Glory's Garden

All the world's a garden, you know, and we are mere flowers within it. Come, I'll show you!

Don't get any funny ideas!

©2016 Glory Lennon All Rights Reserved

My Peeps!

Monday, November 29, 2010

What the heck is Salsify?

*Note from Glory* Okay, so my friend Mac tells me he just wrote a "riveting" article on salsify and in the next breath--or perhaps it was the same one, no way of knowing for certain-- he says he expects not to earn a single penny from it because no one will ever want to read it.

"It's about salsify, for cripe's sake. Even I ain't reading it!"he tells me.  Well, if you're like me, you're asking right now "What the heck is Salsify?"  And if you're also curious like me, you'll want to know what it is. Good thing we got Mac to tell us then, don't you think? And he thought we wouldn't be interested...silly man!
Salsify: The Oyster Plant by Mac Pike

Unsung garden delight: 

Visit any home garden in the neighborhood and your friends will happily point out their sturdy corn stalks, tomato plants thick with fruit, the colorful chard, the deep green pepper plants; even the zucchini comes in for a quick mention. But languishing in an unvisited and unmarked corner is the salsify. And that is if there is any salsify to be found at all.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

What the heck's with the tires?

I suppose you may be wondering why I have a few plants growing inside tires and I thought I'd let you know, lest you think me totally nuts. It's perfectly okay if you still do, so no matter! T'is the rabbits, my dear garden friends. They are all over the place here and eat to their fill of all sorts of things... Asiatic Lilies, Hosta, Burning bushes, French Pussy Willow, heck even Calendula isn't safe from these fiends....unless I place them safely within a tire. You got it. Rabbits won't go near the tires. Don't ask me why...couldn't tell ya! All I know is I can actually have un-nibbled bok choy, Swiss chard, squash seedlings and well, anything now...just as long as I grow them, at least until they are established, without the rabbits getting at them. Funny, huh? Of course it does make for a rather strange looking garden design but what is more important? Looks or having fresh veggies? As you can see, I pick the veggies!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

What I'm thankful for

You best get comfortable because this may take a great long while. Yes, I'm thankful for soooooo many things and here are just a few of them.

1. I'm living in the USA. Many people do (and many more wish to), but very few of them realize how amazing a place this is.
2. I have a healthy body and mind. So many suffer from sundry illnesses and ailments both physical and mental and yet I don't.
3. I have a husband, Tommy, who gets me (that, in itself, is bizarre and wonderful), loves me (despite myself!) and always seems to want to be with me (really, he tells me this all the time!)

Ghostly pumpkins hiding

So, I did tell you I had to find this picture of my ghostly pumpkins on the vine. Well, I remembered them showing up a bit better than this. You can only just see the tips of a few of them peeking out from amongst the huge leaves and you can't even see the one growing over the trellis. Leave it to Tommy to be more concerned with getting me in the picture, Silly boy! He can see me any time but a ghostly white pumpkin? Well, not too often!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

"How to attract Chikadees to your yard" Guest post by Mac Pike


Do you want to attract a California condor to your yard? I wish you all good fortune, it isn't going to happen. But if you want to provide a home base for a tiny, adorable, acrobatic and downright friendly little bird like the black capped chickadee, all you need to do is live within its natural range and practice a few very simple arts. Do so, and you will literally have chickadees eating out of your hand.

The common black capped chickadee, or Poecile atricapillus is a small songbird related to the tufted titmouse and other tits; this becomes apparent when you observe them interacting at a feeding station; their behaviors are very similar. A curious, black, white and buff colored bird the chickadee is 75% tame as regards human interactions, even in its wildest conditions.

To attract chickadees to your yard, all you need do is put up a feeding station, preferably at least 8 feet off the ground, and close (within 20 feet) of brush or trees in which the chickadee can perch. This placement is a kindness, because a chickadee will rarely stay on a feeding station to eat. More often than not a chickadee will take the seed to a nearby tree or shrubs so that it can break up the seed in relative solitude, by placing the feeder close to cover you can help the chickadee avoid burning excess energy flying back and forth from food source to cover.

Providing a bird bath or other source of water during dry periods is also a nice thing to do, and will increase the population of all birds in your yard, the chickadee not excepted. Most important, to draw chickadees make sure that sunflower seeds are a component of your feeding station mix. Chickadees love them and will linger wherever they can find them.

