Spot of Gardening

Gardening in South Louisiana

My New Back Porch

On our third year in our home, we have finally started to build our back porch!  I would have preferred to have the builder put the porch on when we first had the house built but they wouldn’t build it the way we wanted it.  Well, we decided that we would have it done later.  And two years went by…

Now, my dad is helping us build it ourselves.  It’s going to be a two phase project.  This first area will be our outdoor kitchen area.   The south wall is a double glass window that The Sushiman insists is perfect to block the wind from the cooking area.  We’ve decided to cover the outside with lattice and put a garden box underneath so I can plant some climbing vines to grow up along our south wall.  I already have some hardy kiwis which would be perfect there.

May 8, 2010 Posted by | Family & Friends | 2 Comments

Tumbler Tomato Harvest

The Tumbler tomatoes have been a very successful experiment this year.  I have never grown this type of cherry tomato before.  Well, this will be a tomato that I will add to my garden from now on.  It’s easy to grow and takes very little space since it’s in a hanging basket.  Visually, it’s stunning with dozens of cute little round tomatoes hanging off the branches.  The fruit looks very uniform and smooth just like the ones you buy at the store.  My MIL loves harvesting from the tomato basket every morning.

May 7, 2010 Posted by | Fruits and Vegetables | , , , | Leave a comment

Pink Hearts, Azaleas & Roses

In the front of the house, the heart flowerbed is beginning to look about how I imagined it when I first planted it.  The pink azaleas are in full bloom with pink roses rising above it.  My azaleas are a full two weeks behind the other azaleas in the area.  When the azaleas around town have already faded, my azaleas have started to bloom.  Talk about late bloomers.  LOL.  By next year, those ugly cable and electric boxes will be completely covered and I’ll have a beautiful pink heart flowerbed for viewing instead.  Yay!  I still have one corner of the flowerbed to plant something in to finish off the flowerbed.  Something pink of course.  Originally, I had a huge pink geranium but looks like it didn’t survive this winter.  I’m considering another geranium.  Maybe, I’ll find the perfect plant next week at the Mother’s Day Plant Sale at the Burden Center.   That will be the reason I have to go to the plant sale, not that I’ve turned into an obsessive gardener who fervently looks forward to the flower and plant shows and marks it on her calendar so she won’t miss it.  No, No, that’s not me…..

May 6, 2010 Posted by | Flowers | , | 2 Comments

Running With the Turtle

The larger turtles seem to prefer The Kitchen Garden as a home instead of The Pond.  Earlier this spring, we found several of them half buried in the garden while preparing the garden beds.  Since I needed the space for my vegetables, I moved them back to the pond.   The small turtles seem happy to continue to live in the pond but the larger ones keep returning to the garden.  As you can see, they keep making a run across the backyard to the kitchen garden.   Lucky enjoys racing around them when he finds them.  Obviously, he’s never heard of the tortoise and the hare tale.

May 3, 2010 Posted by | Animals & Pets | 4 Comments

Lil’ Peaches

It seems like it was just yesterday I was admiring my peach blossoms.  Now, dozens of little peaches are hanging on the dwarf peach tree in the container.  I should thin the peaches to get larger fruits but I can’t bring myself to pluck these cute little peaches off while they’re still green.  Well, it’s not like I was growing a dwarf peach tree for the fruit anyways.  Yep, it was for the ornamental value…….

May 1, 2010 Posted by | Fruits and Vegetables | Leave a comment

Mighty Mints

Once upon a time in a land called the Kitchen Garden, three small Spearmint plants moved into a  3′ x 4′ plot.  There was plenty of land for everyone and they grew up happily.  The owner of the land was told by everyone to plant them in pots so the Spearmints would not take over the entire garden but the Spearmints seemed harmless and there seemed to be enough land for everyone.   As time went by, the Spearmints filled up their plot of land and began to move entire families into the neighboring plots of land.  They seemed intent on conquering the entire Kitchen Garden!  The owner objected to this and began to evict them from the neighboring plots of land but was kind enough to find new homes for them.   And away the young families of the Spearmints went to their new homes.  Meanwhile, new families of the Spearmints continued to try to expand but the owner continues to insist that the Spearmints remain within their boundaries.  Lately, the owner have found a Chocolate Mint and an Apple Mint who wanted to move in.  Having learned her lesson, the owner has graciously allowed them to move into two beautiful condo apartments, i.e. the hanging pots.

