Friday, July 31, 2009

Front Garden

Plants in order of top to bottom of picture:
Assorted hosta and heuchera at the very top and out of view
Black Adder Agastache- A bee magnet! 4'x2'; Sterile (doesn't not set seed), puts all it's energy into blooms.
Lime Rickey heuchera- lime green foliage
Stella De Oro Daylilies- A heavy Spring bloom followed by light rebloom.
Moonbeam Coreopsis
Acapulco Salmon and Pink Agastache- Purchased in the fall from High Country Gardens. A blooming machine. The colors are breathtaking, and if you rub the foliage it has a lovely lemon scent! I love this plant! Very healthy, clean foliage, no pest problems, 2'x2', overwintered well here in my zone 6b garden with a light, shredded leaf mulch. Have I mentioned that I love this plant!
Strawberry Candy Daylilies
Twilight Coneflower- front, left.
Goldmound Spirea- front right.

Aphids Beware!

Raising beneficials! My son and I had great success raising butterflies, so I purchased him the Ladybug Land Kit also by Insect Lore. You can see a larvae on the paper and on the wall of the dome. We've only had them about a week and just yesterday they started hanging on the sides of the dome (the beginning of their pupal stage). In about 5 days we should have some beneficial ladybugs to release into our garden!

Butterfly Garden

Scarlet Runner Beans- On two trellises along with Scarlet O'Hara morning glories that haven't started to bloom yet.
Torch Mexican Sunflower- In the back corner. Unfortunately a drenching storm caused the gutters to overflow and it crushed the main stem. A cleome growing next to it was destroyed as well. Currently Torch is propped up with a cage and is horribly wilted every evening from the sun. I don't think it will recover. It's a shame too. I hear they are butterfly magnets. Plus they had opened up their first bloom the day before the storm. It looks like the Torch has been put out. :(
Will Rogers Zinnia- in front of Torch
Coral Nymph and Lady In Red salvia- front, left near cracked birdbath that I use for a puddling site for butterflies.
Lady In Red and one Yvonne's salvia- mid-right
Assorted petunias, Red Rubin basil, Butterfly mix pentas, Orange lantana mixed throughout the front of the bed.
Red, white, and purple Quartz mix verbenas in the middle of the bed.
4 Anaheim chili peppers and one Jalapeno M plant are in front of 16 moss curled parsley plants to the back, right of the bed.

Back Garden Blooms

This garden began a few years ago when we had to remove a large, diseased shrub from the backyard. Now lined with shell-shaped, concrete pavers it contains many plants. This Spring we placed four Emerald Green thujas in the far back to help shield the house in the back during the winters. There are two large William Baffin roses (that are currently putting out a few more blooms) to the back left and right. Between those are two Blue Spire russian sages. Verbena bonariensis is sprinkled throughout the middle of the bed, my favorite new addition this season. There are two Autumn Joy sedum that are developing blooms in the middle. Bush Sugar Baby watermelon is to the left of the sedum (you cannot see it in this photo). To the right of the sedum, crawling along the entire edge, are two Iroquois muskmelon plants. The very front is a mix of 5 daylilies. There are also some Oriental lilies and liatris blooming in the middle of the bed. Other plants are contained within the bed, but they cannot be seen in this photo (gloriosa daisies, Sunshine Blue caryopteris, yarrow, Husker's Red penstemon, Walker's Low nepeta, Strawberry Fields gomphrena).

In All Their Glory

Cameo Elegance- These are her first blooms of the season which opened this morning. Variegated foliage. Fuschia blossoms with white edging and eye. Compact size, but stems are highly visible (the leaves are become smaller in size the further along the vine leaving a lot of exposed stem). Mine are currently about 24-30" long. Mid-summer to fall blooms. Although I love the tiny, variegated, ivy-shaped foliage, it is not a vigorous plant. You would have to plant these quite heavily to give them any presence in a mixed container or to fill out a container on their own.

Heavenly Blue- This morning before completely opening up to reveal their glory. Sky-blue with white throats. Vines reach approximately 8' long. They put out new blossoms daily. Healthy, clean foliage.

Are You Blushing?

