Monday, September 29

Flowers in Lake Placid New York Part 2

When in Lake Placid, reminders that this is the place Olympic history was made are everywhere as you can see in the photo below. Olympic rings on the building watch over the pretty black-eyed Susans and the village itself.
 This store displayed the prettiest begonias looking like they were just growing out of the wall.
  When I took a closer look I discovered the secret to this effect- bags filled with soil! Clever!
 I love the combination of flowers in this planter.
  These stone planters give a definite feeling of being in the Adirondacks.
  A log cabin theme gives a whole new look to traditional red geraniums. Very cozy.
 Stay tuned for part 3 of Lake Placid.....

Friday, September 26

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Thursday, September 25

Fall Prep in the Garden-Portland, OR

We have had a wonderful start to fall this year. It has been the warmest fall I can remember, with daytime highs still being in the 90's. Nevertheless, I know the cooler weather will arrive soon, so I have been trying to get my community garden ready.

My Kale is doing well. I grew these from seed this spring.  It is one of the plants that over winters very well in our mild, but rainy winter here in Portland, Oregon. I am waiting to harvest the leaves until after the first frost. I hear that Kale taste the best then.

This is my first year over wintering cabbage, so I don't know what to expect. I did notice on this visit that the heads of the cabbage were covered in something white. I suspect they were eggs. I was able to remove them with a quick spurt of water from the hose, but I am  not sure if that it is all it is going to take to avoid a  major moth infestation. I kind of doubt it. Has anyone overwintered Cabbage before, or know how to naturally get rid of the moths?

Here are my Broccoli plant starts. If you look closely you will see holes in the leaves from the moths. It is not as bad as it is on the Cabbage plants. I love Broccoli, so I hope there is some left for me to eat. In my other bed I have planted Carrots, Turnips and Brussels Sprouts from seed.

A view of one of my beds in the community garden. The beds are long and narrow.  Half the garden plots are assigned to individual gardeners and the other half are community beds. 

Here is a photo of a potted Dahlia in our garden. I love this pink color. Dahlias seem to very well in our climate. I remember growing Dahlias as a child in our garden in London, England. 

Don't our community garden Pumpkins look great this year? We thought we were growing Squash plants until another gardener told us they were Pumpkins. They look so much alike at first,

If you look closely you can see a wasp on this sunflower. We are growing these Sunflowers for the seeds. They line the garden fence.

Tuesday, September 23

My adventures with growing melons-Portland, OR

This year we had an exceptionally hot summer. Even as I write this post in mid September, it remains in the 90's. One great gardening bonus is that it has contributed to my bumper crop of melons. To be honest, I have never  had a melon grow to full maturity, because our summers just don't get that hot for that long. Sure, we have been known to get 100 plus weather, but never for a long stretch of time.

I bought just two melon plants this spring just because they were on sale. The second reason I bought them was to cover the bare soil in my guerrilla gardening plot. You can cover a lot of soil with a melon or squash plant, and they are so easy to pull out in the fall.

At first it felt like the plants were growing at a snails pace. I felt like nothing was happening growth wise until late July. Then there were no flowers to be found for a long time. Still, I left them in place. It was not until mid August that I noticed the first melon hiding under the massive leaves of my rhubarb. 

It almost seemed like it had appeared out of no where. My next problem has been knowing when to harvest them. My first melon was quite a disappointment. It looked good on the outside, but inside it was a pale yellow color and looked like a squash. The taste could only be described as bitter.

For the weeks following I was on an intense hunt for information on how to tell if a melon is ripe. Frankly, it just made me more confused. This week, I took the chance and cut into my second melon. I was so nervous that the second melon would be like the first that I kept putting off this task.

Now I am happy to report that the second melon is ripe and sweet. Joy! I have 3 much larger melons out there right now. As you can see, it is a yellow watermelon. I have been asked if it taste like the red kind. Yes, but less watery and more sweet.

My advice, although I am no expert as far as melons, is as follows: Wait until the area where the melon is touching the soil is the same color as the rest of the melon. There was a white spot in that area on the melon that was not ripe. After a few more weeks that white spot had disappeared. 

