Garden Goodies

We’re at the height of the gardening season now, happily inundated by a flood of fruits and veggies; which only goes to show that gardeners are a bunch of freakish masochists (or maybe that’s just me).

You’d think sane people would avoid a hobby that requires them to go outside during the hottest part of the year and perform vigorous labour, then return to the house lugging pounds of produce that needs to be peeled/trimmed/chopped and then processed in boiling water over a hot stove.  But what the hell; if it made sense, it wouldn’t be a hobby.

I harvested about 150 pounds of strawberries in June, and now the rest of the veggies are attempting to follow suit (though fortunately not quite that enthusiastically).  I’ve picked forty pounds of beans so far, and they’re finally “slowing down” to only about six pounds per picking.

I only planted three zucchini seeds this year, so that means I’ll only be feeding all our friends and neighbours instead of having to make multiple deliveries to the Food Bank as well.  Ditto cucumbers; but we may have miscalculated on the corn.  If you don’t see a blog post for a while, you’ll know we’re trying to dig/eat our way out from under a giant heap of kernels.

The veggies’ success hasn’t exactly been shared by the flower seeds, though.  I optimistically planted the seeds in our perennial beds this spring, but I didn’t take the time to mark their locations — I figured I’d be able to tell which were weeds and which were flowers when everything came up. (You gardeners, stop snickering.)

In fact, I did figure it out. It was quite simple: If it looked pale and weedy and it was struggling to survive, it was a desirable plant.  If it was huge and green and growing vigorously, it was a weed.  But at least our established perennials performed beautifully!

Here are a few of the blooms we’ve been enjoying this summer:
(Click on photos to see full-size versions.)



Romneya coulteri (California Tree Poppy – Fried Egg Plant)


LA hybrid lily


Another LA hybrid lily


Gorgeous roses


More dahlias




Echinacea x hybrida ‘Cheyenne Spirit’


Sky-high sunflowers


Echinacea purpurea


Here’s our most unexpected summer harvest:  A pineapple.  Two years ago, Hubby potted up the top of a pineapple that I’d bought at the grocery store.  The plant grew, and you may recall that back in April I posted a photo of the baby pineapple that was forming on one of the plants.

Well, it actually ripened; and yesterday we picked it and ate it.  Yum!

Our pineapple harvest for the year.

All my sweating in the garden is rewarded with more than yummy veggies and pretty flowers:  I also get to watch the hummingbirds!  They’re amazing — so tiny, and so fearless.  They do their rounds of the flowers less than three feet away from me, completely unconcerned by my presence.

Sometimes they hover a few feet from my face, staring.  Then they’ll swoop over a few feet to the left, then to the right, studying me from all angles.  I think they’re wondering what kind of non-human creature I am, with my giant broad-brimmed gardening hat.

Anna’s hummingbird with scarlet runner bean blossoms


Rufous hummingbird with scarlet runner bean blossoms

What’s new in your neck of the woods this week?

Book 16 update:  I’ve plotted far enough to get started — writing begins this week! Woohoo!

39 thoughts on “Garden Goodies

  1. I applaud you both for taking on that kind of challenge. We have played with very small vegetable gardens over the years and have found that sometimes overwhelming! Kudos to you! Love the flower pics…beautiful! Happy harvesting!!


    • Thank you! The pounds and pounds of produce can feel overwhelming, but I love food so much that the abundance delights my soul. The delight sometimes fades a bit as the hours of canning and freezing drag on, but then it comes back full force when I see the rows of gleaming jars and colorful freezer bags full of yummies that we’ll enjoy all winter! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Your pictures are lovely, especially the hummingbirds. Your garden certainly yields incredibly well. You do have the talent to do anything you set your mind to it seems. Topsoil, manure and water sure make a difference. And yes, pictures of poiles of veggies are welcome.


  3. I love, love, love, watching (and listening to) hummingbirds in their natural environment, aka flowers and blossoms instead of hummingbird feeders. They are such amazing creatures.

    Congratulations on the harvest of vegetables and one pineapple! Now, where are the photos of the veggies?? Well done on the flowers as well- a beautiful variety of colors and – maybe? – smells as well. You must be in good shape after all that hard work.

    Happy preserving and happy writing!