We've had a long stretch of very hot, humid, and rainy weather. On the down side, blossoms are falling off, but some good has come from all the heat. Blushing tomatoes are starting to pop up, and they appear to be ripening pretty quickly. Sandul Moldovan. Black Krim. Cowlick Brandywine. They are all ripening before my only hybrid, Celebrity.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

KBX and Constoluto Genovese

The front, left tomato is my first KBX. The other three are Constoluto of which was an accidental prune. Whoops! I picked them before being fulling ripe due to the heavy downpours we've been having lately. I didn't want to risk them being hit with blossom end rot or more cracking. They are currently sitting on the counter until they are fully ripe.

Sandul Moldovan, Black Krim, and Opalka

Sandul Moldovan (Smooth)---
The other day I thought I had a volunteer sunflower pop up near my tomatoes. Turns out this beautiful blossom is from my Sandul Moldovan plant.

Black Krim---
A luscious-looking black tomato that I can't wait to taste! This is one on the many large tomatoes on my plant. It is very high-yielding and vigorous. A few shoots have died from wilt, but they were removed promptly and the plant continues to thrive. One of the earliest to begin to ripen in my garden.

A horn-shaped tomato that produces in clusters of 2-5. Good yields and tolerance to disease. Wispy foliage. I hear it is one of the best-tasting paste tomatoes out there. They haven't started to ripe yet in my garden.

Cowlick Brandywine Tomatoes

Cowlick Brandywine---This is my first season growing this highly coveted, open-pollinated tomato. It started out slow here. Most likely due to the cold temperatures and tremendous amount of rain that we had this past Spring, but it is now kicking into high gear. It has more than doubled its production in the last week alone. Baby Cowlicks are popping up all over my plant. It is healthy, vigorous, and might turn out to be one of my highest yielders. It now has me wishing that I planted more than one this season.


Bush Sugar Baby Watermelon---
Yesterday I was trying to train the watermelon vines back into the boundaries of the back garden when I saw something that truly made my my entire season. My very first watermelon! It's about the size of a softball. You can see it to the lower left of this photo. To the left is another picture of my little "Baby" watermelon. I've never attempted to grow any type of melon before. I just thought that for some reason they would be difficult, so I was surprised at how easy it was. Even though these are the bush form of Sugar Baby, they still need quite a bit of room. Right now they are covering around 9 square feet and growing! They appear to be disease and pest-resistant.

Minnesota Midget Muskmelon---
An open-pollinated muskmelon. Vines are compact (3-4 feet long). They produce sweet, 4" melons with orange flesh. I have one growing in a large container climbing up a wire tomato cage. They have been really easy to train. Just guide them back onto the cage if they want to spill out over the edge. They are absolutely covered in blossoms and bumblebees really love them! Foliage is clean and healthy. No pest problems.

Monday, July 27, 2009


Carrots were harvested yesterday. Scarlet Nantes. Delicious. There’s nothing better than seeing my son pull them up and his little sister eating them with the foliage attached. She looked like a little bunny. It is so satisfying grabbing on to a handful of leafy foliage and pulling out a beautiful orange carrot. I think I enjoy it just as much as my son did. But now what should I do with all those carrots? I know. I’ll freeze them. I use this simple process:

Freezing Carrots:
1. Remove the foliage and clean the carrots.
2. Chop them into pieces.
3. Blanch them in boiling water for two minutes and drain them in a colander.
4. Immediately pour them into a large bowl of ice water for two more minutes.
5. Drain them in the colander once again.
6. Pat them dry in a clean dishtowel.
7. Toss them into Ziploc freezer bags and use a straw to suck out as much air as possible...or

use a food saver.
8. Freeze them.
9. Feel really proud that you harvested and saved your own carrots!

It Takes Two to Tango

Celery. Hard to grow? Not Tango. I found my first attempt at growing celery to be quite easy. It was grown in a new raised bed that I use the square foot gardening method in. The bed was filled with 1/3 peat moss, 1/3 vermiculite, and 1/3 was a blend of different potting mixes, compost, and bags of manure. After planting four celery plants per square foot, I made sure to keep it well watered. Otherwise it took care of itself. I was stunned to see that it actually looked like celery. Unfortunately when the celery was ready…I wasn’t. I love celery chopped up in tuna fish sandwiches, or I smother it with peanut butter. Turns out that I didn’t feel like eating any of those around the time the stalks were forming and ready. To my dismay, when I started to harvest some of the 8 celery plants this weekend, I found them to be tough and the flavor was VERY strong. Although it still looked beautiful, just like celery from the store, it was past its prime. I did find that two of the plants were still good. I chopped off stalks from them, before they got the old heave-hoe into the composter, and they tasted fine. It was a good lesson for me to learn. The garden doesn’t wait for you to be ready. You need to be ready for the garden.

