Petunias and raspberries revisited

This was one of those weeks where the studio work came last, or as was the case, not at all.  Between the berry picking, a trip to the timber frame job site, and work on a new set of architectural plans on the computer, I don’t think I spent an hour in the studio. 

Berries!

On the good side, I did pick about a gallon of raspberries.  Not as much as I hoped, but the rain delayed me a few days and the birds took advantage.  I’m slightly aggravated over it because I probably would have gotten close to another gallon.  Sometimes there’s just nothing that can be done, so I’m just going to be grateful for the 2 gallons I did get.  Maybe there will be one more day left but  I don’t expect to get much more than 1/2 gallon and I don’t know how good they will be. At the end of the season they can be smaller and less juicy.  Here you can see my picking set up.  I have a small bowl that I take into the bushes to pick and two larger ones to pour into so they don’t crush.  I never like to keep too much in the picking bowl in case I should trip or get startled by the fauna and spill my hard won gains.  It has happened, though not too often.  I’m pretty serious about the berries I’ve already gotten and I’ll go over before they will.  The large white bowl allows me to put the berries in the shade and then find them again later.  This has been an issue occasionally when I wandered too far from where I left the bowls and then I have to frantically search for the stash.  The white does stand out.  I also have to be careful with the metal bowl because it can get too warm from the sun and actually heat up the berries.  This is about 1/2 gallons worth.  On a really good picking day, I’ll come back with all 3 bowls full and I can freeze over a gallon, while leaving plenty to eat fresh.

More petunias

Also. the petunias are continuing to spread nicely.  Because I am sure that they are hybridized, I am getting colors that I never bought, like the light pink.  I think that those came from the striped ones last year because up close you can see a faint stripe of darker color.  In the background  you can see my tomato plants too.  One of these years I will have a real garden instead a few plants in the flower beds.  This has to do for now and I did just pick my first tomato yesterday.

Who says I have a green thumb – not me

I have been told on occasion that I must have a green thumb. Nothing could be farther than from the truth. The reality is that I get  plants, indoors and out and if they live, they live and I keep them, and if they die I don’t get anymore of those. Through a process of attrition I have learned what will survive with a minimum of care.   Nothing exotic for me.  If it looks exotic and pretty that’s fine but I have a rule.  I only plant it once.  And none of this put it in in spring and take it up in the fall.  If you can’t make for a whole year – too bad – no second chances – usually.   

Half volunteers

I have broken that rule once in a while, but not very often.  As a matter of fact, when we built the new house and I had to start from scratch, there were two plants that were supposed to be good to -40.  Both were evergreen types and had a pretty little spring flower.  I think one was pink heather and the other was bog rosemary.  I lost about half of them  over the first winter and decided to break the rule and replace them.  I should have kept to the rule.  Many of the new ones died and most of the ones that had survived the first year succumbed.  I gave up on them and have moved on to the next.  I do try to pick plants that are fairly cold tolerant needing little care.  The no care rule extends to mulching over winter also. 

All volunteers

The only exceptions are the few annuals for the flower pots and the petunias along the stone steps.  There is a lot of gravel just a few inches below the ground and I can’t really plant much there except some shallow rooted annuals.  I have managed to get some daffodil bulbs going  and I wanted something to cover the ground when they die back.  I never liked petunias much when I was growing up but I decided that the spreading wave petunias  (wave means expensive, you know, as in wave your money goodbye) would be a good choice.  They have actually done very well there, spreading up to a square yard each and lasting well into October.  Last year I had a few volunteers come up in mid summer quite far from the stair area.  I never knew that they could come up from a stray seed so I thought how lucky I was and perhaps that birds had helped spread them.  This spring when I went to look and see how everything had survived the drought of the fall and the very cold winter, I saw what looked to be petunias coming up where I had planted them last year.  Surely not.  In the spirit of doing the minimum of yard work, I decided to let them alone for a while and see what they might really be.  I went ahead and planted some wave petunias just in case I was mistaken (which was most likely given my plant identifying skills).  Low and behold after a few weeks it became apparent that they were indeed petunias.  They are starting to bloom.  The flowers are a little smaller than this year’s new ones and I can’t tell how much they will spread, but I love the fact that they have reseeded themselves.  I have more coming up about 25 feet away.  The colorful petunia blooms are quite lovely coming up in the midst of the vinca where they were never planted.  I think I’ll let them stay.

Oh, and I asked my mother and aunt who they thought planted the hardy peonies and both agree that Grandma was not a flower garden person.  Great Grandma must have planted them at some point.  Neither could remember the first time they remember seeing the peonies, but they must predate the early sixties.  That means they really are 50 to 100+ years old.  I am betting older rather than younger.