A personal record of what's going on in my Northern Michigan zone 4 gardens. I use raised beds and grow organically. Nothing fancy--just trying to garden with nature in mind.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

End of the Month Roundup-July

Yes, I'm back.  I've been "reminded", ever so gently, that though I have no vegetable garden this year, I might have SOMETHING worth showing. So, this is for those who wrote (thank you!!) and asked to see the flowers.  I also forgot that I do need a record of temps/rains/etc. , so I guess you are stuck with me yet again.

  July had to have been the oddest month ever. A roller coaster of temperatures---highs at times in the upper 90's--very uncommon here---and some chilly mornings that had trouble reaching 40 degrees and sent me out weeding in a winter coat.

Rains were scarce and of course, not enough.   For the month, we got just 1.85", not nearly enough with all the heat and winds we had.  The lawn dried to a crispy brown . Good riddance. I hate mowing with a passion and always look forward to our droughty summers.

The deck planters seemed to enjoy the heat..........

My Joe Pye finally reached the eaves.  Though basically a plant for swamps and wet areas, this one was place under the drip line of our roof .  With our cold mornings, it got a steady supply of dew running off . Seemed to work well.   The birds are already starting to use it as a perch when they queue up to the feeders.

Out front, the Cleome and Heliopsis have finally started growing and are now attracting bees by the hundreds.  I love to stand there and listen to the buzzing.

My wheelbarrow overflows.............

In the garden , or should I say the disaster zone, the flowers seem to be the only thing performing well this year.  Maybe I should give up the vegetables.

I tried two new zinnia mixes this year...both from Botanical Interests.  This one is Art Deco---huge flowers in shades of pink, lavender, and royal purple.  They are the most gorgeous and HUGE  blossums I've ever seen on a zinnia.

And this mix is Zinnia 'Fantasy'--they have "rolled" petals and also have huge blossums.  They make the most spectacular bouquets.  Again, it seems to be a mix of pinks /purples with some white in it for contrast. I am definitely doing these again---en mass. 

Self Sown Cleome in the vegetable garden.  I pretty much let Ma Nature take over out there and wow-she's done a great job. 

The barrels out by the road have finally started doing something besides shivering.   They really make a colorful splash out there.  They get watered twice a week--that seems to be the right amount.

The tall garden phlox out front has started blooming as well.  It 's in it's second year in this spot--I think I finally found the perfect place for it.  No mildew. No burning off. Perfect!

The sidewalk border leading to the door from the drive.  I still haven't gotten the left side to my liking. I have no idea what to do with it.

I am going to be making a separate post on my Dahlias in a few days.  Some of the new varieties I tried this year are so beautiful.
I wish my vegetables would have turned out better.  It makes me wonder why the weather is so good for some things, and so lousy for others.

Monday, July 1, 2013

End of the Month Roundup-June

Have you EVER seen a more barren garden on the first of July????

 June had 20 days of sun, highs on average in the 70's, and lows mostly in the 40's.
The rain, which totaled 3.3" for the month, fell at the beginning and the end of the month....nothing in between.  The majority of that fell in one hour, on the 26th.  Most of that ran off, because the sand was so dry, it actually repelled the rain.  Sigh.

 The garden continues to frustrate me.   We had snow on Mother's Day--so the cool weather crops got off to a slow start.  Then it heated up and they bolted.  However , the soil temps remain cold, and so the heat loving crops have , for the most part, rotted in the ground without ever germinating.

 The only thing truly happy in the garden this year seems to be onions and potatoes and garlic.
Hashbrowns, anyone?

 This shows how poorly the corn did.  This is 120 seeds.   I replanted.  Those rotted as well.

 The blueberries are loaded though, and I'm happy about that.  Next month, I'm sure Mrs. Robin will be patrolling the patch .   I have so little growing,  she's in for a fight this year! 

 Strawberries finally coming in.  They are 2 weeks later than last year.  Also curious is the fact that all 4 varieties are ripening at the same time, despite the fact that I selected early, mid, and late bearers to space out the harvest.  Sigh.

 A big surprise was this Joe Pye plant, which wasn't even up June 1st, but it is now 6 feet tall.  Oh, why can't the corn grow that fast!  I could replant. 

 The foxglove continue blooming and are fantastic...........just a bit shorter than I would have liked.

 In the sidewalk border, I put my newest Dahlia--- 'Who Dun It', but it is supposed to be purple and white.  I'm not complaining---this one is GORGEOUS--more pink than purple--and I'm a huge fan of pink.  I'll be anxiously awaiting this one when it fills out a bit.

 A view from the driveway to the house.

Yet another problem this year is bugs. I have never had much of a problem with them, but this year, every flower stalk is coated with all sorts of creepy crawlies.  Gardeners love a challenge, but this spring has really tried my patience.   I have NO green beans, corn, carrots, cauliflower or melons.  The lettuce and spinach only had 2 cuttings before they bolted.    I am replanting the beans and carrots. The cauliflower will be replanted  mid month for hopefully a fall crop.  Other than that--I won't have time.

Hope your gardens are doing better.  Have a great week.