Saturday, July 20, 2013

Pumpkins and Bunnies

This year we planted a pumpkin plant in the front garden along with grasses, a weeping caragana and a bergenia.  It was planted as a small plant as soon as the threat of June frost was over and now about four weeks later it has overtaken the area and has a multitude of blossoms that will hopefully soon become pumpkins.  We plan to crop extra vines in order to allow the pumpkins to grow as quickly as possible, given our short frost free season.  

 This garden is visited regularly by the neighbourhood bunny who likes to rest in the shade of the plants as well as on the cool shaded lawn.  So far he has nibbled on the tall grass but has left the pumpkin and bergenia alone.  

Lots of male flowers 
A female flower with the start of a pumpkin
The pumpkins are growing very quickly now

The pictures below were taken on September 7, 2013.  The pumpkins have been growing quickly over the last week.  The above pumpkin was the largest but has been overtaken by the pumpkin in the pictures below.  The color of the pumpkins confused me.  I always thought pumpkins were green before they ripen to their bright orange colour.  So I turned to Google once more and found out that "Giant Pumpkins" start out yellow.  These must be giant pumpkins.  

I have "pruned" the pumpkin patch twice now.  Today I cut off all the tiny pumpkins, vines that went nowhere and any remaining flowers.  Under one pumpkin I placed a plastic lid and under another a foil plate with holes.  Hopefully this will keep the pumpkins from getting soggy.

This is our largest pumpkin as of September 7, 2013.  It is 13 inches long and has a circumference of 24.5 inches.  

5 days later, September 12 we remeasured.  Our pumpkin now measures 16 inches long and is 28.5 inches.  In five days it grew 3 inches in length and 4 inches in circumference.

 We are closely watching the pumpkin patch, as the littlest pumpkin (below), which used to be the largest pumpkin, began to get soggy underneath so we harvested it today (Sept. 12).  It has started to change into a deeper orange colour but although it isn't quite "ripe" we removed it from the vine before further damage occurred.  We will watch daily for any damage to our biggest pumpkin.

Vegetable Garden

First step of a vegetable garden finished today.  The garden will get full sun from it's southwest exposure.  Soil to be added soon, then these two garden boxes will be ready for planting next spring.  In the meantime, one of our potted tomato plants will try out the new home.

Tiger Lily

These lilies grow in several different flower beds, one clump by the pond which is a southwest exposure and one clump in a large "keeping" garden which is fairly shaded by surrounding trees.  The keeping garden is an area which has become a lovely flower garden over the last few years by default, as the area was an old vegetable garden which became too shaded for growing healthy vegetables, and was used to put perennials in until they found a better home.  Needless to say some of the perennials grew very well here and have never been moved.
I believe these lilies are tiger lilies but more research needs to be done to verify that fact and also to learn about their peculiarities.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Vancouver Starry Nights Clematis

This clematis grows in Benny's garden with a southwest exposure.  Planted this spring (2013) it has grown steadily and had it's first two blooms in mid July.  As I had been told that it is a good idea to shade the plant near the ground I have planted a hosta in front of it.   It should grow to about 7 feet tall with a spread of 24 inches and under ideal conditions can live for 20 years.  As it is a climbing vine it should be planted near a fence or trellis where it can be trained to grow upwards on it.  My clematis is presently climbing a small metal trellis that is about 4 feet tall.   It is a Type 2 clematis which means it will bloom on old wood of the previous season with a second bloom later in the summer.  It can be pruned back every second to third year to just above a set of buds about 6-8 inches from the ground. It's hardiness zone is zone 4 and as this zone is 3b it will be interesting to see how the winter affects it.