Friday, September 19

Flowers in Lake Placid Village New York

Lake Placid, famous for Olympic history, is a friendly village in the Adirondack Mountains of New York. On one overcast day of our trip, we headed into the village for some skating and sightseeing. My daughter figure skates and she was lucky enough to skate on the very rink where the United States hockey team won the gold medal in 1980. Not only does Lake Placid do sports in a big way, but the mountains surrounding the village are breathtaking, as is the lake. It's a destination with something for everyone.
No matter where we go, I'm interested in the plant life. So, as we window shopped in Lake Placid, I snapped photos of plant displays that caught my eye. Every town seems to have a little different spin on the traditional plantings, containers and window boxes, with a hint of their own unique regional flavor.
 This garden is planted at the entrance to the Olympic center where you'll find both the 1932 and 1980 arenas, as well as the Olympic Museum. The speed skating track is next to these buildings and far off in the distance is the ski jump- a scary looking thing that makes one wonder how such a sport is even humanly possible!
After my daughter skated, we spent some time walking around Lake Placid. I thought the plantings were exceptionally nice, like this cute planter with a tiny picket fence. 
Then the theme is repeated on a corner with an arborvitae, daylilies, hostas, alyssum, and Johnny jump up flowers (violas).
Next, we came upon this nicely planted courtyard with a distinctive Adirondack flare.

I think this is my favorite planting in the courtyard- very woodsy and rustic.

Sunday, September 14

Guerrilla Gardening Update, Portland OR

I wanted to give everyone an update on my Guerrilla Gardening Project. For those of you that don't know what I am talking about, read my earlier post here.

Although it does not look as pretty as I would want, I think I got a really good start. Take a look at what I grew there this summer. The garden was started in early July, and these pictures were taken the first week in September.

Right now I am debating whether I should put in a winter crop. One worry I have, is that the weeds and wild blackberries will take back over. Weeds don't die here in this area of the Pacific Northwest, like I am used to in the Midwest. Most of the time it is just not cold enough.

I have my eye on a small, white kitchen cabinet that a neighbor left out for someone to take. If it is there tomorrow, I am going to haul it back to my house. It is a perfect size for another mini raised bed.I am really looking forward to expanding the garden next year by adding more raised beds.

So what garden projects are you working on? Are you able to winter garden where you live? Leave us an update on Twitter ,or leave us a comment below this post.

Lemon Cucumbers grown up a fence. They really do climb!
Morning Glories. I would not sow these in a Oregon garden. They are invasive here.
I plan to pull these out very soon

The garden spot is full sun so it is perfect for growing melons

First year rhubarb. I am waiting to harvest until year 2

Zinnias from seed. I used annuals to fill in the bare spots in the garden

Another filler annual from seed. This one is Mexican Sunflower

Side view of the area

More annuals & Basil in one of the drawers that I used as a raised bed

Saturday, September 13

The Wilder Homestead Heritage Gardens Part 2

Beyond the kitchen gardens at the Wilder Homestead, we toured other productive areas of the farm which provided food for the Wilder family.

 The Wilder's grew apple trees. They also had Maple trees for maple syrup and sugar production. 
The pumpkin patch provided an ample supple of pumpkins for the winter.
We were shown the trap door to the cellar where much of the harvest was stored for the winter. The trap door was hidden on the farm porch floor. You can see a bit of the porch in the photo below.
 Behind the house in the barn, the Wilder family had a huge area to store hay for their livestock, as well as a threshing room where grain would have been threshed. The Wilder's kept chickens, sheep, pigs, cows and oxen and of, course, Morgan horses as fans of the book will well remember.
Onions, herbs and vegetables grew in the kitchen garden.
In the photo below you see hops growing which would have been used to make beer. Our guide told us this year's hops were no where near as tall as those they have grown in the past.
 Blueberry bushes offer a treat to visiting children. Children of today love blueberries as much as the children of the 1800s!
We saw this field on our way to the Trout River where the Wilder's fished.
 From here we followed a path through the woods to Trout River, walking in the steps of the family who once lived and farmed here.
And then with regret, it was time to leave. We drove away down a peaceful country road as the sun lowered in the sky and the museum closed up for the day.
 We'd had a wonderful day at the Wilder Homestead. It's my hope we will be able to visit again someday.

