Even with this cold rainy weather we have been experiencing, all the tomato plants have been flourishing. Three of the four have doubled their size and have begun to flower after just two weeks in the Stock Tank. I planted my excess chive plants in the stock tank only because I did not know were to plant them, don't know if they make good companion plants but shall find out.
This is one of the plants that Mema purchased at the neighborhood nursery, she loved the name "Bloody Butcher", I have no idea if the fruit is of any quality and Dave the manager said he had never tried this one. So we shall see, it is flowering and growing like mad.
The original recipe called for a one gallon milk jug, but my trees are all maintained at five feet (espalier) so I use several smaller jugs. Just cut a large enough opening on the side of the jug to insert the ingredients and be able to stir. leave the cap on top as a rain guard
Mix the ingredients and fill jug half full of water.
I use plastic zip ties to attach the finished jug.
High 70's and very humid.....in the greenhouse! I have dahlias to plant and the pruning list is growing, but the cold and rainy weather has returned to Oregon and my arthritis says "stay in the greenhouse".
Rhododendron "Holden", planted 11/09/1997. I gleaned these twelve plants from my brothers landscape. They were planted on the South side of his home and burnt to a crisp every year. I dug them and have them on the North side in the shade and they obviously love it with this great show of flowers every year.
Gardeners with greenhouses should never have to pay these prices......but I couldn't resist.
A real beauty, Petunia "Pretty Much Picasso"
We have eight....oops.....nine large ceramic pots placed around the garden's. One of the intended goals of the greenhouse is to produce all the annuals that we spend a small fortune on every year, but the same thing happened this year as in the previous years. It was a gorgeous sunny morning last Saturday so I took coffee in hand, slipped into my garden clogs and before I could help it I was standing in the purchase line at the Nursery behind Menagerie Manor. It was "plant lust" an illness that has plagued my soul every year around this time. I know....Mema didn't believe it either.
The outcome is worth the expense, as the annuals put on a great display every year. The trick to my good annual pots is in the soil. To my regular potting soil I typically add to a forty to fifty gallon pot, four cups of cotton seed meal, one cup of fish bone meal and one cup of blood meal. I mix this in well and then plant my annuals. The rest of the year I just water and there is no need for extra fertilizer with these additives. Makes for easy care through the summer.
Every year the kitchen garden at Menagerie Manor has produced a bounty of tomato's, an annual crop that I take great pride in and Mema took equal pride in the fact that no tomato ever went to waste. Her spicy spaghetti sauce, tomato paste, brochette that is too die for and salsa that made your nose run and last but not least green tomato pie.....yummmm! Well now that the two legged inhabitants at the Manor have dwindled to the two of us I have blended the old kitchen garden into the rest of the landscape and the new Kitchen garden has no room for tomatoes. This year I planted leaks, Spanish onions carrots, beats and bunching onions in the garden. And as you can see in the photo....no room for tomato's. Problem solved, I went to my local feed supplier and purchased a metal stock tank measuring 2'x2'x6'. It just fits four of the large tomato cages and is the perfect height for this old duffer to work in without bending over. My soil mix is a good topsoil, well rotted manure, sand and dark fine compost. I then added my usual Cotton seed meal, fish bone meal and blood meal. I mix all the ingredients very well, then before I plant the tomato's themselves I add a cup of hydrated lime and a cup of bone meal to combat the dreaded blossom end rot. The later two ingredients I mix well into the hole and then through a hand full of soil on top before sticking each plant into the soil that way the roots will grow into it. I used to have such a terrible time with blight before and since I started using this method there has never been any blight. The stock tank is placed on the south side of the house so gets full sun heating the sides of the metal tank and warming the tomato roots all day and well into the cool evening. I will post a follow-up on the tomato progress.
At 95 years of age she has battled and won over two bouts of breast cancer and is now battling a rare form of leukemia, buried her beloved husband and early this year the youngest of her two daughters. Life sucks sometimes and when something like this happens many folk would become bitter and resentful. I know I would have asked the good lord to just wake me when its over. Margaret MacKenzie has a better attitude than that, a true belief that she has survived this long for a purpose. I think that purpose is to impress those around her, to snap us out of any dark cloud we might crawl under when things get rough. Margaret was the driving force behind my love for roses. She has been a member of the Portland Rose Society for many years but 12 years ago when her husband passed she was unable to make the long drive at night to the meetings. Three years ago she convinced me to join and I must say I have had a blast. At the start of my second year I entered my first Rose Show, in a novice category and was honored to win a judges trophy. Margaret won the Queens Trophy for "Best Rose", and a local Television station came to her house and interviewed her while she stood before her roses. It was a thrilling moment for all of us.
While Margaret prefers modern roses I prefer the old heirloom roses but we both have a great love for our gardens. Two days ago She joined us for supper and after we sat in the parlor beside the warmth of the fire and talked about the garden. I dashed out to the greenhouse and brought in a miniature Epiphyllum to show her the lovely bloom on it for the first time since I made a cutting from her original plant. Actually it was her mothers plant that she brought from Switzerland many many years ago. She stuck the cutting in the top of a
perfume bottle hidden away in her overnight bag. Wile we were all laughing at the story of how scared her mother was of getting caught with the contraband Margaret told us she has decided to sell her home and move into a retirement facility. I will still pick her up the second Monday of every month and make the drive to the Rose Club Meetings, Yesterday she brought over her mothers original Epiphylum and in the top of the pot was the perfume bottle with a new tiny cutting stuck in the top like so many years ago. She handed the bottle to me as i clung to the potted plant. "I know you will take good care of this for me". Margaret MacKenzie will soon be starting down a new road in her life and the neighborhood will lose its matriarch. There will be a new family living in the little yellow cottage directly across the road from Menagerie Manor. Margaret has asked that I dig and move her fifty some roses over to my garden because when she comes to visit she would be heartbroken if the new owner doesn't take care of them. Perhaps I will mention potted miniature roses....they would look great on her new patio.....yes...there is a great idea!
I would like to extend a big thank you to Jim at "Gaudy Garden" for the arrival of my Francis Dubreuil" cuttings. I was able to get four very nice starts out of the three cuttings he sent through the post.
This is an excellent old rose with a fragrance that will knock you over. I will post again when I start to get some further results of progress.
Tranquility in the garden is currently on hold until further notice. We have "Scaly Beak" in the aviary! The little rescue we took in last summer (the one on the left with white wings) brought some baggage with him evidently. I had the whole lot in to the vet for treatment. He said the one treatment will do but to keep an eye on them. Unfortunately I had to remove the eggs from the nest boxes as the young are quite susceptible to this ailment. What a dither it put us in, the birds and myself.