Monday, September 17, 2018

Making Lemonade out of Lemons in the Garden

A couple years ago, when I was working on my last book, I had a big oooooopsy with a small pot of paint -- spilling a big stripe down the outside of the shed. You might remember it. I tried to correct the color and because the shed was painted with a stain many years ago, I couldn't quite get the stripe right. I guess I could have but I had other things to do and knew that for the photo in the book, there was always Photoshop! 

This year, as I was planning my garden, I thought about how I could cover up that unsightly stripe. I decided to grow morning glories as they make a nice vertical carpet of flowers and leaves. I planted a piece of woven wire next to the shed and then stuck in some multi colored morning glories. And then I waited. 

Here is what the shed looks like now with the morning glories. I love it. I planned to put a string up to the top of the roof so they went totally crazy but never got to it. Maybe next year. 

Here is an overall shot of the veggie/flower garden in its wild, end of season state. I love all the haphazardness of the plants and blooms falling every which way.

Here are some of the flowers I grew - for bouquets and just for color and their beauty. 

I follow the Floret Flower Blog and watched some videos early in the year that suggested pinching back various plants. She suggested pinching celosia, zinnias, amaranth, snapdragons and cosmos. I decided to take her advice. I can't say I will do it again though. The zinnias did okay and branched out beautifully after an application of Azomite. I have 12 cosmos plants that are huge but only 2 have flowers. Lots of greenery but no flowers. The celosia were set back big time by the pinching and now are just taking off. The snapdragons are a mess - I think that is because of all the moisture and rain. I don't know if I will grow them again. So next year I think I will only pinch the zinnias and just let the others go. 

On a good note - I grew butternut squash and have a bumper crop. Our summer squash and zucchini plants fed us nightly for at least a month and a half. 

I guess the failure of each garden is part of the fun and what keeps gardening interesting. What do you think? I know the weather and the soil has so much to do with it but then there's what you do to the plants. I always start my garden so late but that's what I like to do. I am never too anxious to put stuff in the ground because of frost and because of things I have going on. 

If you are a gardener and have the time, share what were your successes or failures this year in the comments. Pretty soon it will be all over and we will be waiting to begin again. 


Claudette said...

Hi Kristin - for two years now I’ve planted cosmos, no pinching, and got lots of greenery but only a few late flowers. This has never happened before, so I’m not sure what’s going on. Other people’s cosmos near me are just the same as mine, so it’s not just you.

Kristin Nicholas said...

Interesting. Maybe all the rain we had? Not sure where you are. One year I put a lot of manure on them and got zero blooms until very late. Maybe they thrive on neglect? And no water?

Marlynne said...

Love your cover-up job! why not go ahead and paint them on so it's covered all year?

Unknown said...

This year, I came to the conclusion that I am going to give up the separate community garden plot that I have had for many years. I just don't seem to find the time to take care of it and my yard and my yard looks very neglected. Still, I have a nice group of zinnias near in a strip near my alley and have enjoyed seeing the butterflies enjoy them all summer. Also, I got my black raspberries supported on trellises early in the season and had a fabulous crop of black raspberries in the yard. They grew so tall I needed a ladder to harvest some of them. I am looking forward to next year, when I plan to grow less, but enjoy more!

Deb Winterling said...

It is so fun to see your pictures of the garden, and the shed!
In West Tennessee, I helped my father in law plant over 50 tomato plants.... plenty to eat fresh, and to can, and freeze for the winter. Squash did amazing this year.... we often have issues with vine borers, but they didn’t find our plants this year... we had lots to eat fresh, and I pickled some. Corn, butter beans and okra grew well, until end of July, weather became hot and dry, okra has continued to make ... tomato’s doing well with frequent watering... very time consuming.
I lost my rosemary plants (in a large pot) due to the unusually cold temps we had last winter, hoping to replant in the ground soon, it will grow as a shrub in this area, with deep mulch and a little shelter from the coldest temps....
Loved seeing the butterflies and humming birds at the container planting’s of impatiens and petunias.
Want to try zinnias and Lantana next year.

Mary Cain said...

The pinching would probably have worked if you had not planted late.

Kate/Massachusetts said...

I put down mulch this year in my flower beds. I have never done that. It was a great success...minimal weeds and the extra moisture from the much made a big difference. I have some ancient sedums that have been handed down in the family. They blossom the typical big purple flower head. This year I have never seen so many honey bees on them! I hope that is a good sign!

Radka said...

I like your shed :-)

Diane H said...

I manage a community garden and got great flowers. There are just a few of us who work in the public spaces where we transplanted the rogue sunflowers in a more organized (shielding) manner, got the coneflowers going and both these have attracted even more goldfinches than before. Also incredible insect life - black wasps, butterflies by the dozens. Food - I grew cabbage for the first time from seed (good), still have broccoli producing, waiting to see how long I can let our second potato planting go, and my new favorite - dried red beans. Plant the seeds and just watch them grow until the husks dry up. Also very good for the soil. Another condo owner cut back our black raspberries as they were producing so I'll move them to the community garden for next year. Rhubarb!

Beth in Maryland said...

One word: Petunias. I learned to remove the flower stem along with the spent flower when deadheading. It works a treat! Way more flowers. My Limelight hydrangea, sadly unpruned, became so big that I had to tie it up to the porch to prevent it from breaking under the weight of the enormous rainfall this year - 300% above normal. The flowers capture a surprising amount of water and get very heavy.