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Posts Tagged ‘flowers’

Garden Bloggers Bloom Day, Aug 2012!

Bean blossoms look far too complicated; I’m glad bees can figure them out. The green bush beans I planted this year have pink blossoms; a nice change from the white bean blossoms of past years. In the bottom-right of the photo, you can see a bean starting to develop.

Garden Bloggers Bloom Day originates from Carol Michel’s blog, May Dreams Gardens. She wants to see blossoms all year long, and the garden blogging community rallies: post blossoms on your blog, then link to it from her blog. It’s simple, and it helps other people find your blog!

Please enjoy my Bloom Day post. Then, come back on the 22nd and participate in Post Produce. Just as Carol does, I’ll write my Post Produce post and include a Linky widget before I go to bed on the 21st. On the 22nd, you write your own post about what you’re eating from your garden, then link to your post from Your Small Kitchen Garden. I hope you’ll join me on August 22nd and Post Produce.

Here’s what’s abloom in my garden today:

If it’s Bloom Day and tomatoes are in bloom, you’re going to find at least one tomato blossom in my post! This photo is more about hairy stems than it is about blossoms. I’ve harvested about a bushel of tomatoes so far. Barring a late blight incident, I may see three or four bushels from my plants this year.

My thyme plants are struggling a bit this year. One has some seriously involved fungus that I’ve treated a few times with the copper-based fungicide I use on my tomato plants. Amazingly, the stems of that plant touch the stems of a perfectly healthy-looking thyme plant. Too much information? This flower stalk is from the healthy thyme plant.

The mint has been in bloom for weeks. It has overwhelmed the planter holding it, and blossoms hang over the sides. I fear an impending mint invasion and will be vigilant for plants that decide to germinate next to the planter.

Bush cucumber plants I set in a deck planter have grown vines as long and tendrilly as the non-bush cucumbers I planted in my garden. Cucumber blossoms look happy against the deck flooring.

Pepper flowers are among my favorites.

For flower drama in a vegetable garden, you can always count on squashes! This is a butternut blossom, and it clearly understands flower sex. For this photo, it attracted four pollinators, though the reliable pollinator was holding the camera. Despite all the bee activity among my summer and winter squash blossoms, I hand-pollinate every female flower. The bees didn’t budge when I brushed this female flower’s “parts” with a male flower’s “part.”

 

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Butterflies and Puddling in my Small Kitchen Garden

The flower beds my wife maintains near my small kitchen garden get a lot of attention from butterflies.

My wife has established various ornamental plants near my small kitchen garden. Many of these, she has heard, will attract butterflies. I can attest that at least some do; there are often colorful butterflies flitting about while I till soil, plant vegetables, remove weeds, prune, and otherwise muddle about in my vegetable beds.

I enjoy the variety of butterflies that come and go, and I have two observations I want to share.

A Kitchen Gardener’s Deep Thought about Butterflies #1

Butterflies? Really? Whatever about butter made someone name these insects butterflies? I reviewed the Word Origin discussion at dictionary.com and found a silly explanation that mentioned witches, butter, milk, yellow wings, and excrement. Clearly, this is an effort to cover a more astonishing truth: No one ever named them Butterflies.

Trust me: there can be no doubt that the original name for these insects was Flutterflies. You can find hundreds of literary references to the fluttering of these colorful creatures. Anyone lacking even primitive imagination would have named them Flutterflies, and that they did.

Then, near the beginning of the Renaissance, a scribe was copying an authoritative manuscript about Flutterflies. This scribe was known for pushing the tolerances of his quill and he accidentally turned the “Fl” into a B on the nearly-finished cover panel. Rather than recreate the cover from scratch, the scribe copied the entire text of the book using “B” in place of “Fl” wherever the word Flutterfly appeared.

Sheep that we are, we continue to call Flutterflies by this silly dairy-related name. There’s no going back.

A Kitchen Gardener’s Deep Thought about Flutterflies #2

Marauding cabbage flutterflies puddle after I water my small kitchen garden. I love that they do this… especially if it keeps them away from my broccoli. Yes: broccoli worms are baby cabbage flutterflies.

