Monday, May 31, 2010

Garden Update

I keep meaning to update about my garden, but forgetting (although I have been taking the photos)... so here it is after a couple of weeks ;)  I hope to have another guest garden post (or two) coming up too, so keep your eyes peeled!

First up- "salad fixin's" ... quite lovely.  You'll notice the broccoli is gone- cabbage white butterflies infested them- and flour did NOT dessicate them and kill them.  They even got into the florets so no broccoli again this year.  I have to change the way I do broccoli if I am to grow it again.

 You can see here my Jalapeno Peppers from last week.  They were big enough to pick this week, and they are now on my counter ready to use in a recipe for stuffed jalapeno peppers.

 See?  Beautiful aren't they?  I love the way peppers look :)

 I have given my tomatoes new and very lovely, colourful cages :)  The idea is to stop them falling over..

This week I have some good looking tomatoes...

Both kinds of tomatoes are doing well- they seem to like the pots!

The other peppers- the poblanos...

-Which are really growing well here as you can see-

And the bell peppers, are coming along.  This was the decapitated plant remember?  Look - it has blooms :)

I am hoping for peppers soon ;)

Then there is the glorious pomegranate... with the neighbour's tree being cut down, it gets a lot more morning sunlight, and all of a sudden there are bunches of buds all over it :)

They look kind of like this before bursting into flower like the one below.

A colour that is just not captured well on camera!  Still, they are quite lovely to see :)

Another lovely (and delicious) red fruit in the garden, would be my  raspberries...

The bushes are LOADED with them!  I need to pick them and use them... but for what?  Decisions... decisions...

Their neighbours the elderberries and blueberries are growing too... but something keeps eating my blueberries.  I suspect the little brown rabbit we have seen in the garden at least twice this weekend!

These blueberries are from LAST week- this week they are gone :(.
There are a few pawpaws too... Not as many as I would like, although I suspect there are more than I can see easily ;)

The corn is also growing like mad... I like to brag that mine is the best looking corn around here ;)

It is almost 4 foot tall, and looking good :)
And my beans... they are flowering!

These are the Lima beans :)

And here are the green beans :)

Beautiful visitors come to the garden too- this is a Zebra Swallowtail on my pleurisy root.

And a Tiger Swallowtail on the same ;)  The pleurisy root is immensely popular- it is a relative of milkweed, so you know the monarchs like it too.

Some visitors are not so pretty- DD holds her 'friend' which she calls "Toady".  Toady visits us a lot- so often in fact that he has no problems with being held ;)

So that's the garden this week... more later!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Like peas in a pod!

Like peas in a pod!
Originally uploaded by Spinneretta
We've been harvesting! The peas are just ripening and are picked as they do- and eaten as they are :)
It is considered a treat here- I never manage to grow enough to satisfy the kids (or me for that matter).
Note for next time: plant at least two rows of squares...

Monday, May 10, 2010

Mother's Day Garden

Mother's day in the garden is always fun! There is so much growing here in Central Virginia! The air is sweetly scented with honeysuckle and roses, and the birds are washing in the fountain!
My pomegranate has a bloom...

Just the one so far. My neighbour has spoken about cutting down the trees- especially after one of them broke off in the gales this weekend!
My daughter loves these chive blossoms- you can pick them and use them to make a pink chive vinegar!

My potatoes are getting huge- so I added a lot of mulch around them. After I watered them a LOT because the wind had dried out the ground so badly. I also transplanted one of the zucchinis I was growing into this bed.

The other one remains in the pot I planted them in:

Black Beauty Zucchini

My broccoli is beginning to flower too!

See the tiny little floret in the middle there? Just the first three I planted are blooming yet- but I suspect the others will soon too.
You can also see that my lettuce and spinach are doing great too...

I mulched around the broccoli because it'll help the roots to stay cooler, hopefully preventing it from bolting!
Something is munching on my spinach- but I am not sure what it is.
There are other triumphs occurring...

PEAS! Yes, large numbers of pods have been spotted on my pea vines!

