Spring is creeping in.

Last year, I read that strawberries and asparagus grow well together. The strawberries keep the weeds out of the asparagus bed and the asparagus ferns shade the strawberries through the summer heat. Yesterday, I picked up some strawberry plants and found as a delightful surprise.

Also, the fuchsia died and, now, that pot has purple pansies and yellow moss roses in it.

And the hummingbird feeders are out. I used this map to decide it was time.

Last Thanksgiving I had a really hard time finding sage for the gravy and dressing. That’s when I learned that Thanksgiving is the sage flavored holiday. I’m not dealing with that again. This went in the ring bed in the back.

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Filed under Asparagus, Fuchsias, Strawberries


I have always spelled that word wrong. A friend told me that she discovered it when she was a kid looking in the dictionary for a “bad word” and it’s been easier to remember.

When I lived in Florence, SC, in the early ’80s I found a hanging basket of the standard fuchsia-with-dark-purple variety and fell in love. Later that season I found one that was all pale pink and I liked having a different variety. I knew they liked shade and kept them inside. When I moved them to Charleston, they both died and I haven’t tried them since.

Seeing them growing into bushes planted in the ground in the UK in 1999 was astonishing to me.

My mother likes to have flowers blooming. But, she has no desire to maintain plants between flushes. So, when the hanging basket she has bad on her porch all summer started to crap out, she gave it to me.

I have looked up fuchsia care and I’m making notes here so I don’t have to reinvent that wheel later.

It will be dormant soon with no leaves or blossoms. (You can see they’re dropping like crazy already.) It needs to go into the guest room where it can stay cool and shady all winter. It should be watered about every 3 weeks until it starts getting new growth. When the leaves are all off, I can trim the branches to half as long.

It should do well outside the east facing kitchen window next summer. it should be watered regularly with the soil kept moist all blooming season.

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Filed under Flowers, Fuchsias, Perennials

Autumn report

The Candy Roaster winter squash is boring. Not much flavor and a kind of stringy texture. We won’t grow that again. Back to pattypans next year.

The Rutgers were OK. But, I prefer Cherokee Purples. Same with the yellow cherry tomatoes. They were good. But, I prefer Sweet 100s. They are more prolific and I like the smaller size.

We have Tango lettuce, spinach and kale doing nicely, each in a different trough. (We added a 4th.) I am spoiled by fall greens. If we ever can’t keep up a garden so that I have to buy them all the time, I’m going to get whiny.

The asparagus has done well in the trough. It’s going to be interesting to see how productive it is next year after the spring transplant.

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Filed under Asparagus, Harvest, Kale, Lettuce, planting, Spinach, Squash, Tomatoes

So many changes

We decided to take down the raised beds. We were both frustrated by the ongoing battle against the Trees of Heaven that kept growing up through everything. Chuck had put serious effort into getting the roots out of 2 or 3 of the beds last year. And it helped. But, it wasn’t a cure. And the asparagus couldn’t win.

So, Chuck sold the cinder blocks and we’re letting the grass grow in. Of course, this has been THE best year for the asparagus.

He put 2 100-gallon watering troughs in the part of the hazelnut ring where the bushes don’t grow, filled them with compost and planted salad in one and tomatoes in the other. The tomato varieties are ‘Cherokee Purple’, ‘Rutgers’ and ‘Golden (something)’. The yellow ones are cherry sized and ‘Rutgers’ is supposed to be sandwich sized.

I got another watering trough and transplanted the asparagus. Wrong time of year. I know. But, the cinder blocks were gone and the roots were exposed all around the edges. And they aren’t dead. There were even 4 edible stalks last week. So, I remain hopeful.

I’m late to post. So, the salad is already done and there is Candy Roaster winter squash in that trough, now.

My first peach is putting out fruit prolifically this year. But the Damson plum next to it is dying and we have no clue why.

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Filed under Asparagus, Peach, planting, Plum, Squash, Tomatoes

April makes me crazy

There has been snow in April the last 2 years. So, we’re holding back. There is a threat of near freezing/potential snow this weekend. It was 84ºF on Monday.

We have 6 types of tomatoes in the grow room/pantry/attic/3rd bedroom waiting until the end of April to go in the ground. There are Better Boys for sandwiches, Cherokee Purple for salads, Golden Jubilee and Hawaiian Pineapple yellow varieties for Chuck, Grape and Indigo Blue cherry sized varieties for both of us. (I don’t dislike the yellow ones. He’s just particularly fond of them.)

I have 4 jalapeno plants waiting, too. We’ll plant Brandywine okra, Delicata and Pattypan squash and Hamby pole beans directly into the raised beds.