Puddling. If you’re a gardener, you’ve probably seen puddling, but you might not have heard of it. Often after I water my small kitchen garden, a flock of flutterflies assembles on the moist soil. This, my dad used to tell me, is how flutterflies (though he called them butterflies) ingest essential minerals that simply don’t exist in nectar the flutterflies typically consume.

So, while my wife plants flowering ornamentals to attract those pretty insects, I do my share by watering the vegetable garden from time-to-time. Of course, my brassicas wouldn’t mind if someone would come to puddle besides the cabbage butterflies.

 

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Small Kitchen Garden Bloom Day 11/11

This lone pink blossom is on a plant my wife set in one of her ornamental beds. A clump of buds just behind the blossom looks ready to pop. Forecast temperatures suggest the buds have a chance.

It was a challenging Garden Bloggers Bloom Day for this kitchen gardener. Mainly, my small kitchen garden was finished by late summer. Rain, blight, rain, mud, rain, rot, rain, insects, rain, and rain conspired to shut things down well earlier than in any previous year. After all that, we had a significant snow storm in late October when peak fall colors were just starting to fade. Oh, and guess how the weather was when I went out to take photos? Yep, it was raining and overcast.

It impresses me that anything is in bloom around here, so I stepped out of my small kitchen garden and scavenged blossoms wherever I found them in the yard. Most of what’s in bloom is in ornamental beds or containers, and it’s all barely holding on. Please enjoy what’s left of summer in my wet little chunk of central Pennsylvania.

A diaphanous puff of white clings tenuously to a stem just a few feet from the pink blossom in the preceding photo. The two blossoms are all that remain on annuals my wife planted in late spring.

There are four potted plants on our front porch. They might have served as centerpieces at some banquet during the summer. Two have wilted back to their roots (one I recognized as a begonia). The other two show signs of stress, but they continue to put out blossoms resembling asters; the ornamental-savvy among you will have to ID them.

The second of two potted plants on our front porch that continues to produce blossoms despite many overnight lows in the twenties and a significant snowfall in late October.

Somehow, this makes sense to me: the holly bush that came with the house is in bloom, though it has more buds than it has blossoms. Still, if it’s just blooming now, will berries form within the month? Come to think of it, in 18 years, I don’t recall ever seeing berries on this plant.

Rain stunted my broccoli this year, but one plant continues to taunt me by putting out tablespoon-sized florets.

In the department of confused, a forsythia in a back corner of the yard is in bloom. Is it because an unseasonable warm spell followed a cold spell? Is it because the rain paused for two weeks after the freak October snow? Perhaps this branch of blossoms thinks winter ought to be just four days long?

Nutmeg provided drama on this month’s Bloom Day. She happily accompanied me on my photo shoot and discovered poop in the grass when I paused to photograph the broccoli. If my dog is going to roll in something stinky, I choose carrion. Sadly, today she chose poop. She’s damp in this photo because I dragged her straight to the shower where she had the lather, rinse, and repeat treatment twice! I’m pretty sure the camera captured a smirk; Nutmeg has a lot of attitude for several hours after a shower.

Don’t Forget to Post Product Next Week!!!

Your Small Kitchen Garden blog hosts Post Produce on the 22nd of every month. Create a blog entry that shares what you’re eating from your garden-what you’re harvesting, what’s ripening, what you’re cooking or preserving, or even what you’re taking out of your larder for an off-season meal. Then find my Post Produce post and create a link back to yours. Follow the link here for find more information about Post Produce.

 

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Touch Me Not on Bloom Day

The flowers of Jewel Weed are small but quite pretty and they attract all kinds of native pollinators. Jewel Weed prefers damp soil, so look for it along stream banks.

This Garden Bloggers Bloom Day in my Small Kitchen Garden is a real downer. 8 inches of rain last week drowned roots of my climbing beans and my chili peppers… and I must believe the winter squash isn’t happy. The rhubarb is also looking pretty bad which is especially distressing because rhubarb should be building up stores to help it through the winter.

