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bloom day

Garden Bloggers Bloom Day at Longwood Gardens

Zinnia blossom in the Longwood Gardens trial gardens

Zinnias grew in several places at Longwood Gardens. This variety was common. I captured the photo in a trial garden among many where visitors vote for their favorite plant combinations. In the right light, you can see a purple tinge on the inside ends of the petals. If I grew zinnias, I’d track down this variety; it’s eye-catching.

I’m cheating a lot this month for Garden Bloggers Bloom Day. I’m posting flowers, but I’m not posting my flowers.

My wife and I recently spent the day at Longwood Gardens in Kennett Square, Pennsylvania. We toured just about every venue there, and I captured at least ten photographs (posted about the Meadow Garden here).

A whole bunch of my photos are closeups of blossoms. I didn’t take notes, so I can’t tell you much about the plants. Some are easy for a layperson to identify, others might challenge well-trained horticulturists. Seriously: I took no notes. If you see any blossoms here you like, maybe they’ll motivate you to visit Longwood Gardens.

Purple flower spike in the Longwood Gardens Meadow Garden

Along the path through Longwood Gardens’ Meadow Garden, we saw several spikes of purple wispy blossoms. This one had drawn attention from a butterfly that was a bit camera shy. Everywhere in the meadow garden was alive with insects of many varieties.

Fruit cluster and flower in a student garden at Longwood Gardens

A cluster of fruit, sporting a single blossom, grew in one of the “Student Gardens” at Longwood Gardens. There are four such plots, each created by a student of the institution (Longwood trains future horticulturists).

Trumpet flower at Longwood Gardens

This trumpet flower was among several growing along the Flower Garden Walk at Longwood Gardens.

Quite likely a dahlia at Longwood Gardens

I remember enjoying a blossom along the Flower Garden Walk, leaning down to read the plant marker, and marveling that I’d been admiring a dahlia; it didn’t vaguely resemble any dahlia I’d seen. This photo might show the blossom, but if you know better please provide insight in a comment.

Dahlia at Longwood Gardens

No doubt this is a dahlia. There was a patch of these along the Flower Garden Walk. I probably took ten photos of these alone.

Purple and pretty on the Flower Garden Walk at Longwood Gardens

Not going to guess about this one. It was purple and pretty along the Flower Garden Walk.

Gorgeous on the Flower Garden Walk at Longwood Gardens

Can’t imagine why I didn’t take notes about this one. The plants grew densely and the flowers were stunning. I’ll probably track down the proper ID some day… I hope they turn out to be perennial in hardiness zone 5.

In the Palm House at Longwood Gardens

The Palm House inside the Longwood Gardens conservatory offered a few exotic blossoms. Several clusters of this type peaked out from among the palms.

A most exotic tree at Longwood Gardens

The name of the tree sporting these otherworldly pink blossoms (I assume they’re blossoms) was so intuitive, I knew I’d remember it later… but I don’t. There were two of these trees in the conservatory, and both displayed more pink flower snakes than they did foliage.

Yellow Hibiscus in the Longwood Gardens conservatory

Dazzling hibiscus blossoms drew attention inside the conservatory. By the time we were there, light was fading so the yellow blooms especially popped against the darker, poorly lit background.

Purple Hibiscus in the Longwood Gardens conservatory

Blossoms of a particular hibiscus in the conservatory were sublime… but then I’m a sucker for purple.

Yellow and pink cannas in the Longwood Gardens conservatory

Longwood Gardens has a pipe organ that plays into the ballroom of the conservatory. Just outside the ballroom, there was a stand of yellow and pink blossoms I’m quite certain were cannas. I like!

 
Small Kitchen Garden – Longwood Gardens: Meadow & Green Roofs

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Bloom Day After Freeze

Pea flower after frost

My pea plants have been in bloom for four weeks, but cool autumn temperatures have slowed growth. I’d bet many blossoms are all of four weeks old and still looking fresh. The few pods that remain from blooms that have dropped petals haven’t even hinted at thickening. I might have harvested them to eat as snow peas, but I couldn’t spot even half a dozen on 28 foot-rows of plants. A two-night deep freeze has finished off the pea plants.

