Thursday, August 02, 2007

Things Growing in My Garden

Crab apples in AlaskaThe garden is at it's peak right now, blooming and fruiting and I'm beginning to think about how many raspberries I'll get this year. Here's a tour:

1. Crab apples. I have a tree in back and a tree in front which are my handouts to the local moose population. I'm like the quadruped's version of McDonalds here, a local fast food restaurant. The tree in the fenced back looks beautiful and we get enough fruit to make jelly in the fall but the one in the front gets eaten down every winter and has suffered terribly--almost as if shrieking in pain from all the bark that's been stripped and the branches that have been broken off. I'm going to have to give in and wrap it with netting this fall to save it from an untimely death.

Nepata in Alaska2. Nepata. Also called cat mint, which the cats incidentally LOVE. Stay away from the garden cats! When I went to the nursery to buy the the plant I asked if they had any ne-PA-tuh. The woman looked down her nose at me and said, "It's NE-puh-tuh." Pardon my French.

Hostas in Alaska3. Hostas. Or if you were our fine Governor Schwarzenegger you'd call them Hosta-la-Vistas. Okay sorry, that was really bad. But they grow fabulously in my shaded areas (such as along the north side of the house) and look so beautiful with beads of rain on the leaves.

Lilies in Alaska4. Lilies. I really love how showy lilies are, I have several yellow ones, one white and a brand new pink variety. I used to have this gorgeous one that my mother gave me from her garden that was huge and peach-colored but clashed horribly with the other colors in the garden. Every year for five years I was torn about keeping it--loved the beautiful flowers and how well it was growing but hated the color combination it produced. I finally broke down this spring and dug it up, gave it to my sister and planted a pink one that matched. Don't mess with me, I'm one tough gardener. Lillian has always been thrilled to find a flower named just for her--we haven't bothered to burst her bubble by telling her the flower was there first, and I don't know that she'd believe it anyway. She's rather confident in her place at the center of the universe.

David Phlox in Alaska5. David Phlox. And speaking of flowers named for my children . . . It's actually just called Phlox and the variety is "David" but I call it my David Phlox because it's more fun that way. All I need is some Spencer Mint and some Gracie Daisies and I'd have a full garden of children. Phlox smells so lovely--it normally isn't blooming this early in the summer but the plant you see pictured is a new one I just planted this spring purchased from a nursery so it's ahead of the others.

Lavender in Alaska6. Lavender. Even though you can find this at the nurseries all over Anchorage in the spring, claiming to be a hardy perennial strain don't believe it. They're lies I tell you and I've never seen lavender that can winter here. Maybe if you brought it indoors you could save it but that's your only hope. I tried wintering mine inside last year under grow lights in the garage but it just didn't work well. But darn it, I love lavender enough that I'm going to try and save them again this year. Maybe this year I'll get lucky.

Petunias in Alaska7. Petunias. I'm afraid Alaskans can be rather limited in their flower selections--you get a log of pansies, marigolds, geraniums, begonias, snap dragons. The basics. So I hate to mention my little petunias because they're so common but I'm kind of funny in that I'll only plant white petunias. I saw it in a container-gardening book years ago, a box bursting with white petunias that trailed over the side in white cascades and I've never planted any other color since. Especially not the (gasp) striped varieties. They look like genetic aberrations to me (forgive me if you're a fan).
Geraniums in Alaska
8. Geraniums. Another Alaskan staple but I prefer to plant the scented varieties. The smell on a hot day is like incense--right up there with tomato plants on my Divine Smells list.

9. Pineapple Sage. And speaking of smells, here's where we get to the herbal section of the tour. I love herbs and can get my chives, mint and woolly thyme to Pineapple Sage in Alaskacome back each year and I have myrtle inside the kitchen but everything else has to be in pots on the back deck where I can bring them inside each fall. Rosemary, tarragon, dill, anise, hyssop, two kinds of lavender, thyme, parsley, oregano, marjoram, lemon balm, sage, cilantro and pineapple sage. If you haven't smelled pineapple sage don't worry you know how it smells--just like a pineapple. It's so fun I just love it. Anyone know what I can do with two big pots of pineapple sage? Any suggestions?

Curry Plant in Alaska10. Curry plant. And my curry. Curry as a spice is a blend of other spices like turmeric, coriander, cumin, etc. But a curry plant smells just like the spice--though I don't think you can eat it or cook with it. Nonetheless I have it growing alongside the herbs so it can get the sun it needs. Rather ironic that my mother, now living in India, hates curry. . . .

