June 29, 2008

Late June Gardening

A Severe Thunderstorm Approaches
I can't remember a time when we have had so many Thundershowers, with storms arriving most every evening, at night, and even in the morning. Needless to say, the garden is enjoying the nitrogen-rich rain, and thankfully, we have been avoiding the hail storms, which have occurred in the area. This is the weather we in New England typically see in the period between late July and early August, with near 100% humidity, and high temperatures, it feels more like Miami, than Boston. Still, I would rather have this weather than dry, drought-ridden months which can also occur.

I am smitten by Nepeta sibirica 'Souvenir d'Andre Chaudon'
This is a relatively new Nepeta, or Cat mint available at your more stylish garden centers, and it is a charm. It has showier flowers which are also larger than other Nepetas, and it stay's in bloom for a very long time, beginning here in late May, and continuing for most of the summer.

Nepeta "Souvenir d'Andre Chaudon, a named cultivar of Nepeta x faassenii

With nearly 20 Nepeta species and named varieties carried by just one internet search at Digging Dog Nursery, I now have this surprising genus on my radar. I am so impressed with this cultivar ( which is sold under various names), that I now am more curious to try others. Inexpensive, easy to grow and stunning in the garden, you may want to try some of these new Nepeta's also. I took some cuttings so that I can plant a larger sections ( as with most perennials, plant in lots of 15 if you can), but this is a registered variety, and propagation is restricted for retail use.

Berberian Farms, a farm stand near my home.

About six years ago, I decided to reduce the time spent in the vegetable garden, since the labor, cost and time involved became simply too much ( I mean, I am not Martha Stewart and I can't afford all the gardeners she has! How nice would that be!). So I discovered Berberian's Farm Stand, twenty minutes from where I live, and now I can buy fresh, local grown produce. This weekend, we bought fresh English Peas, which I spent a good part of Saturday, shelling for fresh pea soup, or simply steamed with some fresh butter and mint. Yum. We also bought baby beets for Beet greens and Summer Borscht with sour cream and dill, as well as lots of Arugula, lettuce and Dandilion.

Last year I decided that even at the farm stand, the cost was a little crazy ( corn - $8.00 a Dozen, Heirloom Tomatoes - $5.00 a lb), so we started a tiny vegetable garden consisting of three raised beds, and some beans planted out back with squash and gourds. It's just not summer, without Pumpkins on the vine and fresh herbs. I wish I lived where I could have acres of corn, but that will have to wait. Until then, I will have to settle for a dozen tomato plants, and not the 75 plants I used to grow.

Freshly Shelled Sweet Peas

1 comment :

  1. That Nepeta is usually listed as N. sibirica. IMHO, it is by far the best of the Nepetas. None of the others bloom as long, and many of the others are weedy. My N. sibirica clone (from White Flower Farm) does not self-sow: a horrible problem with many Nepetas. I've tried at least 10 species/varieties, and there's only one other that I still grow: the dwarf Nepeta cataria 'Citriodora' from Blanchettes.


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