Just last night we experienced a deep freeze—down to about 24F degrees. It was cold enough to wipe out almost all the annuals I grow in my kitchen garden except for lettuce; the lettuce still looks happy. The cold damaged my pea plants, however, so I definitely won’t get a fall harvest from them. Next season, if I do a second planting of peas, it needs to happen three or four weeks earlier than this year’s second planting.

Despite the cold damage, the pea plants are still in bloom. After that, I had to step out of the kitchen garden to find flowers for today’s Garden Bloggers Bloom Day post. There’s not much left, but some of it is beautiful. Please enjoy the photos.

Frost-killed cosomos

Still within my vegetable garden, every cosmos blossom woke up five days ago looking like this. It was a light frost, but the temperature reached about 30 degrees. There are cosmos in my garden because someone once told me to plant cosmos with corn and the corn wouldn’t attract ear worms. In two seasons of growing the combination, no ear worms… but that could be simply because the pesky insects haven’t yet discovered that I grown corn.

Petunia flower

Four feet away from my vegetable bed is an ornamental bed in which my wife planted petunias. Despite 24 degree nights, the petunias are in prime condition.

Rose in late autumn

I once returned from a trade show with some 24 young rose plants. Many survived under lights for three months until I could plant them outdoors. This blossom is on one of three plants in my herb garden. The plant is covered with beautiful pink blossoms and bright orange hips. I suspect a few more nights down to 24 degrees and the plants will finally shut down for winter.

Violet flower

I featured violets in my September Bloom Day post and am impressed that the plants are still in bloom. These are the over-performers of the year: they put out blossoms in early spring and kept at it through the entire season.

Forsythia in fall

There seem to be confused forsythia blossoms every fall and this is no exception. I found several dozen blossoms on my plants. I guess they’re anxious for spring but I’m glad to see most of the buds holding tight; I’d rather they join the show in March.

 

Gloom and Bloom Day Autumn, 2014

Cosmos

Why are there cosmos in my kitchen garden? Someone once told me that cosmos growing with sweet corn keep away corn ear worms. I still don’t know whether it works, but I’ve yet to find ear worms in my corn. This year, the corn didn’t do well, but the cosmos plants are about ten feet tall and bursting with blossoms.

There had been a power outage by the time I woke up this morning. It was raining. For a few minutes during the day, the rain stopped, but when I had a chance to get out to the garden and make photos, I got wet.

Lighting was horrible… my super-sophisticated camera struggles in low light, and cloud cover certainly kept the light low. Still, some nice things happened in the rain. Garden Bloggers Bloom Day corresponds this month with our average first frost date so it’s great to find blossoms pretty much everywhere in my kitchen garden. Photos tell the story.

Pepper blossom

My pepper plants have done well. I’ve canned a lot of pepper relish, chili sauce, and salsa. Also, we’ve eaten peppers throughout the summer. It’s sad to see blossoms and buds on virtually every plant and know that they all will be frozen off before they can produce fruit.

Tomato blossom

This may be the most raggedy tomato blossom ever to grace my blog. It is absolutely the last tomato blossom of the season. Amazingly, late blight had arrived by mid summer, but unseasonably cool, dry weather somehow held it in check. I harvested lots and lots of tomatoes before the blight came back to life and reduced my plants to blackened, shriveled masses. There’s almost nothing left.

Zucchini blossom

The zucchini seeds I planted in early spring got smothered by leaf mulch that wouldn’t hold its position around young sprouts. So, I planted more zucchini seeds and they grew up into enormous, sprawling winter squash plants. Apparently, I mixed up my seed packets. So, in late summer, I made a final attempt to rear zucchini plants. They have done well, and I’ve already harvested enough zukes to make me happy… but there are several more ready or on their way. Is that enough? Not for zucchini plants! This flower really wanted to open today, but realized its load of pollen would go to waste; I expect it to be in full bloom tomorrow.

Neck Pumpkin blossom

My winter squash—exclusively neck pumpkin this year—has been prolific. From two hills there must be close to a dozen fruits, and I have not been diligent about hand-pollinating. I’ve harvested a few, and more are ready, but I’m keeping special eye on a monster that hangs from the trellis and rests on the ground. When I stand next to it, the top of the squash reaches about six inches above my knee. That’s about 30 inches of squash and I’m guessing it’ll weigh in close to 20 pounds. I’ll post about it when I harvest in the next week or so. The photo shows one of about four winter squash blossoms that opened today.

