this "container" below filled with leaf lettuce. It's a construction-grade wheelbarrow picked up at a local estate
sale for 25 bucks.
light sanding, priming and painting with Rustoleum--a deep aubergine--fancy
name for eggplant, we drilled drainage holes in the
bottom, filled it with a layer of woodchips and topped it off with a deep layer of compost and potting mix. A few packets
of leaf lettuce provided many salads from April through June.
Once the lettuce is finished, out it comes and in goes sage, rosemary, thyme
and other herbs. Because the metal gets quite hot in summer, the herbs are planted well away from the edge so their
roots don't overheat.
Invasion of the Monster Squash
things just get out of hand. One day the Summer Medley squash is tiny. Bite size for a chipmunk. The next day--baseball bats.
But, waste not, want not. The
skins and seeds will head to the compost pile and the rest will be used for soups and grated for muffins.
|The Dill Overfloweth
A Planting Plan for the Mini-Potager
More photos from our garden:
space gets several plantings. We began with spring onions, radishes and lettuce in early April. As those
are harvested, the beets will take their place. Beets (started indoors) sprouted April 20; once they get their
"true" leaves (the second set of leaves), they'll be transplanted here about 4 inches apart. A floating row cover will be placed over them to keep the leaves insect-free. The beets will be harvested when they're about 2 inches
wide--baby beets--and the greens will be steamed and used in salads.
It's a Bird! It's a Bat! It's a TREE FROG!
After dusk one night last week, as My Mate was grilling
some fish on the patio, he spotted what looked like a tiny bat. But when we turned the light on, here was this tiny tree frog
that had made its way up 4 feet up the cedar siding. It watched us for some time, perhaps waiting for a bite to eat.
This little guy is just one of hundreds of creatures that can help reduce some of the "bad" insects in the
In this vintage poster from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, a
dapper Uncle Sam tells Americans, "Garden to Cut Food Costs."
Growing edibles is once again in vogue, thankfully. What's better
than stepping outside to pick some incredibly fresh tomatoes, some sage or a few onions and peppers that haven't been
transported a few hundred miles in a refrigerated truck? You can't get more "locally grown" than that!
on my American Kitchen Garden class and others at the Chicago Botanic Garden and elsewhere, visit Contact/Classes.
Although it's well known that hummingbirds like red flowers, they LOVE the nectar in this salvia species and will
bypass red salvia to get to the S. guaranticas. We grow several in containers--Black and Blue, Purple, Indigo Spires--love
them all for bringing the winged wonders up close.
Begonias...My favorite, even if orange blossoms don't go well with our Deep Pepto-Bismol-colored front door. Next year
I'll be planting the pink-flowered variety.
The garden in past summers...
designing the garden to be enjoyed from indoors, includes bringing a few plants (or window boxes or fragrant shrubs) under
A Planter's Palette
Below, is last year's patio garden and walkway to the aubergine
arbor. Here we grew lavender, 'Evolution' salvia for the hummingbirds, hibiscus and pots of basil with the yellow-skinned
'Garden Peach' tomatoes. This summer we're growing yellow Jelly Bean tomatoes and Sweetie in the pots. Hibiscus
are out--the Japanese beetles made Swiss cheese of the flowers.
Spotted in Evanston,
We passed this house (left)
while on the Evanston Garden Walk this summer. What a delightful surprise--from the exclamation-point trees to the shrubs.
A very welcoming entryway garden.
Flanking a doorway with
planted containers makes for a lovely entrance to this Evanston home, featured on the 2010 Evanston Garden Walk. It's not
a new idea, however. The American book, The Art of Beautifying Suburban Home Grounds, first published in 1870, touted
this idea. The style of urns used at this house go far in complementing the architecture of the house.
Lupines (right) are
difficult to grow in the Chicago area, but they grow beautifully in Door County, Wisconsin (shown here) and in Indiana
and Michigan near the lake, where the soils are acid and the winds off Lake Michigan keep the summer cool. This combination
of soft but bright colors is enhanced by the globe. One problem in many beds and borders is too many colors--the eye
doesn't know where to go.
Garden designer Patti Kirkpatrick
has one of the most beautiful and serene gardens (above), especially in spring. Her eye for combining color and texture helped
garner several awards for the University of Illinois Extension exhibits at the Chicago Flower & Garden Show. More
on Patti's spectacular garden...
Patti strolling through her back borders. She's created separate
beds that give the illusion of one great flowering meadow but they are separated by strips of lawn so you can stroll in, through,
around. Her design takes advantage of this beautiful tree, which creates a "doorway" to
the pond and woodland beyond.
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