Next up...Lake Placid New York

Friday, September 12

The Wilder Homestead Heritage Gardens Part 1

 After our tour of the Wilder Homestead house and barns, we were treated to a tour of the heritage garden. The plants in this garden are those Mrs. Wilder would have planted and used. It's behind the house, not far from her kitchen.
We saw some large cabbage and other veggies.
This photo of these heirloom tomatoes does not give a realistic idea of just how huge these tomatoes are!
 Below you see a plant our tour guide told us is called False Indigo. I had never heard of this plant before our tour. It would have been used as a dye. Mrs. Wilder wove her own cloth on a loom upstairs in the house, so this plant would have been a great asset when dyeing her fabric.
 We saw some nice pumpkins and squash in the kitchen garden.
 I wish I could show you some photos of Mrs. Wilder's period kitchen and loom, but indoor photography is not permitted, so you'll just have to take a trip to Malone, New York to see this treasure of a museum for yourself!

Next up....part 2 of the Wilder Homestead Heritage Gardens.....

Thursday, September 11

The Wilder Homestead in Malone, New York

Well, I said I had a post coming soon on our trip to the Wilder Homestead in Malone, New York. I DID have a post ready but due to a glitch this morning, the whole thing was deleted! So until I have some time to rewrite it, I want to share with you a fantastic YouTube video posted by liwfrontiergirl. You'll see the scenes we saw of the farm when we visited and I'll be back soon with some photos of the heritage garden growing behind the house.

For those who aren't familiar with the book Farmer Boy written by Laura Ingalls Wilder, it is the second book in the Little House series. This book is not about the famous Ingalls family of Little House on the Prairie fame, but instead about Almanzo Wilder's childhood with his family in upstate New York. Almanzo was the husband of Laura Ingalls Wilder and father of author Rose Wilder Lane. This house is the very house in which Almanzo was raised and upon which the book is based. The house has been restored and filled with period items. Replica barns were constructed based on Almanzo's drawings of the property and archeological excavation of the original foundations.

Also, if  you have a deeper interest in all things Little House, take a look at this site also written by liwfrontiergirl. It's fantastic and chock full of information about the Ingalls and Wilder families. Liwfrontiergirl has done a wonderful job preserving and sharing important Ingalls/Wilder information.

So take a look at her video of this beautiful, peaceful place in upstate New York. And if you ever have the chance to visit, it's well worth the trip.

Wednesday, September 10

My New Greenhouse!

Isn't it gorgeous????
Ha! In my dreams! Seriously, this beautiful greenhouse is part of the King's Garden in Fort Ticonderoga New York (more about that in a future post) But to have my own greenhouse would be so nice...and I do have a new greenhouse to show you. It's not as grand, beautiful, or big as the one above, but I have big plans for my own little greenhouse.

It's the time of year that everything in the garden center at Big Lots is on sale. This very last greenhouse at my local Big Lots was marked down considerably, so I snatched it up. My father got one of these earlier in the year and while it's not the fanciest around, it has served him well. I'd also read about this particular greenhouse on the blog, A Mother's Journal. Take a look at this post by Lynn (and the rest of her blog while you are there- good stuff!)

I'm not sure it's staying in this location as the ground is a little sloped. I might just take it down for the winter, but I wanted to set it up to maybe extend my growing season this fall. I'll definitely put it to good use in the spring at seed starting time.
John Kohler from bought several of these on sale and posted a video on how to set them up. Take a look at what John does with his Big Lots greenhouses:

Next post will be our visit to the Wilder Homestead: Boyhood home of Almanzo Wilder. I'll show you the heritage gardens the curators have planted there.

What to do when it is just too Darn hot to Garden?

It has been a very hot summer everywhere. From what I have been told it is normal to get 100 plus days from the months here from  May to Oct...