I got out early in the morning to do some yard work before it got too hot, but it was humid already at 9:00 a.m. I used the weedeater until it died, I pulled weeds and harvested vegetables, and planted new okra and green beans. A ladybug jumped in to see what was going on. I also deadheaded a few things, and watered in the new seeds. My caladiums that I planted last Monday are already up and I should have full leaves in a day or two.
I hate chambers bitters. I thought I had them all pulled last week and they are thicker than ever today, so I tackled them once again.
My vegetable garden is not as good as last year as far as tomatoes and peppers, but I am harvesting almost daily–more cherry tomatoes than big ones, but I am harvesting some larger ones now too. I haven’t found much heat in my hot peppers–I think they are diluted by the rain too. But the flowers are doing great. My impatiens have never been better,
and the begonias are also thriving. I think this is the latest I have had a healthy and blooming tuberose begonia in the garden.
The sneezeweed (Helenium) is finally blooming and the hardy hibiscus are still producing dinner plate size blossoms almost every day.
My indoor/outdoor weather station which I use daily had a glitch with the outdoor thermometer part a few weeks ago, and we haven’t been able to get it to work, so I have a new state of the art weather center. I am hoping to get it hooked up to keep the data on line, but I haven’t figured that part out yet. This one gives me a ton of data each day, so I can really be ‘in the know” when it comes to my weather. Clay set it up for me in the yard so I am good to go.
When it got too hot for me to stand, I came inside and cleaned the house and got ready for a dinner party for Clay’s Aunt Eloise who celebrated 88 years. She sure doesn’t look or act her age. She is always on the go. We had a wonderful time visiting and of course, eating. I told her I would make her anything she wanted. She said she loved the St. Louis ribs I made once when she came, and my mac and cheese and Brussels sprouts. I didn’t remember serving her ribs, but Clay made them, and I made everything else. When she got here and started visiting with Clay, he said he didn’t know she loved ribs. She said those short ribs Janet made that time just fell off the bone! Well, we didn’t have short ribs which are beef, but Clay made some of the best pork ribs he has ever made and everyone had a great meal. A great time was had by all.
Tomorrow is day 1 of a 3 part landscape design course Bob and I do every other year. We have had a lot of interest and it is sold out, so it should be a good class.
Here are your mystery plants for the week:
It was week 3 of our statewide Saturday MG training, and it was a very good day. We started off with Becky McPeake talking deer control in the garden, then were entertained by Pulaski co MG Jane Gulley who is a 25 year member on attracting birds and butterflies–great information as well as a good laugh. Then extension entomologist John Hopkins talked insects, and Theo Witsell from the Arkansas Natural Heritage Commission talked about native plants and habitats. To round off the day, I did annuals, perennials and shrubs. It was a fast paced day with a lot of education but I think everyone enjoyed it and learned a lot. I just hope they aren’t on brain overload!
I made it home with enough time to freshen up before we hit it for our supper club. This group of close friends have been cooking for each other for over two decades. Tonight’s dinner at the Feild’s was no exception to fine dining and great fun. From seasoned baked wonton chips with a mango pico de gallo and fresh shrimp to jerk pork and coconut rice to a fabulous pina colada cake, we had a wonderful meal and even better conversations and wine. As we ate our appetizers we reminisced about our spring trip to France and the Canal di Midi. Three out of 4 couples went on our trip of a lifetime, so we got to share a bit with them as well as our mystery guests. Great friends are even more important than great food and wine, but we are lucky to have all three at once!
It has been a busier than normal summer and we seem to move from one project to another, often doing them consecutively. We also are working on the website with new software, we got new technology to share desktops and photos and add this to all that we are doing and we seem to overwhelm ourselves. Julie and I seem to be in a haze of activity and sometimes we don’t know up from down these days, but I do think we are making progress. Training helps keep us on top of things, so I went to a class yesterday on snippets.
Do you know what snippets are? I wasn’t sure, although I have to admit, I have been using them a bit. By Webster’s definition a snippet is a small part, piece, or thing; especially : a brief quotable passage. But if you are doing web design a snippet is an HTML representation of a SharePoint component or control such as a navigation bar or a Web Part. WOW! Doesn’t that clear things up. Julie and I are in charge of trying to keep updating the horticulture website, moving my weekly columns, and stories into the extension web site, but sometimes just when we think we know what is going on, things change and we are confused, so more training.
I did get some new stories uploaded with pictures, and have more to do. We also have things organized for Saturday training, the beginning class for landscape design at Garvan on Monday is ready to go, the business card order forms should go out tomorrow, bus contracts have been asked for, a newsletter for France is in the works, two columns were written today and I continue to download photos.
Speaking of photos, I finally finished editing all 2,103 photos from Scotland and labeling as best as possible last night. I am now in the process of copying them to Flickr and Dropbox so I can share them. It takes a while to move that many photos, even at a lower resolution. This is one more way where my husband and I are quite different. He used to be a professional photographer and takes thousands of pictures and plans to use 10 or 12 good ones, saving the rest in archives. I take thousands of photos and plan to use ALL but 10 or 12 and permanently discard those few unused ones. I will share where they are located once they are through saving. It has been fun reliving the trip through the photos and trying to remember all the plants.
We got more rain yesterday, slightly over half an inch at my house. What an unusual summer. I walked the garden tonight and my plants seem to be doing great, although many are ahead of schedule. I already have blooms on the toad lilies and it is still JULY!
Today was our third quarterly meeting of the year for our statewide Master Gardener advisory board.