Would you like to have this friendly, trusting bird eating literally from your hand? Well, you can. It requires no magic or arcane knowledge; it merely requires a little patience. Begin by placing sunflower seeds on your feeder at exactly the same time each day, for the sake of discussion, ten AM. Be consistent with this. You will notice that chickadees begin to show up almost immediately after you put the seed out.

Once the birds are coming consistently at the same time, stand by the feeder after you have placed the seeds on it. Stay there for about 15 minutes, standing as quietly and calmly as you can. When chickadees begin to land on the feeder when you are standing by it (takes about 4 to 5 days) you are ready for the next step.

Stand by the feeder, but put no seed on it. Place the seed instead in your outstretched hand. (You may wish to brace it on the feeder or if the feeder is too high, on a shovel handle or the like, you muscles will begin to cramp quickly if you do not.)


Wait about 10 minutes, and then put the seed on the feeder and move away. Repeat this every day, staying for a few more minutes each day. Within 3 or 4 days you will have a tiny bird landing in your hand, seizing a seed and fluttering away. They will rapidly learn to trust you, and of course you will be careful not to betray that trust.

And that, is really all you need to know to attract and befriend the black capped chickadee!

Thanks so much, Mac! If you want to learn straight from the master, go to Mac Pike's about me page at Helium.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Ghostly pumpkins

Justin with the pumpkins which made a very pretty autumn decoration.

Recall I mentioned hybrid white pumpkins? I thought Id talk about them today. They were a present from my son Justins speech therapist, actually just the vines from which these grew. She had started too many plants indoors and knew I was a gardening nut, so, she brought over her extra seedlings. Wasnt that awfully nice of her? Got about 5-6 really magnificent ghostly pumpkins from those 3 vines. Even have a picture of them with one of the kids. Better look it up. (I did after about an hour of hunting through all the picture we ever took!) 

Friday, November 19, 2010

Nasturtium

I see you are one of those people who wants to have your flowers and eat them too. You’ve had the sugared Violets on your birthday cake, the tiny purple flowers of Borage sprinkled into a salad  and the gingered Pansies adorning pastries of distinction.  But you’ve seen nothing yet until you see the dilly of a flower I have for you. No, not dill, you silly. I’m talking about Nasturtium. 

Nasturtium, also known by the common name Indian Cress, has funnel shaped flowers in single, semi-double and double forms much desired by hummingbirds, bees and butterflies. Oh, yeah, and gardeners too. The foliage is bright green, roundish with visible veining. Many mornings you can catch dew puddled in the center of the leaves. What a pretty sight that is! A photographer’s perfect subject.

Every part of this pretty plant is edible though why you would want to is beyond me. It’s too pretty to be plucking away at it. But the good thing about Nasturtium is its prolific flowering habit. You’ll never run out of flowers for your wonderful culinary creations. The one thing I don’t much like about Nasturtium is the habit it has of hiding the flowers under all those leaves. But that’s nothing for those who want to use them in cooking. Just pluck away the leaves and eat those so you can see the pretty blossoms. The best of both worlds.

Nasturtium comes in vibrant colors of orange, yellow, red and softer pastels like cream, peach and apricot. There are lovely bi-colors like the cultivar “Strawberries and Cream” and “Caribbean Cocktail”. The “Alaska” cultivars have variegated leaves with cream colored splotches. All are stunning in the flower bed or herb garden. I suppose anything edible should be in the herb or kitchen garden and Nasturtium is no exception. It has a peppery taste, a bit spicy to the tip of the tongue. It’s great for fresh garden salads, as a garnish, sprinkled on soup or onto anything on which you would use that black pepper shaker. It’s this peppery scent and taste that gives it its name which in Latin means “Nose twister”. Funny, huh?

Nasturtium, botanically  Tropaeolum majus, is grown as an annual in almost all regions of the earth except their native land in the Andes Mountains of South America. It grows as a perennial there and therefore prefers things on the cool side. Hot humid summers it does not like so plant accordingly if you garden in such areas. It might bloom straight through the winter in tropical places. Lucky you! But for us northerners it continuously blooms from late spring or early summer  until the first frost. It thrives in any regular garden soil and on neglect. Yes, you got that right. It is virtually carefree. What could be better?

