Garden Dolphin

Ok, so it’s kind of a dumb title but the name delphinium derives from the latin word for dolphin.  Something about the inner parts of a delphinium flower reminded someone somewhere of the shape of a dolphin.  Good enough for me, but last night’s deluge drowned all my little dolphins.  The rain was too much and nearly every single bloom is bent over or snapped off.  Fortunately I can remember them through last weeks pictures.

This is the sole survivor of a packet of “New Millenium” seed.  They sprouted well but a week of neglect in July left only this one.  Several more weeks of neglect stunted the seedling but then for some reason a late fall planting in garden soil and a winter rest inspired it to send up a bloom stalk.  My vote is nay on the fuzzy brown/black center but others are in favor.

New Millenium delphinium  I’m much in favor of the dark center of this violet(?) bloom….. (sorry but my color vocabulary doesn’t go much further than blue and purple).  Note the permanent crook in the stem that comes from waiting too long on staking.purple delphinium

This is another which was inspired to bloom well this summer.  It’s possible the cool weather has had a lot to do with this.sky blue delphinium

These blooms are nothing compared to the flower show this plant is capable of.  Growing delphiniums is a borderline activity anywhere temperatures routinely go into the hot and humid range, and if you’re the type of person who enjoys spending the summer poolside or shaded under the porch (or hidden away under central air) well then you’ve probably got the beautiful summers that delphinium hate.

This amazing plant was obviously not the product of my upbringing.  Purchased this April for maybe $4 it’s worth every cent.  Unfortunately I can’t find any good pictures from when it was opened, just this starting view.  If you’re selecting a delphinium in the spring, look for one with a strong single stem, not multiple growing points.  One with a flower stalk showing if possible.delphinium

One day I might give these plants what they really need.  In my zone (6-ish) that means morning sun, rich soil with no root competition, regular watering, and any soil amendment you can spare.  They are heavy feeders and if you noticed the yellowish leaves on my plants you’ll know I don’t fertilize them like I should.  Maybe somewhere deep down inside I know delphinium season always ends badly, and this year is no exception.  Summer storms and snapped stems let me cut what I never would have thought of cutting and bringing indoors.  The kids have something nice to look at today while they eat their breakfast.cut delphiniums

 

Early June in the vegetable garden

Things don’t look too bad out there.  I was late in getting everything planted (of course) but the cooler weather and the last couple days of rain have helped the spring crops come along.  This butterhead lettuce (I forget the variety) is starting to look real yummy.butterhead lettuce

There’s also some romaine coming along.  These are all in the ‘safe zone’ behind the chicken wire, but even outside the fence its been a relatively damage-free spring as far as the rabbits go.  Slugs have been more of a problem.romaine lettuce

Brocoli is making progress too.  It’s finally taking off and spreading its roots after a too long delay in the six packs (these I bought prestarted).brocolli plantThese tomatoes have been in for a week or two as well as the onion transplants.  This will be the year of the onion since I started way too many seedlings and then couldn’t bare to toss them into the compost.  They’re small for the time of year but I hope I get something by the time the harvest rolls around….. otherwise I guess we’ll have hundreds of scallions to deal with!onion seedlingsThe tomatoes are dealing with what might possibly be the worst soil prep in gardening history.  A month ago this bed was lawn.  I turned under the grass and added a little compost for the onions, but all the tomatoes got was a layer of leaves and grass clippings to kill the turf and then holes dug directly into the lawn.  Maybe I gave them a little compost on top.
Actually the sister bed across the path which I planted on Saturday was even worse.new planting bed

You can still see the lawn peeking out from behind the tomatoes and along the bed edging.  The plants went straight into holes dug into the lawn and then the grass and weeds were covered with a mulch of chopped leaves and twigs and whatever else the mower picked up during spring bed cleanup/winter debris removal…. I didn’t even have any nutrient filled tender grass clippings to put down!  Once I can dig out some more compost I might put a bit around the tomatoes, but until that happens they’re on their own.  At least I planted them deep, covering all the stem up to the top clump of leaves.  this should let them sprout more roots into the mulch and should help with the lack of soil prep.

ripe strawberryHopefully if I keep it watered the earthworms will find the mulch and rototill the soil with their tunnels.  Grass clippings will surely bring them in, in fact last Friday prior to the rain, I fertilized the front lawn.  I’m hoping it will produce a nice bumper crop of clippings before summer drought dries it up.

The garden isn’t all healthy vegetables, it’s also juicy sweet strawberries.  Even with the late freeze there are a couple coming along.

There’s also the promise of a few blueberries this summer.  Most likely the birds will beat us to them, but this bunch might be worth covering up and saving for ourselves.growing blueberries

Of course I’m only showing the good and new.  Peppers and eggplants still have to go in as well as pole beans.  I’m far from having everything planted and growing.  Right now the process of digging up the tulip beds is going on and it’s into these beds that the last of the transplants will go.  Someday I hope to have beds where I want them and supports ready to go but obviously it’s not going to be this year!

Please tell me I’m not the only one falling behind:)