Archive for October, 2008

Black Magic Rose

I just took this photograph of our black magic rose bush. Black magic roses are great, because each flower lasts for a long time. The flowers open slowly in a few days and then typically remain open for weeks. An individual flower can last for 2-3 weeks before losing its petals. They are the longest lasting roses we have in our garden.

Our black magic rose is shaped as a tall tree rose. It is a prolific bloomer, and it grows faster than most of our other rose bushes (except the climbing roses). The flowers grow on long stems that are great for cutting. Several times a year from spring until fall, our black magic rose is filled with deep red roses that last for weeks before fading, rather than just days. Many other roses, like Mr. Lincoln, de-petal only a few days after opening.

The petals of the black magic flowers seem to be sturdier than other roses. They don’t seem to sunburn or wilt as easily as other roses. However, black magic does not have any detectable fragrance.

October 18 2008 | Roses | Comments Off on Black Magic Rose

Nadia Eggplant

This photograph is a picture of a Nadia black eggplant growing in our vegetable garden. It is finally producing eggplants, and the first one is almost ready to pick. I like these long narrow eggplant fruits, because they are easier to slice than the fat ones.

I planted this eggplant back in early July as a small transplant from a local nursery. This season is the first time that I have grown eggplant. So far, I am pleased at how easy they have been to grow. Although our eggplants have grown slowly for an annual, they are maintaining growth even now in October as the days shorten and the nighttime low temperatures cool off. The leaves of my tomato and zucchini plants are full of mildew right now, but the leaves of the eggplants are mildew free. And our eggplants are continuing to bloom and generate more fruit.

Last month, I harvested a few eggplant fruits from our other eggplants. The fruits had a fresh smell and a nice firmness to them that I have rarely seen in eggplants. They were also free of bruises and dents. We used them with our home grown zucchinis and tomatoes to make a tasty vegetable gratin.

October 11 2008 | Eggplant | Comments Off on Nadia Eggplant

First Cantaloupe

I purchased a cantaloupe transplant from a nursery last June and planted it in one of our new raised beds. This transplant is my first attempt to grow cantaloupe in a long time. So far, it has exceeded my expectations.

I decided that I needed to give this plant a head start, because I planted it late. So I fertilized it with water soluble fertilizer about once every week or two for the first few months. For the past few months, it’s vines have grown so quickly that they have been spreading out of the raised bed and onto the rocks below.

This picture shows the first cantaloupe fruit developing on the vines. It’s about 6 inches long. It’s smaller than a typical cantaloupe, but it’s heavy for its size. Even so, I am excited to get a fruit that large. The last time I grew cantaloupe, the fruit only grew to about 2 inches long.

Cantaloupes that are properly ripened can be very delicious. However, my experience has been that the flavor of cantaloupes varies a lot. Some are not very sweet.

Cantaloupes are well worth eating when they are in season and tasting their best. The main season for them is middle and late summer in the US. A few years ago, I learned that cantaloupe is full of vitamins A and C. Since then, I have been cultivating my taste for them.

October 10 2008 | Melons | Comments Off on First Cantaloupe

Purple Solanum

This is a picture of our purple solanum (potato flower) bush. It’s a large beautiful shrub. I think it’s decades old, because its biggest trunks are 4 or 5 inches thick. It is filled with purple flowers almost continuously from spring through autumn.

Our solanum grows incredibly fast. If I don’t prune it regularly, it grows like crazy, until it takes up half of our patio area. I usually give it a severe pruning about every 2-3 months to keep it in a box shape. Because it grows so fast and can be trained into different shapes, it makes for a good natural privacy wall.  But without regular pruning, it gets overgrown and out-of-control quickly.

Our solanum is frost sensitive. It loses many of its leaves after a frosty spell. During a freeze about a year and half ago when the temperature here fell into the 20s, our shrub lost all of its leaves. But it began to grow back about a month or two later.

October 07 2008 | Solanum | Comments Off on Purple Solanum

Late Mr. Lincoln Bloom

Our Mr. Lincoln rose bush is blooming again right now, after about a two month hiatus. Mr. Lincoln is a classic red rose. Its flowers have the strong fragrance of an old-fashioned rose. It’s yet another one of my favorite roses.

The flowers of Mr. Lincoln are very large when they open up fully. Sometimes, I think that is when they look their best. One of the great things about growing one’s own rose bushes is being able to see the flowers open up completely. The commercially grown roses I have bought usually do not open up fully.

Unfortunately, Mr. Lincoln roses tend to lose their petals just a few days after opening. So it’s a real treat when numerous flowers are fully open on the same bush at the same time.

October 02 2008 | Roses | Comments Off on Late Mr. Lincoln Bloom

« Prev