Monday, June 29, 2009

"Long about knee-deep in June, 'bout the time strewberries melt on the vine." ~ James Witcomb Riley

This week my favorite color is melon.

I absolutely love these Asiatic lilies. They bloom for a relatively short time but they will always have a spot in my garden. Almost the same color, maybe a little lighter than melon is the rose Golden Unicorn.

Golden Unicorn is a Griffin Buck rose developed at the University of Iowa especially for the prairie states with our extremes of temperature. It has to be one of my very favorite roses. A heavy bloomer, not especially prone to blackspot, and a compact, upright plant that doesn't exceed 30-inches in my garden. Golden Unicorn fades to a pleasing buff shade as it ages.

Geranium sanguineum Max Frei, deep magenta pink, cup shaped flowers in late spring/early summer, then sporadically throughout the season. This is the geranium for everyone who doesn't like Rozanne's lazy, relaxed ways. This plant never sprawls, it forms a neat and tidy rounded clump and and it maintains it all season. Mine is five years old and less than a foot tall 18-inches wide. Admittedly it has stiff competition from the lilac roots so it might be a little larger in another spot.

Sweet William purchased a couple years ago and now reseeding here and there. This stays very low growing, under 12- inches and compact. Between my heavy mulch and my compulsive weeding, seedlings don't stand much of a chance. I need to be more careful in areas where I want annuals and biennials to return and increase.

A large clump of screaming red Asiatics. My pastel flowers fade into the background when these lilies and the Stellas are in bloom.

"I wonder what it would be like to live in a world where it was always June. ~ L. M. Montgomery

Lots of people don't like lamb's ear, especially when it blooms. I love it. The combination of furry leaves and lovely pink flowers looks perfect among my roses. Unfortunately when the weather gets hot and dry it melts out and requires a good deal of clean up. If I can manage to cut it back before it begins to go to seed, it does much better. Large patches of it are tedious to maintain but that soft silver is worth the trouble. Lately I found that lamb's ear does quite well in open shade, however it doesn't bloom there.

Today, last but far from least, I'm doing the 'Tomato Dance'. German Johnson has several nice fruit pretty close to ripening. I know, sometimes green tomatoes will sit there forever, not growing and not ripening. I just have a feeling...soon. The first tomato of the season is a perfect moment to be savored;)

This year I didn't plant a large variety of tomatoes:
Five Kellog's Breakfast, because friends told me it was 'the best'.
One German Johnson.
One Mortgage Lifter.
One Black Krim, one of my favorites and a lovely pinkish purple color.
One Super Sweet 100 a red cherry tomato.
One Mr Stripey, which I later heard tastes awful;)
One Celebration, not an heirloom but an early variety.
I searched all over for Sweet Million, the sweetest tomato I've ever eaten. I suppose it will require a drive into the Chicago suburbs to find them. That will have to wait for next year. I'm just grateful that our local greenhouses have finally started selling a few heirlooms.

This year I didn't include any Brandywines or Cherokee Purples. Both are delicious, especailly the Cherokees but neither is a heavy producer. I'll probably regret not planting any Cherokees.

Anyone new to heirloom tomatoes be warned. The shapes are often irregular and many varieties tend to crack across the top. Those perfect orange orbs are only to be found in the new hybrids. The hybrids also tend to be more disease resistant, but alas they have no taste.