how the earwigs ate the first plantings to the ground.   They are starting to color up.  Like the gourds, they are both much larger than I've grown before, much larger than the ones sold in stores.  Is it that "weed feed" food?  I wanted teeny tiny Baby Boos, to go with my not-so-teeny-tiny Baby Boo!

Get a load of when he was a teeny-tiny Baby Boo!   His siblings all looked like their mama and auntie (mother's sister from a different litter).  He was always the special one!  And if I may so so, he grew up much more beautiful, like a white Border collie (he's only part).  Genetics is odd, how one can look and act more like a distant relation than your own parents! 

Ok, enough of my Baby Boo...  maybe my kids are right and I get carried away with "Sweet William" aka "Baby Perfect!" 

My "Baby Boo" all grown up

Galeux d’Eysines

Sweet Meat

Jack Be Little  pumpkin

As for going to seed... things have a tendency to do that!  

The lance-leaf coreopsis has.  I don't know if the seeds will grow, but I'm letting the pods dry and drop.  I gather some to toss in other areas of the Butterfly Garden.  This is my favorite coreopsis.   It's not nearly as flashy as Up Tick©, and had a shorter bloom time, but I like it best. 

lance-leaf coreopsis seed pods

lance-leaf coreopsis seeds

Morning glories are dying back and going to seed as well.  I didn't plant my one plant (I don't think, I have no record of buying seeds), and will just let the seeds fall where they may. 

morning glory seed pods

morning glory seed pods (bean harvest in hand above!)

Four o'clocks too...  These seeds are the stuff memories are made of!  Four o'clocks were "weeds" in our front yard, around our mailbox, and near the curb on the curving side of our corner lot.  I loved them as "flowers."  I'd collect the hard little seeds, and... well, I don't think I was allowed to plant them!  I am sort of hoping they won't winter over, which is possible in my zone.  They way they produce seeds, and grow so quickly from seeds, it seems silly to be perennial too!  I gathered some of the seeds to plant elsewhere.  These plants get big!  Much bigger than in my childhood, when they got no care as "weeds." 

four o'clock seed

four o'clock seeds and flowers

The butterfly weed (Gay Butterflies) is forming too many pods!  The entire plant will be covered at the rate it's going.  I never got any of the seeds I bought or were given to even germinate, so I don't hold out much hope for these.  I'll let some just do their own thing, as nature planned, and see what happens. 

Going to seed and losing (or growing) our gourds, all a part of the seasons changing I guess. 

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Garden Poetry - Nest


Blog Poem of the Day

Sorry in advance
for killing you and your eggs
I can't have you here

Another true story-of-the-day told in haiku! I was cleaning up for tomorrow's trash pick-up and noticed this gorgeous female black widow spider hanging in the bottom of my garden cart (or top, it's stored upside down).  I got my son to take a look at her beauty (she was upside down and her red hourglass was showing), convinced him to mash her (the only spiders I kill), and he spotted egg sacs!   Good-bye babies.
They really are beautiful spiders...

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Garden Poetry - Branch

Today's Positive Cookies Poetry Prompt!

The cedar tree sags 
overweight limbs drooping low
sticky sunlit seeds

The coincidence of this word today is that I just took photos last night of the cedar branches sagging under the weight of the seed "cones."  This cedar is actually a "false cedar," an incense cedar (Calocedrus decurrens).  "True cedars" are in the genus Cedrus, as is my Deodar cedar (Cedrus deodara). All "true cedars" are native to the middle and far east, and are in my opinion far more beautiful trees than the incense cedar!  The Deodar cedar cones look like roses carved from wood.  My tree (a female tree, if you can believe trees can be one or the other!) has only produced cones once in my seven years living here.  Which is both a blessing (they are very messy and little cedars sprout all over the yard) and, well, not a curse, but sad, in that they are so astoundingly beautiful.  Here's what they looked like back in April of 2013. 

(edited on August 29th, I saw the second line was six syllables!)

Monday, August 27, 2018

Something New - how about garden poetry?

One of the blogs I read during the Blogging from A-Z Challenge was Positive Cookies (

The blogger, Jui, is trying something new for her own blog, and invited other bloggers to join in.


My poems will follow the garden theme, and will be whatever poem form Jui chooses.  This first post will be haiku.  I wrote one haiku with a garden title, and another using Jui's random one word theme, which happened to be "bubbles," a word I could work with!  Not sure I can do that with every poem, although gardening does encompass a lot!

I love poetry.  I love to read it.  I love to write it.  I took Creative Writing as my English 4 requirement in high school (ages ago), and a Poetry class in college not as long ago.  I dabble in it for fun when I'm alone too!

Haiku - 3 lines, syllables 5-7-5.  I was taught it suggests, or alludes to, a season, without using the word for that season, but I don't know if that was a traditional Japanese "rule" or one my strict German teacher enforced! 

Here goes!  

Tomatoes are ripe
Yellow and red and orange
Juice dripping my chin

Red, Round, Ripe, Juicy
Yellow Bubbles on the Vine
Pop One in My Mouth 

A Fun Discovery in the Butterfly Garden!

Took a close look at things in the Butterfly Garden yesterday, and found seed pods on the butterfly weed (Asclepias tuberosa - Gay Butterflies)!  

