Garden Lifestyle

Summer Heights

Summer is near about peaking.

  • These showy amaranth provide edible foliage and seeds besides being a bright presence in the garden. They are located in the raised beds featuring the countries of Central America, the Caribbean basin and Mexico, along with many chile peppers in at the Ozark Folk Center,
    Photo/Illustration: susan belsinger
  • This made me laugh when I first saw it--it is a 'Magenta Spreen' lambs'quarters that has been treated like a bonsai--it is about 7- or 8-foot tall--and looks rather like a tree instead of a rangy weed.
    Photo/Illustration: susan belsinger
  • Phlox are a traditional, old-fashioned, cottage garden flower. These are shoulder- and-head high and are abuzz with pollinators all day long.
    Photo/Illustration: susan belsinger
  • This is one of the happiest and oldest bay trees that I know. It is located in an alcove in front of the Skillet Restaurant at the OFC and has survived winter conditions here in the Ozarks for over 20 years. It often reaches 12 to 15 feet tall in a season before it is harvested.
    Photo/Illustration: susan belsinger
  • Hops are prolific vines that need heavy support--be it a pole, trellis, teepee or backporch. Hops are Herb of the Year 2018 so be prepared to celebrate.
    Photo/Illustration: susan belsinger
  • In this three sisters garden--the corn is the tall center and supporting plant, beans are planted at the base to vine around the corn, and squash are placed at the base of the plants with their heavily hirsute and scratchy leaves to deter varmints.
    Photo/Illustration: susan belsinger
  • This motherwort is reaching great heights in the hedgerow by the meadow.
    Photo/Illustration: susan belsinger
  • This some of the tallest and healthiest Joe Pye weed that I have ever seen. It is growing on a roadside along a creek here in the Ozarks and it is between 9 and 10 feet tall!  
    Photo/Illustration: susan belsinger

Summer is near about peaking. Plants are reaching for the sun and growing fast in this heat, so there are many tall annuals and perennials in the garden and surrounds. Pictured are a few that stand out. Some are at the back of the garden, or at the ends of the rows, while others are along the roadside.

Oftentimes, a tall plant will volunteer in the front or middle of a bed or right in the middle of a path. I try to have the forethought of moving them out of the way when they are small, however that doesn’t always happen… so I leave them where they are and walk around them… or whack them down and use them in the kitchen or apothecary.

Many of these plants like the phlox, hops and bay tree and three sisters combo were planted on purpose. Both the amaranth and lambs’quarters were planted a few years ago and return every year as volunteers. Most of the volunteers are either plucked and eaten, composted or tranplanted into pots. Only a few are left since they get quite large. Motherwort was placed along the drive and has spread to a large patch. The Joe Pye is another roadside attraction.

What are the tallest plants in your garden?

Hops is intentionally featured here because it will be Herb of the Year 2018. The International Herb Association is gearing up for its upcoming, annual conference which will be held in Michigan from September 8 and 9, 2017. We will be featuring this wonderful herb in many ways–from lectures and cookoffs to brewery tours and beer-tasting. There will be speakers from across the country and Canada. I’m doing a program titled Hops: From Pint to Pillow, Bitters, Bath and Beyond. Check it out–it is always a fun time and learning experience with this group!



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