Garlic from my Pennsylvania Garden

Mid-October of last year I planted garlic for the first time. Spanish Roja. Musik. German Extra Hardy. Chesnok Red. Killarney Red. Silver Rose. Beautiful names for garlic. After months of worrying about squirrels digging up the cloves, frosts, freezes, re-freezes, the lack of top growth, too much top growth….finally it was time to harvest! Just over two weeks ago the garlic was pulled out once there was around 5 green leaves left. Each leaf represented a wrapper on the bulb. They have been hanging from the roof of my back porch since then. Today I went though and cleaned off the dirty outside layer, trimmed up the roots, and placed them in a single layer in the bottom of labeled, brown paper lunch bags. The bags were cut in half and are now sitting in wire mesh kitchen baskets for good air circulation.

Garlic from my Garden- Big and small samples

Top Row: Chesnok Red, German Extra Hardy, Killarney Red

Front Row: Musik, Silver Rose, Spanish Roja

Now I would be remiss in leaving out my observations and recommendations based on this initial garlic growing experience. On a scale from 1-5 stars (5 being the best), here’s my garlic review based on my Pennsylvania garden:

Chesnok Red- 5 stars
Excellent garlic. Both in taste and beauty. Consistently produced good-sized, healthy bulbs that cleaned very easily. Chesnok Red and Musik will definitely be making up a majority of my garlic plantings in the fall. Highly recommended.

German Extra Hardy- 4 stars
This garlic produced consistently good-sized bulbs. It cleaned very easily. There were a couple bulbs that were undersized and didn’t fill out completely. Overall a satisfactory performer. It will be back next year.

Killarney Red- 3 stars
This garlic produced a few nice-sized bulbs, but overall I was expecting more from it. Beautiful purple wrappers over the cloves. Very hot raw. As with the Spanish Roja, I will plant a few cloves of this garlic again to see if it does better after two seasons in my garden.

Musik- 5 stars
Consistently produced very large bulbs. One did show signs of mold on the stem. Most likely due to large bulb size. They take a little longer to cure that smaller bulbs, and the high humidity we’ve been having had not helped. Definitely an attractive garlic. Absolutely will be back next season. Highly recommended. I just wish I had planted more last season! Most of mine will be used as planting stock as this will be one of the two garlics getting a good bit of room in the garden this fall.

Silver Rose- 2 stars
I purchased this garlic with high hopes of making garlic braids. To my disappointment it produced multiple tiny bulbs. From the 3 large bulbs I used for planting stock, I only had 4 that came close to a comparable size once harvested. As with the other poor performers, it will get a small amount of space and a second chance to show me what it can do.

Spanish Roja – 2 ½ stars
I was pretty disappointed in the performance of this garlic. Now I’ve heard that it may take a few seasons for garlic to become acclimated to a particular gardens climate. Being an optimistic person, I will plant a FEW cloves of this garlic in mid-October to give it another chance.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Heirloom Tomatoes For 2010

You know I've been looking over catalogs trying to make a wish list for next season when it dawned on me. I have a few varieties that I didn't get a chance to plant this season. After reading up on them, I realized that I have some really good ones. I'm expanding out my garden to include 14 plants next year. Not just 10. My tentative list includes the following:

Tomatoes Returning Next Year:
Cowlick Brandywine
Black Krim
Sandul Moldovan-smooth
Constoluto Genovese
Cherokee Green

New For 2010:
Cherokee Purple (seed from a trade failed this year)
Golden Jubilee
Pink Sweet
Sun Gold
Box Car Willie
Black Seaman
Russian Rose***

Those marked with *** are up in the air. One will need to be eliminated to keep the list at 14. Others with ***'s will be replaced if I find seed for any of the following:
Orange Strawberry
Rio Grande
German Red Strawberry.

NOT Returning in 2010:
Celebrity Hybrid (Heirlooms performed just as well and the taste most likely won't come close in comparison).

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Stuffed Peppers

Two nights ago I made stuffed peppers with my homegrown Fat n' Sassy peppers. My husband said they were the best stuffed peppers that I have ever made! There is definitely a difference between homegrown peppers and store bought. Not just in price...which by the way reminds me....I was in the store today. Peppers were on sale for $1 each. The peppers alone for my dinner would have cost $8. The seed packet I bought...$3. They've already paid for themselves! Not only did starting my own plants save me money, they were also fresher, sweeter, crispier, and I knew that they weren't treated with any type of chemicals. The Fat n' Sassy's are so productive that I think we'll be having stuffed peppers quite a bit this summer. I'll also have to let at least one pepper turn to red. Green peppers always get eaten up before they get that far around here!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Wish List for Next Year....Already?!