Jane Burrows stepped in for president John Richardson since he is off on vacation. She did a really nice job. We got a lot accomplished. PNG- Leadership is finalizing plans for the upcoming October leadership conference. There are still a few slots left for both the grant workshop and the leadership portion. We have 33 counties registered, and would love to have 100% of our MG counties participating. If you would like to come, please do. I believe the leadership conference is a huge part of the success of the Arkansas MG program. While the main draw is gardening and horticulture, being able to manage, recruit and maintain our volunteers is why they keep coming. If you have questions, let me know.
All of our committees had a lot to do today accomplished quite a bit. Communication is working on a new powerpoint to promote County 76, has worked on the calendar, the newsletter and speakers bureau. Retention, recruitment and recognition has come up with a variety of materials to help counties do all three. They will be presenting at PNG and will share more. Fundraising continue to do just that–raise funds, and the Training committee is working on a whole host of Advanced MG training topics along with the Saturday training.
County 76 does a lot to help the MG program statewide, but it also brings something to the MG’s who participate. They get to be in on the decision making and they make connections with each other, which brings a wealth of resources to their local county programs. If you are interested in joining, we would love to have you. We did have 8 new members today who joined.
This evening we went to a cocktail party at some friends of ours. They have a very nice landscape in west Pulaski County. They have added to the decor with a large chicken coop–have I mentioned that chickens are getting popular?! They have taken it a step further and added seating in the middle of their coop! What a hoot. All the chickens are named and they are getting 8 eggs a day. They have no plans for when the chickens quit laying, nor do they want to think of that day. We saw a lot of old friends and a good time was had by all!
I got up early and hit it! I had a day to spend in the yard trying to catch up. I did have the help from both of my children off and on, so we actually got quite a bit accomplished. I weed-whacked the front yard until the battery died, then it went on the charger, to be used later in the day. I hand-pulled weeds, and pruned out a ton of privet, honeysuckle, running kerria, and vinca. I also had some gigantic poke salat plants which went into the pile. We had a system going. We were cutting and loading all morning. While we are nowhere near finished, it is looking a LOT better. I have to admit, I was so busy, I did not take my camera with me. While we were pulling and cutting weeds in the back, I found a rogue cherry tomato plant, loaded with tomatoes. We cleaned up around it and staked it, so we are hoping for good returns.
I was on my last pruning of privet, when I cut at the base and it looked like a piece of rope wrapped around the base, but then a little head popped up–Snake! I decided I had done enough there today. I am not a huge fan of snakes, and not sure what this one was, but it was small–thankfully!
We finally planted the caladium bulbs I bought over a month ago, and I also planted a small Japanese maple and a few other plants. My son hauled the heavy bags around, so we used up most of the super soil and garden soil I had. I have cleaned up the vegetable garden and now need some more seeds and plants to plant. I plan to put out a fall crop of both warm and cool season stuff. I did turn on the sprinkler to water in the fertilizer I put out on all the annuals, vegetables and tropicals.
The tropical milkweed is doing great, and I have bees all over the abelia and even on the hydrangea.
The mild weather and ample rainfall has really allowed our gardens to thrive. I think this is one of the first summers where you can’t tell who is caring for their garden and who isn’t–the rain is keeping everything green and growing–along with the weeds. I have pulled a ton today!
We cleaned up and had a nice late sushi lunch out, ran to the library and I worked on editing photos of Scotland the rest of the afternoon. Tonight I cooked dinner–we had grilled carrots with chicken and quinoa, and the carrots were quite nice–I used a glaze of olive oil and balsamic.– Carrot dish #1!
Then the rest of the evening I spent putting together a powerpoint on the Gardens of Scotland for tomorrows County 76 meeting. It is hard to narrow the choices from over 2000 pictures to a 30-45 minute talk. I will be speed talking tomorrow to get through. It was so much fun reliving the gardens and the trip putting this together–and now it is off to bed!
Today was another busy day, but a fun one. The girls harvested all the remaining carrots. All told, I grew about a bushel of carrots in three small rows. They have been quite prolific, so this is going to be a carrot week–I am looking for good recipes, so send them my way. I also sent the tiny ones home with Emily to feed to her hamster Pumpkin.
After doing some things around the house, we went down to the Sunday market at Bernice Gardens. Since I am tied up on Saturdays, I needed my farmers market fix. It was a hopping market. I did buy some sweet corn, potatoes, green beans, and a few Traveler tomatoes. I am harvesting quite a few cherry type tomatoes, but my big ones aren’t turning yet.
In addition to being a farmers market site, it may also be rented for events throughout the year. The gardens and the art around it are unique, with some herbs and vegetables thrown in. They are trying what I would call “passive solarization”. They have covered up a weed pit with some clear plastic. It would have been better to have cut the weeds and tilled thoroughly before covering, but time will tell. The mild temperatures may also impact the success, since solarization relies on high temperatures to help cook the soil.
We went to see Malificent this afternoon, a nice, but slightly dark movie. Then I went to visit a good friend and MG Bren Coop. She and David are moving to Oregon later this week, and I wanted to see her garden. It would be hard to leave this garden (and home) since they are both lovely and really well done, but family beckons. If you are in the market for a new home in Sherwood, this is a great option. Not only is the house move-in ready, but you would have a beautiful garden to boot.
We had another full day of MG training. Today Faulkner County was the host county. They helped with registration, breaks and meals and did a fine job.
Today was mainly vegetables, but Jon Z. our bee expert also did a wonderful presentation on bees and pollinators for the garden
and MG Martha F. did an outstanding job on herbs for the garden. She also brought samples for people to smell and take home. It was a great day of learning.
Holly’s daughter Emily is spending the weekend with us while Holly and her husband celebrate their anniversary. She hung out with Katie and Clay today, and tonight we made homemade pizzas, picked produce from the garden, and played Clue and watched a movie. I think we are all pooped now and headed to bed.