Thursday, July 22, 2010

Buzzy Morning

This morning I went to check on some plantings in the back and discovered the world was buzzing all around me. I had cabbage butterflies, a monarch butterfly, bumblebee, some other types of bee and numerous flies all buzzing and flying about and on the flowers. They were enjoying the coneflowers primarily and the Culver's root. Here are some photos.

Bee loaded with pollen
Beautiful Monarch
and that brown bug is still around

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Veggie dreams

A beautiful day today with very little humidity. Since our return from holiday I have been slowly catching up on the weeding and thinning out of plants. Most of the summer flowers are out now and taking advantage of the hot weather.

Last year we put in a small vegetable garden in a raised bed. It was only 3x3 feet. It had lots of greens such as spinach, kale, and a green lettuce. Also chives, green onions, parsley and one cherry tomato plant. This year we did not get around to planting anything, and we are regretting it now. How did we fritter that time away or was it just neglect ? When I reflect on it our first attempt went very well. We grew everything from seed. I remember standing there, watering can in hand, thinking how ridiculous I felt watering bare earth for weeks. That is until some green started to poke through. Then the miracle of plants forming and growing taller and larger with each day. I don't believe there is a better feeling of satisfaction than harvesting your own food, even if it's from a tiny plot.

Last fall I planted some garlic and pulled it up this week. All 5 plants. One will be for eating and one will go to family and the rest will be planted this fall for next year. We'll see how that goes; I have a feeling I will be at the grocer in October buying garlic to plant.

What started me on these thoughts was getting up this morning and going to the back of the house where there is a black raspberry bush. I had been eyeing it for the past few days and thinking it was time to collect some berries. And that is what I did. Fresh berries on my cereal this morning. Yum.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Sedums are pretty cool

A few years back we enlarged our front door entrance pad to patio size. It went from a 3x3 ft. space to a 10x10 -ish space. Part of the design included some large rocks to anchor the patio and one of them is placed near the front door by the railing for the stairs. But there was this odd space between the rock and the stairs that I was not sure what to do with. In the end I filled the space with soil and last year planted some hens and chicks there. The results have been great.

This photo end of June

One week later. I have never grown hens and chicks before. With the flowering, I have come to see that the hen that flowers dies. This plant has put out so many chicks that it seems there will be a never ending supply. In the winter and into early spring the colour is no longer a solid green but a maroon that starts at the base of the plant and grows up into the tips of the more mature hens. Cougat!

These are not the only sedums I grow but are fast becoming my favorite. A surprise I had this spring was to find that my Sedum spectabile "Brilliant" seeded itself about four feet away from the original plant. All of a sudden I have three new sedum plants. That has never happened to me before. Very cool plants.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Big Brown Bug

If anyone out there knows an entomologist I have a bug for them. 

I was just outside taking some late afternoon photos of my garden when I found this bug hanging on a leaf of Culver's Root. Just sitting there. I gave it a couple of pokes but it wasn't interested and moved not one iota. Perhaps it is asleep and wakes for the night to roam around. 

The big brown bug is about 1 1/2 inches long maybe even two uncurled and about half as wide. Dull and flat colour as you can see. The body looks a bit like an armadillo or a tank with pincers. (No, that's just my imagination)
If anyone recognizes this bug let me know, I'd like to know what it is.

UPDATE: Now Identified ! Follow this link to the November post.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Ways to keep cool in the garden

Is it hot enough for you?

I know I am not alone during this heat wave. Apparently all of the northeastern side of North America is enjoying some 34C or 95F temperatures these last four days. Too hot for me. I am a 25C or 77F kind of gal. With a cool breeze. If I lived in the southern states I would be sitting on one of those slider swings under the covered porch, with a ice cold lemonade in hand (made from scratch). I could do that here in Burlington too, but the picture is not nearly as satisfying or romantic.

As we don't have an air conditioned house, finding ways of keeping cool are mandatory. Here is my list:

1. Close all the windows and turn down blinds
2. Turn the furnace fan on to bring the cool up from the basement
3. Keep lots of ice cubes ready
4. Use fans
5. Water plants that are in the shade with a hose so you can spray yourself at the same time
6. Wear as little clothing as you dare
7. Make your favorite cold drink and find a cool place to sit and relax
8. Think cool thoughts

If you have anything to add to this list leave a comment, I'd love to hear how you keep cool.