Strawberries in Alaska11. Strawberries. I planted half a dozen plants five years ago and now have a mound big enough to produce a quart a day. We made 8 jars of jam last night from the pickings and still have another gallon of berries in the freezer. The smell? I don't dare say how good they smell for fear you'll try licking your screen.

Cucumbers in Alaska12. Cucumbers. Shhhh! Don't tell but I've been able to grow cucumbers in Alaska for a couple years now. Impossible you say? Not when you have a Chugach Electric Association utility box hiding in your garden. That baby soaks up all sorts of sun and produces a bit of heat of its own so that the clay pots of cucumbers get all the heat they need and produce honest-to-goodness Alaskan cucumbers.

Kiwi Vine in Alaska13. Kiwi. The crowning fun of the garden is my kiwi vine growing over the south side of the house. Not a tree that produces the fuzzy fruits you see at the grocery store but still a kiwi nonetheless--the small, round variety. The vine is hardy in Alaska and grows quickly in the right conditions. I've had mine for four years and it's never done well until this past year when it finally took off and I've had flowers for the first time. You need a female and a male plant to produce fruit and the leaves are tipped with white. In the fall they turn a lovely red. Kiwi anyone?

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46 comments:

Mamma said...

I'm so surprised by how many similar plants we are able to grow considering the difference in climate.

I am considering starting a separate gardening blog to track my attempts at gardening.

Your photos are gorgeous. What sort of camera are you using?

My Ice Cream Diary said...

Lovely pics. I must admit to a bit of green envy. I wish my thumb were as green as yours. the only thing I have worth bragging about is my little avacado plant that survived my long absence. The Srawberries look lovely.

P.S. Thank you for my moose. The kids have had so much fun dispensing those naughty M&Ms=)

Lori said...

It sounds like an awesome garden. I wish I had the time to grow such wonderful things:)

MamaLee said...

What a lovely list! Absolutely beautiful pics. Happy TT!

Shannon said...

Lillies are so beautiful! :) I wish I had a place to plant a garden... not that it would live anyway! :-( Great pictures!

MommySecrets said...

Absolutely beautiful - it's so fun to see other people's gardens!
:)

la bellina mammina said...

They are stunning Michelle. I'm so jealous as I don't have a garden!! :-(

Jaycee said...

Yum, strawberries. I didn't realise they kept on going. I still have a plant I planted last year. It's not strawberry season here yet but I can't wait.

Corrie said...

Nice Thursday Thirteen. I almost planted Pineapple Sage in Ty's sensory garden (along with lemon basil). And Mint hyssop smells wonderful.

Love, love your yellow lily.

Rebecca said...

Oh my gosh, how beautiful! I'm always in such awe of people with beautiful gardens, who know the name of each flower and exactly how much sunlight and water each needs.

I'm reminded of being a little girl, watching reruns of Bewitched while eating breakfast before going to school. Samantha would go out to her garden, cut off some flowers, come inside and make an arrangement. I always wanted to do that.

Then I grew up and killed a cactus.

grace said...

I wish I could plant something in the sand! Love your garden!!

allrileyedup said...

Do you ever cook with lavendar? Great picture of the lilies!

Val said...

I was at Pyrah's U-pick Farm recently. That's "my" garden. :-)
They have a food trailer there now. I had the Rhubarb-Berry Crisp with ice cream. Yum
Diet schmiet.

Joyful Days said...

Have I mentioned lately that I am envious and jealous because my postage stamp surrounded with concrete and brick won't allow for such beauty??

Ah well, at least you will share it with us "internets" down in the lower states.

Don't be to hard on those petunias. After vincas they are my favorites.

Julie

Scribbit said...

Sorry Julie, I knew I'd be slapping someone if I said that :)

Petunias Forever!

And Val--I've never been to Pyrah's before, though I have been right next door at the cannery there.

It sounds yummy--

Robin said...

Your garden sounds beautiful.

I have a terrible black thumb, but my tiny little citrus trees (in pots, I live in a penthouse) may bear a fruit or too this year, and my rosemary and lemon grass know no limits. Anyone know anything to do with lemon grass beyond tea and Thai food?

Val said...

I've never been to Pyrah's...

I highly recommend it! A friend and I went last Thursday, and we were pretty much the only ones there. You can call before to find out what's pickable (907.745.4511). I hear kids are more eager to eat their veggies after going. :)

damozel said...

