Saturday, July 24, 2010

Berry Picking

The plant featured in my June 6th post was the Cumberland Black Raspberry.  After its third year in my garden, it finally produced fruit.  Let me just say, it was a very small harvest but this is what the berries looked like when they were ripe for the picking.  They were definitely tasty.  There were just too few of them.  Now I fully understand why berries are so expensive in the grocery store.  Of course, those prices are nothing compared to what it has cost me to produce my tiny little crop.  Obviously, I don't have the economies of scale that a farmer has but knowing what I know now, I won't suffer nearly the degree of sticker shock when I see the berry prices at my local grocery or farmer's market.

Bookshelf:  Container Gardening Books

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Volunteers Welcome

This purple coneflower is a "volunteer" from a fellow gardener's landscape garden.  This particular plant was the result of hers reseeding last fall.  Lucky me, I was the beneficiary.  I replanted it in one of my containers and this was the progression of the first bloom I got this season.

The "official" name is Echinacea.  A bit of trivia:  the word comes from the Greek "echinos" which means hedgehog and refers to the spiny center cone.  Anyway, it's hardy to zone 3, if you can believe that.  Reason enough to put it in your garden.  It likes full sun to partial shade, is drought resistant, and blooms from June to October.  You may have also seen the name in the vitamin supplement or tea section of your local grocery.  Echinacea is well known for its immune boosting properties.

Finally, this flower is a big draw for butterflies and goldfinches. 

Bookshelf:  Container Gardening Books

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Then and Now

It's time for a "before" and "after" post.  You may recall the chaos on my deck in early May.  Right now, everything looks pretty good.  It's been pretty warm in northern Virginia lately so I give my plants a good soaking very early in the morning.  And then in the evening, I give the smaller pots a second drink.  I have only had one casualty since my initial planting, some new kind of fern that was supposed to be able to tolerate full sun--I really should have known better.  Overall though, I'm very pleased with how it has all turned out.  See below.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Mellow Yellow

This is a new plant for me this year.  It's called Belamcanda Chinensis--the more common name is Blackberry Lily.  It's supposed to bloom for several weeks in the summer.  Plant height is 18-24", it likes full sun, is perennial to zone 5, and its leaves are fan shaped--very similar to gladiolus.  I have noticed that the blooms open in the middle of the day but by evening have closed up.  Belamcanda doesn't just come in this very mellow color, it can also be found in shades of orange and some of the blooms are spotted.

Belamcanda grows from rhizomes, however, I found mine when they were already in the early foliage stage.  I planted them in mid-May and the first bud appeared mid-June. 

In my Google search, I came across an acupunture website that said the rhizome, when boiled in water to make a sort of tea, was effective in treating throat-related ailments such as general pain and swelling and laryngitis.  I think I'll stick with the over-the-counter Chloraseptic.