    • Thank you! I didn’t include photos of the veggies because I wasn’t sure whether people would find artistic merit in mounds of fresh produce. It’s good to know I’m not the only one who likes that kind of photo! 😉

      When I realized we had hummingbirds here, I put up a feeder for only a couple of weeks; but then I decided I didn’t want them to get dependent on an artificial food source. Now my perennial garden includes hummingbird-friendly flowers so they’ll still be able to find food here long after I’m gone.


  4. I think you have beautiful flowers. My gardening is all done on deck in pots since I am too old and sore to dig in yard. And if I bend over I try to fall, so I don’t bend much. The only thing that did good was shishito (?) peppers. a sweet giant marconi, a sweet banana. Great on sandwiches. Tomatoes got very tall but only a couple tomatoes. Squash, nothing but blooms. 2 very good little cukes. lots of blossoms on everything so I don’t know what the problem is. I also have a pineapple growing in pot. Sounds as if you most def need a veg stand. Sell or give away, whatever blows your skirt up.


    • I’ve developed a network of neighbours and friends who are happy to relieve me of a bag of cucumbers regularly. By now I have enough people on my list that by the time I work my way around to them again, they’re ready for more. So far, so good… and I won’t grow as many cucumber plants next year!

      Your patio garden sounds perfect, and a MUCH better solution than falling! It sounds as though you might need to hand-pollinate to get more veggies, though. Tomatoes are easy – just get a cheap electric toothbrush and touch each blossom. They need the vibration from the bees’ buzzing to dislodge the pollen, so the electric toothbrush works like a charm.

      You can hand-pollinate squash and cucumbers, too — all you need to do is pick a male flower (the one with the single *ahem* protuberance in the middle), pull off the petals to expose the happy male part, and then dab it into the centres of the female flowers (the ones with the baby squashes/cukes at the base). Friends of ours call it “making vegetable porn”. 😉 But it works!

      Liked by 1 person

      • sounds great. my bees and other varmints must be ‘falling’ down on their job. I have seen a lot of different bees and flying objects this year. The tomato plants get way tall and the only blossoms are on the tip top. Next year will stick with buying plants I know produce. These were from seeds I bought. I love your words. Books and answers to posts

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Three days is all it takes.

    That’s what my life has been like lately. Three days. Plant an apple, orange, peach or pear, and a tree fully grows out of it in three days. Same for bamboo shoots. Flowers from seed. Sure, there are weeds, but they always look scraggly and out of place.

    So yeah…I’ve been hooked on Animal Crossing: New Horizons (the Nintendo Switch game) like others are. 😁 Aside from growing fruit trees, catching fish and capturing bugs to sell for money, I’ve really been satisfied by how I can change the landscape and form the island to my own vision. Only I have to start removing trees since the other residents get lost among the orchards I have jammed into every available space!

    If only I could landscape my own yard that way. Aside from daylilies and hostas, the rest of our flowers are in containers. The coolest containers I bought in San Diego (hecho en Mexico) have pockets in the side so flowers or herbs can grow out of the top and from the sides; these are hand-painted. The rest are nothing special. The succulents are starting to bloom, but since it’s getting rather late in the season, some of the plants are getting a bit pale. Probably rootbound, and the fertilizer in the potting mix is wearing thin.

    We do occasionally get a hummingbird passing through–one will visit the petunias on the way through the neighborhood. As I heard they’re attracted to red or pink flowers, I’ll plant something to attract them when we relocate. One curious visitor we have frequently is the eastern black swallowtail butterfly. I grew dill once, about five years ago. Naturally it will seed itself and grow like a weed if you let it. I noticed brightly colored green/yellow/black caterpillars on the plants one day, and was told what variety they were. I haven’t had plants back there in a few years beyond the occasional weed that pops up that turns out to be dill. But wouldn’t you know it? Those butterflies still visit the back of the house frequently in the summer! Never any other part of the yard (unless they’re passing through). If I ever plant a butterfly garden, I’ll be tossing in a few dill seeds.

    I agree on the vegetable stand. Many of the small stands up north do it on the honor system. (Sorry…honour system. 😉) We make a point of stopping at the roadside stands if we happen to need a few items. At least we know it’s fresh and locally grown.


    • Yes, it’s a real treat to know EXACTLY where our veggies came from and what wasn’t sprayed on them. Our veggies from last year fed us all through the winter and right up until this year’s garden took over, so the only produce we bought at the grocery store were occasional treats for variety (like pineapple).