Pea blossom in the rain

I planted pea seeds close to August 15th, figuring 65 days to maturity would bring them home just about today. They started blooming only two days ago, so I’m hoping for two or three weeks of seasonably warm weather; perhaps I’ll get a small harvest before snow falls.

Marjoram in bloom

Marjoram has been my favorite plant in this year’s kitchen garden. It has been in bloom continually since mid July… that’s three months of color and food for pollinators. I’m seriously considering propagating my marjoram to plant a larger corner of the yard.

Hydrangea blossoms

In the winter of 2012-2013, critters chewed my recently-planted hydrangeas back to the soil. In 2013, the plants bounced back only to be eaten to the ground in winter of 2013-2014. Despite the abuse the plants have gotten, one managed to put out a single cluster of blossoms very late in the season. I think they’re gorgeous and would love to see the plants grow up so they can spew flower clusters everywhere. No, hydrangeas have nothing to do with kitchen gardening. This winter, I’m putting a fence around them.

Gaillardia blossom

When I look over the fence from inside my kitchen garden, I can see an ornamental bed my wife has managed for many years. This was her breakout year: new perennials got established quickly, and annuals exploded, putting on quite a show. For the first time in many attempts, gaillardia looks permanent. I hope it survives the winter.

 

Bloom Day in my Kitchen Garden, September 2014

Violet flower

I brought some kind of violet home after leading an all-day social media marketing workshop for Garden Writers Association. It started as a small pot and has expanded in two years to cover nearly three square feet. It puts up pretty little flowers in early spring and continues to do so until cold shuts it down.

It’s still summer, but it has felt like autumn since late spring! We’ve had, perhaps, 10 unpleasantly hot days this season with many, many cool nights. I’ve joked occasionally that my tomato plants were shivering and I wish I’d started fall crops in July—they wouldn’t have minded the few hot days August brought.

It feels as though frost is only days away but my garden doesn’t seem to care. Nearly everything I grow is flowering as if to produce another surge of produce. I captured much of it for Garden Bloggers Bloom Day, and I included ornamental plants that only this year I started to think of as “my garden.” My wife and I have started to collaborate; I bring a lot of samples home from conferences and get all kinds of ideas from visiting show gardens. I also shop garden center clearance racks.

The only way I’ll ever eliminate my lawn is if we transform much of it to ornamental plantings. Photos provide some idea of what’s abloom in central Pennsylvania in mid September. Please enjoy our garden.

Bloom Day rose

I picked up more than 20 rose bushes three years ago at New England Grows, a conference in Boston. The roses were fresh from a greenhouse and I nursed them from February until April in my basement. Sadly, about half died, but the rest provide winter snacks for roving rodents or deer. Now, the roses are in bloom and we’ll need to fence them in to prevent the type of chomping that has happened two years in a row.

Second wave of gladiolus blossoms

Gladiolus bulbs were cheap this spring and I buried a dozen on the bank of my supposed rain garden. For a few weeks this summer they looked great, adding color where we’ve never had any. Just a few days ago, a second wave of blossoms appeared. I don’t know whether it’s the same plants sending up more flower stalks, or late-flowering bulbs that were mixed in with early-flowering bulbs.

Cosmos against the sky

I planted sweet corn in my kitchen garden, and cosmos with the corn because someone told me cosmos will prevent ear worms in the corn. The corn patch is more of a cosmos forest, but only one plant is in bloom so far. The corn has fared poorly; heavy rain killed my first planting, and the second struggled in moist soil. I need to add about 2 yards of soil to my garden to protect against wet summers.

Marjoram blossoms

Amazingly, my marjoram plants still have blossoms! The plants started blooming in July and have satisfied pollinators for more than two months. I first wrote about this marvel in a post titled Grow Marjoram! Seriously, Grow It!

Lavender in bloom

The lavender plant that died last winter is still in bloom. Died? Well… it didn’t come out of dormancy until about the first day of summer. All spring I thought it was dead but I hadn’t yet pulled it because there were plenty of more pressing gardening tasks (and I wasn’t home much this spring). I noticed new growth while I was weeding near the plant and was pleased to see the lavender come back fully during August.

