It has been a very cool May in these parts; normally I’d be wearing shorts and short sleeves by at least the second week of the month. This year however, we have continued to see night time temperatures down to as low as 10C, with day time highs rarely getting above 22. The past few days finally, some warmer day time temperatures have arrived but still not quite shorts weather into the evening.
On the other hand, it’s been ideal for the blooms and vegetables growing in the gardens. Today I took a little walk outside around the house, with my camera. The above photo are Nasturtiums that suddenly showed up under a yellow rose plant. I have no idea how they got there; they were not there last year and I certainly didn’t plant any Nasturtium seeds. Perhaps a bird decided to drop them off, or maybe the seeds were carried in the winds that are common in the area. However they came to be, they are delightful to see and enjoy.
From The Crack Of The Concrete
Sometimes, the odd weed will appear growing from a crack in some concrete. I will generally pull them out. This year however, a Snap Dragon emerged from a crack between the wall and the stairs going down to the road. We let it be and now has become a tall beautiful site. There are snap dragons growing not to far away in the front flower garden so again, perhaps a seed blown by the wind got lodged in the crack – and somehow the plant has found enough nourishment to thrive there:
Roses In Bloom
We have several large Roses – both red and yellow that look majestic and give lots and lots of blooms throughout the summer months. I’m not a pro at pruning roses so I had the “in-laws” do it for me back in the late autumn. They pruned a lot away and I was a bit worried that perhaps they had pruned too much – but no – they are simply dazzling right now with new growth and lots of blooms on all of them. I’ve given them all a little fertilizer as well as watered a couple of times with epsom salts which I swear has awesome benefits for both roses and tomato plants.
Here’s my view of a couple of wonderfully scented rose blooms and buds:
Artie Chokes Three For A Dollar
Whenever I hear of or see artichokes, I am immediately reminded of a joke one of my high school teachers told the class. He was so serious in telling us some news, about a man named Artie who had choked three people in the Richmond Hill Loblaws grocery store over some dispute about a dollar. He went on for several minutes dramatically sharing this horrible news with us.
Then the punchline came: The newspaper headline read “Artichokes 3 For A Dollar At Loblaws.”
Anyway, I’ve never grown artichokes before, but they came with the garden at the house I moved into last year. I really had no clue what to do with them but their silvery green and very large foliage make a very nice contrast against the colourful roses and geraniums. It might be to late to harvest the large one here for food, but the others could be harvested but it is some work to get down to the part that is edible.
There is also an area in the flower garden that is thick with lavender. This year it seemed to bloom much earlier than last year. I’m not sure what variety it is; it doesn’t have a strong scent of lavender, but bees and other insects still love it.
On The Kitchen Window Sill
My mum used to just call them “mums” – and she loved them. These Chrysanthemums and Poinsettia sit on the exterior sill of the kitchen window. We had much larger Chrysanthemum but I don’t think it liked the windy conditions that are so prevalent here – but this area is more protected from the wind and they plants are thriving here.
The Vegetable Garden
Because of the cooler weather, and also the fact I had some kind of virus that knocked me down for a couple of weeks, I am a bit behind in my vegetable garden than last year. However, I certainly have things growing including a robust and amazing couple of tomato plants. We have been eating fresh tomatoes including cherry tomatoes for well over a month now; perhaps even two months.
It’s a bit of a mess – there are actually two tomato plants here, one a cherry that is of the F1-Optima variety. When I planted these, I had no thought that they would both be still alive right now. I planted them close together as at the time, it was the only spot I had for them, and I also planted celery in front.
Last August, I had the idea that I could plant tomatoes from seed and maybe, with the climate here, have fresh tomatoes by December. Everyone told me it couldn’t be done, but I thought and I wrote about it – Sowing Tomato Seeds In August. I have been amazed at what these tomato plants have done.
The larger one is almost as tall as I am now – I’m starting to trim it back, but we’ve already had more than a dozen tomatoes from it. It, and the other tomato plants that survived have been through sleet, snow, ice pellets, and many nights where the temperature dropped below freezing. In fact, the cherry tomatoes were producing in February!
Another cherry tomato plant that is simply loaded and that we’ve been enjoying their little bites of juicy goodness:
But, even though these tomato plants have been champions, I’m not taking chances they will keep on producing over the next several months, so I’ve got 8 more young ones started in the ground – Marmande variety, which I think is what the large one that survived the winter is. I also have some F1-Optimas as well, to compare.
Redhot Chili Peppers
I have about 8 Chili Peppers – and they are also amazing to me. Six of them, I started from seed last year, and they took forever to germinate. I was losing hope when finally the wee sprouts started poking up through the soil in either late June or early July. I thought it was a bit late to be transplanting putting chili peppers into the garden, but they grew and produced some nice fruit with heat – not unbearable heat but enough to give the mouth some warmth. I think but am not certain that they are Anaheim Chilis.
There was a chili plant in the garden with dried chilis on it from the previous year (2021) and so I took seeds from those to start these.
Just like the tomato plants, they have survived the winter and are flowering and have already started to produce fruit.
TWo of the pepper plants just appeared late in the summer, where I had planted beans. I noticed them after they had grown about a foot high (the bean patch was pretty thick) and left them there. They are now doing fantastic after over wintering.
When I look at the flowers of chili peppers, sometimes I feel a little astonished that such a hot fruit gets produced from such a little but pretty flower:
Stupidly, I took my glasses off before taking this photo so the focus is a bit off, but hopefully you still get the idea.
Last year, we enjoyed many herbs growing in the garden as well as in pots. I planted a small oregano plant which over the year has turned into a huge cluster and right now, is showing off it’s beautiful little white flowers, which the bees are into daily. By the way, if you grow oregano and its flowers are not white, it’s not a “true” Greek Oregano and may be more likely, Marjorim, which is similar but does not have the bold spicy warm taste of Greek oregano.
We eat a lot of lamb and mutton around here, and my father introduced me to mint sauce or jelly, which I now also really enjoy with lamb. But I have never seen mint jelly or sauce in grocery stores, so I’m thankful I also have that growing in the garden and plenty enough to make some mint jelly with. The photo doesn’t show how much there is of it:
I hope you’ve enjoyed this photo essay – feel free to leave a comment below.