Showing posts from June, 2017

Adding Color to the Perennial Border

For years I was working with a very limited palette for the flower garden that wraps around the house: all white, with a few touches of red in spots . This was very elegant, but now that we’ve begun painting the house yellow, I’ve found myself leaning toward orange and blue plants. I love the yellow-orange-blue color combination, and we were really happy with how our swath of orange tulips worked with the new paint color this spring . As is always the case with a flower garden, plants don’t live for ever. This year when I went shopping to fill in some holes, I reached for some more colorful plants to mix in with those white ones. They’re not all blooming right now, but here are a few that have opened for a sneak peak of next year’s color palette: These apricot blanket flowers actually have orange centers, but it’s hard to tell in this picture. That makes them blend well with the little orange petunias I have sprinkled along the very front of the border: Since I have

New Year’s Resolutions, Month by Month: May

It’s been nearly a month since the end of May, and I have yet to assess my May resolution. Instead of eliminating something as in past months , I decided to add to my routine: 30 minutes of yoga every day. When we lived at the Red House, I went to yoga classes twice per week at the Y, and it was great. Once we moved here and I started commuting to Brookline, though, it was very hard to motivate to go out again in the evening after spending so much time in the car already. I still stretch regularly in the evenings, but I hadn’t done a real yoga routine in years. Getting back into it wasn’t hard, per se. I no longer have a yoga mat , having cut it up to make a cushy mat for the standing desk in my office , but it’s actually much nicer to have a real rug to spread out on, anyway: There are plenty of videos on YouTube  with yoga flows to follow, and it was nice to be guided to do poses I haven’t spent any time with in a while. (My downward dog is much better after doing it for

And Now, Flea Beetles

Some of the time you would say it was luck, and some of the time you would say it was weather , but this season has been really hard on the garden in the insect department. In addition to the usual trouble with cutworms and cabbage loopers , we also have a bunch of asparagus beetles ruining that crop.   And now there are also flea beetles : That little black bug in the center is a small beets that can hop around, and we have more than just one. you can see that there’s tons of damage on that arugula leaf it’s sitting on, and every arugula plant in our mesclun patch looks the same way. They also really like radishes, so I don’t think we’ll be getting any of those to plump up any time soon.  We can live without arugula and radishes, but these bugs have also gotten into our broccoli and cauliflower, though the damage for the most part isn’t quite as severe: Since radishes are their favorite food, I planted several small patches in the broccoli and cauliflower bed

Attack of the Asparagus Beetles

Coming off of the drought year has been hard enough on our asparagus , which needs lots of water to thrive, but we have another problem on our hands as well: After a good week or two of a small harvest, we started to have stunted, crooked spears like this one. At first I thought the tips were being nibbled by an animal, but then we noticed this: I thought they might be aphids, but upon further inspection, it turns out that those are asparagus beetle eggs. They belong to these guys:  The red beetles are spotted asparagus beetles, which I have seen before — but never this early in the season. They’ve never caused much harm. But there are also these guys:  The black ones are common asparagus beetles , and they do  cause a lot of damage, since as the eggs hatch the larvae eat their way up the stalks. They probably got a foothold during the drought as the plants were already weakened and overwintered in larger-the-usual numbers. They’ve been ruining our a