One of the topics at the seminar was fall greens. My last attempt at greens was spring lettuces, which put out about six leaves before deciding that it was far too hot to bother growing. The advantage of planting in the autumn is (hopefully) a longer period between baking and freezing temperatures, and also, apparently, the shorter days encourage the plants to store sugar, thus making the leaves sweeter to eat. I sowed kale and collards, those archetypal southern greens, and they sprang up in less than a week. Definitely an encouraging start.
The only thing is, owing to Toby trying to "help", I got the boxes mixed up and have no idea which is kale and which is collards any more.
|Kale sprouts. Or possibly collards.|
A new plant nursery opened up close to us fairly recently. Wishing to support local business, Toby and I went for a browse sometime back in July. Unfortunately they'd covered the ground in a thick layer of pebbles. I put Toby in his pushchair, ploughed in and stopped dead. Four-inch wheels in two inches of loose gravel is a distinct no-go. I had to carry him, and believe me, lugging around an 18-pound baby in 100-degree heat is a sweaty endeavour. However, we emerged from the ordeal with two lantana plants - small shrubs with leaves a bit like mint and pretty clusters of small flowers. Of course they stopped flowering the minute I got them home, and one was doing so badly in its pot that I had to bung it in the ground with much haste and little preparation. It was touch-and-go for a while but it's beginning to lose its crumpled look. I hope it survives; it's the New Gold variety with bright yellow flowers, and others I've seen look really nice.
|Lantana "ham & eggs"|
And finally, I should just mention the sunflowers, which have been rioting along the back fence. Living up to their name, they seemed to revel in the heat, and provided a cheerful and entirely unexpected backdrop to our garden all summer long.