Today’s Garden

So here’s a look at what was going on in the gardens of Maple Hoo this afternoon.

First up, a view of the raspberry bramble out the mud room window in the “basement”.

We went outside with the camera in the early evening, when the sun’s low enough to make watering worthwhile, and also casting long shadows.

We had some fun taking pictures of the urn at the front door, filled with begonias and some kind of little white flower by Boomer.

Inside the garden walls, there were some calypso bean pods that were well and truly dried — time to harvest them!

In the next bed over, the carrots are coming up like gangbusters.

Next to the carrots, the Nardellos, stripped of their early-growing peppers, are finally thriving.

And in the far corner, the radishes are going crazy to seed; they’ve grown in a wave over the side of the bed, and have these gorgeous, delicate pink flowers.

Looking across the bed, the Black Plums and gherkins are looking like they’re getting a bit tired, and have a kind of “leafy arbor” shape to them, like they’re serving as shady hollows for smurfs or something.

And something we’ve learned about gherkins is that if you leave them on the vine too long, they grow insanely huge, and then turn orange.

It was one of those perfectly gorgeous evenings in the garden — warm, dry, with leaf-rustling breezes, and all our plants were happy to get watered after the heat of the day.

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28 Comments

Filed under 8. August, Garden, Harvested, Pictures Worth A Thousand Words

28 responses to “Today’s Garden

  1. Your garden is so beautiful! Aww! I’m in envy! Those soup beans look delicious.

    Next weekend is the “rip everything out of the ground” weekend. I’m sad.

  2. Thanks, Caitlin!

    “Rip everything out of the ground” weekend is sad, but also exciting! I always think it’s fun to get rid of tired-looking plants, and it’s also super-exciting to put in new plants! It’s like when a cat dies — it’s sad to lose a beloved pet, but… new kitten! :P

  3. these photos all turned out awesome – and there’s so much prettiness going on in your garden right now! those last rays of sunlight ones are especially cool. I often miss having a backyard (my apartment complex doesn’t offer much in the way of.. green things) for taking photos like this.

  4. Thanks, elizabeth! I can’t stop myself from taking pictures of the rays of sunlight. I realize I’m only a recent convert to the joys of photography, so I’m kind of hoping this might get old before too much longer. And having all kinds of green stuff sure does make it easier to find things to take pictures of — Pookie and I keep wanting to take pictures of the architectural elements of our garden, but we’re like, “No! Save it for the wintertime, when there’s no other option!”

  5. ummm I’m not sure I can guarantee it will get old. Do you know how many photos I still take of blue skies with big puffy clouds? I mean, really? And yes! Totally save the architectural details for winter – good thinking! :)

  6. Do you know how many photos I still take of blue skies with big puffy clouds?

    I suggested Schnookie take a shot of the cloud because it reminded me of your cloud shots from Bermuda. (Yes, our front yard is very reminiscent of Bermuda.)

    Speaking of pictures of clouds, elizabeth, I drove past the empty Jiffylube sign for the first time on Saturday. I decided to go to a different traffic light (instead of the one that takes a year and a day to turn green) and noticed a storefront that said, “Attention to Detail”. I was like, “Eeek!” I took me the longest time to spot the sign though, because it is so much smaller in real life than your picture suggests!

  7. (Yes, our front yard is very reminiscent of Bermuda.)
    a small slice of the Caribbean in good ol’ NJ? not a bad thing.

    haha that’s very cool that you got to see the empty Jiffylube sign. Every once in a while the broken-down-ness and abandoned parts of where we work somehow seem artsy, but only in isolation. When you see it as a whole, it just seems depressing. One of the days, I’d love to document the everyday life on the streets there, but I’m not sure I’d want to post it all on the internet. Nor am I sure that those folks would be too keen on me taking their photo, stealthy or not.

  8. Nor am I sure that those folks would be too keen on me taking their photo, stealthy or not.

    Yeeeeeeah. Heh. I was just showing Schnookie some pictures of the area around our parking lot and she said, “I expect it to look a lot more blighty.” I’m like, “Well, I guess the camera filtered the blight out.”

  9. Liz

    The beans are gorgeous. The world has so many beautiful beans – not just kidney and black beans. Thanks for the flora photo fix.