Purple basil blossom

Still in the herb garden, I found a few basil blossoms holding on on a plant given to me by a farmer who let me shovel well-aged horse manure out of her pasture into my minivan. This variety of basil seeds aggressively and is likely to produce many offspring next season. Sadly, it isn’t as bright and basily as varieties I grew from seed… but it looks great in the garden.

Bean blossoms

My latest planting of beans included at least three varieties. All are bush beans and all are in full bloom. Climbing beans also are in bloom, but for their second wave of production, so blossoms are sparse. Still, unless frost hits early, I’ll add at least one more gallon of beans to the three gallons I’ve already frozen.

Winter squash blossom

Winter squash is going nuts in my garden. There must be a dozen fruits in my neck pumpkin patch, and three hybrid neck pumpkin & something monster squashes invading one of our ornamental beds. They’re all still flowering.

Cucumber blossom and baby

I planted cucumbers among the struggling corn plants in late July. There are many blossoms, but I’ve little hope of harvesting meaningful cucumbers before frost kills the vines. You can see a tiny cucumber baby behind the blossom. I hope it has time to grow up.

Purple jalapeno flower

The purple jalapeno seeds I collected last year turned out to have been cross-pollinated—I think with sweet Italian peppers. They produce white flowers with purple borders and the peppers emerge purple… but they’re giant compared to a typical jalapeno. I suspect this blossom will not produce fruit before frost kills it.

Black Russian tomato blossom

I haven’t counted, but there’s no question I’ve created even more than umpteen tomato blossom photos. This isn’t my best, but it shows the tenacity of a tomato plant. Blight has destroyed most of my tomato plants but still tomatoes hang on and ripen… and the plants continue to produce blossoms.

 

Fruit Flowers for Garden Bloggers Bloom Day

Apple blossoms on Garden Bloggers Bloom Day

My apple trees had more blossoms than in any past season. If all become fruit, I’ll need to rent a stand at the farmers’ market.

What an awesome spring we’re having! Sure, it was unpleasantly cold until it wasn’t supposed to be. Sure, perennials remained dormant until early April. But oh, my! Daffodils and hyacinth exploded in April, and eventually warm days coaxed forsythia to bloom.

I got my spring vegetables planted. Pea vines are about five inches tall and starting to wrap tendrils onto the trellises. Five types of lettuce are putting out second leaves and pak choi plants are starting to develop their own distinctive shape. Carrot plants are just sending up their first feathery leaves, as are the cilantro and dill seedlings that have emerged in my herb garden.

Large leaves are emerging from between the two thin first leaves of the spinach seedlings, and the onion sets have sent up spikes more than four inches tall. It has been warm enough for the past week to plant tomato and pepper seedlings in the garden and so far I’ve set out 28 tomato plants.

Peach blossoms on Garden Bloggers Bloom Day

The old broken down peach tree blossomed as if its life depended on it. It has done so every year since the trunk snapped at least five years ago. Though the crown of the tree rests partially on the ground and connects to root solely via a bark-covered hinge, the tree consistently produces a fine crop.

There are plenty more seedlings to plant, and many, many seeds as well. But that’s not what I’m writing about today.

Best Ever Spring for Fruit Trees

My fruit trees were very cautious this year. Some years they’ve burst into full bloom in early April, but they had none of that this spring. Even as warming soil coaxed spring vegetables into action, the fruit trees held out. Buds swelled and looked ready to pop for weeks, but low nighttime temperatures kept the buds tight. My last blog post was about those fruit flower buds.

Pear blossoms on Garden Bloggers Bloom Day

My pear tree appears robust until you look closely at its trunk. The trunk’s core is hollow from about the soil line to three or four feet above the ground. In 2008 I mail-ordered two trees to replace the old pear tree but they’ve yet to produce fruit. In the meantime the old, sick pear tree continues to make fruit and this year it’s outdoing itself.

Only in the past week, meteorologists assured us we’d have no more nights below 48F degrees. The fruit trees seem to have gotten the news. The blossoms popped and we had several days of awesome color.

That’s it. The fruit trees bloomed and temperatures soared (87F degrees today) and petals plunged to the ground. A few still hang on, but the pear, peach, and apple trees have had their showiest moment of the season and will now get down to growing fruit.

