Category Archives: sugar snap peas


Planting home vegetable gardens

Is experiencing a resurgence in popularity.

I think it’s great.

Especially if home gardeners

Share their abundance with a local food pantry.


But for some reason

I haven’t been able to convert even a section

Of my perennial border

Solely to vegetables.

I convince myself this is OK

Since my abundance of flowers

Supply the nectar

For hundreds of bees.


I’m thinking they are pollinating

Vegetable plants all around town.

I also consider flowers

“Food for the soul.”

But the truth is I’m not that great at growing veggies.

This season alone

I’ve gotten a total of 5 tomatoes from 3 plants

One of which has now been eaten


By a tomato hornworm

May he rest in peace.


And something ate my three brussel sprouts plants

I am good at leafy greens.

Leaf lettuce and arugula are my favorites.

I can also grow radishes galore.


So I’m doing my bit for the local food movement

Planting the edges of my garden.


And a pot here and there.


I have a hard time remembering

When it’s time to plant things.

So last winter I took the local Extension Service calendar

And input it into my personal google calendar.

Which means when it’s time to plant something.

It pops up on my calendar.

Now I remember it’s OK to plant my fall garden

In August.

Last weekend I cleaned out the spaces

Where there were weeds

And sprinkled seeds for

Carrots, radishes, arugula and lettuce.

They I planted peas around the dahlia cages.


It’s not the vegetable garden of my parents

With neat rows and room for towering corn plants.

But it works for me.

Fitting in things along the edges.

Finding the time and place to grow the things

I really want.

And not trying to force myself

To fit it into a standard mold.

Life changes with time

Finding the time and place

For those changes

Can be challenging.

When we figure out how to do it.

It’s wonderful.



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Filed under Arugula, Bees, Brussels Sprouts, Bugs, Carrots, Fall Vegetables, Gardening, Gardening;Perennials, late summer garden, Lettuce, Radishes, Seeds, sugar snap peas, Tomato, Uncategorized, Vegetables


The season is winding down.

You can feel it in the air.

It’s a slow winding but we are definately on the down side.

These endless glorious days

Our reward for the past few months.

So I thought it would be a good time for a little review.

Let’s start with pots.

Mandevilla & Lantana on the back deck

They had a tough summer.

Luckily I decided to plant lantana in many pots

Don’t ask me why

Other than I remember liking a pot of lantana years ago at my friend JB’s house.

It’s the first year I’ve used it in pots.

It loves heat

So it has done very well.

I’ll definately repeat it next year.

But… the variegated purple fountain grass is another story.

It’s simply too big

I mean waaaaaay to big.

So big that it falls over with the slightest wind or rain.

I’d thought I’d dig it up and take it in

I’m more in a “let it die mood” at this point.

Let me know if you want to come and dig it.

I did see a mix of lantana, salvia victoria and penta that was stunning.

I also admired plumbago recently so may mix all that into the pot next spring.

The butterflies and hummingbirds should really like that combination.

Now, remember when I whacked away on the roses on the arbor of the garden house.

I’m pleased to report that the black spot has not returned all summer.

To be fair it could have a lot to do with the severe lack of rain

But I’m hopeful the black spot is truly history.

Maybe it fried along with the rest of us.

And speaking of roses the blue sticky traps seem to have worked.

I’ve enjoyed fully opened gorgeous blooms from the Aloha roses.

The traps are covered with lots of little black things which I’m guessing are the villan thrip.

Then there are the zinnias.

I planted more than I ever had.

Now, I have a ton for the monarchs to feast on as they migrate south.

I am not as crazy about the Thumbelina zinnia that I planted at the front of the bed.

Somehow they are taller than I expected.

The blooms are pretty small for arrangements.

They, too, are blooming wildly, but I think I over did it.

Perhaps if I just don’t plant them as thickly next year it will work better.

Kind of a recurring theme here too much & too tall.

The fall snap pea crop would have to be considered pretty much a failure.