The new Martha Washington asparagus is coming up nicely. I’m hoping for a nice crop next year when we can finally harvest from the raised bed.

We have taken apart the herb bed and used the blocks to edge the front flowerbed. We didn’t have enough blocks and Lowe’s isn’t carrying that style anymore. So, I filled in gaps with stones from the disassembled labyrinth. It needs mulch.

I am expanding the little planting area around the well. A circle has been requested. Cannas will be moved from the side of the house to that bed when I have the grass dug out.

Chuck has been removing the grass-laden mulch from the outer ring of the defunct labyrinth. When we take up the ineffectual weed barrier, it will be seeded with clover. When I finish tweaking the front, I’ll manage the second ring that we intend to use for herbs and flowers. I’ve already got resurrection lilies and foxgloves transplanted there.

2016-05-03 10.19.06

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Filed under Asparagus, Beans, Flowers, Legumes, Okra, Peppers, planting, Squash, Tomatoes

More blueberries!

We decided the dismantle the labyrinth because it was a pain in the ass to maintain and it almost never got any use. In the entire time it was here, I don’t think 25 people have walked it.  But, we couldn’t just take up the rocks and let it go back to lawn because it has a hazelnut hedge around 2/3 of the outside.

Since there is going to be a circle in  the middle of the back yard one way or the other, we decided to make it a bull’s-eye.  The center will still be mulched and keep the benches.  The first ring will get the  herbs from the disassembled herb bed and whatever flowers I want that flourish in blistering sun like lilies, irises, foxgloves, crocosmia.  I don’t know what else. The next ring will be low maintenance clover.  And then, the hedge.

We decided that we really don’t need more hazelnuts, even though that means the circle of the hedge will be uneven.  So, today, we added 5 new blueberry bushes.  Like the  hazelnuts, they will be naked in the winter. And we look forward to the fruit.  (We’ve never had too many berries in life.)

We found one variety of blueberries at Lowe’s and 3 at Mebane Shrubbery.  We already had one of those (Climax) by the fence.  So, we have 3 Brightwells, a Powder Blue and a Tifblue.


Filed under Asparagus, Blueberries, Fruit and berries, planting, tea

Bug Spray


It’s about to be Japanese Beetle season. I found this on FaceBook.

An addition from John Snippe: Add a tablespoon of soap to that (even use it to replace the oil, actually)… and it will work better with crushed fresh garlic. Oh, and add a teaspoon of cheyenne pepper… anti- snails/slugs and nibblers.

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Our salad bar


Yes. I am gloating a little bit.  There is a little lettuce plant growing by the compost bucket in the middle of the bed, one growing in the bed by the wall and a couple growing on the ground outside the bed.  We’ll be eating lettuce until we turn green.

Don’t hate.


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Filed under Asparagus, Lettuce, Vegetables


IMG_0003 (2)

Today, this bed holds the wild dogwood I transplanted from a friend’s yard, a rice paper bush, a cloned dogwood from the National Phenology Network, some bearded irises, some white dwarf crested irises, some Asiatic lilies, a couple of Eastern columbines, 4 varieties of hellebores/Lenten roses, a small patch of cranesbill, a Bigleaf magnolia, one tea bush, a bear’s breeches, a Daphne odora, 2 kinds of ivy, a Japanese maple, a red camellia, 5 mums and I sowed seeds for 2 heights of zinnias, portulaca and impatiens today.

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Filed under Annuals, Flowers, Irises, Perennials, planting, tea

Front bed

The largest part of this year’s yard project is done. Grass is out; mulch is in. Tea bushes are transplanted.  I hope moving hasn’t killed them. I need to get the cover weeds out of the older part of the bed so we can mulch there, too. We used a thick layer of mulch to kill the grass there and it was effective. But, that mulch has turned into dirt and needs refreshing.

I moved the Euonymus that I had planted in that bed to the back yard where the deer can’t get to it. It’s supposed to be a bush but, right now, it’s a stick because it was snacked on heavily last summer. But, it’s not dead as evidenced by the leaves popping out. So, I have hope.

Our Japanese maple was accidentally mutilated by some yard guys who were taking down dead chunks of the maple on the corner of our lot.  After some consideration, I got a new tree.  The mutilated one was in too much sun and looked like crap for most of the summer. So, we finished the job the yard guys started and put a new tree in the front Partial Shade bed.

I found parts of a man’s shoe and a patch of nails while I was digging the grass out.  And I’m constantly amazed at the amount of quartz that grows in our ground.

 This is our most prolific crop.

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Filed under Flowers, odds&ends, planting, tea