Newest blooms

Some shots of what’s come out in the past week or so, or is just starting to bloom

Cardinal lobelia -- love that red!
Cardinal lobelia -- love that red!
Hostas are flowering (our New Orleans souvenir, a Caladium, is in the lower right)
Hostas are flowering (our New Orleans souvenir, a Caladium, is in the lower right)
Will this shrub (a Hypericum) soon be covered with yellow flowers?
Will this shrub, a Hypericum, soon be covered with yellow flowers?
The most vivid of the astilbes now in bloom
The most vivid of the astilbes now in bloom
Shot's a bit fuzzy, but I think I will love potentilla. Great deep red! Only question is I know I bought more than one. Where did they go?
Shot's a bit fuzzy, but I think I will love potentilla. Great deep red! Only question is I know I bought more than one. Where did they go?
Some flowering tobacco we grew from seeds. It blooms in the evening and has a nice scent. Hope it self-seeds (and we don't pull the plants thinking they are weeds)!
Some flowering tobacco we grew from seeds. It blooms in the evening and has a nice scent. Hope it self-seeds (and we don't pull the plants thinking they are weeds)!
This is a red, not orange, crocosmia, with tall, spikey foliage. It's a member of the iris family. I'd like to transplant them to a more prominent location.
This is red, not orange, tall, spikey foliage and a member of the iris family. I'd like to transplant them to a more prominent location.
A melange of yarrow. Not sure how it happened, but I like it!
A melange of yarrow. Not sure how it happened, but I like it!
Euphorbia in bloom
Eurphorbia in bloom
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Pest control

A week ago, we came home from the theater to find five deer in the front yard, eyeing the buffet (our front garden), or perhaps were between courses. I angrily chased after them, and chased a bit more for good measure.
The next morning I inspected the damage and was relieved to find it wasn’t too bad. The biggest was to some asters near the house that I now wonder whether will bloom this fall. They might have had a bit more of the azalea, and perhaps some daisies and zinnias. So far, at least, those “deer-resistant” plants we favor seem to be living up to their reputation.
Battling the deer is a constant. Not only do we abut preserved woodland, but the deer population in New Jersey is supposed to be seven times that of colonial times (though how anyone did a census then is beyond me). Deer generally stay within a mile of where they were born, and in our area, they have no natural predators (or even hunters). They are so at home that they don’t run off in fear. They prefer to stare. And feast.
Remember those tomatoes I was so excited about at the beginning of the month? Munched. (The plants in pots aren’t protected by netting. Still. If it happens again, blame me for being too lazy and caring more about the 20 or so that are in raised beds surrounded by netting.)
Deer aren’t our only animal nuisance. Something has eaten most of the beans and munched a bit on the peas. The netting was up, and there is no way a deer could have ducked its head under it. So I am thinking rabbit — perhaps the same one that I suspect of having eaten a lot of calendula (flower) seedlings?
I was so angry that I have bought smelly pellets made of dried blood, eggs and other things that are supposed to deter such pests. Apparently the smell of this getting up their nostrils is enough to send them away. Hopefully our rainy season is finally over and this can stay on the ground long enough to train them to stay away.

Creole tomatoes

New Jersey brags about the taste of Jersey tomatoes, but as we discovered during a weekend in New Orleans, Louisiana thinks the same about Creole tomatoes. We lucked out and were there the same weekend as the Creole Tomato festival (combined with the Cajun and Zydeco music festival and the seafood festival — what more would you need?)

New Orleans loves its Creole tomatoes
New Orleans loves its Creole tomatoes

No one could tell us much about Creole tomatoes. It’s the soil, many said. When I asked a vendor if these were heirloom or hybrids (I was thinking seed-saving), the hired help had no idea. The only place I found that suggests they could be heirlooms is www.tomatofest.com, which sells seeds. Here’s what the site says:
An heirloom developed in Louisiana for hot, humid climates. This variety has a very loyal following. Yields 3-inch, round, firm, red fruit with a lots of juice and delicious tomatoey flavors with good acidity.
How did it taste? Not surprisingly, they like to “season” them down there with some sort of herb and salt mixture. My take: like a tomato should.

Gorgeous!

I think the garden, at least in the front, is starting to look like a cottage garden. Red-hot pokers are in bloom, adding height throughout. Rose campions are plentiful, and shasta daisies should burst out in the next week. Here’s some of what you’re missing:

Coming up the front path
Coming up the front path
Walkers low, alliums and rose campions
Walkers low, alliums and rose campions
another close-up, this time with red-hot pokers
another close-up, this time with red-hot pokers
I just love rose campions
I just love rose campions
We will definitely get more blanket flowers next year! Nice pop!
We will definitely get more blanket flowers next year! Nice pop!
What sort of flower is this yucca producing?
What sort of flower is this yucca producing?
The first good year for our spirea (just a little cutting two years ago)
The first good year for our spirea (just a little cutting two years ago)
Time to harvest garlic scapes (how trendy!)
Time to harvest garlic scapes (how trendy!)

Tomatoes!!!

I am so excited! Looked at my pair of silvery firs in pots and one has one, no, two little tomatoes already! (I figure the other is behind because a deer munched on it a while ago). I think I’ll have ripe ones by the Fourth of July!
I’ve tried to take a photo but it’s hard to get a good focus on something still so small. This is the best I could do:

baby tomato
baby tomato

Wait a week and I’m sure I’ll do better.
Silvery Fir is a determinate variety, so all the fruit should come around the same time. That also makes it suitable for pots. My only fear now is that the deer will come back and munch. Right now I have the pots under the motion-detector lights for night and wonder if I should drag them close to the front porch. More sun, I think, but also the risk of out of sight, out of mind. Plus the deer seem to have discovered a few things at the other end of the front path.
Also in bloom: eight rose campions, which are magenta flowers on a silvery-green stalk/foliage. One of my favorites, and long-lasting. Only a few days until the red-hot pokers (aka Tiki torches) are blooming too.