Come on. I'm sure I'm not the only one with a wish list for next season. Am I? I have already purchased seeds for Sun Gold tomatoes and Baby Bear pumpkins. Yes. Already. Now I'm trying to research the best determinate paste tomato that has a heavy yield for next year's sauce-making. I am currently trying to pick one or two of the following to find seeds for: Rio Grande (I think it's in the lead for the moment), Martino's Roma, Heidi, and Classica (a hybrid). I would prefer an heirloom or open-pollinated, heavy yielding, determinate, but a hybrid did make it to the finals. Now the challenge is choosing between them. That is going to take a lot more research to see what other people think of them. Although the more I research, the longer the list gets which is fine, but making a decision is getting more tough. I only have about 10 spaces for tomato plants, so I don't want to jump the gun and buy seed before I look at all my options. I'm always open to suggestions. So let me know what your favorite meaty, sauce tomato is and why.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Make Your Own Cheap Rain Barrel

***See bottom of entry!!!
If you have ever looked into purchasing a rain barrel you might have been shocked by how much they cost. Granted there are some really beautiful designs out there, but this is an inexpensive rain barrel that handles a majority of my watering needs.

One sturdy 32 gallon trash can with a lid (Mine is made out of recycled plastic and cost only $10 at Walmart.
A piece of porch/window screening *See updates at bottom of entry.
A boxcutter *See updates at bottom of entry.
A staple gun * See updates at bottom of entry.

Three Easy Steps---Less than 10 minutes to assemble!
1. Cut out a large hole from the center of the lid. If you are having a gutter lead directly to the can, cut the hole to the appropriate size.
2. Use the staple gun to cover the hole with the screening on the inside of the lid. Staple every inch or two so that small insects or rodents can't enter the barrel. (You may want to bend down the staples on the reverse side of the lid if possible. I have to admit that I didn't and have no problem with leaving them the way they are).
3. You're done.

The screen will keep animals, bugs, and debris out of the water. The inverted lid will act as a funnel to direct the water into the barrel. You could even install a short hose at the top of the barrel to handle any overflow so it is directed away from your foundation. I didn't though. I just made sure that the barrel slightly leaned away from the house. Not enough for it to ever tip over or to put too much uneven water pressure on the sides. Just enough for water to spill out the far side away from the house. Be sure to bring your barrel in before winter freezes though. The water will expand as it freezes and damage the barrel.

This barrel has met almost all of my watering needs this season. It is easy to lift off the lid to dunk my watering can and to brush away any debris from the screen. Just beware that the staples stick out of the opposite side (you can bend them down if you want). Also, you could paint and decorate your barrel to make it blend into your landscape.

Side Note: If small children have access to your barrel, strap down the lid.

***UPDATE: Instead of cutting a hole in the lid and adding mesh, do the following!!! So simple!!! Place the lid on the trashcan upside down. Drill small holes all over the lid. Large debris will not be able to enter. Keep the holes tiny so mosquitoes can't enter and lay eggs in the water. Just clean off any leaves or accumulations from the lid from time to time. Store indoors in winter, and strap down the lid if you have small children in the area.

Summer Blooms

One of my new favorites this year! Scarlet Runner Beans. I received the seeds as an extra in a seed exchange this past winter, and I'm so glad I planted them. I planted just two seeds, but they are covering these two narrow trellises. In fact, one of these plants was accidentally smushed when it was young by the re-installation of the right trellis. The stem was bent completely over, but it managed to heal itself and take right back off. The foliage is very healthy. Very little insect damage. Numerous clusters of bright red blooms. This will definitely be on my grow list for next year as well.

Alaska Nasturtium Mix- The blossoms come in a variety of colors. Variegated foliage. As you can see from this photo, although the left and right plants both have matching red flowers, the plant on the left has larger leaves with less variegation. The plant on the right is heavily variegated with significantly smaller leaves.

Will Rogers Zinnia- Give this one good air circulation. Last year it developed powdery mildew during a very humid spell. So far this year's foliage is clean.

