Tuesday, September 18, 2012

The Kitchen Garden in August...yes August...

September is almost over and I’m just posting pictures of the Kitchen Garden in August...sigh...sad, but true. How did that happen?????

Basil, swiss chard, tomatoes, and yellow squash were all big parts of my diet in August. 

The Kitchen Garden in August.

August rains helped keep the Kitchen Garden alive, despite the heat.

Kitchen Garden looking towards the flower garden.

I planted garlic chives last year and they really flourished this year. The chopped leaves make a nice addition to a pasta dish and the pretty, white flower heads make a nice addition to the garden. For some reason allium has never done well in my yard, yet these garlic chives, which must be a close relative, seem perfectly happy.

Basil, cosmos, and garlic chives.

I cannot, not ever, live without sweet basil in the garden. Never. It is simply a requirement every year. It is my favorite fresh herb. I sorely miss it in the winter time. I have tried growing it inside in a pot during the winter, but it never does very well. Dried basil doesn’t even come close to the heavenly scent and taste of fresh basil.

Sweet basil.

I must admit that I try not to each TOO much of the swiss chard because it’s just too pretty to eat. I love the brightly colored stems.

Swiss chard, purple hyacinth bean vine and bok choy.

I find it difficult NOT to plant hyacinth bean each year. The beautifully shaped, brightly colored flowers are wonderful...the purple stems and seed pods make it even more amazing.

Purple hyacinth bean vine.

The Early Girl tomatoes exploded right after we got back from our annual trip to the Poconos near the end of August. It has been non-stop ever since. Lots of Caprese salads, tomatoes with pasta, grilled tomatoes, and tomato grilled cheese sandwiches going on. I must admit, though, that these are not the sweetest tomatoes. They are perfectly fine, just not as sweet as I like.

Early Girl tomatoes.

The grape-sized Sungold tomatoes have not been the most prolific smaller tomato that I’ve grown, but they certainly are the sweetest.

Orange zinnias and Sungold tomatoes.

I have become a devout fan of Heliopsis Summer Nights. You seriously couldn’t ask more from it. This is planted on the border of my Kitchen Garden next to the neighbor’s white fence. It has bloomed non-stop all summer long. Seriously...non-stop and abundantly. These outbloom black eyed susan and is even prettier because of the almost-black stems and the cheerful orange centers. I love this plant so much I would hug it if I thought I wouldn’t completely crush it.

Heliopsis Summer Nights.

The first time I saw a picture of a Beautyberry bush I knew I had to have one one day. I planted this last year and it has doubled, if not tripled in size. It, too, is planted on the border of the Kitchen Garden next to the neighbor’s white fence. It gets tiny white flowers in the spring which make you think, eh, this plant is ok. But then come late summer the show starts with bright purple berries bursting forth all along the gracefully arching stems. When I showed this to Brian he said, “Wow!” It’s just that cool.

Beautyberry busy.

The neighbor’s white fence certainly is better than looking at all the cars in their driveway. Now if they would just finish it...the right side has never been completed. When I planned the Kitchen Garden (yes, planned, something I don’t often do when gardening), I knew I wanted a focal point that could be seen from the house and from the screened-in back porch. Right now the bench and the circular bed act as such. Originally I wanted a fountain in the center of the circular bed, but after going to a Kitchen Garden lecture at Longwood Gardens earlier this year I decided on a standard rose. Apparently a Kitchen Garden just isn’t a Kitchen Garden without at least one. I got a great deal on this in the early spring and it has bloomed fairly consistently all spring and summer. I also knew I wanted some boxwood because to me a Kitchen Garden isn’t complete without it. I have four dwarf boxwoods in the circular bed, along with an annual that I mentioned in my last post, Melampodium (the yellow flowers). I also have two boxwoods planted to the right and two to the left as you enter the garden, plus two in pots. The two that are in pots I really wanted to be pyramid shaped boxwoods, but alas, they were to darn expensive. Instead I bought another boxwood that gets a little bigger than the dwarf and I will try to train it into a pyramid shape as it grows.

Entrance to the Kitchen Garden.

Here’s a close-up of that circular bed.

Melampodium (an annual), along with dwarf boxwood and a rose standard.

The small area to the left of the Kitchen Garden has been one of the “problem areas” for quite awhile. No matter how often I dig up weeds in this area, they always come back with a vengeance and get as tall as me, which is pretty tall. I finally got sick of clearing this area out. I put down landscaping fabric and mulch and hope that keeps the stubborn weeds at bay. I hope to plant some things in the area to the left of the woodpile next spring. At some point there might be a small garden shed in this area.

Woodpile area next to the Kitchen Garden.

Looking from the very back of the yard towards the house.

This is my second year of being able to enjoy the Kitchen Garden, which I worked so hard on. I can’t imagine not having it now. So much of my vegetables and herbs come from the garden that the only produce that I’ve had to buy this year is corn, broccoli, and scallions. I had planted scallions, but for some reason they didn’t do well this year. There’s something so natural about “living off the land.” And nothing tastes better than herbs and veggies picked straight from the garden.

The Kitchen Garden.

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