A green space for urban gardeners

This and that: plant finds, artful secateurs, project updates

DSC00325DSC00339DSC00309There will come a point this summer when the phenomenon of “cooler by the lake” will provide a welcomed reprieve. But for now, when downtown Chicago can’t seem to string together two 70-plus days in a row, it’s not of great comfort.

Meanwhile my sprouts are outside fending for themselves over the cool nights and variably cloudy days. All the rain of late has washed away some of their identifying labels, so figuring out what’s what is going to be a challenge.

Oh well, I never promised you a rose garden. However, I do have a progress report on the projects started inside — plus some new plants and a very chic garden tool — to share with you:

1. The lettuce I’ve been growing inside on a windowsill is overdue for harvesting. (I don’t think it’s supposed to look like a hanging plant.) So, it’ll get snipped down and become salad this weekend.

2. I picked up a fun little yellow marigold that I liked because it looked as though it was edged in green. It’s a subtlety that lends a unique aspect to a common garden flower. I place marigolds in the planters with my herbs and nasturtiums because they, too, are edible.

3. My friend Maureen, who always manages to pick the perfect present, gifted me with a pair of lovely garden secateurs covered in a William Morris chintz pattern and produced in conjunction with the Victoria and Albert Museum. I’ve already used them to snip the dead blooms off my French lavender and they should come in super handy when nipping those thick, end-of-summer stems on a thriving basil plant. (Check the Wild & Wolf site for contact numbers for distributors of the pruning tool in the UK, US or Canada.)

DSC003184. This annual with blueish purple blooms caught my eye, but wasn’t tagged with plant name or instructions. Let’s hope it likes full sun. Does anyone recognize it?DSC00328

5. My sweet potato vine project seems to be coming along. The small leaves on the sprouts seem to be getting larger and looking more green than purple. I’m guessing that’s a good sign…


  Chicago Garden wrote @

Really cool. I like the SP project the most.

  Diane wrote @

Your purple annual appears to be a scaevola. I have a white one on my front porch. I love how the flowers look like fans.

  Avis Weathersbee wrote @

I think you’re right! I Googled images and scaevola looks like what I have. And it seems that it likes full sun! Thanks!

Chicago Garden,
I’m enjoying the sweet potato experiment. Takes me back to 8th grade science projects.

  Stephanie wrote @

I might try growing potato vine once I found one good potato to grow 🙂 I like this project! Very interesting and economical. Btw, some seeds I sowed the other day, got eaten by tiny snails that came with the soil. But, this makes gardening more fun! If they don’t grow now, we can always try again. And, I always believe that plant can fend for themselves pretty well. They will get better once the sky is clear. Have another great day! Btw, it was good to hear from you in my blog 😉 TQ for your time.

  Avis Weathersbee wrote @

I agree with you that the snails are just a cool new learning experience. I’ve had birds nibble on my young nasturtium sprouts and still managed to have enough survive for a healthy crop in my planters. And I love visiting your blog. You are so knowledgeable about plants! Cheers!

  Stephanie wrote @

Birds come to nibble on my new sprouts too! Yeah, I really hope some will still survive after all. Actually, I learn as I blog and garden each day. Avis, I love visiting your blog too. I have learnt much about culinary herbs like basil, flower colours, lavender sugar etc from you. TQ!

  CalgaryGardenCoach wrote @

It’s cold here too! Oh well, if gardening didn’t have its challenges, it wouldn’t be any fun, would it?

  Jo wrote @

We’ve had some lovely weather over here over the past couple of weeks, however, over the last few days it’s gone back to that usual rainy UK weather. Still, the plants are enjoying it.

  Beth wrote @

I love the flowers and the way you show them! gardening is one of my biggest passions

  urbantravelgirl wrote @

Avis, thanks for the secateurs shout-out! They look SO stylish… I’m glad you’ve already been able to put them to good use. I knew they’d make a better gift to you than another bottle of wine!

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