Monday, June 27, 2016

I had an interesting study in contrasts recently. Two customers came to the farm the same day. The first was a woman from Masonic Village. We get quite a few customers from Masonic. We chatted and I was shocked to learn she was 90 years old. Believe me, she looked at least a decade younger.

She talked about taking an art class at the Village. I asked if it was something she had done previously, and she said no, it was something new she decided to try. She was very enthusiastic about her new endeavor and I commented that you're never to old to learn.

Later that day, a nice young couple stopped by. They bought a few plants to make tea. She was very enthusiastic about making her own herbal tea, so I gave her a handout and we discussed the basics of making tea from herbs. I found it so interesting and really inspiring that no matter what your age, you can always learn something new if you have curiosity and the desire to learn. It encourages me to keep studying herbs and plants. I like the late Bertha Reppert's quote when someone asked her if she was an herbalist. She replied, "I am a student of herbs."

The other day, I was again asked why an annual vine wasn't growing. It was described as just "sitting there". Annual vines like hyacinth bean and moonflower are very slow starters. It takes them awhile to get established. They like a lot of water in the beginning - I water mine daily early on. Once the hot summer temperatures arrive, they take off. You can see the growth from one day to the next. So just patient. They are worth the wait.

Annual herbs should be established and you can begin harvesting them. Only remove about one third early on. When they have sized up, you can remove up to one half.

Our plant sale is ongoing. Annuals are half off and perennials are buy three, get one free - mix and match. We still have a good selection so think about filling in a spot in your garden or trying a new variety.

Plants I like:

     Reblooming perennials like Jupiter's beard or salvia "Blue Cloud". After blooming early in the season, cut them back hard and they will reward you with a second bloom later in the season.

     Late season bloomers like pineapple or Mexican bush sage. They flower late summer up till frost when not a lot is going on in the garden. Anemone is a late season bloomer for shade. It adds color in summer and fall, unlike most shade plants which flower in the spring.

    Basil- it's what summer smells like!

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Recently, a customer stopped by and when I asked if he was interested in anything particular, he said he'd see what was available at the end of the season. I mentioned it seemed funny to hear "end of the season" since spring was so slow to get started this year. Spring seemed condensed into just a few weeks this year. With all the rain in May, it was impossible to plant until nearly the end of the month.

But there is still plenty of time to plant. Even annuals have over three months to grow. That's lots of time to size up and produce flowers or foliage for harvest. Perennials can be planted throughout the summer as long as they are kept well watered until they get established.

With that in mind, remember that our plant sale starts June 25. Annuals are half off and perennials are buy 3, get 1 free (mix and match.) It's a good opportunity to fill in any empty spaces or to try a new, interesting plant.

We haven't had any more unusual animal sightings. We've seen signs of a fox, but not the fox itself. There are lots of rabbits this year, and John said the fox might be hunting them.

Last week, I took advantage of the bounty of lavender and roses for harvest. Every day, I harvested lavender for bunches and made lavender wands and woven lavender hearts for sale in the shop. I gathered loads of pretty, two-toned petals from the apothecary rose. These are drying on a rack in the office closet and it smells divine to walk into the room. It reminds me of the shop. People always comment on the wonderful fragrance in the shop. I say if I could bottle it, it would be my best seller.

Otherwise, we're working on garden maintenance. Weeding of course, and cutting back. The fragrant dianthus are done blooming. We cut off all the spent flowers and the pretty blue-green foliage remains. I'm dead heading perennial Jupiter's beard to encourage more blooms. Same for annual orlaya, which has flowers like Queen Anne's lace. The orlaya reseeded itself in several spots. As biennial sweet William finishes up, I make sure to shake seed onto the ground for next year's flowers. I also gather seed from both orange and pink perennial poppies.

John's been a big help in the gardens this year. Things are looking good. Feel free to take a stroll when you stop by.