Sorry Peg.

My guess is it was too hot when I planted.

Or maybe that place just wants a rest.

I’m not great at crop rotation.

But I do have lettuce popping up in three different places.

And the cilantro is doing just great.

For the first time I’m growing swiss chard.

Throw in a little of the volunteer arugala

And we’re talking greens!

That’s not a review of the entire season

Just what’s in front of me now.

Frankly, I’m just grateful to have something left to review this year.

But please.

Don’t think of this as a scorecard.

Gardening isn’t a contest.

It’s a journey.


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Filed under Fall, Garden Planning, Lantana, late summer garden, Lettuce, Penta, Plumbago, roses, Salvia Victoria, sugar snap peas, Timing, Uncategorized, Variegated Purple Fountain Grass, Zinnia


There is something about fall




It’s an almost indescribable feeling

The end of summer

The beginning of fall

Here on the plains I’ve known fall to arrive anytime from mid-August until October.

This year it came right on schedule.

Sunday morning of Labor Day Weekend.

Put away white clothes – check !

Turn on the cool – check !

It was as if someone finally found the switch on that blast furnace known as the Summer of 2011.

And they mercifully turned it off.

Every day since has been pure delight.

Cool crisp mornings

Sunny delightful afternoons.

So….what do we do in the garden now.





First I discovered that the sugar snap peas I planted a few weeks ago weren’t doing so good.

Some had sprouted

But not many

Something was eating on some.

Likely grasshoppers.

So I re-planted.

Remember to soak the seed a few hours or overnight.

Then since I was filling in I used a dandelion digger.

Stab it into the ground where there is a blank space

And drop the seed in the hole.

Water well and keep moist till they sprout

Which shouldn’t take long this time of year.

Hopefully there is still time for them to grow and produce Peg’s favorite veggie.

Then I began to think lettuce.


I seem to plant things in the same place.

I know with vegetables you need to rotate.

But since mine are inter-planted with my flowers that’s a little tricky.

So I’m doing the next best thing.

Keep enriching the soil.

The edge of the hydrangea bed by the gate is one of my favorite spots.

The impatiens mostly just fried there this summer.

So I pulled what was left up – way ahead of the usual time.

Next I worked up the soil

Pitchforks are great for this job

Added compost – lots of compost.

Compost from summer leaf pile

Work it all up and

Invite Cassidy and Sloan to help plant.

The theory is if they grow it they will eat it!

Once we’ve sprinkled lots of Encore Mix from Johnny’s Selected Seeds.

We pat them in and give them a drink.

I’m working on a couple of other lettuce beds.

Won’t plant them for a week or two.

Hopefully this will spread out the season and we’ll have tons of lettuce

To eat and to share.

For the re-thinking I engaged Elliott

He’s here for a working vacation.

It’s amazing how you can ponder your garden for weeks trying to solve a problem

And solve it in a 10 minute conversation with a kindred soul fellow gardener.

The problem is that my wonderful Dahlia area is losing it’s sun.

It’s going to shade.

All ready the ends are not producing

The middle can’t be far behind.

Yet a solo Dahlia in the sunny part of the garden is blooming its head off.

Elliott’s idea.

Add a Dahlia area on the northeast corner of the garden house.

Great idea.

This area looks like it will always be sunny.

It’s will require some fall and spring transplanting

Before I can plant the area to Dahlias next spring.

I’ll keep you posted along the way.

As for observing

We’ve spent lots of time watching and feeding orb spiders this week.

An orb spider "preparing" lunch

But….that’s a story all its own

I’ll share it next time.

Till then

Glory in these days

Walk your neighborhood

Look at it through the eyes of a child

Take it all in.


Cassidy in front of the sunflower she planted last spring.


Filed under Compost, Fall, Garden Planning, Lettuce, Orb Spider, sugar snap peas, Sunflowers, Uncategorized


One of the interesting things about gardening for me is how we learn.

