It frosted here in Indiana last week. Fall and I have a long standing mutually satisfying romantic relationship, but I still like to get as long as possible with my Boy Toy Indian Summer. That little bitch did not show up this year! Instead he sent his super hotty cousin Summer Satan and we went through a drought and record temps of 100+ for multiple days of multiple weeks.
The long way to the point being the participants in the Garden Pageant had to all be badass to survive. The rabbits ate the new plants, the mice moved their compound to under the raised vegetable beds and subsequently had to be taken out. This involved the creation of multiple devices for murdering small cute rodenty creatures with traps made from Googling “how to kill insert cute rodenty animal here” internet. My karma may never feel 100% right again but it had to be done! I still feel bad every time I see a chipmunk and then “Why stupid chipmunk did you have to move under MY porch?” Anything with a vine got the spreading funkity funk and caused all 4 of my baby pumpkins to flop off and die. The vegetables had just taken off when the watering ban went into effect. The bugs invaded the vines. The blossoms rotted off or went on strike, Shall I go on?
It’s bad enough that I never do a good job of tracking what I planted where. What kind of peppers or tomatoes eventually get to grow is always a surprise. The seeds I do a better job with but I always think I will remember and yet I never do.
The runners-up this year were the cucumbers I grew on a trellis and the smuggled South African Pappadews. The real stars of the garden this year were definitely the Zinnias. I captured them in their fall glory last week both in sunlight and at the evening magic hour. I love how they get all multi colored and spiky this time of year. The Envy’s started slowly but by the end were a nice row of lime green. The Zahara Starlights my Mom sent me for my birthday were stunning and the White Weddings have become this amazing creamy yellow color. Even the mix on the side if the house in the less than vibrant colors looks nice for Fall. I’m too exhausted and strapped for time to label these tonight. I threw in a few Gerbera Daisies and one of the last roses as a bonus.
This is a first look at this year’s Zinnia crop. I planted a bunch of varieties in my usual way of keeping very bad track of what kinds are planted where. I tend to do this with all my plants, it makes for nice surprises when plants start yielding vegetables or flowering, but it sure doesn’t make for very precise identification in my garden posts.
Last year I kept it very simple with some Cut and Come Again’s in the retaining wall bed and a packet of some kind of big or giant mix down by the bird feeders. I tried letting them go to seed and then collecting and re-using, but I don’t think it has worked very well. For documentation’s sake these are the varieties I planted:
Envy- 0 so far have bloomed, unless the pink and lime green ones are actually ENVY, but all online images show them totally lime green so I have doubts.
Bupeeana Giants Mix
Burpee’s Big Tetra Mix
Giant Flowered Mix
Zahara Starlight Rose
They are divided among 4 different beds, only 3 of which are blooming. The bed on the side of the house with the Starlight Rose in it is apparently slow or shy. It also seems like I didn’t get very many plants out of the seeds this year, not sure what I did wrong, perhaps lack of water for germination? It is early so maybe it will all be stupendous before August arrives. That is if the earth doesn’t combust from the scorching ridiculous crazy heat wave most of the USA is dealing with. Below is what has bloomed so far, with a few sunflower and rose pics thrown in.
- Zinnia Tower (sharonong72dmcihomes.wordpress.com)
I finally got it together enough to get some shots of the garden this Spring. It has been the best spring ever, I forgot how much I love spring because it seems we never actually get one. This year has been at lest 2 springs at once. The Peppers and Tomatoes I ordered from Gurney’s are on their way and I’ll get them in this weekend. We are going to buy Tomatillos from the Chilewoman.com and make the trip to Bloomington, IN to pick them up over Memorial Day weekend. For those of you local I have divided Siberian Iris and some leftover onion starts that may or may not be viable so you can just have them. Today I hope to get Sunflower and Zinnia seeds in while I am supposed to be nursing my foot, shhh, don’t tell Babu.
Yesterday was a pretty nice day here. I had some cleaning up and planting/moving chores to handle in the front bed. Our yard is participating in the neighborhood Halloween contest. The Husband is out of commission with a nasty back injury and the kids were entranced in they new toys they got at their combined Birthday Party Saturday. So I opened up the front door, turned up the itunes and got to work. The Home Office windows look out at the front yard and beds so I often get the front bed chores done with music blaring from the windows.
Last summer I planted some pretty annuals in my hanging baskets. Begonia with a dark leaf and a hot pink flower, A pink and green Coleus and some spiky little white plant/flower I can’t remember the name of. I’ve talked before about how you can sometimes get more for your plant $$ buck by allowing this years annuals to either make seed heads or simply stay in the ground and wait and see if they come back next year.
Plants I have that will make seeds I can use to get free plants next year:
Zinnia Snap Dragons Sunflowers Marigolds
Tomatoes ; I should cop to the fact that these are always accidental. As in the maters dropped and rotted and then I got new volunteer plants next year. But this happens every summer.
The best way to do this is to let nature take it’s course, leave enough heads on the plants to get seed and in late fall or very early spring rip off the seed heads and work them into your mulch and soil around where you want them. You can also get all control freak and collect the seed heads and store them in a paper sack in a cool dry place over the winter. Make sure they are very dry and in breathable sack or you could have a moldy mess on your hands next spring.
This year I got crazy and dried a bunch of pepper seeds from these awesome peppers we got from the local organic produce delivery place called Green B.E.A.N. We shall see how that goes next spring.
Now I did turn some small sunflower heads into the soil in the front bed, but I was there to plant mums, move mums, rip apart the baskets and plant the annuals in hopes of having them survive the winter. It is probably a bit late to be planting mums. I got great ones at Lowe’s for $4 each. When you plant them be sure to break up the bound roots with your hands or hand trowel. Also be sure to plant them deep enough and pack and mulch them well enough so they don’t heave out of the soil when we have our harsh winter. The spindly little mum is one from last fall that didn’t get much sunlight this year. He had to relocate to a sunnier part of the spotted front bed.
Re-potting the annuals from the baskets.
You don’t really need all that much root ball from the annuals in the baskets. I wanted all the Coleus because even if it does not make it over the winter I can and did plant it along the walk to assist with my design for our porch and yard. I also planted the two begonias, but i tossed the white spindly things. I have three of them in the front bed already and am out of room.
As with all transplants be sure to water well.
Still to do
I have one Hosta to rip out and relocate further back to allow more room for the Lilly of the Valley to spread. And one Football mum that needs a much sunnier home. He is kind of puny though so I may just have to mulch him really well and check on him in the spring.
The friendship/lovestory continues for the Zinnia and the Sunflower. I found them in my garden down by the bird feeder on July 27. And I’ve been watching every day since.
08/19- Well clearly it hasn’t been every day at this point. The Zinnia is in the making seeds from its cone stage and the Sunflower has grown quite tall and is making blooms presently. This photo journey is starting to look kind of cool.
09/02- The first Zinnia is still make seeds, but there are two more Zinnia friends entwined with the big guy. He is HUGE now and has bloomed on his main head.
10/09- Most of the sunflowers down in that garden fell over in a big storm we had two weeks ago. The big guy is still standing and making seeds with his largest bloom head. Zinnias are still going strong. I actually need to cut some today and bring them in one last time while leaving enough to provide new Zinnias next year. I’m considering leaving the stem carcasses there throughout the winter for additional pics. We shall see if the weather cooperates.