The Spearmints (2) Chocolate Mint (2) Apple Mint (2)

April 29, 2010 Posted by | Herbs | , , , | 3 Comments

Dancing With The Dragonflies

This past weekend, I discovered dozens upon dozens of dragonflies visiting my garden.  I haven’t seen so many dragonflies since I was a child (I won’t say how long ago that was…).   These are welcome visitors since I am hoping they will cut down on the mosquito population in my backyard.  These were quite young dragonflies so I am assuming they just emerged from the larval stage.  It looked a dragonfly festival in my backyard with the swirling and flying dragonflies in the air.  My camera was not able to capture motion photos but I did catch a few that weren’t too shy to pose for the camera.

April 26, 2010 Posted by | Bugs, Uncategorized | , | 2 Comments

Yuzu, Yuzu

The Yuzu trees (Citrus Ichangensis x Citrus Reticulata) have burst into bloom with beautiful flowers and fresh green leaves.  Hopefully, this year’s multitude of blooms will turn into beautiful yuzu fruits which will ripen into fullness.   Last year, the fruits kept falling off while still tiny and only about 4 managed to ripen.

The yuzu trees has huge 2″-3″ thorns which I usually snip off every spring.  Yes, this is a lot of work but so is weeding.  For me, the extra work is preferable to being  stabbed by a 2″ thorn while trying to admire or pick a beautiful aromatic yuzu fruit.

My yuzu tree has finally grown taller than the neighbor’s 6′ fence!  It just celebrated its 3rd birthday with us and really has grown very nicely.  I’ve hesitated to prune it since I wanted it to grow taller but I think I will have to prune it this year to encourage a fuller look.   I am thinking of selecting the branches that need pruning and trying to propagate those branches.   I’d love to have a few extra yuzu trees!

April 25, 2010 Posted by | Flowers, Fruits and Vegetables | , | Leave a comment

Search for the Culinary Sages

The culinary sage is another essential herb for the kitchen/herb garden.  Would your Thanksgiving turkey or stuffing be the same without this quaint herb?  Many would say nay.  I have grown the common sage (Salvia officinalis) every year from seed.  It is quite easy to grow in the ground or in containers.   The silver leaves make a nice border or accent plant in the flower garden, also.  But, my search for sages continues on….

While wandering through a local nursery, I found two new sages – Pineapple Sage (Salvia elegans) and Honeydew Melon Sage (Salvia elegans ‘Honey Melon’). I’ve read about the Pineapple Sage in other people’s garden blogs but have never heard of the Honeydew Melon Sage.   Needless to say, I snatched both of them up, along with an Apple Mint that I have been lusting for since my sister bought one last year.  The cutting she gave me never rooted and was a lost cause.

Honeydew Melon Sage will start to flower in May while the Pineapple Sage will begin in the fall.  They are both great hummingbird attractors.   Their leaves and flowers are edible and can be used in herbal teas, too.    The fragrance of these plants are amazing and the fuzzy leaves are fun to rub between your fingers.   I’ve planted both sages next to the Confederate Jessamine by the  swinging chair so I can swing and enjoy the mingled scent of jasmine, pineapple and honeydew – – tropical delight.

Honeydew Melon Sage:

Pineapple Sage:

April 24, 2010 Posted by | Herbs | 2 Comments

MIL’s Vegetables

The Sushiman’s parents are currently visiting us from Shanghai, China.  Since they are from the big city, my MIL was pretty excited to be growing her very own vegetables!  In an earlier post, I posted about going tomato plant shopping with her.  I thought I’d show a few vegetables she has planted:  snow peas, a type of chinese pac choi and some lettuce.

April 23, 2010 Posted by | Fruits and Vegetables | Leave a comment