Tuesday, December 29, 2009
Wednesday, December 23, 2009
Monday, December 14, 2009
Amazingly, in mid-December in Chicago's south 'burbs, we actually have a live bloom in the garden. This mini-rose bloom has survived three Garden Bloggers' Bloom Days in a row. It's broken all previous records in our garden for a single rose bloom's longevity, and this is the first time I can ever remember having anything blooming in our garden in December. This photo was taken a few days ago.
Even after several days of snow, single-digit low temperatures and gale-force winds, the rose is still holding on. Conditions have been milder for a few days, and the snow is mostly melted. The weather forecasts say we're in for another round of cold this week. I wonder how long this tough little pretty will hang on.
The rest of the December blooms were rescued from certain death and brought inside in October. Most are overwintering in the basement greenhouse, including this rose-like double impatiens.
The fuchsia was cut back hard in October, and is already blooming again. Hopefully this bodes well for it's health and survival over the winter. The fuchsia brought in last fall was already dead this time last year.
This pelargonium was cut back hard too, and has already re-bloomed.
Jasmine blooms are perfuming the basement. This plant was tiny three years ago, and really took off last winter. It seems to like the basement.
The tropical hibiscus didn't bloom outdoors at all this year. It decided to produce one bloom after it came indoors. Its rear view is just as pretty. . .
as its face.
Also blooming here this month are dragon wing and wax begonias, oxalis, a bromeliad, and Diamond Frost Euphorbia.
For more December blooms, please visit Carol at May Dreams Gardens. Santa might just be bringing her some hoe earrings this year, if she hasn't already gotten them for herself.
Tuesday, December 1, 2009
Also overwintering in the veggie bed are several Baptisia australis plants started from seeds back in July or August. They're so small, I hope a few will make it through the winter. Tall bellflowers from my trip to Mom's back in September were given a temporary home in the veggie bed too. Since so much of the shade garden was chewed to ground (probably by rabbits,) while I was away, I couldn't really tell where it was safe to plant. That's also my
I shared some veggies with family and friends, and made tomato juice, blanched and froze extra green beans, diced and froze extra peppers, and made pickled jalapenos, pickled green tomatoes, and bread-and-butter cucumber pickles. . . all from our new little raised veggie bed in a part-sun side yard, built late last fall using retaining wall pavers with a thick layer of newspaper at the bottom to kill the grass, and alternating 'lasagna' layers of compost, fallen leaves, and grass clippings. Over the winter the layers aged. By spring we had the most beautiful garden soil, rich, crumbly, and full of earthworms.
Newspaper-lined, lasagna-style, raised, mulched beds have made a believer out of me. I don't think I pulled more than ten weed seedlings from the veggie bed all season. Watering was minimal, limited to about six weeks midsummer when we had no rain. The soil held moisture very well, and the mulch helped prevent evaporation. I've never had such a small vegetable garden before. I'm still amazed how little work, and how productive our little bed was. I can hardly wait for next year!