Monday, June 28, 2010

June in the Garden Part 2

Some people prefer annuals for their color all summer long and some prefer perennials, since it's not necessary to plant them every year. But I do laugh when people say that the only work with perennials is to plant them.

They are not entirely carefree. Perennials should be dead headed, like annuals, to promote best blooming. Perennials have a season of bloom, from a relatively short 10-14 days to a long bloom of 3-4 weeks. After blooming, many perennials go into decline, in terms of appearance. Cutting back the old foliage and dead flower stalks encourages the plant to push out new fresh growth, improving the plant's appearance. Some perennials, like catmint, Jupiter's beard, salvias and coneflower will usually rebloom after being cut back. Eventually perennials need to be divided to prevent overcrowding or taking over too much space in the garden.

What's looking good in the garden-

lots of annuals - calendula or pot marigold with lots of tallow and orange daisy-like flowers
profusion zinnias - lots of color and low maintenance
nicotiana or flowering tobacco - white, tubular flowers, fragrant at night
tall verbena - pretty purple flowers for butterflies
lots of culinary herbs, too - all the culinary sages with gray or colored foliage. I particularly like Berggarten with its broad gray foliage. It almost shines in the garden
purple basils - just as yummy and beautiful color, too
lemon grass - starting to develop into a nice big clump
dill - I love the bluish-green foliage, bright yellow flowers and sharp aroma

Our plant sale begins July 3. Great time to try a new plant or fill in any holes in your garden. Annuals are half off and perennials are buy 3, get 1 free. We're out of a few things, but till have a very good selection. Stop by and see!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

June In the Garden

Like a lot of other things, Lavender bloomed early this year. Once the florets open, the bees go wild.
When they're done and the blooms turn brown, trim off the flower stalks. This is a good time for shaping up your plants. I cut back my lavender hard early in the spring. I just didn't get around to all the plants. So now I'll go through and trim off all the floppy branches and the ones with bare wood and foliage at the end. There's a lot of new growth underneath, which will push out and be more compact and shrubby. The plants have plenty of time to push out new foliage before cold weather arrives.

What I've been harvesting-

culinary herbs - tarragon, oregano, savory, mints, lemon balm (cut off the little white flowers on the lemon balm like the ones in the picture before it seeds or it goes everywhere.)
golden yarrow - also early love in a mist seed pods, larkspur
chamomile flowers - lots of them!

What looks good in the garden-

hydrangeas - they look great
lady's bedstraw - looks like a ground cover, then gets tall with tiny gold flowers. Sweet fragrance like honey.
clary sage - sturdy, upright plants with long lasting blooms
hyssop - dark green foliage, dark blue flowers in a spike and the bees love it. Also anise hyssop, with purple flowers
coneflower - I just love them and when the goldfinches come to them, it's even better.

We have to keep Lucy away from a small bunny that's living in the back corner of the yard. It's out of the nest, but still awfully small to be chased. This is at least the second batch of babies so far this year.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Late Spring

Lucy's had a good spring so far. There are bunnies to chase and holes to dig. She loves to be out with us when we're working. She does help dig holes, but John says she has no garden etiquette. She plops down in front us, sometimes on a plant. She likes to jump over plants when she's running. And there are sugar peas and alpine strawberries to eat from the garden. She thinks vegetables are a great treat.

We didn't plant any basil till the third week of May. It's pretty well established now. Remember to pinch your basil back - pinch the stem off just above a news set of leaves - so the plant will start to branch out, If you pinch when the stems get leggy for the first month, the plant will be full and you'll have lots of yummy foliage. Creek columnar is a low maintenance basil. Whether you pinch it or not, it grows like a little shrub. Very few flowers to remove and the flavor is great. A great herb and a good garden plant

Lavender is still blooming with some later varieties. After I've harvested, I always let the flowers stand for the bees. We've been seeing some honeybees, but not many. Beekeepers say it was another bad winter with up to 50% losses.

'When the bees are done with the lavender, cut off the spent flower stems. If you want to shape up your plant, this is the time. Cut off errant stems. Trim back by 1/3 to 1/2, as long as you don't go into old, hard wood. This plant will push out new foliage before fall.

What looks good in the garden:
  • Clary sage - big showy flowers,long lasting
  • Santolina - cute, yellow button flowers, I love the shiny gray foliage
  • Love in a mist -pretty cornflower-like bloom, attractive seedpod so its pretty a long time
  • Hydrangeas - in mass, they're hard to beat for color and effect

Friday, June 4, 2010

Return from Spring!

Well, I'm back! We've made it through the peak of the season, and although there's lots of spring left, I've gotten enough accomplished outside so I can get back to blogging.

Thanks to everyone who has visited the farm this spring and also to all our Landis Valley customers.

We had a good show at Landis Valley. Friday is always our better day and it was great this year! The weather was pleasant, sales were brisk and we had extra help this year. Maryanne and Tina, my soap ladies were kind enough to lend a hand in addition to my friend Candy, who helps me every year. Candy and I waited on customers and Tina and Maryanne kept things stocked and watered, directed people and helped to answer questions. It was great! Our extra hands made a huge difference.

Saturday morning was pretty good and then it got windy - really windy. We wound up taking the tent down, which was a first. Even with the weather, it was still a good show.

We've been busy at the farm helping customers, working in the gardens, and beginning to harvest and dry herbs. I've cut back the vigorous perennials, like oregano, mint, tarragon and catnip. Those I either hang in bunches to dry or dry them on my nice rack of screened shelves that John made. Remember, herbs will re-absorb moisture from the air on humid days. I often finish the drying process in my dehydrator. Make sure your herbs are thoroughly dry before storing, so mold does not develop.

It's lavender season too. Harvest it in bud, before the individual florets open. Bunch and hang upside down where it's warm, dry and dark.

What looks good in the garden:
  • Snapdragons- easy, pretty and reliable
  • Jupiter's beard- rosy red flowers, cut back later for rebloom
  • Valerian- tall, white, fragrant
  • Lady's mantle- colorful filler with roses
  • Roses- lots of varieties, I like them fragrant