For the most part the knowledge is handed down from one generation to another.

It’s informal.

Passed over garden fences.

Or we just watch.

Ask questions.

I learned about gardens from a series of wonderful women in my life.

It began as most things do….

With my mother.

Mom among her roses. Judging by the hair I'm thinking 60's - 70's?

Mother was not a detail person.

She painted with a broad brush…

I learned that lesson well.

She was fearless when it came to much of life.

She would try to grow anything and lots of it.

So though I cannot attribute exact knowledge to her, she is critical to how I garden.

That I garden.

She gave me gumption…for gardening….for life.


Her mother – Grandma also gardened.

Pat's photo of Grandma circa 1960's

I have very specific memories of a most fragrant rose-bush by her door.

Variety unknown.

I never plant a rose that isn’t loaded with fragrance.

There was also a Bridal Veil Spirea on the west side of her house that would bloom near Memorial Day each year. 

Grandma in front of her bank of Bridal Veil Spirea

And Irises.

But mostly there was the wash-house.

In the summers she gave it over to my sisters, our cousins and me for a play house.

So many memories of little girls making up stories.

Dressing up.

It is the inspiration for my own garden house.

My current “play house”.


If your lucky women who love gardens and nature keep coming into your life.

I was.

My mother-in-law, Geraldine had grown up in Arkansas during the Depression and knew how to grow everything.  



"Grammy" and Elliott



She was more attentive to details….small things.

From her I learned to look closely.

To take it in slowly.

She could propagate anything and everything.

Simply put it in a jar of water and roots would sprout.

Unfortunately, I didn’t ask her to teach me that before she died.

Wish I had been paying more attention.


Then when Elliott was about 3 we moved next door to a gracious woman named Geraldine. 

 Imagine 4 women…2 named Geraldine!

Geraldine circa 1980'2

Each spring I would drive her to the nursery.

I would watch how she shopped.

With perennials always buy 3….never 1.

Make sure you have lots of variety.

And New England Aster – the fall blooming ones that come on just before mums.

Those were a favorite of hers and now mine.

She was gracious to her fingertips answering endless questions and taking us into her heart.


All of these women are gone now.

But they live on in my garden and in me.

On this Memorial Day weekend I thank them.

I remember them.


So…what happened in my garden this week.

Mostly, it rained!


But here and there I snuck in a bit of gardening.

Cassidy and I planted Mammoth Sunflowers.



If they haven’t washed away they should sprout and grown to 7 or 8 feet tall.

They’ll be peaking their sunny faces over the fence later on in the summer.

More deadheading of the New Dawn roses along the fence.

I’m finally putting my basil babies in the ground since the nights are consistently over 50 degrees. 

This is much later than usual.

Since most shady perennials are finished blooming sometime in June I tuck impatiens in here and there in the shady areas of my garden.

Hostas and Impatiens for summer color.


This will give bright spots of color for the rest of the season.

I also plant any caladiums that I dug last fall.

They always seem to shrink over the winter so we’ll see how that goes.

But mostly this week I’ve enjoyed my garden.

The larkspur and poppies are blooming at random as is their self seeding nature.

The strawberries are coming on strong.

Time to bake tiny strawberries pies in my mother’s harvest pie pans.

 The neighbor’s mulberry tree is dropping mulberries into our yard which I love.

It’s a trip back to my childhood.

I know they are messy but there is nothing as wonderful as picking mulberries off the tree and eating them as fast as you can pick.

I introduced Cassidy to this tradition and she agrees.

Unfortunately, I also mentioned to her that Peg loves fresh snap peas.

She and John have fed Peg most of the crop so far.


So Mom, Grandma, Geraldine and Geraldine your love of gardens and gardening lives on in me and in the next generation with Elliott and Kristina.

We are passing it along to the neighbors…over the fence.








Filed under Basil, Gardening Mentors, Impatiens, roses, Strawberries, sugar snap peas