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Cosmos 2012Our absence is due largely to the demise of our trusty camera, but also a result of extreme weather events that left us scrambling to catch up. Local market vendors and apple PYO farms agree that weather fluctuations are either producing smaller fruits or early yields. This photo shows our cosmos in full bloom next to a hollyhock that is only just beginning to produce foliage. So it is not just we amateur gardeners suffering from climate change paranoia! Below is a time-lapsed view of summer in Planter's vegetable garden, ornamental beds, and the meadow. Be prepared to scroll.

Greens and beets are seeded directly in the soil in early June:

Greens   Beets

Brussels sprouts, tomatoes, and peppers were transplanted in mid-June:

Brussels sprouts   Tomatoes  

I was worried that our freaky cold weather streaks would harm the peppers, so up went the row tunnels. A week later, we had a hot spell and had to remove them!

Habanero Peppers   Pepper Tunnel

In two weeks,the kale, lettuce, and oriental greens were almost ready to harvest thanks to all that rain! Sunflowers are in the far left of the left photo.

Greens row   Beets & Greens July Tomatoes

Tomatoes were coming along nicely and caged the first week of July. Then along comes our favorite insect larva: the tomato hornworm. It only takes one of these larvae of the adult Sphinx Moth Sphinx mothto decimate an entire tomato plant and half its fruit in one day! Tomato hornworm  

Oriental greens were ready for harvesting first. We use them in stir fries and to perk up summer salads.

Harvesting oriental greens   Washing greens Lettuce ready for the table
Next to harvest were two varieties of lettuce, 'Red Sails' and 'Black-Seeded Simpson', both good for withstanding intense summer heat without going to seed. Unfortunately, we did not have a chance to succession plant, so they were too early for ripe tomatoes.

Drying baskets Drying herbs

We keep a ready supply of baskets on hand for drying herbs. Believe it or not, we do not need the dehydrator, even in NH humid summertime heat, since we have a well-ventilated dining room with plenty space.

Perhaps the hardest lesson this year was the decision not to use black plastic for our peppers and tomatoes. The plastic may have helped the peppers through extreme temperatures and certainly would have enabled them to withstand competition from weeds! (It also helps in the detection of the nearly invisible tomato hornworm.) The photo on the left was taken July 11th. The one on the right was taken August 17th.

Peppers in July   Peppers in August   Sunflowers in August
Like most of our ornamentals this year, sunflowers bloomed early and were stunted. Tomatoes in AugustWhat tomatoes survived the hornworm onslaught are now turning red. The tomatilloes escaped the rapacious larva and a weevil infestation thanks to an annual ritual of covering with remay. Tomatillo harvest, August 2012

Planter's ornamental beds and containers:

Hollyhocks, July 2012   Clematis, Early July Daisies and Black-eyed SusansDaisies and a volunteer Rudbekia outside the garden also bloom early but are totally happy. White phlox are compatible with red bee balm, since both can be invasive if left to their own accord. Phlox and Bee Balm

Woodland plantings also responded positively to mother nature's mood swings.   Ginger on roadside slope
Gladiolas 2012You can never plant enough Verbena bonariensis. Moths, butterfllies, and hummingbirds love them. Moth on Verbena

In June, Ipomea seeds are sprinkled behind the compost. Two months later, they tower above everything.

Ipomea seedlings, June   Ipomea, August Moss rose and Trithoma in June

You can never have enough gazania and moss rose (Portulaca). Hummingbirds like the Mexican sunflower (Trithoma). Containers with 'Imagination' Verbena and hanging Lobelia will last all summer long! Verbenas and Lobelias

Planter's meadow color begins in mid-June with peony, Oriental poppy, and sage blooms. The tall plants in the back are phlox that are about to bloom.

Meadow in mid-June

SneezeweedInappropriately named, Sneezeweed (Helenium 'autumnale' ) is a commanding presence behind daylilies and ornamental grasses. Although a perennial in the southwest, it does not always survive our winters. But it will always retain its visible post every year behind our mailbox, thanks to our local vendor.

Hyssop and Russian sage comingle and gladiolas and mid-season daylilies perk up the August perennial beds. Echinacea are happy in their new perennial bed inside the garden.

Mid-season daylilies   Hyssop and Russian Sage
New Echniacea bed   Perennial beds in August Roadside garden
Our roadside garden flourishes with the exception of a new sedum planted last fall (foreground). It received a haircut by hungry deer, who love sedum. The blood sedum (red and purple ground cover) and daylilies escaped. The tall spikey naturalized mullein reach to the sun.

At the end of the day, boots and tools are sanitized by the sun to cure any residual poison ivy oil, bacteria, or fungii clinging to them.

Solar cleansing

Coming soon: Fall at Planter.

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