in ‘bloom:’ aesculus, stewartia, tomato troubles

aesculus stewartia
THE BOTTLEBRUSH BUCKEYE IS DOING ITS FIREWORKS THING, erupting in giant wands of bloom in time for the 4th of July. Remember Aesculus parviflora, one of my favorite shrubs? I’m happy to see it act so patriotic every year, and also to see a beloved flowering tree, Stewartia pseudocamellia, join in the celebration across the yard. Decidedly non-celebratory, however: the first ugly signs of tomato troubles, showing up as leaf spots on various plants here in this wet season. Is your garden a mix of blessings and bad news, too, as we start to stretch our legs into high summer?

  1. Lynn says:

    I have a raised bed. My soil is bone dry right now. I am just beginning to see small green tomatoes… Wiith this heat i am afraid it wil knock off the blossums.

    As they get bigger I should be able to tell if there is a problem. As long as I donnot have horn worms. They are freakin ugly!

  2. Janet Duffy says:

    My sweet peppers have been put in quarantine. I am not optimistic.
    the hot peppers that only my son eats, well they are just fine thank you!
    I am beginning to think a week of rain in June is deadly.

  3. Diantha says:

    We’re in NC hot hot drought, and thankfully my ‘maters are doing fine so far with a little watering. BTW, back in January I bitched about having no success in getting orchids to rebloom. One is now if full flower, and two others are putting out sprays. Glad I didn’t give up just yet. Thanks for the tips, and happy Fourth!

  4. Melinda says:

    After getting to spend a week in New England (drove through your neck of the woods for the first time–WOW!), my husband agreed to help me whip the garden back into shape. I’d grown weary of it earlier in the spring, and it was a mess. June was the 3rd hottest on record in DFW, and it kicked the poop out of everything. We tidied up the veggie beds, yanked out the long-bolted broccoli and turnips, and mulched everything. Here’s hoping we offered enough TLC. Kudos to the hubby for not cursing me as he pitched a pile of weeds that was infested with fire ants. Now I have to figure out how to fashion a sunshade for the fall tomatoes that local expert Neil Sperry keeps swearing I have to plant.

  5. Jean | Delightful Repast says:

    I’m not having tomato troubles this year. Because I had so many tomato troubles last year that I decided not to plant any this year! We didn’t have enough sun and the result was not good. But by next spring I’ll have another spot prepared and be all geared up to give tomatoes another go!

  6. Sheryl at Providence Acres Farm says:

    Last year was the horrific tomato year for me. This year looks to be a good one. Just little green tomatoes so far, but everything looks good! I babied them this year, especially my original Gordon Graham baby!! I only have the one plant…

  7. Christine says:

    Oh noooo! I feel your tomato pain, Margaret. I am in the western part of NY and we have had similar wet, cool weather — all the makings of another blight year. I’m cringing in anticipation with 60+ tomato plants. But other things are thriving (berries!) so I am making an effort to redirect my focus. As Emily Litella (SNL) would say, “It’s always something.”

  8. Margi says:

    Our warm weather is just arriving, late, out here on the west coast of B.C.
    I’ve never had good luck with tomatoes out in the yard so this time I am trying
    some in pots on the covered decks. Good sun throughout the day and protection
    from rains. They look very good and are showing nice blossoms. Here’s
    hoping this will work.

    In the meantime I am asking for advice. I am looking for something for a hedge or
    privacy measure, for a very shaded area, something fast growing…There are
    cedars and firs scattered throughout but I need something along the area between
    my neighbour’s place and mine. They (children of parent who lived there for 40
    years, recently passed away) have been cutting down everything and even trimmed
    off the whole sides of my 75 feet of cedar hedge on the side facing their yard.
    This was done yesterday. I can hardly speak. I hope the cedars will be ok.
    In the meantime there is another 100 or so feet of other shrubbery that has been
    thinned out badly…..sorry to be crying on your shoulders everyone.


  9. Pam says:

    Aesculus parviflora is a lovely native shrub….always beautiful in flower! You don’t see it that often in gardens…and you have to wonder why. We sell it at the native plant garden center I work at in Dutchess County, NY.

    1. Margaret says:

      Hi, Pam. Yes, love it — a Southeastern native but does just fine up our way, thankfully. Glad to hear it’s being sold at more local places!

  10. jean says:

    Here in the Hudson Valley, we’ve had our share of cool, wet weather and our famous humidity, so I am very much aware of the scenario for late blight. I am trying to be very vigilant. So far, all is well, but its still early. I thought I was going to lose it when I had to tear out my plants two years ago.

  11. David says:

    Here in SE Michigan, two years ago the blight destroyed much of my Roma tomato crop. Last year we went to containers and the blight did not touch us. This year to date my tomatoes are very large and in containers that we have given Happy Frog Fertilizer for tomatoes and vegetables. We have lots of small fruit coming and many set blooms.

    I am crossing my fingers it is all going to work out!

  12. Janeen says:

    @ Margi – I am not sure of your climate zone or natives for your area, but if you are thinking shade I would suggest a mixed shrub border with a few different varieties for interest. Some ideas: oakleaf hydrangea, dogwood, clethra, viburnum (various varieties), rhododendron. And, even though it’s a perennial, I’d suggest goat’s beard, which can get up to six feet tall, but is quite lovely and looks great next to shrubs.

  13. Margi says:

    Thanks, Janeen.

    I was thinking about rhododendrons. Will check out goat’s beard. I am not
    familiar with that. I’m not sure dogwoods & viburnum would like that much
    shade…There are some rhodos in this wooded area and I am always surprised
    at how well they do.

    With all this tomato talk I think I am going to try a few more apart from the decks.
    I’ll pick a new spot and see how they do this season. I think it is a matter of finding
    the best, most suitable location. I remember my father rotating tomatoes and beans.
    Anyone else do this?

  14. Rachelle says:

    This year, because of our freaking cold and wet spring (in WI) and for weed control, I planted my tomatoes through black landscapiing fabric. They look stupendous: good color, lots of bloom, just small green tomatoes, so far.

  15. I have lost count how many times I have lost my crop of tomatoes to blight, just before they are ready to pick. This year, I’m trying out blight resistant strains including the new ‘Losetto’ for hanging baskets (small tomatoes, but very tasty) and Ferline. So far so good…no blight and I have already eaten tonnes of fruit. You can also try Totem for desease resistance.

    My garden is terrible for powery mildew – I’m off to do some research on mildew resistant courgettes!!! How ever said that gardening is a leisure activity?

    1. Margaret says:

      Hi, James. I don’t know those varieties, but will do my homework now, thank you. Here’s to a successful tomato crop in 2011 on both sides of the ocean.

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