I’ll tell you what could be better. Nasturtium comes in dwarf varieties which form 8-15 inch tall mounds, depending on cultivar, perfect for bedding, hanging baskets and containers. But it also comes  in climbing cultivars, like “Jewel Of Africa” some getting as high as 8 feet. These look awesome cascading gracefully out of window boxes, over garden walls or even used as a ground cover. Talk about versatile! You may have to help them on their way up a fence or trellis. They don’t have tendrils to cling, just their leaves to sort of hook onto string or wire.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Heritage Rose

In the exceedingly vast world of  Roses, the Heritage or Old Rose is the elite. These Roses are very sought after by the true Rose connoisseur. Roses introduced prior to 1867 are considered Heritage Roses and are deemed of historic importance. They are, for the most part, the ancestors of all our current favorites. But many of them have been lost through time. This is why there are many Heritage Rose groups and societies all over the world diligently searching for, collecting, preserving and doing research on these unique and unerringly beautiful Roses in an effort to keep them around for future generations of Rose enthusiasts.

Heritage Roses fall into two categories, the first being the old European Roses who find their origins in species native to Europe and western Asia. The old European Roses  include the Albas, Centifolias, Damask, Gallicas and Moss roses. Most of these are particularly cold hardy without winter protection and they usually flower only once in the spring.

The other category consists of  the China, Bourbon, Damask Perpetuals, Hybrid Perpetuals, Noisettes and Teas all coming from or in part created with East Asian roses. Because of their wonderful repeat blooming characteristic these roses were often used to hybridize with the European Roses. Most of these are not nearly as cold hardy as the European roses and therefore most of them require some winter protection in the coldest zones.

Hybridizers of the nineteenth century crossed these two kinds to create a vast number more of these Heritage Roses many with the desirable repeat blooming habit and cold hardiness characteristic. Let us take a look at each in turn.

The Old European Roses.

Alba.

This is the White Rose of York famous for England’s War of the Roses. Though everyone knows Alba means white some of these come in delicate shades of pink as well. They bloom in spring and the flowers can be single to fully double. The long lived plants have an upright, vigorous growth, the canes green and attractive and the leaves are greyish green and disease resistant. Garden cultivars to look for are the white “Alba Semiplena” and the pink varieties “Great Maiden’s Blush”, “Celestial” and “Konigin Von Danemark”.

Centifolia.



These are the Cabbage roses immortalized in many Dutch paintings. Typically these have larger petals surrounding densely packed smaller ones, hence the reference to cabbage. Very prickly stems grow up to 6 feet tall but arch gracefully due to the many, extremely fragrant blossoms weighing them down come spring time. “Rose des Peintres” is a rich pink. The upright “Paul Ricault” is a deep pink. For a smaller plant growing less than 3 feet try the dwarf cultivar “Petite de Hollande” or “Rose de Meaux”.

Damask.

The perfume industry’s favorite, the Damask Rose blooms only in spring on six foot long, prickly canes with grey green foliage. A blush pink cultivar “Celsiana” is readily available, “Leda” is white with a bit of crimson and “York and Lancaster” have petals blended white with pink.

Gallica.

Also called the French Rose, Gallicas have very fragrant flowers in colors from pink, red , maroon and even purple on 3-4 feet high plants. The leaves are usually rough and dark green and the stems have many prickles. Historical cultivar “Red Rose of Lancaster” also called the Apothecary Rose, is a cherry red semi-double bloom. “Tuscany” has crimson flowers with golden stamens.

Moss.

The Moss rose is not truly its own class but certain roses within the  Damask and the Centifolia rose groups who have moss-like glands which smell like Balsam and cover the buds, stems and leaves. On the Centifolia the moss is velvety smooth but the Damask is prickly. Flowers are wonderfully fragrant and come in pink, red, and white. “Nuits de Young” is a dark red, “Muscosa” is white and “Comtesse de Murinais” is a greyish purple.

The East Asian Roses.

China.

Plants are 2-4 feet high with pink or red flowers, less than 3 inches across growing in clusters. Still available for purchase of the original Rosa Chinensis is “Old Blush” and the red “Agrippina”.

Bourbon.

A hybrid between Rosa Chinensis and Damask, The Bourbon Roses more readily available are the highly fragrant magenta pink “Madame Isaac Pereire” and the cherry red semi-double flowering “Ragged Robin” sold mostly for hedge planting.

Damask Perpetuals.

A cross between  Damask and China Roses, these  generally resemble Centifolias and Gallicas. Most popular sold are the crimson “Duchess Of Portland”, the bright pink “Jacques Cartier” and the crimson purple “Rose du Roi”.

Hybrid Perpetuals.


These roses were the best back in the nineteenth century for cold hardiness and for big vigorous growth. Require more feeding and watering than the average tea rose and susceptible to rust. Flowers are 6-7 inches across full and very fragrant. The white “Frau Karl Druschki”, the cherry red “General Jacqueminot and the rose pink “Mrs. John Laing” are still sold.

