When figs look like they're wrinkled and dying...
... they are actually ready to eat, fresh, and delicious:
The best way to show off deep purple elderberries is with an underplanting of something bright and silvery:
Which I need to keep in mind next year when I plant more of these awesome 'Bull's Blood' beets:
Some garden mysteries solve themselves, when you peer under ginormous leaves...
... to find rapidly growing (are there any other kind, really?) zucchini resting on a bed of thyme:
But as soon as one mystery is solved, another appears. Like when one of the 'Purple Cherokee' tomato plants that I purchased this year turns out to be... some kind of a plum tomato, but which one?
I've also learned that when you grow funky tomatoes, you have to do research on when they should be harvested. 'Green Zebra' and 'Black Krim' can still have greenish "shoulders" when they're ready to harvest, but these 'Great Whites' do not:
And the blossom end will turn yellowish, to give me another clue. But I'm really looking forward to trying their purported sweetness that it's hard to wait for them to be ready! In fact, it's been such a long vigil for these supposedly tall snapdragons that they gave into fatigue and are now laying down on the job:
Speaking of laying around, some of the more brazen tomatoes--like this 'Big Rainbow--turn their noses up at even the most fun tomato cages I could find (they're bright red!) and prefer to stretch out across the nearby shrubbery instead:
Other veggies need to be watched, too. Like 'Gretel' and 'Ichiban' Japanese eggplants, whose fruit multiplies at night when you're not watching. Sort of like gremlins.
At least these types of eggplants stay tender at larger sizes. And the plants stay compact enough to allow for container growing:
Speaking of containers, I have learned that a watched 'Yellow Doll' watermelon is slow to mature:
While surprise ones that escape your notice are nearly too large to go without support by the time you see them dangling precariously over the edge of the pot:
As far as pots go, a replanting of 'Red Zebra' tomatoes in an easy-dog-access pot is already on my Gardening Assistant's wishlist for 2011. They are the perfect size to pluck and carry into the browning grass for an evening snack:
My own "Next year..." wishlist starts with more rain to keep the cherry trees from stressing out...
... and includes remembering to plant more kohlrabi, even later in the spring, as long as they'll get enough afternoon shade to make it to harvest size:
It also may involve planting at least one pale rose, like the one that I was surprised (and touched) to see waiting for me after work at the end of this very rough week:
I am amazingly lucky, to have a sweet, thoughtful boyfriend like Steve. I think I'm going to make him help me pick out that rose--probably a repeat-blooming climber, to be planted near the porch this fall--which will hopefully keep this gorgeous gift* filled with floating blooms for years to come.
* This fascinating blown glass bowl, with its many layers of clear and opaque glass, swirls of blue-black, and sprinklings of silver, was a present from Steve last month to (unconventionally) celebrate a dating anniversary of sorts. It makes me smile every time I see the light streaming through it in the morning, and I continually turn it to display new patterns and views. I still can't believe that I own such a beautiful piece of glass art!