Stepping out of My Small Kitchen Garden

To escape the ugliness, I stepped out of the garden for September’s Bloom Day post. I found one of my favorite common plants, the Touch Me Not, which many people know as Jewel Weed, and shot a few photos.

What I Know About Jewel Weed

I know Touch Me Nots from when I was a kid. It grew in thickets at the summer camp I attended. There were three things I loved about the plant then… and I still love those things:

Jewel Weed produces small pods that contain one or more seeds. As the pods mature, they become plump, and you can eventually see dark spots through their skins. The spots are seeds which are ripe when they turn dark.

1. The flowers are gorgeous

2. The seeds are edible and they taste pretty good

3. The seed pods explode

I’ve since learned a few other tidbits about Jewel Weed:

1. The sap is a cure for itchiness—particularly for poison ivy. Supposedly, if you crumple up and crush a leaf and rub it on a rash, the itchiness will diminish for several hours.

2. The flowers attract butterflies and hummingbirds.

What’s not to like?

When you bump a ripe seed pod, it explodes and sends its seeds up to several feet away from the parent plant. I contained the explosion of this under ripe pod to capture the seeds and provide a look at the springy parts. Find a stand of Touch Me Nots, gently harvest a bunch of ripe pods, and contain them when they explode. Then snack on the dark-brown seeds. The flavor may remind you of wild hickory nuts.

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Small Kitchen Garden Bloom Day, August 2011

There are three pots of basil on the handrail of my deck. I put far too many seeds in the pots, and the poor plants grew up stunted. Still, the flowers are delicate and beautiful.

My small kitchen garden, like so many gardens in the US, has struggled through the season. Happily, things are finally moving along, though I’m afraid there is a fungus trying to kill my tomato plants.

But today isn’t about the problems, it’s about the bling! The 15th of every month is Garden Bloggers Bloom Day. You can learn more about it over at May Dreams Gardens. I failed to capture decent shots of the flowering mint and cilantro. Also, I neglected to photograph corn silk. Still, there were a lot of blossoms today. Please enjoy the photos of what’s abloom in my kitchen garden.

There are two windowsill planters of cucumber plants under the handrail on my deck. This flower snuggles beneath the handrail, and it is one of dozens that have popped in the last week or so.

A bell pepper flower appears healthy and robust. Oddly, my bell pepper plants are thriving while my jalapeno, banana, and poblano pepper plants are struggling.

Despite the appearance of something blighty on some of my tomato plants, they continue produce flowers. I don’t suspect late blight because all the lesions are on lower stems and some lower leaves. I’ve seen no signs of sporulation, so it doesn’t seem likely to move from plant-to-plant. Still, I fear for my tomato crop: it may be quite limited this season.

How’s this? I understand it’s the male flower on a corn plant. My sweet corn is growing ears, and the silk on those is, technically, the female flower. This corn tassel is red and the corn lower down on the plant is also supposed to be red. I’ve never tried red sweet corn, but I suspect it will taste a lot like yellow sweet corn.

That’s a cosmos trying to hide behind a corn leaf. I planted cosmos with my corn because I heard from an online acquaintance that this would keep away corn ear worms. The first ears are nearly ready to harvest. I don’t see evidence of worms, but they can be pretty sneaky, so I won’t know for sure if the cosmos helped until I start shucking.

As long as I’m confessing about planting flowers, here’s an even bigger sin: My wife ceded an ornamental bed to me so I could grow more climbing beans. I set about ten beans across the back of the bed, and then planted five or six types of flower seeds through the rest of the bed. From the looks of things, only two types of flower plants survived, and the first to bloom is a zinnia. The leaves way back against the wall of the house on the left are Kentucky Wonder bean leaves.

On the subject of beans, here’s a flower on one of my bush wax bean plants. The plants suffered heavy chewing by insects until I treated them with insecticidal soap. With new leaves, the plants show more vigor toward reproduction. I’ve harvested a serving of wax beans and anticipate being able to preserve about a gallon of them before the season is over.

Weed. There’s quite a bit of it near my small kitchen garden, and just a few stems actually in the garden. The flowers are pretty so it’s hard to go all anti-weed on them.

