Late June in My NJ Garden

I didn’t think any of the squash or cucumbers had a chance of coming through and bearing fruit this year with the zillions of cucumber beetles and squash bugs I saw earlier in the season, but these plants are troopers! Now that the hot weather has hit, shade or full sun, they are bursting forth and sending out vines! Most of the plants are volunteers, so I’m cautiously hopeful I’ll get to discover what kind of fruit I’ll see on them before they are killed by the bugs (I have to keep saying this so I’m not completely devastated when it happens…) The beauty in the red bin above is a blue hubbard. I’ve never had one of those before! It’s reaching out to hold hands with the pole beans my daughter tucked into the lettuce container on the left. I’m pretty sure I have some pumpkins, a honeydew, and some yellow squash coming up in the pictures below.

The herb spiral, tucked between the apple trees, is getting filled up slowly with grass clippings and compost. I’d add soil if I had some, but I don’t at the moment. I should take a trip to our recycling center and get a few containers to add here.

A few apples might make it through the season on the crimson gala tree. There is one little one hanging on the Granny Smith tree, but I just don’t think that tree gets enough sun during the day. I may need to move it in the fall (yikes) – if it survives a move, it will be much happier with more sun.

My pole bean tee pee! I should have made another one. It’s so exciting to watch them cover the branches. I get a much bigger kick out of watching pole beans, then bush beans. I have been putting bush beans everywhere I see an empty spot so I can improve the soil. Toward the end of July I plan to start tucking lettuce into the empty spaces instead.

Speaking of pole beans, I think I’ve found a draw back to the heavy mulching I’ve been doing. Good thing beans are cheap and I can keep reseeding them! Something is chomping on almost every plant. I’ve seen a LOT of beetles around the yard this year. Maybe they are the ones eating the beans.

The keyhole garden is filling in nicely. Like the other areas of the yard, the brassicas are being destroyed by the cabbage moths, but everything else is coming along. The borage got huge here and I’m glad I put it near the edge so it could hang over the side when it gets too big to support itself. Even so, between the borage and the nasturtiums, the flowers have kind of taken over the right side. There is a volunteer tomato growing up front and peppers and escarole off to the left. Bright lights swiss chard is looking lovely up near the compost basket and there are lettuce and beans tucked in some empty spots around the back.

I moved the dwarf mountain laurel from it’s spot in the foundation garden to a lame, slow area in the shade garden. The plants here are a golden shadows dogwood at the top, though considered a shade loving plant, this tree/shrub has been VERY slow to get going. I think it’s loving the mulch though because it’s gotten significantly bigger this season. Though shady, I imagine this area used to be quite dry. The small shrub on the right is a small leafed rhod, said to have only about a 2’ spread. I just put this in last month. The laurel, with the singed leaves from too much sun, is on the left. The root ball was alarmingly small, though it was in the sunny spot for almost 3 seasons. I hope it can recover here and thrive. I do love mountain laurels. 

This elderberry has only been in this spot for 2 years!! It’s got to be at least 10’ tall now and has big flower heads all over it that are about to bloom. It’s partner was planted at the same time, very close by, and they were meant to pollinate each other. Though the same size, it’s got NO flower heads at all. Damn.

I had to stake the flower stalk on the Adam’s Needle Yucca plant. The flowers are gone now, so I guess I’ll cut it down. The stake made a huge difference because the stalk had started to lean and it went from looking strange and unstable to really looking elegant and proud. I have to remember to stake it again next year as soon as it reaches the right height, before it blooms.

Also, these plants with the reddish leaves and tiny yellow flowers are called PURPLE LEAF LOOSESTRIFE PLANTS Lysimachia ciliata ‘Purpurea’ – I got it 3 years ago from a craiglister for free. She said it was Dame’s rocket. Oops. The leaves are really dark early in the season, but start to green up toward the bottom once it gets hot out. The tops are still red and contrast nicely with the plants around it but it’s spreading like crazy and needs to be divided.

Speaking of dividing, I was just out there splitting up and moving a hosta that was in too much sun and replacing it with Russian sage that was in too much shade.

Also, 2 days ago I planted an American Highbush Cranberry in the front, right near the mailbox, and an American Filbert (hazelnut) in the back, among the lily of the valley. They are both just sticks right now, not even worth a picture here, but hopefully I’ll get them to start doing something before the fall when they get tucked in for the winter.