August 16, 2017

August Harvest, Containers and Announcing My New Book in the Works

Containers on the deck have been rearranged, something I like to do in mid-summer as some containers begin to fade. Always on the lookout for odd combinations, this group mixes tropicals, succulents and herbs all based around galvanized metal colors.

I know, I am lumping post themes together, but it's the only way that I am going to get anything posted while the veg garden consumes most every free time. It does make me wonder - how do other garden bloggers and writers ever find the time to attend events like the Garden Writers of America conference (last week in Buffalo) or trade shows? They seem to come most every week now, and although I am invited, I really can't find the time to sneak away (let alone for a vacation!).

OK, that was my prerequisite bitching about not having any free time. The truth is - now that I am not working, I do have more 'free time' - the problem is, I am filling it up faster than I can use it!

I had such plans for this blog while I was not working - more detailed posts, more lovely photos from the additional projects that I am able to delve into, but it seems that that has all backfired on me. Now that I have finally negotiated my contract for my first gardening book (signed it off today), I am trying to catch up with photos which I need for the book. All this means is that fewer niece photos are making it on this blog (at least of veggies - of which, I am growing many this year).

It's official - I've been busy photographing images for me upcoming book on vegetable gardening. More about that in the future, as the print date is over a year away. I promise you that it will be awesome and like no other vegetable gardening book.

I would just expect more posts like this, and maybe a few which more advice. I have drafts on so many detailed posts, but they require far more research as they are more in-depth. Post about my thoughts on GMO's, pesticides, fertilizer all require careful analysis and recommendations. The same goes for my posts about garden pests and problems (here, I am dealing with gypsy moth infestation - egg cases are everywhere, and I am suffering from the new Japanese Jumping worm or Crazy Snake Worm - an infestation which may require a creepy video, but also good advice, of which I am still researching.).

The steps on the deck are displaying a weird mix of edibles and ornamentals. Bromeliads, cuttings of lemon thyme rooting for a winter in the greenhouse, scented geraniums and chili peppers.

Part of me really wants to provide the very best advice to you but another part of me wants to be lighter (posts like "here's what's happening in my garden this week!"). What would you like to see more of?

On the other side of the deck, begonias enjoy the shade.

These are all begonias from last year which I have repotted. I really need to go buy a few new ones at Logee's - maybe next week I will take a drive down there.

Coleus are so showy, I really must plant more. Sorry for the junk, I was too lazy to pick up dog toys and the plastic watering can!

In the perennial garden, annual vines like this Gloxinia Vine (Lophospermum erubescens 'Wine Red") sits in a container but it is secret - buried in the border where one cannot see it. Its climbing on a tower and blooming all summer long.

Eggplants are container grown here, which helps them stay warmer and enjoy daily watering. Set on hot gravel, the additional warmth and sunshine is resulting in a huge harvest of many different types. This is 'Listadia de Gandia'.

I am trilled with the performance of Thunbergia balata 'Arizona' a striking dark mahogany colored selection which seems to defy the camera as every shot (including this one) appears just orange - but believe me, it's brown and coffee colored.

I enjoy playing with color palettes that are unconventional, especially in my containers. Our windowboxes are inspired by dark, more masculine colors like leather brown, whiskey, tobacco and lime. Basically - all of the ugly rusty colors we see at the nursery and wonder how they will ever work together.

Believe me, they look really bright even though they are composed with darker colors.

Here is a view you rarely see of the garden. Our old golf green, which was once a bent grass putting green which we cared for for generations finally had to be dig up after our special mower broke. The soil here is rich and loamy, so in prep for a new garden I am going to build here next year, we rototilled the sod under and planted dahlias and these old fashioned annuals like Balsam.

Balsam is  really an Impatiens species and although we sometimes see young plants in cells at nurseries in the spring, it really resents being transplanted. It grows quickly though, so do think about sowing some next year. This Victorian favorite really takes off in late summer and puts on a show. Ours are over 3 feet tall!

In the old golf course garden I also planted some annuals which I wanted to try. This new yellow flowered Cosmos  'Xanthos' is a hit.

In the middle of the gold course we dug up a long row which will eventually become a path. For now, it is covered in weed block and is being used for raising many types of melons.