I had to finish with a winter squash blossom because it’s all that! This is the biggest squash blossom in my small kitchen garden. It belongs to a neck pumpkin plant and was one of about a dozen gorgeous blossoms peaking out from rain-soaked leaves this morning. Oddly, my blue Hubbard plants have produced about 8 female flowers and only one male flower. I’ve pollinated the blue Hubbards using male flowers from the neck pumpkin plants. So far, they seem to accept this hybrid pollination, but I can’t predict whether the seeds will be viable next year (and if they are, what the squashes might be like). Perhaps I’ll find out next summer?

 

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Small Kitchen Garden Bloom Day, July 2011

This onion barely qualifies as “in bloom” on this Garden Bloggers Bloom Day. A few petals remain, and I assume the white bud-looking things are future onion seeds. If these grow anything like wild onions, I expect to see sprouts emerge all over this ball within a month or so… assuming I can continue to work around it—at this point, it’s kind of in the way in my small kitchen garden.

It’s Garden Bloggers Bloom Day and my Small Kitchen Garden actually has something to offer! My vegetables are a few weeks behind compared to past years, but things are finally shaping up. (Understand that I had virtually no spring crops this season because my planting bed was underwater until the end of MAY.) Tomatoes have formed (seedlings went into the garden in early June) and I’m projecting the first will ripen in mid August… which is just a bit later than usual.

Peppers are the hold outs this year. While my bell pepper plants are lush and growing, my jalapeno, banana pepper, and poblano plants have stood for weeks with no apparent growth. Now that the soil is seasonably dry, I hope these struggling plants finally get it in gear.

For long-time readers of Your Small Kitchen Garden, the cilantro and dill pairing should seem familiar; it has starred in many a Bloom Day post. The dill (right) is poised to blossom, while the cilantro (left) is about to produce coriander—seeds from the cilantro plant are, in and of themselves, a popular seasoning.

My herb bed helped me through the wet spring; it was never as wet at the main planting bed so I was able to start annuals alongside the perennials I’d set in in the fall. The purple flowers—clearly in bloom—are on a volunteer that I recognized when it first sprouted; it had snuck in from my wife’s ornamental plantings. The modest blossoms stand out against the lush greens of sage, cilantro, dill, and basil.

Mint blossoms! I don’t know what type of mint it is… it started growing two years ago in a planter containing tarragon plants. I’m OK with it as long as it stays in the container. But if it escapes, I will almost certainly eradicate it; mint is aggressive about colonizing planting beds.

The broccoli was a joke this year. Because of rain, I left seedlings in their starting pots about a month too long. When I finally set them in the garden, the soil was too wet—and then it rained. When the plants finally sent up florets, each would have filled about a tablespoon. The side shoots have been even less impressive. I’ve pulled all but three of the plants, and a rabbit recently pruned two of them. Climbing beans are now emerging from the decimated broccoli area. Pretty yellow flowers will not save the last broccoli plants from a move to the compost heap.

Happiness is a tomato blossom presaging the coming harvest. (I said “presaging” because it has “sage” in it.) I’m growing 10 varieties of tomatoes this year if you don’t count the Cherokee Purples that have sprung up in the compost heap.

There seems always to be at least one interloper at my Bloom Day photo shoots. Here, a fly-looking thingy tries to steal the spotlight from a bell pepper flower. I so hope my peppers have enough growing season remaining to turn red; I’d like to make a batch of red pepper relish using only peppers from my garden.

Yep: weed. At least that’s what my wife says. I think it looks like a morning glory, but my wife assures me it’s not. Still… it really wants to be a morning glory. I suppose I should believe my wife given that these things grow as abundantly as purslane wherever we work the soil.

That’s a cosmos about to burst into song in my vegetable garden. It irks me just a little to have been planting flowers, but I planted corn this year (which I haven’t done since I was a kid). I mentioned one week during #gardenchat (a weekly gathering on Twitter of anyone wishing to discuss gardening) that I was going to plant corn, and someone assured me that if I plant cosmos with it corn ear worms will not visit my crop. I hope this wasn’t just a mean trick to get me to plant flowers… We shall see.

 

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