Monday, July 30, 2012

Tea in My Garden

Hello, and welcome to Beyond The Garden Gate where I blog about my garden, my table, and my life, and quite frequently, tea!

I have a very nice potting bench on my patio.

Those "rafters" you see - it's the bottom of the deck. We have a walk out basement, and the patio where the potting bench resides is just outside the basement door. The deck is off the main level of the house.

 Watermelon watering can art was done by a coworker of Ron's.

I brought my tea tray outside and placed it on the potting bench.

 Do you recognize the teacup? It's the china that inspired the name of a cottage - that is, Sandi's cottage (and her blog name as well). It's Rose Chintz by Johnson Brothers.

The saucer. I apologize for the glare - there was sunshine outside when I was taking my photographs.

 I picked some Black-eyed Susans too. My gardening hat, pretty posies, and lovely floral teacups - this scene cries out "Summer!"

"Remember the tea kettle - it is always up to its neck in hot water, yet it still sings!" ~Author Unknown

Linking to Tuesday Cuppa Tea, Tea Time Tuesday and Tea In The Garden

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Tales from the berry patch

Years ago, we planted four rows of berries - red raspberries, black raspberries, purple raspberries, gold raspberries, and blackberries. Thriving: the red raspberries; however, this year is different.

It's the takeover of the blackberries!

The first two rows were mainly red raspberries, with a few blackberry bushes thrown in. For years, we got TONS (well, not literally tons but ALOT) of red raspberries, plus a fair number of purple raspberries, with small amounts of black raspberries and gold raspberries...and MINISCULE amounts of blackberries. We might have picked one quart of blackberries last summer, and that's stretching it...but change is occurring...

The blackberries are taking over. After all these years of not doing much, suddenly they are dominating rows one and two of what I used to call the raspberry garden and which I'll now rename the berry patch. What caused the blackberries to go nuts? No idea*. But we accept the changes to the garden; we love blackberries (and thought they grew poorly in our region - little did we know). We hope some red raspberries will continue to produce - love them too.

*According to Weeds of the Great Plains, published by the Nebraska Department of Agriculture, blackberries are considered a WEED**. Go figure...

**definitions of a weed:  1)  A plant considered undesirable, unattractive, or troublesome, especially one growing where it is not wanted, as in a garden; 2) A herbaceous plant not valued for use or beauty, growing wild and rank, and regarded as cumbering the ground or hindering the growth of superior vegetation; 3) any plants that grow and reproduce aggressively and invasively

My blackberries are not undesirable, unattractive, or unwanted. However, they are becoming rather aggressive and invasive. Weed or not? Guess it's all a matter of perception!

 Here's a tunnel between the raspberries blackberries in rows one and two.

I still have mainly raspberries in rows three and four, but the blackberries have crept into could wonder if it's only a matter of time until this is not a mixed berry patch, but just a blackberry patch.

Should I complain? Thin them out?


"You do not "wait" for fruit. Time will go on just the same, whether you have planted a blackberry bush or not." ~adapted from a quote by C.W. Gurney

note: Photos of the blackberries in bloom taken in mid-May; photos of the actual berries taken after fruiting in June and July; heavy bearing and ripening occurred just after the 4th of July - "goodies" made then

Weigh in: Do you consider blackberries weeds?

Thanks for visiting!

Linking to Fertilizer Friday
Linking to Open House

Monday, July 23, 2012

Gardening is a challenge this summer!

Heat, drought, Japanese beetles, caterpillars eating my baptisia and lupine foliage, raccoons eating all of my sweet corn, groundhogs eating my tomatoes off the's been a challenging garden season. July 2012 will go down in the record books; thus far it's tied for the second hottest month in recorded history in Iowa. In addition, we're in moderate drought.

Still, there is beauty. First, a few Iowa farmland photos and then a walk through Sunsplash Gardens:

 Echinacea, loved by me, by pollinators, and by goldfinches

Rose of Sharon



More phlox

 Hardy hibiscus

Rose and salvia

'Carefree Beauty' Buck rose

 Sweet potato vine, butterfly weed, and sedum


I lost a tree in a storm; now I have a little garden art.

Ammi majus from Judith at Lavender Cottage, rudbeckia, and beebalm. I love the airy look of the ammi; it's similar to Queen Anne's Lace but is not invasive. It's an annual in my climate. Also love brushing against the beebalm; it smells so good (bergamot, like Earl Grey tea).

 Perennial lathyrus (sweet pea)

I still have larkspur blooming. I kept dead-heading it, and it keeps re-blooming.

This is a foxglove that self-seeded from the Camelot series foxglove that bloomed near the garden shed last year. It's just beginning to bloom. I thought maybe it'd be just leaves this year, bloom next year, and then perish - foxglove are biennial.

Wilson seedling - purchased when I went to the daylily farm of Bob Wilson.   To see some of the daylilies he has hybridized click on the second link: Bob Wilson.

 My last hollyhock that's blooming. I've had problems with rust this year.

Verbena bonariensis

Hydrangea 'Pinky Winky' is starting her show.

Clematis 'Betty Corning'

Love my coneflowers!

'Janice Brown' is a stunning hemerocallis. One of my very favorites here at Sunsplash Gardens

Kitties on the porch; these are two strays we feed.

My Gracie

"Don't wear perfume in the garden - unless YOU want to be pollinated by bees!" ~Anne Raver

Linking to Bloomin' Tuesday, Garden Tuesday, and Tuesday Garden Party


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