Wall of Sunflowers

We’re on our way to having a wall of sunflowers on the west façade of the house.

At the end of April the sunflowers had sprouted and the whole area had been weeded.

When they first started to come up I was excited because last year out of 100 seeds I got 6 wimpy plants.

In less than a month the sunflowers have made a lot of progress.

This year however Charlie did the planting: Sunflower Lemon Queen and Sunflower Italian White.

The rows are 3 deep in 2 different varieties.

He turned over the soil and enriched it with compost.

Each plant has its own personality: short, tall, spindly, healthy.

I can’t wait until they start to bloom which I believe might be the middle of June.

How’s your green thumb?

Looks Like Foxglove

A friend had purchased 3-each of a number of different perennial plants for his garden.

Grows to about 18 inches tall.

He offered me my pick of any three so I chose a plant that looks like purple foxglove but is called beardtongue.

The tag says full sun. Plant 12 inches apart.

In fact the plant is “penstemon” not “foxglove”.

The flowers look very much like foxglove except foxglove love shade.

It requires full sun or morning sun and afternoon shade which it what our yard receives.

Alongside the greenhouse these might help to sure up the soil on the downside.

Since this plant flowers most of the summer and is fairly tall I thought it might look good either alongside the greenhouse or clumped at one of the corners.

The corner in front of the greenhouse probably won’t work for Charlie.

I’m hoping Charlie will have a chance to plant it soon.

Perennials or annuals?

May in the Garden

The middle of May is a beautiful time in the garden.

The purple iris are in full bloom.

The blue iris are in full bloom.

Crunchy little snacks — radishes.

The first vegetables that we harvest are Pink Beauty radishes — both spicy and sweet.

Radish greens are prolific.

We also eat the radish greens sautéed in a little olive oil.

Swiss chard is similar to spinach except it doesn’t seem to bolt to seed in hot weather.

The Swiss chard is also greening up and ready to be thinned. We eat the leaves prepared the same way as the radish greens.  After they’re sautéed we might use them in an omelet.

Iris, pea trellis, greenhouse.

Charlie built a pea trellis here.

The pea tendrils are beginning to climb the strings.

He added more strings in the middle to allow all of the vines sufficient space to climb.

Siberian iris.

My favorite is still the iris.


The whites will be coming on soon.

Do you have a favorite flower?

Pea Trellis

The first trellis in this year’s garden is for the sugar snap pea crop.

In the past the pea crop has been sparse.

In past years the peas have not germinated very well.

The trellis starts with supports driven into the ground.

This year almost every seed has sprouted so Charlie started a bamboo trellis with 1 by 3 supports.

We keep a selection of free bamboo at hand.

Then he selected bamboo from our collection to tie together into A-frame trellises.

Bamboo trellis over the pea square.

Finally he strung up the trellis so the pea tendrils will have something to wrap around.

This trellis is a beauty.

Do you build temporary outdoor structures?

A Little Yard Clean-up

My friend who lives across the driveway loves working in the yard.

The entrance to the potager always needs weeding and neatening.
The front of the potager has been planted with herbs and the lamb’s ear has been thinned.

It makes her happy to pull weeds and cut grass.

Charlie planted a nice row of sunflowers on the side of the house just for me.
The sunflowers have sprouted and the whole area has been weeded.

Charlie planted a double row of sunflowers for me and now they have been weeded.  We’re just waiting for the plants to grow and possibly we’ll do some thinning.

A Spanish olive on the left, Greek olive on the right.

We’ve also moved 2 of the olive trees to the side porch entrance just off the driveway.

The Koroneiki olive tree has shed all its leaves.

I almost killed the Greek tree by putting it outside too early this year.  It lost all its leaves.

The tiny leaves have made me hopeful that this tree will live.

However, just the other day, I noticed some tiny leaved were growing on some of the limbs. Maybe it will come back.

The west yard has greened up considerably in the last week.

The rest of the yard has no problem growing foliage.

What’s your favorite bedding flower?

Charlie’s Garden, Spring, 2017

Gardening is Charlie’s main hobby.

The garden in July, 2016.

He helps with other projects around the house but really his passion is the vegetable garden.

I’m hoping the sunflowers will look like this when then start to grow.

Recently he is willing to plant some flowers if I beg him.  This year he has planted a double row of sunflowers (Lemon Queen and Italian White) just outside the kitchen window along the wall of the house and another double row to the east of his vegetable squares.

The greenhouse gets very warm on a sunny day.

This year we have a greenhouse in the garden so Charlie started cucumber seeds in the greenhouse. To the left of the greenhouse is a freeform area filled with Pink Beauty radishes.

Cucumbers fill #6.

He planted cucumbers in Square #6. Square #5 has SunGold tomatoes and #12 has orange peppers.

I like that the garden seen from the house, the Cottage, the yard and the road looks neat.

The area in front of the iron fence next to the driveway has basil, lavender, parsley, salvia East Friesland, lamb’s ear and purple iris. Lilacs are blooming the edge of the iron fence and also at the back downhill corner of the greenhouse. The fragrance is intoxicating and attracting beautiful butterflies.

What’s growing? (We also have poison ivy, wild grapevine, Virginia creeper, and honeysuckle just to name a few of the invasive weeds we’d like to get rid of.)

How Do You Look This Up?

Update: Thanks to Twiglet (see comments) we now think this is Peziza phyllogena.

As I was walking around the yard I saw something I had never seen before.

This black fungus has about a 3″ diameter.

A crop of black fungus?

There are no visible stems.

I’ve been trying to Google search it by image but nothing exactly the same comes up.

Have you ever seen this?

So what I really need is a mycologist.

Last year we found this beauty, almost 12 inches across.

Remember: Last year I found this.

Do you eat mushrooms?