Tuesday, July 20, 2010

The garden at mid-summer

It's been a very hot and dry summer here in Maryland, but a few replenishing rains recently have helped. The front garden, a mix of native and non-native, is doing well. Now that my rain barrel is full again, I can give the plants supplemental water without guilt.

The big stories of the moment - hummingbirds and tomatoes. On Sunday as we were getting out of the car I saw that the cardinal flowers in the front garden were starting to bloom, and I wondered when the hummingbirds would show up.  No sooner did I have the thought than two appeared, one hovering over the cardinal flowers, the other perusing the purple blossoms of the chaste tree. Last year I had a female virtually living in the yard for much of the summer -- I wonder if she is one of the two? So now, the quest for a really good photo of a hummingbird begins anew.

The tomatoes have puzzled me for awhile. All have had clusters of green tomatoes for weeks, and none seemed to be ripening, although now the Brown Berry, the Yellow Pear, and the Costaluto Genovese have begun. But the Brandywines and other large tomatoes remain resolutely green. I googled "tomatoes not ripening" and came up with 3 pieces of advice: 1) be patient, 2) cut back on water, and 3) fertilize. It had never occurred to me that it would be possible to water a potted tomato too much, and I'm still not sure about this, but I am cutting back just a bit. I sure want those big green softballs to fulfill their delicious potential.

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