Noisette.

Cross between Musk and China roses, Noisette grows like a shrubby climber. “Chamney” has small pink blossoms in clusters. Requires a milder climate. “Alister Stella Gray” is yellow and “Reve d’Or” is a buff apricot.

Tea.

Teas are almost ever-blooming, particularly tender and long lived. Flowers come in pastels and vary in form. “Belle of Portugal” is a rampant climber with pink blooms. “Marie van Houtte” is a soft pink and yellow and “White Maman Cochet” has creamy white and pink blossoms.

Perhaps only the true Rose connoisseur will appreciate the history behind these marvelous Heritage Roses but every lover of the rose can see what beauties they are. For a touch of history and elegance in the garden the Heritage Rose is the one to seek. To make the search easier visit Heirloom Roses.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Nemesia

The fact that Nemesia has no real common name is proof of its virtual anonymity in the gardening world. Not that it deserves to be ignored. It is one of those annual plants that can give loads of enjoyment with little trouble. It simply isn’t that popular at least by name. Most likely you have seen it next to the Impatiens, Zinnias and Marigolds but you wouldn’t know it to look at it. You may not even know it by name unless you are particular about such things. 


But as Nemesia looks especially nice in the rock garden, as bedding plants, in hanging baskets, window boxes or as a bulb cover, of course, you should grab a few. Though a very showy flower with a profusion of blossoms all season when kept deadheaded it has the reputation of not being the easiest plant to have in the garden and that may be its downfall. That and not having a cute, recognizable common name.

This native to South Africa is said to be a bit persnickety because it doesn’t take well to too much heat nor too much cold. Just like Goldilocks Nemesia likes it just right. Well, frankly, don’t we all? That just makes Nemesia a regular, old annual and what gardener can’t handle that? This plant likes cool summers which is easy to do for the northern gardener and in the south all we need do is wait until the cool weather months to set them out and watch them thrive. So much for persnickety, huh?

Of course like with all flowers that fall into the able hands of hybridizers,  Nemesia has become even more gardener-friendly. New cultivars are being developed that take much better to the warmest weather although it still is only winter hardy in USDA zones 10 and 11.

N. Frutican is the wild version of Nemesia. This bushy plant grows to about 1 and one half feet tall with profuse flowers in a pale reddish-pinkish-lavender color that most people lump together as Muave, which just so happens to be sort of its other name. Blooms show up on top of long, narrow stems with slender and lightly serrated foliage in a bright green color. The flowers which look somewhat like Snapdragons, a close cousin, grow in small clusters.

The Nemesia we find readily in garden centers and nurseries, however, are the more compact hybrids between N. versicolor and N. strumosa growing, depending on cultivar, from 6-18 inches tall. These come in so many colors from vibrant, bright shades nobody can ignore to delicate, soft pastels and many lovely bi-colors. You’re bound to find one just right for any garden, for any color scheme and any preference. The individual flowers are small but they form clusters up to 4 inches wide for major impact in the flower bed.

As for care, that’s simple. Any good garden soil, full sun (part sun in the warmest weather areas), regular watering and an occasional feeding with an all-purpose fertilizer or better yet, a weak compost tea, will do fantastic things for these beauties.

So, when spring comes around and  you’re checking out those flats full of the same old annuals at the garden center, look around for a tiny tag with the not-so-common name Nemesia and grab up a few of these delightful, multi-purpose plants. Your garden, the birds, bees and even your neighbors will thank you.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Mystery solved



I know what this mystery fruit is now. How did I find out? I ate it...well, after I cooked it. Yes, that is how I found out what this thing was. I used a sharp knife to cut it in half-- that in itself was none too easy!-- and I baked it. It was Tommys suggestion as he couldnt tell what it was either. It was the only way to see what this mystery fruit could be. Once I pulled it out of the oven I knew straight away and did a forehead thumping DUH! Wonder if you can guess? Perhaps Im the only dummy. No matter, Im used to this sort of thing happening to me. Live and learn or in this case, garden and learn.So, now that you see it, what do you think it is? We're talking about the one on the right. I know the other is a pumpkin. I just put it there for contrast to help you out.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Strange volunteer

I get good, usable compost from my compost pile, but I also know my compost pile does not cook hot enough. How do I know this? Because every so often, I find a tiny pumpkin, tomato, Hibiscus or zucchini plant growing right out of the pile. This doesnt bother me though. It actually delights me to see a plant eagerly volunteer to be part of my garden.

