It seems that everywhere I look, Mother Nature is reminding me that autumn is just around the corner. Even in the muggy heat of early August, it’s clear that cooler weather is on its way. The apples are turning red, the hydrangeas are fading from blue to brown, and the sunflowers are beginning to open.
Tag Archives: sunflowers
Today is my last Sunday of the summer, before I go back to school on Thursday. The sunflowers are finally open, after a rainy start, and they’re looking so cheery!
I just love the look of a yellow sunflower against a blue sky. How’s your garden growing?
To see who else is strolling today, visit the Quiet Country House.
The only bad thing about having a greenhouse attached to my classroom is that I have to go in a few times over school vacations to water the plants. Once I get there, I love to look around at all the beautiful flowers in bloom and escape from the wind and brisk temperatures outside. Today, I focused on zinnias, sunflowers and morning glories for a dose of summer color. Afterall, it is perpetually summer in the greenhouse.
We’ll also start some vegetable seedlings when we go back to school next week, but for now, the greenhouse is full of the flowers my class has nurtured since January.
I finally got out to the garden today to attend to the broken sunflowers from Tropical Storm Hanna. I ended up removing them all and throwing them in the woods. I saved some of the heads for the seeds, which I plan to both plant next year and eat. I also saved the few remaining living flowers to make a couple of bouquets. It’s funny, but up until now I never picked one to bring into my house because they were so pretty outside where they were. Growing sunflowers has been very rewarding this year because they made my garden look so sunny and happy and also required little care. I will certainly be growing them in the same spot next year, right along the back of the garden fence. Now I’m also thinking of where else the cheery flowers will look good next year.
After pulling out the sunflowers, I got my fall/winter garden seeds in. A little later than I had originally planned, but I’m counting on global warming to keep my garden producing into late November! I planted more carrots and lettuce, turnips, broccoli and spinach. I’ve never grown anything in the fall or winter, so it’s kind of experimental this year and I’ll be happy with whatever I get.
Finally, after the ripping out and the planting, I picked a big bowl full of tomatoes. The storm knocked a bunch of the tomatoes off of the vines, so these ended up in the woods. I plan to can these tomatoes after they ripen up a little bit more. Maybe this time I’ll make my spaghetti sauce and can that instead of the crushed tomatoes.
While I was out in the garden, Ed was busily working on designing the mantel for the fireplace. Our fireplace is in the part of the great room in our house that’s more formal, with the coffered ceiling and the fancier furniture. The fireplace is made of red bricks with a blue slate hearthstone, and the walls are painted a creamy off-white. Because it’s in a fancier part of our house, the mantel is going to be large and detailed. It will most definitely be made of wood, as Ed likes to make everything out of wood, and painted the same white as the trim. He’s been looking through books and I went back to all of the magazine pages that I started to tear out when we first decided to build a house. It was nice to reminisce as I saw the pictures that we used to model our bathroom after, the kitchen islands that I liked, and the paint colors that we selected and vetoed. I also enjoyed looking at the ideas that we haven’t yet gotten to, including mudroom benches and pegs on the wall, the pantry shelving, the wall decorations, and of course the dreams of a big maroon barn out back and children’s bedrooms. Ed’s been drawing and planning, and today he drew a full-size model on plywood of what the mantel will look like. It’s colonial and traditional, of course, with columns, moulding, and fancy carvings. I can’t wait to hang our stockings on it this Christmas!
August 31, 2008
Walking around this morning, I couldn’t help but notice that we’re in transition. While some views show a bountiful summer, others make me realize that we’re leaving summer and heading to fall.
To see who else is strolling today, visit The Quiet Country House.
It’s been a while since I posted pictures from my gardens, so I thought it was time.
The hydrangeas and petunias in the front are really doing well. However, my formerly blue hydrangeas have turned a shade of lilac-blue due to the alkalinity of our well water. They’re beautiful either way. And speaking of water, the repair guys came today and did a band-aid fix that will last for a little while, I hope, until they can replace the defective parts next week. Needless to say, I’m very upset about the continued problems with the water pump, but I’m happy to be able to continue to water my plants, shower, wash dishes and laundry, drink water, wash my hands, and cook dinner.
I’m not happy about all the dirt that comes along with disturbing the well pump, so I’ll be cleaning it out of the toilets, sinks, shower and tub for the next week or so. At least I took some time off of water use, which will help with the Crunchy Domestic Goddess’s Five Minute Shower Challenge. OK back to flowers! Here’s a close-up of one of the hydrangeas.
The back flower garden is plugging along quite nicely, and has become the lowest maintenance garden that we have. The impatiens have really been enjoying the afternoon shade, and have filled in well. The white bleeding heart is also going strong. This week, Ed’s mom gave us some morning glories, which I planted to climb up the trellises. This garden gets nice sun in the morning, so I hope this is a good spot for them. I’ve always loved the true blue of morning glories, ever since I first saw them in Grandma Rose’s garden.
The first blooms on the blue lace cap hydrangea in the back are beginning to open. Unlike the fullness of the mophead hydrangeas in front, this one will open a few blooms wide, and keep the small, bud-like flowers in the center, giving it a lacy appearance. This one looks lilac, too, but it was supposed to be blue. Oh well, I can’t change the pH of my groundwater.
And finally, the veggie garden. The lettuce is coming along really well. We’ve already eaten quite a few, and I’m planning to plant some more seeds of different varieties for a longer harvest. I’ve gotten compliments from my family and from our friends Marcia and Brian when I’ve served them our home grown salad. Now if only those tomatoes would hurry along so I could serve something other than a lettuce salad…
The carrots are doing pretty well, which means they’re growing, but nowhere near ready. The snap peas are giving us about a handfull every couple of days, which seems to be just enough for the two of us. The green beans are coming along as well, which means they’re alive, as opposed to the ones I had to rip out. The parsley and chives are coming along as well.
Some of the tomatoes have buds and others are just working on growing a bit more. One even has a tiny green tomato beginning to form! I was excited when I spotted it today! I’ve been adding ties to them as they grow, helping to anchor them to the stake. I’m using some old yarn because it was on hand, and I figured it would give and be gentle for the tomatoes. I’m sure I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again: I’d really like to can tomatoes this summer. I plan to buy a pressure cooker so that I can cut down on the cooking time, but they’re pretty expensive. I guess it just depends on how many tomatoes I get. We’ll see how they do when the time comes. I’ve got my sister-in-law Melissa to agree that we will can together, and I’m hoping she has a good harvest of tomatoes, since her garden’s pretty big. I’d like to get enough tomatoes to last the year for spaghetti sauce. I make sauce once a week or so, so that’s a lot of tomatoes!
After a hoard of cucumber beetles attacked the pickle cukes, yellow squash, spaghetti squash, butternut squash, sugar pumpkins, and Stella Blue pumpkins, I broke down and bought some spray. All the plants were suffering, and I lost one of the blue pumpkin hills. I got some organic spray, and it seemed to do the trick, except that I have to spray it at dusk or it will end up burning the plants. Those little black and yellow striped beetles can do some damage! My dad told us today that there are plenty of bugs in the soil just waiting because this used to be a pumpkin field. Great! Well, the spray worked so well that I decided to try it on the roses, which are under attack by something too small for me to see. I’m guessing some kind of mites.
Finally, the sunflowers are doing really well, despite my complete lack of weeding around them. I put them against the back wall of the garden, because I imagine them beautifully blooming along the fence. I’m excited to see them get really big!
OK, I guess that’s it for today’s garden update. Tomorrow’s my last day of school, and I, like my students, can’t wait for summer vacation to begin!