Author: joenesgarden

Compost squash

Things are still growing in joene’s gardens, in spite of the absence of recent posts. Again this season, volunteer plants grow in the compost bins, namely compost squash.

Like most home compost bins, mine become hot enough to decompose kitchen scraps, shredded leaves, and other plant material into rich compost. However, they do not get hot enough to kill all seeds. Therefore, I never add plant material with weed seeds, but  do add veggies with seeds and some perennials that have begun to produce seeds.

This results in volunteer lamb’s ear (Stachys), foxglove (Digitalis), lady’s mantle (Alchemilla), and other perennials showing up in places where I spread compost. These volunteers either get transplanted where needed or pulled.

Some volunteers, however, grow right out of the compost bins. Each season brings a surprise crop of some sort – usually squash – growing from seeds dumped into the bins the previous year.

The 2016 compost squash crop consists of volunteer butternut squash and pumpkin.

A butternut squash volunteer growing in a compost bin.

A butternut squash volunteer growing in a compost bin.

A volunteer pumpkin growing in a compost bin.

A volunteer pumpkin growing in a compost bin.

What a nice surprise after previous years of prolific gourd vines of growing from the same bins! While it was nice to use virtually free gourds as autumn decorations, it will be much more fun turning this year’s compost squash into soup and pie.

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Lilacs, dogwood, and other May blossoms

May fills Connecticut gardens with all sorts of flowers and scents. Early morning is a wonderful time to wander through the gardens, camera in hand, to observe May blossoms.

White lilac flower buds survived the freezing temperatures that hit after they formed. Now they strut their stuff, spreading a delicate fragrance nearby. Yesterday it attracted a swallowtail butterfly and a hummingbird.

White lilac, May 11, 2016

White lilac, May 11, 2016

This low bush blueberry – or is it a huckleberry, it’s hard for even seasoned botanists to say – was here when we cleared our property nearly 20 years ago. We worked around this native shrub and it has become a feature of the front yard gardens. Pollinating flies spend most of their days visiting its May blossoms.

Blueberry or huckleberry blossoms with pollinating fly, May 11, 2016

Blueberry or huckleberry blossoms with pollinating fly, May 11, 2016

The pink dogwood (Cornus florida ‘Rubra’) is in full bloom … striking against a clear blue sky.

Cornus florida 'Rubra' aka pink dogwood against a clear blue sky, May 11, 2016.

Cornus florida ‘Rubra’ aka pink dogwood against a clear blue sky, May 11, 2016.

Scillia/Spanish Bluebells, aka Hyancinthoides hyspanica ‘Dainty Maid’ just opened, adding more colorful May blossoms to the ground level. They pick up where waning daffodils leave off.

Scillia/Spanish bluebells, Hyacinthoides hispanica 'Dainty Maid', May 11, 2016

Scillia/Spanish bluebells, Hyacinthoides hispanica ‘Dainty Maid’, May 11, 2016

One of a pair of blue containers filled with the SunSparkler sedum ‘Lime Zinger’.

SunSparkler sedum 'Lime Zinger'

SunSparkler sedum ‘Lime Zinger’

I had this sedum in one large container last summer. Rather than lose it, I planted it in the ground last fall. When it emerged and temperatures warmed enough to safely place containers back outside, I dug and divided the sedum to fill the two pots … definitely worth the effort to have the pots looking full this early at no additional cost to the budget.

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