In the Middle of Summer

A mid-summer, volunteer sunflower is poised to bloom.

It has been an odd summer. I have heard some people describe what we, in zone 5, are going through as the "year of no summer."

While we have had a few days in the high 80's. We haven't had our typical hot, soupy Ohio weather. The tomatoes for one are lagging behind because the days have been mild and the evenings cool. I have over 30 plants filled with small, green tomatoes.

On the other hand, the zucchini and yellow squash are producing. We're making/freezing zucchini bread as fast as we can for the long winter ahead. For now, we're enjoying fresh, sauteed zucchini with frozen tomatoes (from last year's garden), onion and yellow squash.

The green beans are finally picking size. The yellow are almost ready.

We've had several yummy meals of stuffed green peppers too. The leaf lettuce is still growing nicely as are the green onions.

We're just really, really anxious for some sweet, juicy, vine-ripened tomatoes. Ditto for the sweet corn!


Orange Cone Flowers Begin to Thrive

Last summer, I moved my orange cone flowers from the small deck garden to the perennial bed.
It appears to have been a good move.
The orange variety is beginning to do better after a couple of years struggling.
I also like that there are purple cone flowers on the other side of the fence. The purple accentuates the orange very nicely.


Portulaca - Moss Rose

One of my dad's favorite flowers was the portulaca. He grew it in rock gardens and planter beds. Until this past spring, I had forgotten how beautiful this flower is.

After I had dug out a large, winter-damaged barberry bush from my full sun rock garden, I went to my favorite local greenhouse. And, there they were...flats of portulaca, the Sundial Mix. I knew I had found my rock garden replacement.

The only amending I did to the relatively good soil was peat moss.

The drought-tolerant portulaca took off, creating a blanket of low growing, succulent green leaves and bright, almost translucent, cup-shaped flowers.

When I was a child, my dad showed me how to collect the seeds by breaking open the dried seed heads. Since it is an annual, I'll be collecting seeds for next year, to grow my own starts to increase the amount of moss rose in the rock garden...YES, it IS that pretty!