The Garden in the Summer Goes ZOOM, Part I: PLANTS

I’ve been busy with a lot of different things, and haven’t gotten around to posting about the gardens and the chickens and such. So, I’m going to do this in a couple of posts, breaking it up by theme.

This is what the garden looks like now. Some of the parts are finally filling in – I am really looking forward to how things look next spring, because I know a lot of the perennials won’t really come into their own for a year or more. But, it’s starting to look like it’s going in the right direction.

We’re aiming at a semi-cottage-style garden, with lots of dense planting and color in both foliage and flowers. Purple fountain grass, black sweet potato vine, bronze fennel, purple ruffle basil (and one that looks like it somehow got purple-basil splashed, but is mostly green), Aggie cotton, Black Pearl peppers.

This sunflower is surprisingly small, for as massive as the plant is.  It was hard to get a good shot of it, because I was having to hold my camera with both arms stretched out above my head, standing on the curb.

I wish that more of these had sprouted and survived the slugs; we had a whole fence row planted, but only got three plants.  This one is about eight feet tall now.

I find its buds particularly lovely.

These are Chris’s favorite; they make him happy.  There are two plants here; the one on the left is bowed over with the weight of its seeds.  They look like they’ll dry and make good eatin’.

Don’t they look enthusiastic?

These delicate white flowers belong to a special variety of butterfly milkweed that gets called “Hairy Balls Bush” and “Balloon Milkweed,” Asclepias physocarpa “Oscar.” I hope to get some good shots later on to show why it gets these fun nicknames!

With the help of Paul Riddell from Texas Triffid Ranch, I put in a little carnivorous bog garden.  The plants are adapted to the Texas summer heat, which means lots of leafy growth (phyllodia) and not many dramatic traps, but hopefully they’ll flesh out and start killing things once the temperatures break in September or so.  Once I’m sure that it’s found the right sunlight spot, I’m planning to half-bury the container and ramp up to it with some mulch, then mulch the top with long-fiber sphagnum.

The Queen Victoria lobelias are putting on a good show.  I may have to move one of them, though – it flops down every afternoon from too much sun.

The moonflowers have been putting on more vegetative growth than blooms so far, but we’ve had a few.  They have lovely buds.

I need to hit the Night Queen dahlias with some Spinosad; their outer petals are falling prey to cucumber beetles.

In the sunflower/iris bed, we got ONE random volunteer zinnia.  I don’t think we planted it, unless a seed was mixed in with the sunflowers; it may be from the owners before.

So far, we have only male flowers on the watermelon vines.  I love their twisty little anthers.

Although the big tomatoes have mostly quit setting fruit until the weather cools a little, the grape tomatoes are still plugging right along.  Yum.

These are the Rainbow Cherry tomato mix we planted from seed.  Favorites are the Snow White and the Green Grape.  The yellow ones aren’t bad, but can’t hold a candle to the others in terms of flavor.

The big red tomatoes have been luscious.  These are Better Boy (and one throwback Big Boy) that my Dad planted from seed last December.  This shot is from nearly three weeks ago; we’re only getting a couple at a time, now.  I’m hoping that the plants live through the summer and repeat in our fall season.

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