Still Blue

I planned to write about harvesting garlic this week. Then I saw that a number of my Blogger friends had the same idea. In fact, if you want a how-to, head on out to Old World Garden Farms for information including a video. What you’ll find here is probably more like ‘how-not-to.’

I did talk to my master gardener friend, Linda Hoffman, who gave me a cheat-sheet on garlic harvesting. I read it once, then put it away – meaning I lost it. I did remember to cut off the flowers, which look like little bulbous growths on the top of the stem. Here they are in the burn pile. Linda did say I could use them for cooking but I ran out of time before I could do the research on how-to.

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I remembered reading that the tops had to die back 50 percent before getting the garlic up. And Linda reminded me to lift the garlic instead of trying to pull it out. As you can see, I planted a life-time supply of garlic.

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So today was the day. I got out my trusty fork and found that to lift the garlic, I had to lift half the soil in the garden, still muddy from all the rain. A lot of work – and thanks to husband Jim for his help!

But then my memory failed me. I knew I was supposed to hang the garlic someplace dark, dry, and not too hot. But did I clean it first? Cut the roots off? What? The garlic in the produce department at the store is always clean and dry, no roots. So I opted to cut the roots off. Once again, Jim to the rescue. I hosed while he cut, leaving me with a wheelbarrow full of roots and mud. Where to put it?

Perspective is everything! I considered it compost for next year’s garlic crop and dumped the whole wheelbarrow on the bed. What’s still growing there is horseradish, which I also am unsure of how to harvest – another story for another day!

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But where to hang the garlic? Had to be out of the sun, cool, relatively dry. The basement? Too smelly. The kitchen? Really too smelly!! Ah yes, Jim’s workshop.

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So there it hangs with a fan on to keep it dry, out of the sun. Hoping that it won’t get too hot in the next few days.

Now. How to store it?

Every Flower Has Its Day

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What’s my message? I’m not sure whether this is about patience or the ephemeral nature of – well – nature.

I stumbled across this lily last year at the Flower Farm‘s Solstice Sale. (BTW, their sale is this weekend if you happen to be in Spring Hill, KS).

Loved it, bought it, brought it home and planted it. And, as flowers do, it promptly lost its bloom and died back. My dogs or some other creature, ate the leaves.

Oh well. I had it for a few days.

This year, I wondered what was coming up in that particular spot in my garden. Then remembered. But the following day, half the foliage had been eaten away. Oh well! Again, I blamed my dogs. They’ve turned into vegetarians since I started gardening.

While walking the yard yesterday, I saw two gorgeous lilies in bloom. Thought, get the camera, get the camera! But by nightfall, I realized I’d have to till this morning. Waiting is not always a good thing. As you can see, one lily has already lost its bloom. The other remains magnificent for maybe another day.

I know I have to wait for next year to see this again.

If it survives the ravages brought on by dogs, wild creatures, and Mother Nature. This bloom – to my eyes anyway – is worth the wait. So I learn patience. I just wish it lasted longer.

What is it?

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This is a woody tropical plant that I bought last summer. Inside all winter, it struggled. I had it in a north window – the only window available – and the leaves turned from light pink to pale green. This summer, I put it outside in an area with filtered morning sun.

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The plant turned bright, neon pink over time. With regular watering, it’s also grown large and even more woody. It hasn’t shown any signs of flowering and I wonder if it’s glory lies in those bright pink leaves.

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Anyone know what it is? Probably something common. I’m just not good with plant identification yet. I keep meaning to email Flower Farm where I bought it, but haven’t made time to do that yet.

Not looking forward to bringing it back inside this fall.

Finally … A Succulent Garden!

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The latest craze in gardening is succulents. Whether surrounded by fairies, gnomes, rocks, hanging on walls or tucked into corners, succulent gardens bring a dash of xeriscaping to Kansas. Since a multi-decade drought has been predicted for Kansas, it just seems sensible to ‘get into’ succulent gardening.

My problem? Louisburg had only four rain-free days in May and June is shaping up to be wet-wet-wet. A lot of my friends with succulent gardens are bringing them inside for protection.

As for me, I still wanted one, rain or no rain. But every pre-made succulent garden I saw had a price tag that I just couldn’t justify. I debated over every garden, and showed amazing (for me) discipline by resisting. Until I went shopping with my 11-year old granddaughter.

No, no, I don’t blame her! Totally my bad. Once started, I couldn’t stop.

We found just the right plants for a relatively reasonable price. Then we found some lovely rocks for not too much money. Of course, add it all up and I was spending more than I would have spent on one of those lovely gardens I’d by-passed. And what about the pot? The perfect pot was a real splurge.

Sure enough, that night my granddaughter got on the phone with her mother and revealed my extravagance: “Guess what? Grandma spent $100 on a succulent garden. But she told grandpa it was only $50 and then said under her breath, ‘for the pot'”

Uh oh! Gotta watch those little ears… Was it worth it? I love my new succulent garden!

Welcome to My Kansas Bog

Jim decided to build a few more raised beds in place of the original garden. After four inches of rain last week, good choice!

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We planted corn, melons, eggplant, and soon will have cucumbers and radishes.

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I added the broken stepping stones to avoid getting sucked down into the mud.

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More rain is expected next week. Can we have too much of a good thing?

Spring Tour

Mostly photos for this Blog.

Decided to do more containers this year. Here are some African daisies (Osteospermum) and Easy wave petunias.

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A container from Sullivan’s. For those who live around the KC Metro area, great place to shop on select Saturdays!

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Supertunias silverberry. We’ll see how they do in containers.

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Clematis – always a sure thing!!

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One of the new ‘almost black’ sedums. I was certain it had died last fall, but here it is thriving!

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Pink tulips year two. Color me happy!

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Alium – also another tried and true returning plant. I always mean to buy more, then think I have too much in this garden!

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Can you spot Fat Boy behind the climbing hydrangea? This is year two for the hydrangea and it’s really starting to climb. We’ll have to see whether it decides to flower…

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And this is year two for strawberries. Looks like we’ll have lots. Yum!

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The yard is starting to look like something! Stay tuned for more raised beds… coming soon!

Deck with a View

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I’ve always wanted an herb garden near the house. This is my ‘mixed metaphor’ plot. We’ll see what it looks like once the basil, thyme, rosemary, oregano, sage, and flowers fill in.