Dear Friends and Gardeners, May 3, 2010


Carol from May Dreams Gardens (Zone 5), Mary Ann from Gardens of the Wild, Wild West (Zone 6) and I decided, last year, to exchange letters from our vegetable gardens. We had so much fun we’re continuing the tradition this spring and summer. We hope to give everyone an idea of how gardens grow in three different USDA hardiness zones. I garden in Zone 7a, where we’re having the best sort of spring.

Bok Choy in flower. Now, don't try and tell me vegetable gardens can't be beautiful too.

Good Morning Garden Buddies,

What a fine morning it is. The sun is shining, and it’s a brisk 47F, but I read the temperature will be climbing to 79F by this afternoon. My friend, Katie, is coming by to get some of my overflow, and I’m going to photograph her garden for the Lowe’s blog. She’s turned a small urban yard into a natural haven for birds, butterflies and all of God’s creatures.

Broccoli head

The bok choy is starting to bolt, so I ate it nearly everyday last week in a stir fry. It tastes so good how could I not? The broccoli is forming heads, and Bill (HH) finds this quite a thrill. I’ve only grown broccoli a few times because our springs often turn hot before it gets a chance to set. Not so this spring thus far.

I’m starting to harvest lettuce and spring onions. We’ll have a salad made of thinnings tonight with our dinner. Most of the basic vegetable garden is planted, but I still need one more hill of squash, along with watermelons and cantaloupe. Have you ever eaten a cantaloupe straight from the garden, so ripe, the juice runs down your chin? Well, if not, you should. In rich soil, cantaloupe is easy to grow in warmer climates. The biggest thing to remember about melons and squash is pollination. Because the European honeybee is in such trouble worldwide, there are summers when I need to hand pollinate. When the squash flowers, I’ll show everyone how. It’s easy, but you must get out there and do it, or the little squash just rot on the stem.  Unless, of course, native bees and wasps pollinate for us.  Another reason to plant lots of flowers near our vegetables.

The potager. I love this garden. So easy to work in.

I’ve noticed the plants in the potager have performed so much better than those in the lower garden. I’ve surmised there are two reasons for this: being four giant containers, the potager warmed much faster; and the lower, back garden is on quite a slant so some of the small seeds seem to have washed a bit.

I had quite a weekend. Saturday, I went to the northeastern outskirts of Oklahoma City to photograph Hugh and Jennifer Stout’s garden for Oklahoma Gardener magazine. They’ve named their hybridizing and nursery business Stout Gardens at Dancing Tree, and they are holding open houses on some weekends.  They sell and hybridize both irises and daylilies, and people strolled the beautiful, five-acre garden with clipboards in hand, marking those irises they wanted to buy.  Did I buy any?  Well, what do you think?  I’ll need to find a place to put those spiky leaved pretties.  I’m especially enamored of their new cultivar, ‘Backdraft’.  Simply amazing color and that gold edge around the falls, yum.

Iris 'Backdraft' (Stout 2010)

Then, I went with several high school friends for facials in Guthrie.  My friend, Martha, lives in an old house which she’s totally renovated.  I brought five dozen eggs to share, and this is what Dana wrote me later on Facebook (I hope she doesn’t kill me for posting this):

“I just had my very first FRESH egg breakfast and I’m so happy! Those eggs are the best. I never want another grocery store egg as long as I live. Everyone needs to go out and buy chickens so they can have eggs like that! Not only did they taste fresh but they are so beautiful. What a great way to start the day.”

So, you have it, fresh eggs, fresh veggies, and flowers cut from the garden for your table.  Fresh really is best.

See y’all next week,


  1. Dee, this has been the perfect spring for broccoli, hope it doesn’t heat up for another couple of weeks.
    Oh, do they sell irises online? They’ve long been a fav of mine, a staple in every garden I’ve ever had.
    .-= Nola at Alamo North´s last blog ..Frozen Friday =-.

    Nola, yes they do. After you and I talked, I found their website, and I’ll post it here for everyone else. Stout Gardens.

  2. Kelly Bundy says:

    The potager turned out so lovely! My hubby made a huge garden which will require me to do a lot of bending and crawling when it comes pickin’ time. I am thankful for it though. Those iris’s are so beautiful! I would love to get iris’s started on our place.
    I gave a friend of a mine a dozen fresh eggs…she kind of jumped back (you would have thought I was handing her a rattlesnake). She had never eaten fresh eggs that she knew of. Later, she told me that they were quite delicious! Haha People are funny!
    .-= Kelly Bundy´s last blog ..Fresh and New =-.

    Kelly, I think your story about the eggs is hilarious. Yes, I wanted the potager to be easier access as I get older.~~Dee

  3. keewee says:

    I have raised beds, which I like, but I love the height of your potager as having something in my garden like that, would certainly save wear and tear on my back. I think when we have to replace the raised bed sides, I will consider something much higher.

    Hi Keewee, thank you. I wanted them taller so it was like gardening in containers. Easier.~~Dee

  4. Your potager is so beautiful, I’m green with envy! Love the iris.
    .-= Pam’s English Garden´s last blog ..Do As I Say, Not As I Do =-.

    Thank you Pam.~~Dee

  5. Yes, the first time I had a truly fresh egg it was a revelation.
    .-= Kathy from Cold Climate Gardening´s last blog ..What’s Wrong With My Juneberry? =-.

    I felt the same way Kathy.~~Dee

  6. Dana Nichols says:

    Oh Dee- thanks for a refreshing post again!
    You are always so inspiring, especially needed on a Monday.
    Love the photos. I noticed I had some iris blooming the front berm today.
    They are lovely and purple. Keep on inspiring us!

    Thank you Dana, you are too kind. I value your friendship.~~Dee

  7. marnie says:

    Those iris are just beautiful. What color! Backdraft is a really good name for them.

    I’ve never had bok choy, or if I did have it in some Chinese dish in a restaurant, I didn’t know what it was.

    Your raised beds look nice, do you grow vining plants over the sides. That would be pretty. We have such dry summers here, raised beds would be a disaster for me.

  8. The Backdraft irises are beautiful. Your potager seems to be an awesome place for the veggies. Sounds like it was a great gardening weekend.
    .-= Gardener on Sherlock Street´s last blog ..Rain Gauge Report 2010 05 03 =-.

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