Saturday, August 25, 2018

Gardening Bits and Bobs and Odds and Ends - late August 2018

I have nothing particular to share, just some little garden discoveries, thoughts and photos.

I discovered, to my delight, some of the allium seeds have indeed germinated!  I first planted seeds for Winter Sowing, but only two garlic chives grew (they are doing well, thank you!).

garlic chives (grown from seed - Winter Sown)

In early May I scattered the rest of the seeds into a long plastic container on the deck.  Nothing for months, but I left it there, using it as a riser for the coyote mint pot.  Today, when watering the mint, I saw what looked like a grass seedling.  But, when I moved the mint pot, there were more!  Alliums!  If my map is accurate (and the container hasn't been turned backwards), I have one drumstick allium (photo #1), one garlic chive (photo #2), and two nodding onions (phoot #3).  The first photo may show something with leaves a bit too flat for an allium, so we'll see.  I really only care that the drumstick allium survive. 

Speaking of the coyote mint, I am so glad even a small portion of the original plant survived, and is doing well.  In fact, it needs repotting, as I discovered roots coming out the bottom of the pot when I moved it today.

I've started the late summer/early fall garden clean-up, pruning chores.  I cut back the oregano.  You can see I did the right half of the bed a week earlier than the left, look at that new growth!   Cut your oregano back to ground level, don't worry it will harm it, within days you'll have new growth!

I pruned the iris in the backyard.  It's best to get that done in August, so I have to get to the mess in the front yard soon.  I had it scheduled for today, but it's a weekend, the neighbors are home, and I'd rather do it on a more private day!  The front yard iris bed needs to be divided too, so it's a big job.   I'm not as neat as I was at first, making my chevron shaped trims!  Now, it's "whack, whack" and done!   There is a black widow spider living in that vent shown in the first photo. It comes out when I water.  I have to be prepared next time be wearing stomping shoes or have a jar at hand.  I leave all spiders but black widows alone.   I have to cut off the dead lavender wands in the front yard as well.

I tore out the bush beans.  They were pretty much done.  The pole beans are just getting started, and there are so many of them!

The calendulas are gone, and I took out the yellow Brandywine (that was red) in the yellow container.  The container was too small.  The other Brandywine fruit hasn't colored up yet. The corn is finished, and I'm leaving the stalks to dry for autumn decoration.  Plus, it would harm the squash/pumpkins/gourds to uproot it now.

The Hoskins-Barger in the pool bed is putting out loads of tomatoes.  

The Golden Jubilees are starting to be shaped like lemons!  These really are tomatoes!  Delicious ones too.  Salads aren't as colorful as with red tomatoes though. 

Ok, I'm embarrassed, and a little ill... is that really a Boo hair on that tomato?  I ate it!  Sigh... pet owners understand...
I picked the rest of the Frost peaches before the birds found them.  The little tree is more upright now!  There are quite a few peach slices in the freezer. 

An interesting observation of the lemon thyme.  I wrote about variegation for the V in the Blogger Challenge, noting my lemon thyme had some solid green growth.  Well, now it's green all over, not a leaf with white variegation!  It still has the wonderful lemon scent, just isn't as strikingly pretty to look at.  Some still has marking of dark green on light green.  You can see the difference in the side-by-side photos below. 

August 2018

May 2018
August 2018
I got one sunflower.  Let's blame the Earwig Invasion.  Something is munching on its leaves at night.  Whatever is doing it climbs clear to the top of the plant to dine.  Everything else is left alone, so the sunflower is the sacrificial lamb. 

I never noticed the lovely aroma of squash flowers until this year, when I have so many more than in the past.  I spotted one squash bug a few weeks ago, knocked it down and ground it into the soil!  Apparently it was a lone scout bug, as I haven't seen others, or their eggs.  Pollinators sure love the squash blossoms.  So do the cucumber beetles, but I have so many flowers I'm letting them be.  They aren't harming anything but the petals.  They are actually very pretty insects.  I have both spotted cucumber beetles and striped.  The blossoms get crowded with bees, as you can see in the shots below (forgive the adult content, I didn't realize the beetles were engaged in mating!).  A few too many photos of cucumber beetles, but they photograph so well!  They are the ones who chewed the little holes out of the petals.  

Interesting facts about cucumber beetles... really!  The spotted ones aren't fussy, they'll eat over 200 kinds of plants (crop and non-crop), but the striped ones rarely eat anything but cucurbits (cucumbers, squash, melon)!  Spotted are more common in the southern US, and striped in the north.  That's fine, but I have western striped and western spotted cucumber beetles, so lucky me.  Striped lay eggs at the base of cucubits, and their larva eat the roots, while spotted lay eggs on corn and other grasses.  I thought those were very interesting facts!  They also show the importance of rotating crops.  Don't plant next year's cucubits in this year's bed, they overwinter in the refuse. 

A little skipper was sitting on a rock in the front yard Rock Garden, near the blooming creeping thyme, which was covered in bees.  

The penstemon is flowering again. 

The air quality is better, and the temperature is cooler, so today's a good day!  I'll leave you with a photo of Velvet yawning, just because...