Comparison of Butterfly Bush Flowers

For the sake of color comparison here are blossoms from different butterfly bushes in my garden. Listed form left to right: Adonis Blue (a dwarf), Black Knight, Pink Delight, and Royal Red.

They make a beautiful bouquet whether freshly cut or after the blooms have faded. This is a mix of week-old, faded flowers and fresh ones from this morning. As long as the foliage still looks green they make a nice presentation in and out of bloom.


Mucho Nacho Jalapenos- I've seen two versions of this jalapeno listed. One listed as "mild". This is NOT that version. These are fat, thick, 4" jalapenos. Very productive. Mature green to red. Listed as disease resistant which holds true in my garden. 69 days.

I can't say enough about Fat n' Sassy bell peppers. They are producing like mad. EVERY plant has at least 3 peppers that are ready to eat and others that are quickly catching up. These will be turned into stuffed peppers this weekend. Other important info: Hybrid. 4 1/2 inches tall and wide. Green to red. Easy to grow. They love my new raised bed. Planted 1' apart and they are thriving. 22 inches tall. 62 days to maturity.

Anaheim Chili Pepper- They grow around 7-8" long by 1-2" wide. Mild-medium heat. Ripen to red. Heirloom. They have been very easy to grow and appear to be very productive. Once the tomatoes are ready, these will be turned into salsa.

Jack Be Little Pumpkin

Jack Be Little Pumpkin- These are miniature pumpkins that are really easy to grow. Great for fall decorations. This is my first attempt with pumpkins, and I'm hooked! Although this vine was attacked by a vine borer early on, it has continued to thrive and is now producing its second pumpkin. It has been really easy to guide onto the trellis it is growing on. Plus the fruit is so small (2" x 3" and 1/4 pound) that the fruit needs no additional support. I even found a recipe for a dessert made specifically from their pulp and served in the remaining shell. 95 days to maturity.

Killarney Red Garlic

Killarney Red garlic- Beautiful, purple-tinged skin, white cloves. Very hot raw. I wish I knew that before I tasted it. :) This one was pulled out about a week ago. Last night was the first time I cooked with my very own homegrown garlic. It made a great addition to my lasagne.

Tomato Pictures!

Opalka- An oblong heirloom that I hear is one of the best tasting, paste tomatoes. Good in sauces, salsas, or fresh off the vine. That's why I planted three of them. They were coming along nicely, but now they have shown signs of blight. I was out removing diseased foliage this morning. Hopefully they will all ripen soon.

Gold Nugget is a tasty, heirloom cherry tomato. It adds a beautiful color to salads. The foliage is yellowing, but that's due to neglect. I have this one growing in a container that has been flooded more times than I can count by a poorly draining gutter. I finally moved it the other day. Despite the poor growing conditions it is still producing a good crop of tomatoes.

Here is some of the fruit on my KBX plant. Constoluto Genovese, followed by KBX and Black Krim are in the lead in regards to production. Black Krim does have several fruits with catfacing though. It looks like KBX will be the first full-sized tomato to ripen this season. As you can see, one of tomatoes has an orange blush developing!

Here is my largest Cowlick Brandywine. Looks like I still have a while, but I can't wait to see how it tastes! As for the health of the plant, it is one of the most healthy of all the tomatoes I am growing. Although it was hit by bacterial speck early in the season, the new foliage seems to be resisting disease and flourishing.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

These Are A Few of My Favorite Things

Granted I haven't tried every variety in the categories I am about to list, but I've decided to share some of my favorites...and not so favorites based on my experiences here in Pennyslvania.

Best overall heuchera- Green Spice
Best flowers on a heuchera- Hollywood
Best hosta- Eskimo Pie tied with Stained Glass
Best agastache- Acapulco Salmon and Pink
Best salvia- Blue Hill- A non-stop bloomer with colors that match my russian sage exactly
Best echinacea- White Swan - I have tons of different cultivars, but this is still my favorite.
Best shasta daisy- Becky; heavy bloomer on strong stems. Needs to be divided every two or three years.
Best russian sage- Blue Spire; although it does get a bit floppy despite never being fertilized. Bees love it though.

Best verbena- Red Quartz
Best salvia coccinea- Lady In Red followed closely by Coral Nymph and Yvonne's
Best coleus- Kong
Best zinnia- Will Rogers; large, bright red flowers.
Best marigold- Scarlet Starlet; I'm not much of a marigold person, but I have to admit these are nice.
Best nasturtium- Alaska- I love the variegated foliage. The red flowering ones are my favorite.