These are a shelling variety- so I have to wait for the pods to fatten up before I get to pick them.

I also have baby tomatoes.

These are the sungold ones, so not much longer until I can actually eat them ;) And they are not the only ones...
The other tomato is blooming!

And so is the other pepper!!

And in the best news of all- the decapitated pepper has sprung back:

Look at all those new leaves!
My beans are growing like the proverbial weed. I nicely used a yardstick so you could see that ;)

As are their cousins the lima beans:

Those I did not measure for you!
Speaking of beans, take a look at these blackeyed peas...

They were part of my daughter's science experiment- she chose to grow blackeyed peas from the jar of them we had for cooking. She is quite proud of their progress- and I am amazed at how well they are doing.
I have a couple of swiss chard plants too. Here is one. Yes, I have picked a couple of leaves from the chard, spinach and lettuce. They make great salads!

And in the square next to this one, I transplated the other of my straightneck yellow squash- whose sibling can be seen in it's original pot below...

The carrots are also doing well. The wind dried out the soil terrible though and it seems kind of rocky.

Finally the showpiece- corn with roses! Yes I measured that for you too...

Sunday, May 09, 2010

Guest Garden: Agecroft Hall

Agecroft Hall is a 15th century English manor house. It was transported from England to Virginia back in the early part of the 20th century, after it's original location in the heart of coal mining territory, meant that the house had become unstable.
It is a truly beautiful house, rescued but not rebuilt exactly to the original plans. The wealthy philanthropist who rescued it had willed it to become a museum after his wife no longer lived there. She and the people in control of the trust decided to make it a museum representing late renaissance and Tudor/Stuart life in England.
It is beautifully decorated with period pieces, but the gardens are of course, what interest us :)
Coming out of the courtyard of the house you can choose to go down hidden garden paths and into a sunken garden- designed to be like that at Hampton Court Palace in London.

It leads out to more secluded pathways, and you might find yourself at an outdoor banquetting hall- the docent told me that people would eat their desserts there after a banquet in the house. Below the hall is a still-room- where herbal preparations were made by the ladies of the house.

Banquetting Hall
If you turn around, you can look out over the rolling hills and down to the James river. It is astonishingly like the land it originally came from in Northern England.

Coming out of the banquetting hall, you might sneak through another opening in the hedge, and find yourself overlooking extensive formal gardens.

Pass through a wrought iron gate...

The first is a herb garden- outfitted with all the culinary and medicinal herbs of the time- plus a few bee skeps!

Up the steps and you arrive in the Tradescantia garden.

Here are representatives of the numerous flora discovered by John Tradescant the elder and his son John Tradescant the Younger. In fact- they have the spiderwort you can see in my garden!

Up a second series of steps and you arrive in a knot garden. Knot gardens were very fashionable in Tudor times- tiny hedges of herbs were clipped into intricate patterns. It is NOT easy to do- we tried it once :) Establishing the plants into an even hedge would be the most difficult part- since typically one or two plants will die on you!

If you walk back through the formal gardens and out, you'll come to the rolling hills again, and be beneath that banquet hall.

A magnificent magnolia dominates the hillside- the air was redolent with that sweet scent.

Further up the hill and you meet the maze! It's a grass maze- nothing spectacular- but mazes were hugely popluar back then too. I wonder if they did that because of Hampton Court too- because if so, they got it wrong! Hampton Court had HUGE 6 foot tall hedges. I heard they got rid of it though!

If you go off of the terrace on the back of the house, you find a rose walk- where modern roses bloom effusively and scent the air.

I recognised this one- it is the crazy one in my front garden- the 1939 New Dawn rose. I'm thinking that I need to do this across the driveway though!

There are more plants I did not get to photograph- people were all over the place! I managed to get the highlights though!

Next door, is another English transplant- the Virginia House, which was once a priory.

It has some nice gardens too- my everlasting memory from there is treading the paths to the smell of mint- a closer look revealed corsican mint between the pavers on that path! I can only show you outside though, because it was closed!

If you get to visit Richmond, Virginia, then take a look at these two magnificent homes!