Garden Update in June: Tomatoes, Horsemint, and Mockingbirds

We had some significant wind and storms over the last few weeks. More wind than rain, and more than enough of both to wreak some havoc.

Pink Horsement

Much of the pink Horsemint got knocked over a while back and will stay that way. It isn’t unexpected though- it’s about 4′ tall these days and I don’t have it staked or tied back. I like a bit of a wilder/looser look, so I don’t mind.

What I DO mind is also visible in the picture. The Mexican Olive Tree’s main trunk snapped off, and so now all the remainder of the tree is listing severely to the side. Our conundrum is do we just prune to try to correct, or do we dig the whole thing out and reset it so the trunks it still has are reset in straight up and down? Sigh. It was growing so fast, it’s hard to lose the height, but maybe the quick growth was the reason for the weak wood and breakage.

 Black Swallowtail butterfly on bronze fennel

Not sure where all the cats were this morning, but I was lacking my usual companions on my garden stroll. It doesn’t mean I was alone though! This black swallowtail was undisturbed by me and hung out for the whole time- being so focused on laying eggs on the fennel as to be totally oblivious, even for a butterfly.

The new bed along the fence line is coming in nicely.

Love the eggplants and gladiolus along the back fence. 

This bed has a poblano pepper, 3 eggplants, a tomato, oregano, and 3 more bronze fennels in it in addition to all the ornamentals. Love the mix of edibles in a border!

Photobomb by the juvenile mockingbird… can you see him?
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There he is- he spends much of his days perched on the fence

The hog panel in the picture above is for the gourd seeds we have planted in the back. The girls really got into gourd crafts last year after we went to a gourd festival (I know). So, we put in a couple canteen gourds, swan gourds, and some miniature birdhouse gourds to make Christmas ornaments from.

So far all of them have come up- so we’ll see how this goes!

The rose and tomato bed. It’s more attractive than it sounds, but is still a weird combo. Won’t be growing tomatoes there next year though, so wanted the roses to settle in.

So I’ve been more reserved in talking about the tomatoes this year, though rest assured I love them still. Big Tomato Love.

Grow my pretty! Grow!

It’s just been quite hard to speak of them because aside from the Sweet Millions cherry tomatoes, I have no idea which is which! That’s all thanks to a certain three year old who has a penchant for taking plant labels out of plants. There’s a Bobcat in there, an 1863, and another one I can’t recall the name of which is the most annoying thing ever! What if it’s my favorite? How would I F-ing know? Gah!

Cherries, cherries, cherries!

In other news, the mint in the bed by the house, that a few weeks ago looked like this:

Nice, lush, and green behind the coreopsis…

Now looks like this:


So the mint had gotten about a foot and a half tall and starting to go downhill and get some whitefly… so I spent an hour ripping it out in big handfuls. I wasn’t trying to get rid of it, just force it to flush back out to a more reasonable height and healthy. The pile of mint I pulled out was 3′ tall and 4′ wide by the end. The coreopsis got cut back due to going out of flower and and getting some powdery mildew.

Across the yard and seldom spoken about, the thin strip of bamboo on the side of the carport slab (coming from the neighbors yard, so we might as well embrace it) would be okay looking… if it could only contain itself to bamboo. But NOOOO, it has to be filled with weeds too, doesn’t it? I don’t spend ANY effort in there, aside from chunking the corpses of dead plants into the back. Is LIKE composting.

We have discussions of cutting it all back, covering the ground with river rocks, and letting the bamboo come up through it (Don’t fight what you won’t win, and all) but so far we’re just blithely ignoring it. We did transfer out a confetti lantana that seeded into this mess, and I DO like the wild ruellia flowers…

Wild Ruellia in the bamboo forest. Bermuda grass, purple bindweed, wild ruellia, and bamboo… Just for fun I threw a ton of mint back there… let’s see who wins!

6 thoughts on “Garden Update in June: Tomatoes, Horsemint, and Mockingbirds

  1. I love that you have a Mexican olive. I’ve only found two in my travels — one at the Brazoria wildlife refuge, and one in the Rockport City Cemetery. The one in Rockport looked like it took a hit somewhere along the line, as part of it was dead. But the other 2/3s was filled with leaves and flowers. If they’d trim it up, it would look just fine. Anyway, I’d guess that even with their brittle wood and etc, they’re fairly resilient. Good luck with yours!

    I just went out to a local farm and picked tomatoes yesterday. I gave away so many I’m going to have to go back, but my goodness, they are delicious. Their blackberries are doing fine, along with squash, cucumbers, and such. I do love a good tomato, and their little ones are especially good. They have a yellow pear-shaped one that’s as sweet as candy.

    1. Thanks for your comment! The first tomato I ever had was a yellow pear in a pot on my balcony at college- it was a cute little thing for sure!

  2. Your garden is beautiful, Lauren. Too bad about the wind. We had a similar thing happen when our laceleaf maple broke a major branch. I was ready to pitch it and try to buy a new one, but the Captain insisted we could save it, and now, 20 years later, it has a bit of a bonsai look but it’s very pretty and healthy. So good luck with your Mexican olive tree. Maybe you’ll be lucky too.

      1. Good luck with it. I wouldn’t dig it up. It could die. Maybe pull it back with a rope and put tension on it if it needs straightening? We’ve done that with an apple tree and a walnut that were almost knocked over with soaked ground (from rain) and high winds. It was early in the fall and they still had leaves so they caught the wind more. They’re fine now.

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