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Posts Tagged ‘summer’

IMG_6683A few years ago we put in a group of haskap berry bushes. They were sad little sticks when they went in but have done extremely well. We got our first good round of fruit this year and while they are not quite as sweet as blueberries, they can be swapped in for them in any baked good. (the photo is one I took just before picking this spring) Being so happy with them, we had added a few more this spring, but kept the numbers low since they can be a bit expensive. That’s why I was pleased to find a group of them in an end-of-season clearout for a local garden centre. We had been thinking about opening up a new bed for strawberries and finding enough haskaps, at a great price, to finish filling in the row means no more waiting to move them. There were enough to give us a final count of two dozen, and to run the length of the bed to the east of the house. So the strawberries will be shifted to their new bigger home, and we’ll have full rows of both for next year! (and I’ll have to find a few more recipes for using our crop)

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raspThe garden keeps developing and it looks like a few of the longer-term investments are starting to pay off in terms of fruit production. One is the thimbleberries. Unlike our everbearing raspberries, they need to fruit on second year canes and it’s taken a few years for them to spread out enough so we are getting more than just a few to taste. The first year canes also seem to be good eating, as far as the bunnies are concerned, and they all got mowed down to under 2′, over the winter. (which was taller than the years previous where they were mostly eaten right down) That doesn’t seem to have stopped them from producing, so the deeper snow is probably why we’re actually getting a crop this year. This was the early morning haul yesterday and I got almost as much in the late afternoon. The berries are much larger, (most are almost the size of a thimble) a bit sweeter but not quite as tasty as the everbearing, but even so it’s really nice to have a decent run a couple of months before the big flood.

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pink roses

IMG_6700Last year we put in a new flower bed at the end of the path. It was filled with an assortment of different roses collected from other spots on the property. One was an old style high-bush one that had come through the east fence and while surviving, wasn’t doing well in the shade of the large conifers. We weren’t sure that it would make it due to the small amount of root that came out with it, but it got through last summer and showed some growth. This year, it started out strong, set a bunch of buds and has been in constant flower for almost a month. It has pretty, full blooms in a pale pink that are also quite strongly scented. (unlike most of our other roses) Considering how well it is doing and the abundance of flowers after only one year, we’re planning on looking for a support structure for it and the white climbing rose next year.

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Over the last few years, we have added quite a number rosebed of plants to the property. Some of them have finally established enough that it was possible to split and spread them around a bit. We have two varieties of shrub roses and both have firmly established themselves and keep striking out for new territory. Since some of that territory is already spoken for, it made sense to set up a whole new bed. Along with the shrub roses, there was another, older style high bush rose that had come through the east fence and was struggling in the shade. Along with those we also had a low, creeping white rose and a trio of miniatures that had survived going into and out of the teapots for the past couple of years. All together, there were enough for us to set up a whole bed of roses. We cut into the lawn at the start of the path and that gave us borders on two sides. I like where it is and while it’s filled with more tomatoes, this year, than roses, it should be looking more like it was intended by next spring. I’m also a bit amused that all the roses, whether they were bought, volunteers or were just survivors, have turned out to to be white or just slightly off-white.

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The elderberry bushes keep getting larger and this img_5853 is the first year that not only have they have set lots of berries, but the birds don’t seem as interested in cleaning them off. I think it might be a case of the delayed season meaning that the birds are mostly done with raising of chicks so have less need to pillage them all out from under us. I’m surprised to be thankful about the berries running almost a month behind schedule, but if it means we’ll have a bit more time to do the picking, rather than have to grab what we can before the birds get them all then it’s a good thing. Now it’s just a matter of figuring out the best ways to use them. We tend to prefer to mix them with other fruits, rather than use them alone since the flavour can be a bit overpowering if it isn’t softened a bit and considering how good the other fruit crops are looking, I’m guessing it will mostly be apple. It looks like some tasty pies and crumbles are in our future!

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We have a couple of freestanding flower arrangements on bf the property and when I saw this huge butterfly flitting about one I ran off to grab the camera. Luckily, it stuck around long enough for me get some shots. It seemed to not be comfortable with me getting too close so I hung back and used the zoom feature. Going through some websites, it looks like it is a Giant Swallowtail ( Papilio cresphontes ) and from the descriptions of their flight differences, probably a male. The flight movement was much closer to a bird than most other butterflies and he was incredibly flappy about the wings, even while feeding, which made taking the pictures difficult. I really couldn’t get over just how large he was, which shouldn’t be a surprise since they are the largest butterflies native to the region, but I don’t remember ever coming across one before. The marigolds seemed to be what he liked the best and he sampled several ones, on both sides of the planter, before heading off.

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We have tried a really wide assortment of tomato types over the years.

black tomatoes, August 2014

black tomatoes, August 2014

Quite a number have been labelled as “black” and we have pretty much had at least a couple of black cherry tomatoes every year. With that being said, this is the first year we have had truly black ones. They were labelled as an “early black”, but are not moving all that much faster than the rest of the plantings but at least a couple have ripened. Of course, it’s a bit hard to tell how close they are to ripe since the colour doesn’t show much. They do turn an orangish red, on their bottoms, but never get all that soft, so even going with the gentle squeeze test is a bit difficult. The flavour is also a bit closer to a tomatillo than a standard tomato, and didn’t impress the tomato connoisseur, that is my mother so I don’t think we’ll be doing them again next year. While I know that tomatoes are in the same family as eggplants, I never expected to grow ones that had the same colour!

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