This 'Bonfire' begonia as going strong when I left 10 days ago, but without water it's looking pretty tired. A good drink and some fertilizer should bring it back to form. Photos by Doug Oster
I doubt there's any saving this torenia. Smaller hanging baskets took the hardest hit without a gardener to tend them.After a whirlwind 10 day trip exploring the gardens of Northern Italy, it was great to get back to my garden.
Looks like we didn't get much rain and the containers took a beating. My grown son was staying at the house while I was gone, he took care of the dogs, chickens and made sure the house was still here when I returned. I didn't expect him to water the containers, and thought the way this year was going, I'd luck out with Mother Nature taking over.
It was great to get a little rain last night and first thing this morning I soaked every pot. Now only time will tell how they respond. Looks like I lost a few for sure. I always say bigger is better when if comes to containers. That's certainly true in this case as the larger pots looked great, smaller hanging baskets took the hardest hit. Everything will get a drink of organic liquid fertilizer tonight too.
In the vegetable garden, the bamboo trellis supporting cucumbers and squash finally collapsed under the weight of the tall vines. I spent a few minutes picking through the carnage to pick another basket of fruit. My radio partner Jessica Walliser keeps offering to teach me how to make pickles, maybe I'll finally have to learn.
This big container filled with caladium, sweet potato vine, creeping Jenny and a 'Gryphon' begonia did great without any help from a gardener.One thing my son did do was pick tomatoes, but the plants were still loaded. Not even the food in Italy can compare to a tomato picked fresh from the garden.
Red Malabar spinach has completely covered the garden windmill and will continue to grow until frost. I'm going to have to figure out other ways to use spinach in the kitchen. I love that plant. It's a tropical vine which isn't spinach at all, but tastes pretty close.
The coreopsis is blooming like crazy along with eight foot tall Mexican sunflowers and the purple blooms of anemone 'Queen Charlotte' are simply stunning.
No garden can go too long without a gardener, eventually reverting to what once was there. It's always interesting to see how things can change in only 10 days.
I'm looking forward to fall planting season. I've got a lot of ideas from my trip.
Anemone 'Queen Charlotte' is filled with blooms.
Next year the plan calls for a more substantial trellis for cucumbers and squash.
Red Malabar spinach has hidden the windmill and huge Mexican sunflowers bloom in the background.