Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Tatume and baby butternut squash

Baby butternut squash and tatume squash (both vining)
I've tried to avoid the dreaded squash vine borers for years, planting Cucurbita moschata varieties instead of C. pepo.

Tromboncino squash was my first venture into this:  this link brings up all sorts of posts around growing squash from past posts.

But I think what I'm currently growing are my favorites:  a baby butternut squash (from Renee's Garden Seeds) --a C. moschata selection and Tatume squash (from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds or Botanical Interests).

Tatume is a C. pepo selection traditionally grown in Mexico, as I remember. It's a vining type that's very resistant to squash vine borers.

Both are delicious.

The baby butternuts (harvested at two-three inches long) taste like a mild version of their mature version, with a lovely soft texture.  I may let some mature this year, thanks to a August gardening break, and see how they do.

Tatume squash are much more summer squash-like in taste and texture, but to be squash vine borer resistant.  Magic.  It's hard not to like that, here in the Southern U.S.!

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Saturday, July 23, 2016

Another nocturnal symphony

Late July in the Carolinas (and the South, in general, as well as the Mid-Atlantic states) bring the summer chorus of insects: field crickets, cicadas, and katydids.

I'm hardly an expert, just an appreciator, of their sounds. A friend, back home in Iowa in summer for unanticipated reasons, some years ago, said she missed the night sounds. 

I hadn't thought before about how the chorus was specific. 

But now I'm thinking about a garden blogger friend in Indiana mentioning on her Facebook feed about how loud the night sounds were recently, so maybe there's a rural aspect, or it's tree frogs, too.

Regardless, I'm glad to listen to the chorus tonight.

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Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Habitat gardening

About to leave for the Cullowhee Native Plants conference tomorrow, I'm reminded of how habitat gardening (as a concept) preceded some of the current thinking about creating functional landscapes that are ecologically balanced, including mostly native plants, as well as similarly adapted non-natives.

I've totally updated my Designing with Plants presentation to be a Designing with Native Plants version -- interesting to see that I had a lot more examples of design from my garden-visiting images, but plants are plants. My own style, as is my gardening companion's, is totally reflective of natural plant communities in both feel and function, but I'm constantly aware as I think about this, that we're bringing our understanding of plants and plant communities to the woodland garden, pocket meadow, and house-side plantings.

Plants as a creative medium pose a changing and dynamic palette as we create our gardens as gardeners -- nothing remains the same over time, so our hands as gardeners shape the design elements, too, whether we're naturalistic gardeners, or neat and tidy ones.

Pollinator habitat and Wild Ones signs
I loved this garden tended by a long-time Wild Ones member (in Minneapolis), visited prior to the Fling, along with another similar garden.

This roadside planting appeared in a previous post, too.

native curbside planting in Minneapolos

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Monday, July 18, 2016

Lovely to return home

After a great Garden Bloggers Fling in Minnesota, it was lovely to return home to a flourishing vegetable garden and a flowering pocket meadow in front.

Fresh green beans and tomatoes from the garden were part of our dinner tonight, and there will be eggplants and greens tomorrow, too.

The Fling is such a fun event -- what's not to like about visiting gardens in the company of other garden bloggers (aka garden enthusiasts!)

She posted a wonderful montage of her favorite photos from the Fling.  Hopefully, they'll be visible.

We had fun.


An enchanting gate

A welcome from a sedum wreath framed the entrance into a peaceful shady garden.


Saturday, July 16, 2016

Busy flower visitors on swamp milkweed

There's been such a tremendous diversity of insects visiting flowers in the country gardens we've visited here in Minneapolis so far during the Garden Bloggers Fling. It's really remarkable compared to what I've been seeing in my urban garden in WNC.

A fellow pollinator enthusiast noticed this too. Maybe we live in the equivalent of pollinator deserts.

Finally, I've seen a monarch this season!

And there were bumblebees everywhere, of all sizes, not to mention the flower flies, butterflies, etc.

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Thursday, July 14, 2016

A pollinator-friendly "boulevard" strip

This was the front edge of a delightful native plant garden in Minneapolis, visited courtesy of a new friend, who spent some time with me this morning sharing two friend's native plant gardens with me, in addition to a great prairie restoration, and a demonstration prairie- style planting.  More gardens to come, as the Garden Bloggers Fling is starting shortly!

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Friday, July 8, 2016

Tree frogs

A joy this evening is listening to the tree frogs, singing in the ravine forest below the house. 

The additional rain this evening must be making them happy, as it's a new chorus.  The fireflies continue to illuminate the forest canopy, too.


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Thursday, July 7, 2016


Woo-hoo!  We've been experiencing thunderstorms the last few afternoons and evenings, and are in the middle of one now.


We've been in such a droughty situation, at least for the mountains of Western North Carolina, that many of our counties had moved into severe drought status.

I've been watering my vegetables and the pocket meadow plantings like crazy; my gardening companion, ditto, for his native plant areas.  LOTS of watering.

So having a couple of inches (+) of rain over a couple of days -- so welcome.

And I think we'll have at least another inch from today's downpours.

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