  10. We have recently become members of the Seed Savers Exchange, and they sell thousands of types of beans. It’s just amazing how many varieties there are! A great source for all kinds of delicious North American heirloom varieties for eating is Rancho Gordo; they’re our unofficial winner “new find” for this summer. I am in love with all the beans we’ve ordered from them.

    And thanks, Liz, for giving us the impetus to take flora photos and post them here! :D

  11. HG

    I can’t stop myself from taking pictures of the rays of sunlight. I realize I’m only a recent convert to the joys of photography, so I’m kind of hoping this might get old before too much longer.

    I’m the same way. I love taking pictures facing the sun so it comes through leaves or over mountains (obviously this was in BC since… well… you know… THERE IS NOTHING HERE) or on flowers.

    When my bestie was out she had brought her film camera which she hadn’t used in a while and after she went through a roll of film she exclaims, “This is fun! I’m getting the hang of this again!” I think I might find my SLR and give it a go again too. There’s something to be said for slowing down and making sure the shot is perfect instead of taking 845723948 of them first.

  12. There’s something to be said for slowing down and making sure the shot is perfect instead of taking 845723948 of them first.

    Wow! That’s kind of flying without a net, isn’t it? Fancy! :P (If not for the chance to take 845723948 pictures at a time, at no cost, I don’t think I’d be able to count photography as a burgeoning hobby of mine…)

    And I’m secretly very encouraged to hear that I WON’T ever get tired of beaming rays of sunshine. They’re my fave!

  13. HG

    Wow! That’s kind of flying without a net, isn’t it? Fancy! :P

    You know me – I love to wing it!

    One day back in university, my bestie and I were sitting in a quiet cafeteria and we were talking about what she was going to do since she was deciding not to come back to school. She yells, “I WANT TO BE A PHOTOGRAPHER!” I don’t know if she really yelled it or said it in her regular voice but it was loud and I’m sure everyone heard. Still to this day it cracks us up and damn if she doesn’t take some fine photos.

  14. Stalky

    Geez, your garden is so damn neat and orderly. I’ve got cherry, roma and plum tomatoes involved in something reminiscent of a Mets/ Phillie loge seat brawl up against the third base line. Combine this with the leering teeter of scotch bonnets and jalapenos just a row over and you’ve got an unruly mess of Citizen’s Bank Park proportions. The bell peppers, however, are growing in an upright civilized respectful line. Maybe they know that their next door neighbor lettuce is about to get chucked for becoming too leggy (as the cilantro did before…). Or maybe they’re afraid of the bunnies ravaging the lone watermelon plant, and fear a similar fate. Either way, I applaud your mastery of nature. Salut!

  15. Still to this day it cracks us up and damn if she doesn’t take some fine photos.

    That’s fantastic! (And I have to say, I like anyone who has a shouty inside voice. :D)

    Stalky, if that isn’t the GREATEST description of an unruly garden EVER, I don’t know what is! Our garden has seemed unusually orderly this year because many of our crops never really did anything. Garlic and onions will look tidy no matter what you do to them, our tomatoes and potatoes are all contained in their own places, and… well, nothing else really germinated. Our pepper plants couldn’t be out of control if they tried! (And it sounds like you’ve got a marvelous assortment of veggies coming in very nicely for you — really, who cares if they look like a Mets/Phillies loge seat brawl if you’re getting fresh cherry, plum and Roma tomatoes, right?)

  16. Stalky

    Truth! I can’t stand most store bought tomatoes.
    The cherries are coming in fast and furious. 10+ plus a day since the last few days of July. I plucked the first plum/ roma berry this morning. I can’t remember which is which- both have required additional ‘mater cages and bamboo&green twist supports to keep the fruit off the ground. I must have made some unintentional pact with the Devil of All-tomatoes earlier this spring to have this kind of bounty. I even have a rogue big beef from last summer quietly quietly growing behind the roma-plum behemoth.
    Tomato and peppers have been good to me, although I didn’t get any tobasco plants going this year. However, a bumper bell pepper crop has made up for it. I might even try the audacious transplant of my best jalapeno/ scotch bonnet to an indoor pot to keep them for the next season. This might require some actual mephistophelean arrangement. But, really, can you really put a price on jalapeno happiness?

