(Almost) Wordless Wednesday

31 07 2008

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

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Firecracker!

29 07 2008

I grew four of these annual vines again this year. This incredibly beautiful vine blooms mid-summer to fall. The Latin name is “Mina Lobata.” The common name is “Spanish flag” or “Firecracker vine.” I posted a photo of my first vine (grown from seed!) here. Today the vines were chock full of these tiny flags, waving in the breeze.

Learn more about this exotic vine here and at Taunton’s Fine Gardening site here.

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.







The color of a sunset

29 07 2008

Introduction to daylilies:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cnCgSYPPfso&feature=related

Where to plant daylilies:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I-BJbxX8yYU&feature=related

How to plant daylilies:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qIBB6k599ww&feature=related

How to divide daylilies:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iLXQwTH_98Y&feature=related

How to deadhead daylilies:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L7zfXe2AbRM&feature=related

Photo © Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





‘Mater Melvin

28 07 2008

I just picked these little jewels from the garden this afternoon. As I was carrying them inside, I thought…hmmm…two yellow ones…they look like big orbs…with eyes! And I have just enough new cherry tomatoes to form…a smile….oh, and what looks great with bright golden yellow and orange-red? Cornflower-french blue! Oh, and what about rosemary eyebrows?

While I realize the concept of playing with your food (and photographing it) isn’t a new concept, I felt (creatively) compelled to do it anyway. So…voila! I present to you—‘Mater Melvin. How can this colorful little concoction not make you smile? Step away from your desk and go grow something!

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Lady Margaret

28 07 2008

I added another passionflower to the mix in my backyard garden this year—Passiflora ‘Lady Margaret.’ It hasn’t been as prolific a bloomer as my other plant, though (see photos of those blooms in previous Backyard blooms and In the garden again). And it’s a little more difficult to photograph because of the structure of the flower (upright and more skyscraper-like). The other passionflower can be easily photographed from the top and sides and still maintain good focus throughout. ‘Lady Margaret’ is a smaller and much more dainty flower, too. With about 500 species of these flowering plants, I have a ways to go in assembling my collection!

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Today’s bountiful harvest

27 07 2008

Okay, so “bountiful” doesn’t really apply in this case. And I most certainly would lose weight if all I ate was what I grew. Nevertheless, my meager bounty certainly makes for a lovely still life, doesn’t it?

The beautiful yellow ‘Jubilee’ tomato is courtesy of my client and friend, Sophia, who generously gives me several exotic tomato plants (that she lovingly grows from seed!) each gardening season. This is the first large yellow tomato I’ve grown in our garden. There’s another almost-ripe one hanging on the vine—I can monitor its progress through the studio window. I’m the ultimate multi-tasker—I can design on the computer, run out and photograph something blooming in the garden, pet the cat, feed the fish, talk on the phone, and be on “tomato watch” all at the same time.

The only true tomato harvest we have ever had was when we first started the garden almost seven years ago. Michael planted four Roma tomato plants and by the end of the season, I had picked well over 500 tomatoes! Every few days I would run out in my pajamas (yes, I sometimes work in my pj’s if I’ve pulled an all-nighter working on rush projects—working in your pj’s is one of the perks of self-employment) and scoop up ripe tomatoes in my pockets. I picked so many I was giving them away to strangers in the neighborhood (In case you’re wondering, I did get dressed for the tomato deliveries!). At that time I wasn’t a tomato lover—that came later in life, but I love them now and would be a bit more hesitant to share (particularly since we reap much less than we sow these days). We haven’t had that kind of harvest anomaly since.

The green beans are Kentucky Wonder Pole Beans. I grow these every year (and harvest just enough to fill a bowl). I also love to grow the Yardlong Beans just because they’re so long! They can grow up to three feet long, although they’re best if they’re picked at 18 inches or less. Highly-prized in Asia, these pencil-thin beans are also known as long-podded cowpea, asaparagus bean, snake bean, or Chinese long bean. Sometimes, if there’s room (there never really is, but I manage to squeeze them in anyway), I’ll grow Tricolor Bush beans from Renee’s Garden seeds just because they’re colorful!

I may only pick a handful (or two) of each edible thing I grow, but it still makes me feel like a productive urban farmer. Of course, if I tallied up the cost of seeds, stakes, containers, potting mix, Miracle-Gro, and watering, I’ll probably end up with a result like William Alexander, the author of The $64 Tomato, did. Speaking of which, it’s a really great book; I highly recommend it…and check out his blog here. My beans are probably worth about $5.00 a string! And don’t even get me started on how much the cherry tomatoes are worth…

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Drawn to the sun

22 07 2008

I must confess that the sunflower fields at McKee-Beshers Wildlife Management Area were a bit overwhelming at first. It was so much to take in visually! After climbing a ladder we had brought (as did a dozen other photographers sharing the field with us) to get a sweeping overhead view, I lost my sense of direction (physically and photographically) for a moment (or two). Once I shot the overhead perspectives, I had to narrow down my field of view to concentrate on closeups of individual flowers. The sheer number of flowers and insects buzzing about made that a bit difficult! To give you an idea of the number of sunflowers in the main field (there are two separate areas), I’ll upload the panorama-like shot on a separate posting. These four below are some of my favorites culled from Saturday morning’s photo adventure.

The downside about this place (my personal opinion) is that it is a public hunting area, no permit required. Read more here in a Washington Post article about why the sunflowers are really grown.

I knew there was an association for virtually everything, but I just discovered there is one dedicated just to sunflowers—the National Sunflower Association, located in Bismarck, North Dakota. Sunflowers have become an important agricultural crop for U.S. producers.

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Ah Sunflower

Ah Sunflower, weary of time,
Who countest the steps of the sun;
Seeking after that sweet golden clime
Where the traveller’s journey is done;

Where the youth pined away with desire,
And the pale virgin shrouded in snow,
Arise from their graves, and aspire
Where my Sunflower wishes to go!

William Blake (1757-1827)

Photos © Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.