Thursday, July 17, 2008

About the garden...

The weather's been dreadful the past few days--we've had TEN INCHES of rain in three days, and not a ray of sun. The weeds are running amok, especially the Asian Dayflower, which thrives in this kind of weather. The bugs are unbelievable. And did I mention the electrical storms?

So, not much desire to spend time in my garden. I've pulled up all the remaining full-sized tomatoes with the exception of a couple Tiffany, which is a very disease-resistant bush. It's even managed to set some fruit in the last few days, though my experience has been that fruit this time of year isn't very good, and tends to collapse on the vine from the bug onslaught and the heavy rains. (They crack in all this rain, then gnats or fruit flies get into them...) But the tropical stuff loves it: My malanga has finally leafed out after surviving squirrel attacks, the cassava seems to grow a few inches every day. Sweet potatoes are running everywhere. And the cowpeas and yardlong beans are hitting their summer stride. Peppers continue to produce spottily.

I've been making a very tasty Thai salad based on shredded peppers (hot and sweet) and shredded greens (sweet potato leaves, various herbs, Okinawan spinach), banana blossoms, and cherry tomatoes. Blue crab on top. Dressed with a lime-based vinaigrette. Tasty.

Let's see, in the flower garden: My roses are looking surprisingly good for this time of year. I have yet to spray them since very early spring, and they don't have much black-spot to speak of. This time of year, probably because of the heat and water, they tend to spend their energies on vegetative growth, not on flowers. I'm growing a couple new-to-me plants that have earned a place in my garden: Blue Scaevola aemula (Fan Flower) and Angelonias. The Angelonias aren't constant bloomers, but they sure are a nice, low-maintenance plant that's easy to propagate. I'll also make Buddleia in pots a permanent part of my garden. They have to be deadheaded frequently to stay in bloom, but they're such wonderful blooms and their fragrance fills the yard.

Oh, and I should mention the surprise of the summer: In the corner of a bed, I left some Allyssum that I started from seeds in the spring. Though I think of it as a delicate spring flower, it's flourishing right now. Not a lot of flowers, but enough, and very compact and well-behaved.

1 comment:

Cara said...

Since this time of year is my 'maintenance only' phase of the yard and clearly even more so with a real storm season shaping up, I decided to start seeds for a few fall tomatoes. I usually procrastinate too long and just buy transplants, but this year I decided to get on the ball and Florida Gardener says I should do that now. The guy working at the independent nursery I usually use for plants looked at me like I was crazy, told me all seeds are sent back in August and that there might be leftovers at their sister store. (He also told me it was awfully early, and then backtracked and acknowledged it wasn't early if I wanted to try seeds.) I can't see ordering one or two packets of seeds over the internet, and I'd really hoped to get some advice on which ones like Florida best. (The seeds at the chain stores clearly don't differentiate between Florida and Maine.) All of that is a long winded way to ask - any suggestions on where I should go?