Don't be fooled. Inside this thin coating of sweetness is a fiery core of total insanity.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

A Peek Inside the Greenhouse/End of the Month View -- June 2014

I missed the monthly greenhouse meme hosted by Helen Johnstone at The Patient Gardener's Weblog, which appears on the 20th of the month, because on that day I was taking part in the Hardy Plant Study Weekend. I should have set it up to post automatically, but I wasn't organized enough at the time to take pictures a few days early. So they're late.

Anyway, I'm combining my look inside my greenhouse with the other meme, the End of the Month View,  that Helen also hosts. For that meme I've been concentrating on my Bottle Tree Bed, which is in great shape (and I'm also posting that one late).

Lately, I'm just plain late.

First the greenhouse:

The greenhouse from the front porch

I moved this rack, used for seed starting inside the greenhouse over the winter, out into the shady north side of the greenhouse, for my Bromeliads and two trays of seedlings that have yet to be planted out.

My little stash of Begonias

Does anyone know if this is normal for Begonia 'Gryphon'? It has slowly lost all its leaves since I moved it outside, but it looks like it has stubs of leaves all along the length of those stems. Is it just taking a rest?

My tomatoes inside the greenhouse are growing like gangbusters, loving the heat that they get from being inside all that twin-wall polycarbonate. You can see the Romas in the photo below, which are almost interfering with the door.

Romas getting big!

And below are the two yellow cherry tomato plants, touching the ceiling and turning into a jungle. I keep trying to tie them up and corral them somewhat, but they are defying all attempts.  Actually, it gives me hope, because it means they are happy. Just this morning I picked two Sun Sugar tomatoes, and ate them immediately. Sweet and tomatoey, and they made me happy. I think I may have to move those two plants into the center of the greenhouse, so they have just that little bit more room to grow, and by later in the season I'll need to use a stepladder to reach their tops.

I'm so pleased with the tomato progress inside the greenhouse.

I had a bit of room after moving that rack outside, so I planted a butternut squash inside.

Before I left for Hardy Plant Study Weekend, I realized that my pepper plants were infested with aphids. I was pretty sure they were aphids, because they were leaving sticky residue on some of the leaves, and they were tiny and white, but didn't fly around when I disturbed the plants (so they weren't white fly.) What to do? I try not to use pesticides. I gave them a blast of water from the hose and washed a lot of them off, but they returned with a vengeance pretty quickly. So I figured I'd give lady bugs a shot. I bought some at Windmill Gardens nursery and brought them home the very day that I was leaving for the study weekend. I left Nigel with instructions to just open the plastic container that evening and leave it underneath the pepper plants. Which he did successfully.

Some of them were dead in the container. But a good amount were still alive, and the next day when he went out to check on them, each plant had several ladybugs on it. I think by the time I got home a few days later, quite a few had managed to find the windows, which open automatically in the heat, and had flown away. But a couple were hanging around, and are still hanging around.

And I've got some tiny peppers forming.

The decor in the greenhouse is pretty simple.

I still haven't moved the fertilizer out.

I took a half-hearted stab at turning this interesting glass container into a terrarium. But I don't really have a vision, so it isn't taking shape.

Here's the limit of my creativity so far.

Anyway, onward and upward to my End of the Month View:

Here's the Bottle Tree Bed in dappled morning light

Everything seems to be thriving. The sprinkler there in front is on an automatic timer, and comes on at 5 a.m. every morning for half an hour. We've had quite a few warm, dry days in June, more than normal, so I want to make sure all those newly moved around plants keep getting watered.

For a short time in the month of June, one of the large shrubs directly behind the bottle tree, a Philadelphus lewisii/Lewis's mock-orange, was covered with these pretty, sweet-smelling flowers.

Veronica 'Lilac Fantasy' was moved from another bed a few months ago, and is flowering now. The out of focus flowers behind are Agastache 'Golden Jubilee.'

Agastache 'Golden Jubilee' with out of focus Hydrangea 'Invincibelle Spirit' behind

They made a nice combo in this bed last year, so this was one pairing I wanted to keep.

Astrantias are flowering

This clump of basal foliage is Strawberry Foxglove/Digitalis mertonensis, which was sowed last year, but it looks like it won't be flowering this year.

Still waiting to provide fall color are Sheffield Pink Mums (in front) and Amsonia hubrichtii (behind).

Click here to see what this bed looked like in April, right after I had finished moving plants around.

Helen at The Patient Gardener's Weblog hosts both the Greenhouse and End of the Month View memes. Click here to see what's happening in her greenhouse. And click here to check out her End of the Month View.


  1. I like your two in one concept of a post Alison, covers both that you missed nicely. Seeing your staging has reminded me to get one soon, it looks sturdy and will replace one of our old wooden ones that are showing signs of rot already. Nice shots btw!

  2. Great post Alison, yes, it is completely normal for Gryphon to do that. Mine looked exactly like that when I took it home and it now is completely leaved out and looking great so just bear with it and water sparingly until it starts growing in earnest.

    I'm so envious of your greenhouse. I'd just love to have one but we seriously don't have the space to put one in here. Your gardens are looking great

  3. Go, little ladybugs, go!

    Your peppers and tomatoes look great. Is there eggplant in your future? It loves heat and does well under glass.

    Another difference in our disparate zones 8 -- This time of year there is no shady north side to my greenhouse. The sun has moved to the north. The plants moved underneath trees

    Your greenhouse is so neat and organized, inside and out. I have bits and pieces everywhere and Rubiginosa growing like weeds inside that I haven't the heart to pull, nor the volunteers in the floor that might 'be something.'

  4. I love all the blues in the bottle tree bed, especially the Agastache. It has an electric glow in that light.

  5. Your greenhouse is working so well, love the idea for tomatoes and other veggies. Your bottle tree bed is gorgeous, I love that agastache too.

  6. Oh Alison, how good does the bottle tree bed look! It's amazing. I love the effect the bottles have and it really does work with the plants too. What a vision to have had back when this bed started out.
    Your greenhouse is the tidiest greenhouse I've come across in a long time. I was watching a documentary on ladybirds(Bugs) a few weeks back. Apparently if they are happy and have a constant food source, they can be very promiscuous - I do hope they prove to be just that in your greenhouse.

  7. I am impressed with your tomatoes, Alison! Well, everything else looks great too, but I'm a tomato person and just admire your strong healthy plants. I started to remove some leaves on my plants to let more energy go to fruit.
    Lady bugs are great, if they stay where you left them. I was so naive one year and left them outside... ha-ha! They were gone next day!

  8. You're making great use of your greenhouse, Alison. Those tomatoes are impressive and I'm sure that the peppers, with the assistance of the diligent ladybugs, will follow suit. Your bottle tree bed also looks fantastic! I love those Astrantia, one of my favorite of the flowers I can't grow.

  9. Your greenhouse is so neat! The tomatoes are really loving the heat. I second the eggplant, if you like it, it really needs heat. You might check for ants with the aphid problem, I have had them carry aphids into my house to put on my plants. I really like your plant combinations in the bottle tree bed, the purples and pinks. I haven't had very good luck with Agastaches returning every year.

  10. The bottle tree bed has filled in so nicely! Those tomatoes are something else!

  11. Your garden is looking great , what a difference , I think you need to buy a few more succulents for your terrarium …Fred Meyer maybe?

  12. Your garden gets better every time I see it pal! Your greenhouse is cool and those tomatoes have grown so much in such a short time!

  13. Your greenhouse looks so established and wow those tomatoes love it there...if I grew mine in a greenhouse then they would be safe from deer, blight and lots of pests...and I'd have a great harvest...I need a greenhouse!


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