Those are beautiful photographs. I love the white petunias. I'm no gardener myself---most Floridians suffer from an excess of nature and the growing season is extremely weird---but I do love the sight of someone else's flowers. Beautiful, beautiful!

jchevais said...

I love my garden too. I saw a tree in Croatia that I absolutely want to find for my back yard, but hélas... I have no idea what it's called... I think I'll troll some gardening sites today...

Mary Alice said...

I love my pineapple sage as well and this year I planted something new - cinnamon basil. Heavenly.

Blondie said...

I am so jealous. I can't WAIT to have a real garden someday!

Amy said...

You inspire me, Michelle! That garden sounds beautiful. I vow to plant a better one next year and have already started checking out books from our library to make it better :)

Babystepper said...

I'm so ashamed that my garden is, well, non-existant, really. If you can grow so many wonderful things in the brief time you have, what does it say about me that I can grow, well, nothing really, here in my little zone 7 oklahoma backyard.

Caffienated Cowgirl said...

Wow...kiwi is not one of the things I expected in an Alaskan garden...that's fabulous!

Julie in Texas said...

I am jealous of all your beautiful plants and flowers! After flooding conditions throughout June and early July, we are now back at our "normal" August. Everything is beginning to turn brown from all the heat.

Simply beautiful...my blog is full of greens and blues today, but from yarn not flowers.

Trixie said...

Thanks for throwing in the hosta plants! They are one of my favorites, and since you mentioned the north side of the house.... this fall I may put in a few. The north side of our house is a very neglected area and hosta will look terrific there.

Enjoy your gardening,

Trixie

JAM said...

That's an amazing selection. I have to admit that I was disappointed to get to the end without seeing a Chia Head/Pet. What garden conna-soor doesn't have a Chia Head?

I love me some cucumbers. I'm the only one in the family that eats them. Peel and salt and pepper 'em and eat until stuffed.

Joy T. said...

From the pictures it looks gorgeous around your place. Lots of nice colors. I keep telling myself one of these years I'm going to try growing strawberries.

Lei said...

Sounds like one yummy garden!

And I'd love to catch "Waitress" with you sometime. ;) Lol.

Susan Helene Gottfried said...

LOVE the cucumbers! what a neat idea!

the whole garden's pretty gorgeous, actually. Makes my small attempts seem pretty pathetic. :(

Catherine said...

I'd pay a pretty penny for HALF of your green thumb.

And kiwi plants in Alaska? NEVER would've guessed!

Amy The Black said...

I wish I could name 13 things that I'm growing, but I've been known to throw seeds in the dirt and not know what they were. So I probably have some really well cared for weeds.

Lisa said...

Beautiful garden! That is one thing I wish I would/could do!

Stacey@Look, Mom, Look! said...

I love your garden pics. Beautiful photography. I am amazed at how many plants you have going right now. We are a little hot and dry here in Michigan at the moment. All the beautiful plants you show have already come and gone bloom wise in my garden right now.

Leslie said...

Oh, what a lovely garden! You put mine to shame.

wayabetty said...

Wow! Beautiful garden Michelle! I'm so jealous!

Sorry I haven't been around, it's tough with 7 having 7 kids running around. Hopefully things will go back to normal soon.

Morning Glory said...

I love your garden pictures. There are so many really good gardens around blogland and the flowers are always so pretty.

Damselfly said...

Seriously, all of that is in your garden?! I'm amazed. What a great idea for a post.

my4kids said...

Things that die in my garden would have to be my title....I can't get anything to grow lately!

Patois said...

I heart your Thursday 13s. They are always so wonderful.

Kid Tricks said...

Those plants are absolutely beautiful! And so many! Maybe I am just not used to having a place to have plants. I've been lurk reading your blog for a while now, so greetings!

-Amanda-
Kid Tricks

The Estrogen Files said...

Beautimous!! What kind of camera do you use again? I want one that takes pix just like that. Ours is old and needs replaced!

telluthetruth said...

I love to grow plants..so many pretty pics here! I want to try strawberry plants next year..this year I worked on the front of the house. I love picking berries and want my own!
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The Pontons said...

We just moved to anchorage last fall, and we're planning to start a garden in the spring. Love your site!! Any suggestions for a totally new gardener?

bathroom accessories said...

Those white flowers are really beautiful! The first one looks like the cat’s whiskers we have in our garden

Cherry said...

You have a great collections.
Lovely garden.
I love it :)