Wednesday, June 16, 2010

tall tomatoes and such

Now my tomatoes are taller than me, 5'-5". Well Big Boy and Black Cherry are at least, with Roma (pictured) right behind. Mr. Stripey had a later start and I’ve even relocated him once so I’m not surprised his growth is dwarfed by the others. I may have to buy several more, larger stakes to secure the three larger tomatoes, which continue to reach for the heavens.

The three large tomato plants all have multiple baby tomatoes that grow larger and more numerous everyday. I need to prune out some of the excessive foliage and suckers ASAP. And, I have a baby jalapeƱo! So far, however, that’s my only pepper.

I won’t be posting photos of my herb pot anytime soon, it has seen better days. The thyme is doing great and the parsley is fine, the variegated basil even looks to be making a comeback. But the cilantro has ‘gone to seed’ and looking worse each day. I’m hoping I’ll be able to harvest some coriander, but I’m not holding my breath.

I have planted a new basil plant and hope to add others as I count more tomatoes everyday! The Rosemary is doing great and has probably doubled in size since I planted it earlier this year. And the mint is going gangbusters, taking over the driveway planting bed.

Also in the driveway planting bed, the last remaining Hollyhock flower buds are blooming. Still all white! And the Rose of Sharon (pictured) has begun to bloom! I have counted only two blooms so I’m hoping for more. It is one of my all-time favorite flowers; admittedly this may be because they remind me of my grandparents, but nonetheless, gorgeous.

Back across the drive, in the west side planting bed, the Black-eyed Susans have begun to bloom. They will look great alongside the pinkish reds of the sedums and daylilies close by. Along with the tiger lilies, the pink/red, orange, yellow combination is actually quite lovely.

Also, I have discovered that a beloved annual, Verbena bonariensis, has reseeded itself. While not the most ideal location (in the front of the flower border), it’s a welcome surprise! This annual has rose purple flower clusters at the end of slender square stems growing 4’ or more in height.

I prefer this plant in the back of the flower border, and often pinch it back a few times to induce a more compact habit. Once it starts blooming, you will have color on into the fall. Another benefit is this plant attracts butterflies and gold finches. The only downside is an occasional powdery mildew episode; if this occurs, I just cut back all affected foliage.

And finally, a favorite perennial planted on the bank at the rear property line, the evening primrose (Oenothera), has begun to bloom! I don’t know much about this plant, but I’m delighted that it seems to have spread and I now have at least twice as many plants as last year. [I believe it spreads by seed, because one popped up in a nearby pot.]

I’m amazed that this inconspicuous plant has thrived where it has, competing with the likes of ivy and euonymus. As the name suggests, swirls of buttery yellow blooms open up after the sun goes down. It’s great in combination with the tiger lily; especially since they both bloom at a height of 3-4’. The flowers are truly beautiful, and the perfect crescendo to a summer day.

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