Showing posts from October, 2009

Pinky Winky™ Hydrangea in Fall

For those interested in following my Pinky Winky™  Hydrangea field trials (see earlier post at ), here is an update. Those planted in part sun in Spring 2007 are now over five feet tall, even though they were “trimmed” by a doe that had gotten inside our exclosure last summer. She had consumed a huge number of leaves, as well as the flowers and some stems, so I wasn’t terribly optimistic about what I might get this year. But the plants thrived, with no evidence of the “bonsai effect” that deer browse can cause. The flowers begin to emerge in July and last until hard frost. The blooms shown here were cut on October 30th 2009. We’ve already had one wet, heavy snow earlier in the month, with temperatures dropping into the 30’s, and peaking in the high 60’s. I love how the leaf color has changed from its deep, uniform green to a black-green with red accents, although most have turned yellow now. While the bloom color ha

Abundant Harvest

A couple of years ago, I was invited to scout Chef James Laird’s vegetable garden. Like many upscale restauranteurs, James and wife Nancy who operate Restaurant Serenade in Chatham, NJ, wanted access to fresh, organic produce. So they grew their own. Rows of vari-colored leaf lettuce and peas had given way to heirloom and specialty tomatoes, green beans, and a wide variety of basil, parsley and other herbs by the time I arrived, but what a wonderful selection it was (photo). James introduced me to Cherokee Purple tomatoes. It was love at first bite and I’ve grown them in my own garden ever since. What with all the rain this year, they were very late in blooming and I got only a few before the shorter days of fall bore only green fruit until our early snow. Well, now I’ve discovered that Cherokee Purple makes an excellent fried green tomato! The photo contest theme over at Gardening Gone Wild ( is Abundant Harvest. Thanks, Chef James Laird,

Gardening Resolutions Check-Up

The combination of unprecedented amounts of rain and unanticipated life events combined to put the kibosh on this year’s gardening resolutions. The trunk of the 75-foot cherry tree still lies among the rhododendrons (perhaps I can make it a feature). It’s been tough to even keep this area weeded, although my Hay-scented ferns and Allegheny spurge have started to take off (this is their first year). The lavender garden area has been expanded and the wall and stairs partially built, but there are no new plants, because Dan warned me that anything put there would likely get destroyed when more construction takes place. Blue Wild Rye Grass purchased for the wall planter and two Raspberry bushes that were to be moved will have to be overwintered in their pots. On the plus side, we harvested a bumper crop of lavender flowers and had time to shape the plants, cut out deadwood, etc. We did get the Harleson and Winesap apple trees as planned, but decided it was better to plant them in the si