Tag Archives: fennel

Sunflowers shine on my garden.

gl dragonfly 2 by JR 5-31-16

So many flowers are growing in my garden that I haven’t ever grown before, or not for a long time. The Kangaroo Paws are ever-changing and fascinating.  One of the three plants sent up a flower stalk months ago, and the blooms are opening now. I didn’t know that these little rising-sun flowers that have popped out were even part of the deal.

In May Mrs. Bread took this photo of a dragonfly who flew right to that plant that matched his own color. He knew, even though the buds were small then. >>>gl P1040891 k paws 7-25-16gl P1040891 k paws closegl P1040894 k paws





When I was in Monterey, on California’s Central Coast, I saw lots of Kangaroo Paws in different colors. Some plants were seven feet high.

Maybe next year all three of mine will bloom at the same time!


gl rice straw P1040853

I bought a bale of rice straw with which to mulch the vegetables and strawberries, and I did get the job done just before the heat wave rolled in. While I was pulling hay out of the bale I was swept back to my childhood when we used to play in the hay barns at the neighbor’s horse ranch. I had completely forgotten about what was a fairly brief, but special year or two of my life, but that hay smell….

My everbearing type of strawberry plants are producing their second crop, and I’m getting more than in their first fruiting. Every other day or so I pick a few to eat in the garden. I’m enjoying them more than I expected, now that they are responding to the summer weather and being healthier.

gl berries P1040889While most plants are growing taller, the fennel is getting fat. I’m growing the bulbs to roast as vegetables. It must be time to pick them, because flowers are beginning to form on the feathery tops.

gl fennel P1040851

gl P1040862 chamomile




Chamomile flowers are cute little skirted pom-poms. This is the German variety, which is said to grow to 2 ft., but mine is 27″ high 🙂 The short Roman kind is on the other side of the garden, covered now with tiny yellow buttons, and no skirts.






When I bought plants in the spring, for some reason I thought I was getting an orangey-brown variety of sunflower, but my giant specimens are lemon-yellow, and I do love them. They are nearly 8 ft. tall, and would be all of that, if they held their heads up just a tad straighter. But then they wouldn’t look quite right.

The goldfinches have been hanging around a lot. This morning six goldfinches and one house finch were having a drinking party at my fountain, and taking baths, too, while I sat in the garden eating breakfast. Later on I surprised one that was pecking at a sunflower leaf, and last week as I was walking around in the evening I came upon a goldfinch perched quietly on a bachelor’s button, enjoying the air a bit before retiring.

gl garden sunflowers

I wonder if it was birds who ate my green beans…. Well, I consider everything experimental this year. It will be interesting to see which things want to come back next spring. In the meantime, I have learned how not to plant tomatoes in a box, and that if aphids show up on my kale, I better wash them off quickly. The sunflowers are trying to convince me — and so far it’s working — that they are a success.gl P1040874

If we would all break out into such glory when the summer sun shines!

Our Kind of Fall

Reading as many blogs as I do has the subtle effect oP1110742crpf making me want to bring my neighborhood in line with the music that autumn plays in most other places. For example, I found a November poem that is all about the violent wind, when we usually have to wait a month or two later for that sort of thing. It didn’t fit with my reality.

It’s definitely Fall here, but our notes sing a quieter background harmony, linking us more obviously to summer. Even the window art at the grocery store is mostly sunflowers to go with the pumpkins and turkeys.P1110762

All of the pictures from my garden were taken on this sixth day of November. A strawberry is ripe, as “ripe” as ornamentals get, but is decorated by a few of the telltale fallish pine needles that are slowly covering everything in that part of the yard.

P1110775sunsugar or sungold 11-6-14


The sign for the orange cherry tomato is hiding deep under the exploding foliage, and I can’t remember if it is a Sungold or a Sunsugar, but the fruit is still ripening, and nearly as sweetly as a month ago.




P1110737 Nov 1 14 sky


Mr. Glad stopped us on the way to Vespers last week to take this picture of clouds in a blue sky. Not rain clouds, sad to say. The grass has that November look, from having dried up and then been rained on a little, not enough to create any new green color. Our autumn is drier than usual, which is a hard kind of gentleness.




P1110759The furnace has been turned on, which means that we keep the windows closed, though with the days mild, and the air so fresh and soothing, I wish we could have them open. I just have to go fully out of doors if I want to get into the natural atmosphere.

It’s still not really cold enough to have a wood fire, and we haven’t had a frost yet, as you can tell from the tomatoes. P1110774

These are the hens and chicks near the new planting bed out front. I set out all the new ground-cover starts this week, and some of the thyme is blooming still.

October is the P1110772month to plant peas of any sort, and this year I bought sweet pea (those are the flowers) and snow pea seeds, but I never got around to actually putting them in the ground, which means that the failed flowering fennel and the nasturtiums are free to paint an impressionistic scene. The background music is called “Flowery Fall.”


Not a full fennel failure.

fennel fluff 9-27-14My fennel experiment has taught me some things. If I had found Barbara Pleasant’s page on How to Grow Bulb Fennel much earlier than I did, I might have got a crop. She gets two crops every summer!

I think my effort failed for three reasons:

1) I planted too late. It would be better to set out seedlings when I had planted mere seeds.

2) My spot lacked sun. It was next to a fence that prevented the plants from getting sun before late morning, and then the zucchini plants nearby grew up and provided more unwanted shade.

3) I didn’t give the plants extra nitrogen when they began “to bulb.” Barbara says thafennel stems 9-27-14t is an important step to help them grow good-sized bulbs.

Barbara says that it took her three seasons to learn how to grow a successful crop, so that is a comfort. I intend to try again. But even if I didn’t have hope for the future, this summer’s crop is so pretty, I’m enjoying it as an ornamental. I’ll keep watching for the seeds to develop, and maybe I’ll be able to gather enough for my next fennel experiment.

fennel flower 9-27-14