      I’m amazed by the memories of critters who once found food somewhere. When we first moved into our house three years ago, I put up a hummingbird feeder for about two weeks, before deciding that it would be healthier for them if I made sure the garden grew lots of flowering hummingbird goodies instead. Those hummingbirds STILL come back to the place where that feeder used to be.

      Your Animal Crossing sim sound like great fun… and a great way to get lost in the internet for long periods of time. I don’t dare check it out — I’d never get anything done around here! 😉


      • I wish our hummingbirds would stick around longer! They visit the Petunias for about 30 seconds and then go about their business elsewhere. In a suburban area, it’s rare enough to see them. I had a hummingbird feeder when I lived across town. But I found out that the syrup was being taken by all the yellowjackets (wasps) rather than being visited by hummingbirds, so I took it down.

        No, you definitely don’t want Animal Crossing. Although you can participate as much as you’d like. I’ll visit once a day even if it’s for 15 minutes to see what is for sale (at the shop run by the trash pandas…oops, tanooki twins), cash in some fruit for money, or whatever. Other nights, I have fun redoing the landscape by adding lakes and waterfalls, laying down paths, etc. What amazes me is that it seems anyone I know around me has it, and in a sense it is educational for kids since it teaches them how to make and save money, invest (buying turnips from the “stalk market” to resell when the price goes up), how to make friends and build a community, how and where to plant flowers and fruit treets, etc., and also throws in tidbits of information about the fish and insects they catch. This is like the fourth or fifth version of it. I hate to admit it, but I bought a second Switch to play it on–my kiddo’s had my original Switch since early March before all this virus crap hit us, and she’s built up her own island. It would have been difficult to take that away from her, plus, many of her friends now play together.

        I think it’s also one of the best escapes from our COVID reality that I can find right about now. (Although I had to laugh when a face mask came up for sale!)

        Stay safe, you two! 🙋‍♂️


  6. Wow to that kind of produce production. And a pineapple in Canada? Well there should be a prize for that I think. Your flower seeds probably couldn’t face the competition and gave up. The flowers you do have look extraordinary.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you! Tubers and corms like dahlias and lilies do really well here. Our other perennials are slowly getting established, so hopefully they’ll be just as nice in a few years. Patience isn’t my strong suit, but I’m doing my best! 🙂


  7. Hm. Have I been blocked? Have I been a bad boy? Or a worse one, rather? I entered a fairly long (for me) reply right after you posted this…and it hasn’t made the trip yet.

    No loss, really. Just my usual blather. But–beautiful garden photos! Very well done!


    • Oh, no! Losing one of your comments is a sad loss indeed! I delved into the spam folder and sure enough, there it was. I don’t know why WordPress took a sudden dislike to you; but if you’re using Chrome, maybe it was that. In the past couple of days, Chrome has decided not to play well with WordPress at all, and I can’t use any like buttons or view my blog history anymore. What’s more, it keeps logging me out every time I step away for a few minutes. Firefox, however, works just fine. Grrr.

      Anyway, I’ve restored your comment and hopefully WordPress will get the hint. Thanks for letting me know!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Ooooh. And ahhh.
    I feed my garden with blood, sweat and tears – which is often just the fertiliser it needs to thrive.
    Mind you, my father told me ‘if it grows well, it is a weed’. He was right.
    And how I love your garden – which inspires me to yet more planting/weeding/mulching/dreaming.


    • Yes, every time I finish a flowerbed and think, “There, now I’m done”, another part of the yard suggests itself as a perfect place for (fill in the blank). It’s lovely to have so much space, but at least the garden addiction was self-limiting on our small city lot. Out here, there’s nothing to stop me digging up ‘just one more flowerbed’… again and again and again. 🙂


  9. Gad, what beautiful flowers! And a spectacular return on your planting efforts!
    What’s happening this week? Hm. Oh, not much, really. Just a few little odds and ends to finish up. Like getting all my classes converted from face-to-face to online before Monday. Or at least the first few lessons for each so I can continue the scramble for all the rest of the semester. And logging BACK in for YET ANOTHER online meeting.

    But I’m NOT BITTER!!

    (sniff, sniff…) Uh, what’s that I smell…? Why, I think that might be sarcasm. Yep. (sniff, sniff) Mm-hmm. Yep, that’s definitely sarcasm. With maybe just a hint of, uh, what’s that? (sniff) Aggravation? Uh-huh. Yep, the nose knows.


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