  17. Store bought tomatoes are simply not worth it. For the most part, the only fresh tomatoes we eat at stately IPB Manor are when they’re in season and coming from our farm or out of our garden. And while we’re doing very well with our Black Plums, and the San Marzanos are finally starting to ripen up, it sounds like you’re doing even better, Stalky! Our cherry tomatoes haven’t ripened at all yet (and were set back terribly by the hail storm, which knocked all the fruits off), so I’m terribly jealous of yours.

    I’m also terribly jealous of your pepper haul. Our peppers were a complete disaster this year, but we put in some jalapenos just two weeks ago, after reading that there’s still time this summer for them. I will happily make a deal with the Pepper Satan to get a bumper crop out of them — and I think you should be comfortable doing the same to ensure the success of the transplants. (That’s a really good idea, the transplanting. We should consider that if any of our habaneros or jalapenos look to be at all sturdy by the end of the summer.)

    As for the volunteer big beef tomato you’ve got, I think volunteer tomatoes are one of the great joys of gardening. We’ve got a volunteer yellow pear tomato in what was our garlic bed — it’s volunteering from a crop from two years ago!

  18. it’s volunteering from a crop from two years ago!

    Not only that, but the seed that was planted two years ago was a year old when we planted it. I think it’s a radioactive yellow pear tomato.

    Stalky, your garden sounds marvelous! I’m hoping we’ll get some unruliness out of the caspar pumpkin we planted in one of the beds for a Fall crop. Given how wild pumpkin vines are, it feels like a walk on the wild side introducing one to the garden proper.

  19. Stalky

    Yow- two years! That’s one determined little soldier. Cherries have been lucky for the three years I’ve grown them. I get fruit from the end of July through the first week or so of Sept. Heirlooms are something I want to try next year- I almost bought a couple green zebras this spring from the uppity nursery with a plaster gorilla holding their sign (really, this just stinks of north shore Long Island kitsch), but I balked not knowing how productive they might be and not wanting to pay $4 per plant. I’m interested to know your luck with any heirlooms you have.
    Peppers have been hit or miss for me. This is the first real success with bells I’ve had. For the most part, I get plenty of Anaheims and Scotch bonnets. Last summer the cherry peppers overwhelmed me and by them time I figured out a pickling recipe that I felt confident to attempt, they had turned. The tabascos take a long time to mature and by the time they should have ripened, summer ran out of warmth. I should have tried my transplant with these plants last season. Also, this is the first year I have two jalapeno plants growing more than two or three peppers between them.
    Also, I am supremely jealous of any habaneros you have, b/c some days the scotch bonnet is too much for my calloused pallette. Combined with jalapeno, serrano and tabasco, the habanero fills out my top four picant peppers.

  20. Stalky

    Also, have you guys ever used/ purchased/ trapped a mantis to keep bugs away? I’ve seen them for sale at some snooty farm stands/ nurseries up here, but have not wanted to drop a fin on a bug that might fly away as soon as I drop it into the controlled chaos of my garden.
    I had one living amongst the front yard lillies last year, but she beat feet after a big rain.

  21. We are the target customers of your local snooty nurseries (and where on the North Shore are you? We used to live in that neck of the woods many, many moons ago. I’m suddenly very nostalgic for our childhood visits to Otto the Ghost at Hicksville Nursery), so I’m all like, “$4 for an unknown commodity of a plant! Sign me up!” :P Almost all of our plants are heirlooms — we start everything from seed, and buy from Seeds of Change and Seed Savers Exchange. Because of our CSA membership, we haven’t done much with tomatoes in our own garden until this year, and the Black Plums, which are an heirloom, have been awesomely prolific and delicious, despite losing a chunk of crop to a hailstorm. We’ve had blossom-end rot issues with the San Marzanos, and don’t plan to try them again next year. I think Green Zebras are supposed to be very productive — you should go for it next year!

    I’m really impressed that your bell peppers have been so successful. Everything I’ve read suggests they’re kind of temperamental for home gardeners, so whatever that deal was with the Devil, you’ve done very well by it. Don’t get too jealous of our habaneros, by the way, since we have yet to see any actual peppers on the plants. They were stunted, unhappy seedlings, and are only now starting to look like moderately robust plants. Although we had them two years ago and ended up with a zillion times more peppers than we could deal with. I think I’ll take your suggestion and try Anaheims next summer.