I can’t remember a better spring start for fruit trees in central Pennsylvania. Perhaps this will be a bumper crop year; well-needed after last year’s brutal fruit-killing spring.

Learn about Garden Bloggers Bloom Day.

Purple Leaf Plum blossoms on Garden Bloggers Bloom Day

Since 2008, I’ve been posting photos of this tree and telling readers it’s a Moonglow pear. I mail-ordered a Moonglow and a Bartlet pear tree in 2008 and planted them close together so they’d cross-pollinate. So far, they’ve produced no fruit. And, since last season I’ve been suspicious that they’re not actually Moonglow and Bartlet trees. They came labeled as Moonglow and Bartlet, but they look identical. Flowers, leaves, colors, textures are as if they are a single tree.

Maybe real Moonglow and Bartlet trees are indistinguishable from each other, but these trees also look little like other pear trees I’ve seen. Finally, yesterday I gave in to my suspicion and tracked down the Purple Leaf Plum tree—which is obviously what I planted. It’s a very sad waste of SIX YEARS’ anticipation that I’d soon be harvesting pears from my beautiful trees. Apparently, Purple Leaf Plum trees produce edible fruit, so they might not be a total loss… but they’re sure taking their time getting around to it.

Blueberry blossoms on Garden Bloggers Bloom Day

As the fruit tree blossoms are dropping petals, my blueberry plants are in full-bloom. They’ve grown enough that I might get two or three handfuls of berries this season. I’m so looking forward to years when the blueberry plants are three or four feet tall and five feet in diameter.

 

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Yay! It’s Bloom Day!

Crocus blossoms on Garden Bloggers Bloom Day

There go the last crocuses of spring. The first appeared on the south side of the house on March 11 while there was still much snow about. These are in my wife’s main flower bed on the west side of the house and they usually hold on until other bulbs get into the act.

It’s Garden Bloggers Bloom Day, and I’m so happy to have a few blooms to show off. Despite the calendar and increasingly longer days, spring started only a week ago… and then it was very wet. Amazingly, while I (along with everyone else around here) felt we’ve experienced the most horrendous and permanent winter in decades, perennials in central Pennsylvania are “on schedule.”

For the past seven or more years, daffodil shoots have appeared by late February. Winter of 2012-2013, in fact, daffodils sprouted **before** winter started! The poor, young shoots stood shivering for months before spring finally turned them loose.

Forsythia on Garden Bloggers Bloom Day

What impresses me about the forsythia this year is its obvious reluctance to participate in what little spring we’ve had. We have no sprigs of yellow blossoms. Rather, each “sprig” has, perhaps a blossom with many buds watching, I guess, to decide whether it’s OK to open. Still, it’s very pretty.

This year, there were no sprouts at all until late March. In diminishing cold, daffodil tips appeared and slowly stretched upward for about two weeks. Then warm happened. In just a week, 2-inch sprouts erupted to full-sized daffodils and in about three days they spat out buds to blossom just in time for my Bloom Day photo session.

In past years, April 15 in my yard has seen apple, azalea, forget-me-not, lilac, peach, pear, tulip, hyacinth, and violet blossoms. But in each of those years I’ve joked that I’ll be able to grow pineapples outdoors by 2050 if the warming trend continues.

So, this spring of 2014 is “back to normal.” There aren’t many types of blossoms in my yard, and that’s how it should be in mid April. Please enjoy the photos.

Daffodil on Garden Bloggers Bloom Day

Very much as if desperate for its moment of “fame,” this daffodil in our front yard blossomed for Bloom Day. Others also blossomed, but in the back yard tucked behind the lilac bushes.

Weed in bloom on Garden Bloggers Bloom Day

If it has been warm enough for plants to grow, there are weeds somewhere in the garden or yard putting out blooms. This mint-family member appears every spring in my main vegetable bed and in my herb garden. It’s quite pretty with or without blossoms.

A promise on Garden Bloggers Bloom Day

Each bud here is smaller than a dime, yet in about a week these will be two large cones of lilac blossoms—or the temperature will plunge dragging us into another plant-stopping cold spell. As I type this there are traffic accidents on highways within 60 miles of me caused by several inches of accumulated new snow. So… maybe it’ll be two weeks before the blossoms emerge. Whenever it does happen, it’s going to be quite a show!

 

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