Cee’s Fun Photo Challenge: Orange and Yellow Flowers

Orange ranunculus
As part of Cee’s Fun Photo Challenge, here are a few photos of yellow and orange flowers. Yellow daffodils in sunshineI took these images last spring and summer. I guess I had intended to post them but never did.

Orange and white daffodil

These images were featured in past posts, but I figured that they fit the theme so I included them too.

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With no flowers outside to look at, the more the merrier, right?

Flowers on a Tomato 'Lemon Boy'
Flowers on a Tomato ‘Lemon Boy’

Even vegetable flowers are worth a second look.

yellow and orange flowers

Flowers provoke so many different emotions. Even the most cheerful colors can lead me to think of things serious and sad. So to wrap up my thoughts for this week, I want to say RIP David Bowie and Alan Rickman, two beautiful voices that will be missed.

Photo Challenge: Close Up–Container Garden Finds

Green Cherry tomatoes and flowersFrom the ittiest, bittiest cherry tomatoes (some smaller than a peppercorn at this point)
Dusty Miller monochromeTo the soft and mysterious Dusty Miller

Okra flower bud
I haven’t tried to grow okra before, just picked up the seeds on a whim this spring.

To the beginnings of an okra flower, these are busy days in the little balcony garden.

Things change in a matter of hours: tomatoes ripen, peppers swell, the occasional morning glory shows itself, mint tries to creep in every other pot it can find, kale leaves disappear into the mouths of voracious cabbage butterfly caterpillars.

Some changes are better than others but they are all interesting to watch.

In response to this week’s theme Close up

Photo Challenge: Muse — Nature

Tomato flower and green cherry tomatoes
Tomato flower and green cherry tomatoes

My muse is found in nature. In growth and change. How does a tiny seed turn into a flower, or even more amazing, into something I can eat?

Pepper flower
Pepper flower

I love to get out and explore new gardens, parks, and places, but I can’t always do that. My little garden on my balcony helps me see some of the small changes that are always happening in nature. Some flowers last a few weeks, others, just a day.

Tomato flower silhouette
Tomato flowers

Nature never stops. There’s always something new to see. It could be a big change or small. I can always find something to get lost looking at, and something to inspire me.

This week’s photo challenge theme is Muse.

Green bean blossom
Green bean blossom

Progress in my Container Garden

It’s always encouraging to see progress in your garden.

Yellow Boy tomato
‘Lemon Boy’ tomato

I have teeny, tiny tomatoes growing now. Seems like the spider shaped flowers have produced some fruit. Above is a tomato growing from the flower from my ‘Lemon Boy.’

And this will be a cherry tomato when it grows up.

Tiny cherry tomato
Tiny cherry tomato

This Hungarian Yellow Wax pepper is really coming along. Just three weeks ago it was a flower.

Hungarian Yellow Wax pepper growing nicely
Hungarian Yellow Wax pepper growing nicely

These are radish flowers. When I plant radish seeds, they generally don’t grow radish bulbs, but they will produce flowers if I let them go long enough. I may actually have one radish out there, which is exciting. I’ll peek sometime soon, but I don’t want to disturb it much. The rest of the plants in the pot were either eaten as lettuce greens when they were shoots, or they are growing wild and making flowers.

Radish flowers
Radish flowers

This is one of the pea plants. I was interested in playing with the HDR setting with the sun behind the leaves.

Pea plant
Pea plant

Tomato Flower and Evil Squirrels

Delicate tomato flowers always remind me of a crouching spider.

Flowers on a Tomato 'Lemon Boy'
Flowers on a Tomato ‘Lemon Boy’

These flowers belong to a variety called a Lemon Boy. The plant’s tag promises yellow, 7-oz. fruit that is lower in acidity than red tomatoes. I hope they do well.

I read this interesting article about tomato plants failing to produce fruit. I learned that tomato plants self-pollinate, meaning they do not require bugs or any other help. Each flower contains male and female components and the pollen simply falls into the area it needs to be in order for pollination to occur. Bees and wind are not essential to the process, but they do help by shaking the flower and helping the pollen fall. The article explains that when high temperatures occur, along with extreme humidity or dryness, the pollen will not fall, and the flower is not pollinated.

As fascinating as the subject of self-pollinating flowers is, I’ve never dealt with the issue of them failing to produce fruit. My problem is that squirrels will visit our balcony and eat the tomatoes….in the most annoying way possible. They pick a ripe one, take one bite, and drop it. They do this for every tomato that has color. Do they think the next one is going to taste any different from the last?? So now I have no tomatoes and a mess to clean up.

They leave the green ones to ripen. This gives me just enough hope that maybe I’ll actually get to eat one before they notice it’s ready. But no, they know how to crush my dreams and swipe them right out from under me, in what seems like minutes before I was heading outside to pick them.

Actually, I got lucky last year and they weren’t around. I hope this year they don’t notice my plants, knock on wood!

Container Gardening: Vegetables and Herbs

I finally made it to the garden center on Sunday. Usually I would have done this on Mother’s Day weekend, but this past month has been busy.

I didn’t realize that three weeks had slipped by, and was surprised at first at the small selection. The fact that vegetables were on sale, and that there were so few to choose from, really made it sink in.

I was after the usual: vegetables, herbs, and flowers.

A few varieties of tomatoes and some Hungarian Yellow Wax peppers made up my vegetable selection. I had started lettuce, peas, carrots and radishes from seed weeks ago but so far the lettuce seems to be the only thing working out. I have not had success with carrots and radishes. Even though the packages say the seeds are container friendly, they will sprout but never grow a root that I can eat. I plant them for fun anyway, thinking maybe this year will be the year.

I thought this Patio tomato and Hungarian Yellow Wax pepper would be good roommates, so they are sharing a pot. This is based purely on how they looked, not on anything that I maybe should have looked up about how well they grow next to each other. (Oops.) I picture the tomato plant being the sloppy one and the pepper being the tidy, efficient half of the pair. The pepper is always cleaning up, trying to keep the absent-minded tomato on track. But, the tomato gives good hugs. Just look at those fuzzy leaves.

A Patio tomato and Hungarian Yellow Wax pepper
Perfect roommates: a Patio tomato and Hungarian Yellow Wax pepper

Herbs are pretty dependable on my balcony. Here are the staples: oregano, basil, and cilantro. If they look a bit smushed, it’s because just moments after they were planted in their new home, my daughter stumbled back and fell—but luckily these three heroes broke her fall and caught her as she sat into the pot. (She wasn’t hurt and we both laughed at the cartoonish aspect of it.)

Oregano, cilantro, and basil
Oregano, cilantro, and basil (sat on for extra flavor)

I planted the rosemary and tarragon together. Not only because they both like well-drained soil, but because they are both tall with thin leaves. They seemed like they could be good friends. I’m sure they both wish they were living near the Mediterranean. (That makes three of us.)

There was an interesting note on the tag of this Artemisia dracunculus French that says, “Know your tarragon! True French tarragon should have a subtle anise flavor and if chewed, should make the lips numb. Not to be confused with Russian Tarragon which is tasteless and a weed.” (Source: Gilbertie’s Herbs)

Rosemary and tarragon
Rosemary and tarragon

This is a new one for me: chocolate mint. It’s just like the name says, and I want to eat the whole plant. I’m planning to pick strawberries soon and I’ll use this when I make strawberry shortcake. I think it’s going to be great!

chocolate mint plant
There is a chocolate aroma in the leaves of this chocolate mint