Peppers, peeking out from under some light weight agribon (row cover). The agribon is to help prevent sunburn on the ripening peppers. It’s an experiment.

You know those perfectly manicured gardens? The ones without a weed in sight or a blade of grass out of place? You know those gardeners? I don’t trust those gardeners.

Nature isn’t about straight lines. Left to her own devices nature layers many types of plants and insects and animals – sometimes in balance, sometimes not. She is not perfect and clean and manicured. And any gardener who strives for this look? Well, I think they have a bit too much time on their hands, and perhaps don’t really understand their role in the bigger picture. Just my gut feeling.

All this is to say that I like a little chaos in my garden. I purposely plant flowers that I know will reseed. I pull out the ones that come up in the wrong place, and leave the ones that aren’t in the way. Sometimes I transplant them to where they need to be. I think they add diversity and a natural “organic” quality to the rows of vegetables and the mowed grass. Plus they attract birds and beneficial insects, that both help out in other areas.

It’s been a crazy couple of weeks. I drove to Spokane and back over 36 hours to see an old college friend. And then did a marathon drive to Durango Colorado and back over 4 days, to attend another dear friend’s first book signing. I’ve also had a physical check up, a dental check up (after 3 years) and a vision check up (after 3 1/2 years), got my hair cut and my toenails painted. Check, check, check. I’m getting stuff DONE! And I came home to 45 lbs of tomatoes and lots of chaos in the garden. Mother nature really hits her stride in August!

So here are some shots, all taken today, as the sun filtered through the diffuse clouds (the BEST picture-taking weather) of flower and garden porn. Hee hee.


Most of my sunflowers this year are volunteers from last year. It’s a random mix.


Volunteer Sunflower in Corn.


Why grow sunflowers in your garden? To attract birds, who then sometimes (depending on the bird) also eat bugs. Plus, its darn near impossible to take a bad picture of a sunflower. This crazy cross was a volunteer. The plant is about 6 ft high and 6 ft wide. Fabulous!


These look like bees. They probably aren’t. They were really small (about the size of a house fly). There are a lot of flies who look like bees. It’s a great way to avoid getting eaten, cause everyone knows (including birds) that bees sting and should be left alone.


Scarlet Runner Beans. I probably won’t get many actual beans, as they don’t like the heat, but the hummingbirds love the flowers. I ALMOST got a picture of a hummingbird feeding on these. She was buzzing around as I stood there.


The scarlet runner bean trellis. What else are you going to do with an old wooden ladder? I use it for this specific purpose every year. Planned chaos.


I planted these on purpose. I love cosmos, and have had them reseed on occasion. I love how cheerful they are. This variety is called Seashells.


I planted this last year with grand plans for drying it. Celosia is great dried. It loves heat, and last year I killed the first batch because I planted it too early. Then I replanted and kind of forgot about it in the weeds. Well, it reseeded, and I have a bunch of it this year. It came up when the temperature was right, and is very happy. My kind of garden flower!


I ended up with a bunch of free zinnia seeds this year. I just love them. They just keep blooming and blooming, right up until frost. So I did purposely plant these. That’s a wasp in there. Even bastards have to eat, I guess.


Love Lies Bleeding, an ornamental Amaranth. I’m sure I could eat the leaves if I wanted/needed too, and collect the tiny seed for throwing in muffins or something. But mostly, I just think its fun. These were volunteers, along with the calendula that is growing beneath it.


Nicotina, which is an evening blooming flower. It smells wonderful. I’ve been saving seed and replanting it for years. This patch came up all by itself. The flowers were open this morning because of the overcast weather.


Nicotina in the corn patch. What’s not to love about these guys peeking out?


Goldie Ground Cherry. Related to tomatoes and tomatillos. Small with a brown husk when ripe. Tastes like pineapple. No. Seriously. I’ve probably pulled up 50 from reseeds from last year, but did purposely plant a few. Kids love them. You can see why they are called ground cherries. They are ripe when they fall to the ground.


Moon and Stars Watermelon. NOT an early melon. Takes at least 100 days. But these guys are getting BIG. This was grown from seed saved last year. And it’s hard to see, but that toe is painted!


These were also grown from seed saved last year, but the original seed was a hybrid, so have NO idea how these are going to turn out. Part of the adventure. That one in the upper center is ALMOST done. The nice thing about cantaloupe is that when it is ripe, the stem releases. No guessing. Love that.


Pole beans. Look MUCH better than they did last year. Pole beans are not huge fans of big heat, which we’ve had plenty of. They are JUST starting to appear. Fingers crossed. So danged much easier to pick than bush beans. Bush beans. My aching back. Ugh.


Carrot grass update. I sprayed. Yup, I did it. And after about 3 weeks, THIS is what the bed looks like. Hooray for better living through chemistry.


Family portrait. Fiona (mama) is on the left. Apple (baby, born mid March) is on the right. Apple is an independent little bugger. She tried hard to dehorn herself by sticking her head under a fence when she was little. Hence the weird stubby horns. Her brother Jack is a big love.


I traded one of my Ancona drake ducks for two Appleyard drake ducks. I originally planned to butcher them. But I’m kind of loving them. Similar characteristics to Anconas (good foragers, decent egg layers, calm) but they are quite a bit bigger, which means they are more worth butchering. These two are pretty young. They are just starting to get their green heads, and are still trying to figure out their place in the pecking order. This is funny, as they outweigh everyone else by a couple of pounds, but get chased around a lot. They are very sweet boys.


Gracie’s babies are growing up. They have pretty much decided the back yard is home, even though I now only feed them in the poultry pen. Right now they are very enamored with the grape arbor, which is covered with grapes. They can fly up to the top of it and hide out in the vines. I may not get any by the time they are done. These guys are in the hops in this picture.


The gourd arch trellis is getting VERY full. SO fun.


Japanese corn, with pole bean vine winding up its stalk, and gourd (read squash) growing through it. I love it when a plan comes together. This is this year’s version of the three sisters (corn, beans, squash).


Hops. Man are we going to have hops this year. Need to get out the brewing book!


Artichoke. Planted on a whim for fun. My parents grew them in California and I have heard that they sometimes overwinter here. We’ll see. This isn’t in the best place, as it’s getting too much shade, but its hanging in there.


Morning Glory and Virginia Creeper, and a sheep skull, buried in there somewhere.


Queen Anne’s Lace, aka Wild Carrot. We had ONE plant last year. I let it go to seed because I love them. They are supposed to be a biannual (meaning it takes two years to complete their life cycle). Clearly, no one tells the Queen what to do. It’s all going to seed this year. I have a huge stand of it, and probably need to pull some of it up or I will be fighting it all next spring. But it’s so danged pretty. In fact, I just made this picture my desk top photo for a while.


Oregano in bloom, with bee. Wish the bee was mine. Sigh. But at least I’m doing somebody’s hive some good. Oregano is great for bees.


Sunchoke, aka Jerusalem Artichoke. This is NOT where I planted them. The resident gopher moved them. But he picked a good spot, so I just left them. You can eat the tuber they grow from, but mostly I just like the flowers.

Miles Away Farm Blog © 2013, where we’re getting ready to make salsa with all the purple tomatillos and our doing our best to embrace the chaos!