I woke up early this morning, just as the sun was rising, and wandered through the garden with my camera and my coffee. It is the most peaceful time of the day here at Cowlick Cottage. It is cool, and the morning dew is still clinging to the leaves and the flower petals. Beautiful. I hope you enjoy this garden tour. If you are interested in seeing the photos in detail, just click on them.
The heirloom tomatoes that we grew from seed are making good use of our Serious Tomato Cages. At least six feet tall now, they are loaded with blossoms and small green tomatoes that will be full and ripe and ready to pluck in a few more weeks. Can’t wait!
These beautiful baby brussels sprouts will never mature in our heat, so they will go to the chickens. Too bad for us, but good for the chicks!
We planted this lovely Clematis a few years ago, and it covers the pergola this year. It will bloom most of the summer, if we are lucky. This year, we interplanted it with Malabar Red Spinach, a heat-tolerant vine that isn’t really spinach at all, but is a great substitute for hot climates. Once the Malabar gets going, I think its red stems and dark green leaves will be a nice contrast to the vibrant Clematis. It’s okay to interplant purely decorative plants like Clematis with your veggies. Try it!
Believe it or not, our gazebo stands in the spot where an old garage once stood. We tore it down, and Eric singlehandedly put up the gazebo in one weekend. I made the drinks and passed him the parts. Then, what was once an eyesore and a danger became our oasis and a favorite place for the whole family to hang out.
We have been enjoying this lettuce mix for a couple of months now, and I will definitely plant both varieties again. They are beautiful in the garden, and they are crispy and sweet in the salad bowl. The lettuces will probably only last another week or so, and then the heat will make them bolt, and they will taste bitter. Until then, we will savor them, both in the garden and on our plates.
This photo is of the No-Dig Beds that we installed this February. Isn’t it amazing how quickly they became productive? In the foreground, the garlic is beginning to yellow and fall over, a sure sign that it is almost ready to harvest. I pulled a few test bulbs this morning, and they are huge. Boastful garlic!
The new beds are also home to several varieties of squash, soybeans, green beans, turnips, carrots, muskmelons (from our own seed this year!), herbs and nasturtiums.
I like to joke with my husband that I’ve evolved from Succession Planning in the high tech industry (i.e. laying off people and assigning their workloads to the ones that are left) to Succession Planting on the farm (i.e. repeat plantings spaced out over several week in order to extend the harvest). I much prefer succession planting! These purple beans will be ready to harvest just about when the green Contender bush beans are finishing up.
This gorgeous baby winter squash is the offspring of an organic squash that I bought from Ladybird Organics at Monticello Vineyards. The original squash made a wonderful soup, and I saved the seeds–a major advantage of organic seed that is not genetically modified. Seed saving is easy and fun. It’s also important, because it preserves the wonderful varieties of fruits and vegetables that we have. And it saves money. From that one squash I purchased, we had a great family meal last winter, and I will have dozens of winter squashes to last us through this next winter. I will save the seeds of the largest, most beautiful squashes to plant next year. Each time this process is repeated, the plants become more acclimated to our particular soil and climate, making them stronger and more resistant to insects and disease.
She’s not edible, but she sure it pretty! Hostas are supposed to be shade loving, but this little one does just fine in full sun. I do not know why!
I just love the saturated color of this tropical hibiscus. I love it so much, that we painted our kitchen door orange this spring. It makes me smile every day.
Here is another example of my seed saving experimentation. Inside each of those pods are tens of seeds. I will let them dry on the plant and then save them in a cool, dry spot in the house until fall, when they will be planted for winter greens. Kale is a delicate, sweet green that is extremely nutritious, and we grow it every year.
I hope you enjoyed my morning garden tour. Please feel free to send me your questions or comments. I will gladly answer!