August 20, 2015


My zinnia trials are starting - remember when I said that I was going to try and raise most every cut flower variety that I could get my hands on last spring? Again, what was I thinking? Still, they are nice, right? Here is a mixed bunch of old fashioned candy cane types, and new-fashioned scabies flowered types.

Do you remember when you were a kid and you parents would say things like "where has the summer gone?" and you thought "it was soooooooolong!", that they must be old and crazy? Well, if you're anything like me, you're old and crazy. Here we are in the third week of August (I know, right?) and I don't know about you, but my garden is officially insane with color and veggies. More tomatoes than I know what to do with (not a bad thing), pickling duke that now are just allowed to turn yellow and become healthy dog toys, and jalapeno's in such quantities that I really am wondering what I was thinking when I planted so many!

Lydia and Weasley take advantage of a dog's day afternoon. Just too hot to do anything - no wait, is that a squirrel?

Fancy exhibition Japanese chrysanthemums being trained - no moved to larger pots. Smaller than they should be, they will just bud later - as I am skipping their last pinch. These are the shortest ones, but I do have some taller ones.

I have a little too much going on in the garden and greenhouse, so instead of boring you all with lots of separate posts, here is some 'this and that' of what's been happening around the garden this week. Remember my mad rush to find Japanese and exhibition chrysanthemum cuttings a month or so ago? There was this chat that a major magazine wanted to come and do a story on them, since I've raised them in the past, but they are so hard to find now (only about 5 of us have any in collections in the US) that I had to reach out via social media to find cuttings.

Doodles watches on as I re-pot a cutting of a giant spider mum from Japan. I have decided if the magazine backs out of this photoshoot, I will just have a big Japanese Chrsanthemum party in November, and celebrate these amazing plants in a 'semi-private exhibition right here in my own greenhouse - why not?

Even though it was too late to properly start and train a proper collection, thanks to Kings Mums, the New York Botanical Garden and Smith College, I've been able to get my hands on a generous collection, of which are currently being rushed along with lots of fertilizer and coaxing, so that they can catch up to where they should be before the days become too short (day-length sensitive, remember).

After pinching, the plants are tied to a tall bamboo stake, fertilized and watered in well.

In the garden, the plants will stay until frost threatens them (usually just before they bloom in October) when they will be moved into the greenhouse for blossoming and display. These are nothing like garden mums at all, since they are not hardy.

I had to order stakes and pots, as well as sterile soil, if I was ever going to make this mad rush to push along this mum collection work. These are thinner canes than I would typically use in the garden but they are perfect for these mums.

I got mine from A.M. Leonard & Co. They have most every size.

The taller mums start to look nice with some careful tieing. Surely, the Japanese do a better job, but I still try to take my time and make every knot look neat.

Around the garden, there are still other chores to do, such as mid-summer pruning on the apples, and a good trim to the boxwood hedges.

Fennel pollen needs to be collected for adding to goat cheese balls in the winter (yum) 

The species cyclamen collection needed to be re-potted, or potted up while they are still dormant - I expect these younger tubers to start growing in a few weeks as the nights start to get cooler. Most of these are from my friend John Lonsdale.

The Asarina purpusii 'Victoria Falls'  is looking quite nice.I can appreciate its small size, a nice, tidy limber for a 11 inch pot.. Who would ever have thunk that those tiny seeds from Chiltern Seeds would produce this?
And yes….dahlias!

Lots and lots of dahlias, even though some broke in a hail storm earlier this week, I am pretty please with the selection I have this year. And yes, those on the ends are Cafe au Lait.

Weasley is starting to look like Fozzie Bear. No more shows for him, now that he is retired. He'll just have to be happy as the number 2 Irish Terrier in the country!


  1. LOVE the zinnias and dahlias. Lucky hard working you. It all looks gorgeous and very demanding.

  2. Anonymous8:53 PM

    dear matt
    your collections and efforts to grow the widest array of a plant group are beautifully crazed and inspirational! why we ordinary gardeners limit ourselves to a "few of this" and a "few of that" is beginning to seem all too bland and rational, but i guess we just lack your imagination.
    how on earth can i wheedle an invitation to the fall Japanese chrysanthemum show in your greenhouse?
    all best,
    ~ 02568

    1. Hey, you never know - I may invite some blog followers! Targeting late October, but waiting to see when buds start to form.

  3. Great post! Thanks for sharing!


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