This is a two for one post. Normally I like to post just one subject but since I've cut back on posting and just can't seem to stick to one thing to photograph in the garden you all get a twofer! The main thing I'd like to share is my 'Pumpkin on a Stick'. Ever heard of it before? No, it's not a fair treat in the class of butter on a stick or koolaid on a stick but it is indeed a neat thing-you will not eat this 'pumpkin' though.
This pumpkin is actually an eggplant, Solanum integrifolia to be exact. This is an ornamental eggplant and as you can see the eggplants look just like pumpkins. I must say this has to be one of the neatest if NOT the neatest thing I've grown in my vegetable garden. I received this one little plant from a fellow master gardener when I won a door prize drawing. Thanks David! He was kind enough to supply me with all literature he had on this plant. David told me he purchased the seeds and started several plants for his garden and to give away to us master gardeners and to a select few of his friends. At first I thought my new acquistion was a brugmansia (which I believe is in the same family as eggplants-Solanaceae) but that was not the case.
Like all eggplants this one needs lots of sun, staking, fertilizer, and heat. My pumpkin on a stick has grown from a 4" plant in June to a more than four foot tall plant in August! There are several small fruits growing on it but only a few have begun turning the pumpkin orange as is characteristic of this fruit. I have read where these 'pumpkins' are great for use in dried arrangements. I suspect they'll come in handy for my garden club this fall. This is a very easy and rewarding plant to grow but I must say it has been mercilessly attacked by flea beetles. I do not normally use any pesticides in my gardens but have resorted to Sevin to combat the flea beetles. Overall the flea beetles have not severely damaged the plant but the damage could get to that point if not treated.
So I ask you all-have you ever heard of 'Pumpkin on a Stick"? And if so what is your experience with growing it?
Now onto some late summer garden pictures. Here in Tennessee it is Surprise Lily time and boy oh boy do these ever make for treats in the garden. I have several clumps that were started when a gardening friend gave me some bulbs (in February of course). These lilies (Lycoris squamigera) have a great fragrance and last forever as cut flowers in the house.
The butterflies and bees have taken over all the self seeded cosmos in my vegetable garden. It is such a joy to watch all of the insects!
Here we are looking into the
I purchased an absolutely fabulous native grass a few months ago at the Perennial Plant Society meeting in June. It is 'Northwinds' Panicum virgatum. I call it my punctuation mark amongst all of the other frilly, roundy, and busy perennials. It really sets off the pineapple sage in front of it and Rudbeckia lacinata to the right of it. Asters and lantana round out the perennials in this area of the Sunny Perennial Border looking toward the Vegetable Garden, aka jungle.
Lastly, you know it is nearing fall when the ornamental grasses begin blooming in Tennessee. This one is my absolute favorite (even more than 'Northwinds'). It is 'Adagio' Miscanthus sinensis and does so well here in my garden that I've spread it all around. It is drought and shade tolerant-a total bonus here. I have it paired with a 'Limelight' hydrangea, an arborvitae, several 'Immaculee' peonies and a 'Little Richard' abelia along the northern edge of my Foundation Beds.
I hope everyone is enjoying their summer and are looking forward to fall. My neighbor (Mr. C. the farmer) tells me it will be an early fall because all of the swallows have left his farm. He says they usually stick around through most of August but have been gone for a while now. I always listen to him because with all of his years of farming the land and loving the critters that live on it I've found he has a great deal of wisdom-and hasn't been wrong yet.
in the garden....
Words and Photos Property of In the Garden Blog Team, In the Garden