Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Northern Tobacco

We are reluctant to accept limitations dictated by conventional wisdom or climate zone maps.  With help from those who live where plants naturally grow, we have successfully grown exotics such as ginger.  Now we are giving tobacco a try.  We start many different plants under lights and on heating pads in our basement.  There are frequent warnings written about tobacco plants having a negative impact on tomatoes so our tobacco had to wait for its late turn under the indoor lights.  Its pink flowers have finally begun to open.  Garden nicotiana  is evening scented so we cannot say that tobacco flowers have no scent.  We found them to be scentless when these pictures were taken in afternoon full sun.

This plant is more than five feet high and has yet to show any flower buds.  It is loaded with large bright green leaves.  These leaves will need to be cured indoors.  We are unsure about just how this will be done.  There is little doubt that we have once again grown more than we can handle.  One thing is certain.  This crop cannot go to the food bank.

These mature leaves may be ready for harvest.  I have read that tobacco leaves are cured by threading individual leaves on heavy twine or wire then hanging the group from the rafters.  All parts of this plant are incredibly sticky so this process may present several challenges.

I do not use tobacco any more but am trying to help an addicted individual that does not have the means to pay the heavy taxes now imposed on this product.  No money or services will be applied to this garden product so I hope that I remain out of jail.  The seeds were purchased from Richters in Canada.  I would like to think if there was a problem with planting the seeds, they would not have been shipped to New York.

This near relative of tobacco has self seeded in our gardens for  many years.  We brought it with us from our former garden so we are unsure of its initial source.  This is one plant that has given us a huge return on our original investment. This nicotiana is evening scented and we always pay it a visit when we walk in the gardens after sunset.  Its scent is delicious and the flowers seem to glow in the moonlight.

This is the time of year when drug enforcement overflights are common.  They are looking for cannabis plants.  Our unusual gardens frequently cause hobby fliers to circle around for a second look.  Our small plantings likely do not get a second look from the law.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

No Time In The Garden This Month

Health issues have denied me time in the garden for all of this month.  Desired plants are on their own and the weeds are rapidly reclaiming what is rightfully theirs.  There is still great beauty to be found if the pictures are carefully limited.  This ice plant is new here this year.  Three were ordered with one totally dead on arrival, the second nearly dead and the third showing some hint of life.  This single plant looks like it will divide with ease next season and soon there will be a row of bright yellow flowers edging this bed in front of the house.

Our cardinal flowers were totally on their own this season.  We usually pot up a dozen plants so that they can be moved inside when frost threatens but this year we found no time for this task.  Left to their own, their display this year is the best ever.  Again we tried to identify plants self sown from seed but weeds moved in and we lost track of the desired seedlings.  Some obviously made it as this is the largest appearance this plant has ever made here.

A close relative of cardinal flower is blue lobelia.  Blue lobelia is a highly invasive true perennial.  Unsure that we wanted this plant to remain, these plants were levered out of the ground with the root masses left on the ground.  Unfazed by this harsh treatment, these plants have flourished.  They need a more remote location away from our tended garden.  It may be too late to move them.

Clara Curtis Chrysanthemums continue to winter over here.  We have enough to plant an acre but how can one discard this hardy beauty?  Spent flowers need to be pinched off but this year that is impossible.

New England Asters have captured and held our fancy for years.  Their purple and yellow flowers just seem a perfect combination.  Hardy beyond belief, they quickly take and hold our enriched planting beds.  Plant breeders have worked with wild stock to create new color combinations.  Several years ago I traded some cash for a sad scrap of a plant.  After four years here it has finally produced a single flower.  It is not shown in this picture.  Every year we see this naturally occurring color sport in roadside ditches.  Never have we been able to steal one of these roadside weeds.  Last year one appeared on land that we own.  It was carefully moved into a planting bed so that we could see if the unnatural color remained.  It has.  This plant has expanded wildly in our rich bed soil.  Many divisions will be taken as we have wanted this plant for several years.

My decline in health may be telling me that it is time to leave these treasured thirty-six acres.  The twenty-one years spent here have been filled with more memorable experiences that one could expect to enjoy in an entire lifetime.  We will wait to see what comes next.