Best celery- Tango; although this is the only one I've tried, it was VERY easy in a raised bed.
Best carrots- Scarlet Nantes
Best jalapeno- Mucho Nacho; I've seen listings for a mild version under the same name. This is not that version.
Best bell pepper- Fat N' Sassy hybrid; producing like mad right now!
Best cucumber- Salad Bush hybrid. The seeds are a bit pricey, but well worth it. They have excellent disease resistance, few seeds, and taste great! I will use these as long as I can still get seeds.
Best pumpkin- Jack Be Little; tiny and cute. Easy to grow even after a vine borer split open the vine when it was young.
Best lettuce- Jericho; romaine; slow to bolt, tastes great.

Butterfly Bushes. Hands down the best. In particular Royal Red and Pink Delight.

Lavender!!! Honeybees especially seem to love all types of lavender.
Blue Spire russian sage- Mine are covered with honeybees.
Purple coneflowers- Bumblebees and carpenter bees love them.
Black Adder agastache- Bumblebees love it.
Walker's Low nepeta- Again, bumblebees love it

Verbena bonariensis- Dark lavender blooms. Wispy, see-through foliage. I love how you can still see what is planted behind it.

Sundown Echinacea- This plant survives year after year despite what looks to be a heavy covering of rust. I'll give it credit for surviving, but the foliage looks terrible up close.
William Baffin roses- I have two of these MONSTERS. Make sure you have tons of room for these beasts. Mine is about 10' x 10' and GROWING!!! I will say that they do produce like mad in the beginning of the season. Sporatic blooms after that.
Pink Fountain gaura- It doesn't seem to appeal to any type of wildlife. I never see anything living near it. Although the individual stems are pretty, that is about it can offer.

I hope you enjoy looking through my list of favorite, and not so favorite, things. Any questions, feel free to ask. Those plants that I listed as favorites are all ones that I would highly recommend. They are very easy to grow, and I have had no trouble maintaining their health without the use chemicals.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Vampires in Pennsylvania...You Have Been Warned

In mid-October of last year, garlic was the first crop to be planted my new raised beds. I was able to harvest my first garlic EVER today! German Extra Hardy. A hardneck garlic. From little cloves placed into the soil 4" apart (9 per square foot) arose beautiful garlic bulbs. They are about 2" to 2 1/2" wide. They smell like garlic. Look like garlic. It worked! I can't wait until the rest (about 60 more!) are ready for harvest and curing.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Join the Great Sunflower Project

Check out my favorite gardening sites. One of which is for the Great Sunflower Project. You can participate for free! All you need is a half an hour and one of the plants on their list. Sit and observe how many bees visit for a half and hour and report back with your data. They have a log for you to print out to keep track of the number of visits by different types of bees, the temperature, time of day, etc. This would be a great activity to do with your children. My son and I are participating for the first time this year. They will even put you on a mailing list for Lemon Queen sunflower seeds (the main plant they would like you to observe if possible). Although the mailing of seeds may be done for this season, you can still participate by using other plants. Check out their website and provide them information about the bees where you live.

Tomatoes and Flowers

The KBX and Gold Nugget cherries should ripen over that week. All but two of the Opalkas are producing. It's great! I love this time of year. Flowers are filling in and blooming. Veggies are producing. Butterflies are finally fluttering around. I'm waiting for my first hummingbird visit. I only get a few sightings a year, but every one is special.

Other changes are occurring in the garden. The butterfly bush flowers are opening. Black Knight was first. Their blossoms opened up last week. Now the Pink Delights, Adonis Blue, and Royal Red are in bloom. There are only a few cabbage white butterflies fluttering around lately. I did see one Tiger Swallowtail and one Monarch this past weekend. I am hoping that many more butterflies won't be far behind.

Free Heirloom Tomato Seeds

At the beginning of the year I found a site called If you are interested in starting plants from seeds, whether to save money or try varieties not offered locally, WinterSown is a great site to reference. In addition to all of the free information and downloadable brochures they do offer free seeds for a SASE. You have to print out their address page and fill in your wish list. In return they do ask that you save seeds in the future and mail them in so the free seed offers may continue for others. It's not required, but for the amount of seed they give you, it is worth the small cost of postage to mail them seeds from your harvest. Plus you'll feel good that you're helping out others, so I highly recommend checking out this site.