So, it was this year that I found what I thought was a pumpkin plant growing there. What could I do but take it out of the compost and transplant it into the garden. Actually the spot i picked was a nearly abandoned spot in the backfield which had given me abundant tomatoes just last season. Dont you know, when they call a cherry tomato seed "Super sweet one hundred", youre likely to get thousands! Just a warning in case you neither have the canning thing down nor like to freeze the tiny tomatoes. Why you wouldnt is a whole other post, however!

So, there was the tiny plant, an eager volunteer, although I didnt know what it was volunteering to give me. Could be anything, cantaloupe, squashwinter or summerwatermelon, cucumber or pumpkinthey all look alike to me. Pumpkin was my guess. There it grew longer and longer but it didnt seem intent on flowering and without a flowertwo actually, one male, one femalethere would be no fruit. So, I ignored it.

This plant, being in a place I rarely pass while doing my normal gardening tasks, got ignored but good. I had completely forgotten about it! Well, I can only ignore a plant so long. I went back there and saw this pale oblong fruit, three actually. One had been entirely eaten and only a bit of the rind remained. The other was nibbled a bit by some unknown critter, probably the same one that devoured the first one, no doubt. And the third seemed entirely untouched.

But what was this strange fruit? So pale it was almost white, slightly oblong but looking very much like it ought to be a pumpkin. It was big enough. I dont know why, I just had pumpkin on the brain, is all!

I remembered growing some hybrid white pumpkins one year. (Ill have to tell you about them later in another post, though.) So, I kind of assumed that was what I had here, those ghostly hybrid pumpkins must have morphed as seeds tend to do, with another fruit and produced this.what? Mutant. Yes, mutations happen all the time so why not here in my own garden? Thats what I figured it was so I let it grow to whatever it wanted to be. Didnt have much choice did I? It would do as it pleased.

Certainly didnt look like a pumpkin after a bit. They grew too oblong and still hadnt acquired any sort of color. I am still baffled.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Being shy stinks

Japanese Red Maple.

So, I was taking Justin to Devereoux for his work rehab-Links program, when on the way I see 3 scarlet trees in front a of a neighbors house. They were simply gorgeous and I so wanted to take pictures of them. But I didnt know these neighbors, not by name nor by sight. I didnt think they would take it kindly if some stranger started taking picture of their home or yard. But I did think I could ask them and explain about my gardening obsession and my subsequent gardening blog.

Still I hesitated. Im dreadfully shy. What if they thought I was a lunatic? Yes, I know darn well that I am one but I neednt inform the neighbors of that fact. So, I wondered what you would think if I showed up on your doorstep with a camera in hand and said, Hello, Im Glory Lennon from down the road a bit and I spotted your beautiful trees and thought, if you dont mind, that I might like to take a few pictures of them to post on my gardening blog. I dont have to say whose trees they are, mention your name nor tell anyone where your house is if youd rather I not do that. But I could if youd like attribution. All up to you. What do you think?

Would you pull out a shotgun before I got past hello or would you say, Sure! No problem! Do what you like!  Really, tell me, I want to know!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

One gardener’s flower is another’s weed



Monk's Hood, Aconitum or Wolfsbane, whatever you call, it's the last to bloom in my garden.
So, I was chatting with an online buddy who was lamenting the lack of colorful display this autumn. He didnt seem to recall that he had said the exact same about last autumn. I agreed that the colors didnt seem quite as spectacular as other times but still, it has been a wonderful autumn, warmer than usual and just nicer to behold and to be out doing those last minute things before we can say good bye to the growing season and hunker down for winter time.

Its usually during bitter cold days with snow flurries flying about that the hoses are dragged inside, curled up properly and hung on the garage walls for storage. No, we cannot leave them out all winter, especially not connected. Even the water is turned off outside. To leave them open would be asking for trouble.

No, all in all, its been rather nice this autumn and I cant complain at all. I just looked out the window and saw the Kwanzan Weeping cherry tree in its brightest yellow-- most brilliant I can recall anyway. Leaves are blowing about in the breeze but it does look especially nice against the evergreen backdrop made by the towering blue spruces. 

Right underneath the Cherry tree is a Burning bush aflame in crimson.I even have a few flowers still blooming happily. Blue Monks hoods (AKA Aconitum or Wolfsbane) last an extraordinary time blooming when all else has gone to sleep, well past several chilling frosts too. Talk about hardy! Love that plant, indeed.