By the greenhouse, lilies are just finishing up. I don't know why some are viruses and others not, but these tall (9 ft) varieties are really showy and fragrant. The variety is 'Robert Swanson', an Oriental Trumpet hybrid.

A real show stopper is this huge annual polygonum with an unforgettable name. 'Kiss Me Over the Garden Gate' is a 19th century treasure we rarely see in gardens today. Given its size, we can see why. It's taller than the bananas!

The dahlias are just beginning to bloom here. Our dahlia shows are scheduled for late September, so these have a long way to go yet. This might be 'Pineland's Princess' but I am, not about to run out and look for the label! If you must know, text me.

You know me - gotta grow 'em all! Okra varieties being raised for my book. So many colors and varieties. our kitchen is chock full of okra, cucumbers, peppers, chili's and eggplants. At least it's cutting down on my grocery bill!

I made a mistake last month when I asked Noah (Joe) while watching our neighbors homing pigeons circle above the yard in wide, graceful loops -"Why don't we have any homing pigeons?".

Our Americana rooster is maturing and learning how to crow (starting at 4 am!). He is not helping to make Americana's great again!

Various string bean varieties are still coming in. The fridge is full with so many, that we are feeding the dogs with them.

I'm sure you've had enough tomato photos this summer, but come on - aren't these beautiful?

I should mention that okra blossoms alone are pretty nice.

Not to mention that the pods are foliage are just as nice. I welcome any good recipes for okra - please!


  1. Your photos are AMAZING! I know you've mentioned the camera you use but what kind is it again? Can't wait to see the book!

    1. Thanks Bree. I use a Canon 70D. I have an older Nikon d90 as well, but just recently converted to Canon.

  2. Wow, that was inspiring! Lots of good-sized, healthy looking begonias in your pics, yay! Logee's has so many begonias and is always a wonderful place to visit. The Lyman Estate Greenhouse in Waltham also has a decent selection of begonias and examples of mature ones in their greenhouse. The annual begonia/gesneriad plant show is at Tower Hill Botanic Garden on Sept 16-17, and there will be begonias for sale there too. Very happy for you and the book deal!

    1. Thanks Mary. I'm even thinking of heading out to Logee's today. I love the Lyman Estate Greenhouses in Waltham - their camellia's are so old and the grapes are amazing.

  3. Snake worm: Margaret Roche was just discussing this with Ken Druse in her blog. These worms seem to be everywhere.
    Great photos, great blog (love the dogs, too) and undoubtedly a great book in the near future.

    1. Yes, I saw that - the podcast with Ken Druse. Very informative. They are nasty pests and just like Ken, one of my pet peeves (along with vermiculture and non-native worm species in the North East.

  4. Anonymous1:51 PM

    Dear Matt,
    A feast for our eyes, a feast for you!
    All best,

    1. Thank you 02568 - hope all is great on the island! Stay away from the Great Whites!

  5. Anonymous4:17 PM

    Congrats on the book deal - really looking forward to reading it. Since you ask, I prefer the 'advice' posts over the 'lighter' ones but above all, just please keep posting!

    1. I like the advice posts too, and I have many which are works-in-progress, they just take more time but expect more in the future. Because I am busy with my book, that is taking priority over the more complex posts.

  6. Hi!
    I wish you good luck for your book and I'm sure it will be like no others. I can't wait to have it on my bookshelves. I'll try to be the first to grab a copy in France :)

  7. What beautiful pictures! I honestly don't know how some people manage to do so much in the garden and blog and do everything else! I love seeing the unusual combinations that you put together. I like both the advice and the garden posts. Honestly, I usually learn a lot from your 'lighter' posts about the garden as well, as I always see a plant or two that I want to know more about or grow! Congratulations and good luck with your book!

    1. Thanks Indie. I really am feeling the pressure to write more intensive and informative posts, but all efforts seem to steer toward the book right now.

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  9. After I saw your picture, I felt my eyes were bright. You are a person who understands life and love because I see your lovely dog in the picture.

  10. Anonymous8:09 PM

    Just discovered and am enjoying your blog. Since I live in Everett, I am inspired by what you're doing in our 5ish to 6ish zone. Thanks for the many ideas.

  11. Cheers to first books, especially about my favorite topic—veggie gardens! I think we’re with the same publisher—Cool Springs Press? Best wishes to you on the project!


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