Thursday, August 17, 2017

Notes From the Garden

It's mid-August, and I can already feel autumn on the horizon. Central New York got a lot of rain this spring and summer. My vegetable garden is thriving (tomatoes galore and zucchini for days!), and my plants and flowers are showing me just what a wildlife habitat is all about.


I have never tried growing zucchini before, but with our family's discovery that we love zucchini noodles ("zoodles"), we decided to give it a try. They do like lots of water. Make no mistake: if you let them get away from you, as we did, you will find yourself with zucchini that are a foot and a half long, and they will keep on going if you don't cut them (or until the squash borers find them). The one on the far right is the size they are supposed to be at harvest, a nice, tender inch and a half in diameter. Meanwhile, my grape tomatoes have exploded, and are still cheerfully producing as many as we can eat. We have planted our beefsteak tomato plants too close together, so they aren't getting as large as I'd like, but they are producing some delicious, meaty snack-size tomatoes. As I harvested, a bumblebee visited the new flowers. (I made sure to thank him. 😉) Next year, we plan to expand our garden, space out our plants more, and maybe install some new vegetable varieties. This year was for fun and practice! Tomatoes are so good right off the plant, still warm from the sun.

 

Meanwhile, my butterfly garden has been playing host to all sorts of insects. The crickets serenade us each evening. Honeybees are enjoying my purple coneflower. I never use pesticides on my property, so I'm thrilled to have them visit in the hope that someone, somewhere, is benefiting from the delicious honey they provide (even if it's just the bees themselves!).

 

This evening, to my delight, I found a Cherry-Faced Meadowhawk Dragonfly resting on my tall phlox. He was hard to miss, being 2-1/2" to 3" in length. Most dragonflies seem to be rather skittish, but this fellow was clearly not bothered when I got right up close to him to snap a photograph on my phone.


I had thought my swamp milkweed was a goner, but it has managed to surprise me with a couple of hardy plants, one of which is now in bloom. It has been a great spring and summer for the gardens. My sedum is beginning to bud in preparation for fall bloom, and I'll be back with more pictures. See you soon!

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