    We’ve never purchased a mantis, but we considered it. You make a very good point about it being kind of dumb to buy one, since it is likely just to fly away. I think we chickened out because they also eat other beneficials, and we were ready to release a bunch of ladybugs to control our aphidds. We had these mental images of our happy cute little ladybugs, and then our pet mantis coming along and devouring all of them. It was too sad to bear. (Of course, I think all the ladybugs flew away, too, so it probably would have been safe to get the mantis after all.)

  22. Oh, and I am VERY impressed at the Scotch Bonnets. Habaneros are my Scoville ceiling — you’re way hardcore, Stalky! :D

  23. Knock on wood, we’ve actually done pretty well so far on the bad bug front. We planted a whole bunch of marigolds in all of the beds because they’re supposed to attract beneficials and deter harmful bugs. It would appear to me as if they’re working, since we haven’t found much in the way of nasty stuff. Something was eating at the potato leaves, but it didn’t hurt the plants; there was one teensy, tiny, baby hornworm caterpillar, but I haven’t seen any since (knocks on wood). Really, other than the ahpids on the trees and peppers, we’ve been pretty lucky I think. Maybe there’s something to this margiold thing?

  24. Stalky

    I live in the bustling rook of CA and SUNY SB employees that is East Setauket (part of the Three Village- along with Stony Brook and Old Field- just down the road from Port Jefferson). Not as aloof as Belle Terre or Poquott and not nearly as pedestrian as the aptly named Smithtown.

    I will take the good bell pepper luck this year. Last year I think I got one pepper from two plants. I adjusted my manure to soil ratio this season and this might have some bearing on this plants success. Write it down: Bell peppers love cow crap.
    We’ve been lucky on the lack of pests, as well. I want to think that our micro-climate created by the garden’s location has lead to some of its success, too. Having bamboo on one side of the plot and, on the other, nothing but an overhanging feral rose bush, gives the plants plenty of sun and space. That rose bush, however, is a slight source aggrivation. Negelected by our neighbors since before we took up residence, it produces a staggering amount of blooms every year and we can’t get a single rose-bush-for-idiots from the Home Despot to do a damn thing.
    I’ve read that marigolds are good for pest prevention. I will qualify that with lessons I learened as a nurseryman in Texas and my experience with deer that anything short of electrified fencing, flourescent bug zappers or armed Gitmo-style fence sitting has proved to be marginally effective at pest control. But the novelty of getting a mantis remains alluring…
    Scotchies are a violent and potent little bastard of a pepper. I can only eat about one or two in a week- in a soup or cautiously cut up in burrito fixings. I need to find some Caribbean recipes to utilize this little pocket of pain.
    Those seed sites look cool. I think I’ll order some of those heirlooms from those seed sites and diversify the tomato production next season.

  25. Not as aloof as Belle Terre or Poquott and not nearly as pedestrian as the aptly named Smithtown.

    HAHAHA!!! Our Long Island Era ended 22 years ago, when I was a wee lass of 10, so I just took quite a trip down memory lane looking at a map of the Island to see where you were talking about. (You’re a bit further east than we were.) I was like, “I can see our old house from here!” on google maps. Good times, good times.

    Negelected by our neighbors since before we took up residence, it produces a staggering amount of blooms every year and we can’t get a single rose-bush-for-idiots from the Home Despot to do a damn thing.

    Oh man, isn’t that always the case! I think we drove our neighbor nuts when we first put our garden in because we gleefully admitted that we knew absolutely nothing about what we were doing. She fancies herself quite the expert veggie gardener, and she chastised us for starting from seed, and said we were doing it all wrong and would have complete failure of everything. Fast forward a few months, and we had two types of corn, heaps of onions and scallions, tomatillos, habaneros, yellow pear tomatoes, herbs galore, yellow squash, pumpkins… It was a clear-cut case of beginner’s luck, but still.

    anything short of electrified fencing, flourescent bug zappers or armed Gitmo-style fence sitting has proved to be marginally effective at pest control.

    So true! That’s why we have razor wire around our apple trees. :P

  26. Liz

    I keep coming back to look at those beans….they look like wee little cows.

  27. We harvested one today that looks liked an appaloosa horse. It was especially spotted.

  28. Oh, Liz, if you like the beans that look like cows, you should try growing some Jacob’s Cattle beans!

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