Though the summer has been hotter and drier than usual here in western North Carolina, it hasnít kept my veggies and herbs from doing well. Because of the drought conditions, it was necessary to water. Beside of each variety name below, I have included the name of my seed source.
Letís start with the herbs. This year, I grew several kinds of nasturtiums. My Tip Top Alaska nasturtiums (Territorial Seed Company) bloomed wonderfully in pots where Iíd combined them with perennial lavenders. The gorgeous light green variegated foliage was splashed with cream and white. It looked beautiful throughout the season, bringing color even when the plants werenít in bloom. Tip Top reached about a foot tall, and provided flowers in an array of hot colors, including oranges, reds, and yellows.
I trained my Spitfire Climbing nasturtium (Reneeís Garden) on a short bamboo trellis. Eagerly sought by bumblebees and hummingbirds, the vivid, orange-red blossoms bloomed for a particularly long period.
This was the first year for my Italian Aromatic sage (Reneeís). So, next year the vigorous plants will produce the tall flower spikes that are typical of sage. This is an improved variety from Italy that is known for its particularly fragrant leaves. The plants seem especially vigorous.
My fern-leaf lavender (Reneeís) did so well that I will hate to see the cool weather come. Since this is a tender perennial, I donít foresee that it can survive the winter here in zone 6. So, I will try to take a few plants inside the cool, well-lit basement, and see how they do. This lavender blooms the very first year from seed. The tall flower spikes are particularly long-lasting. It is named for the very fragrant gray foliage, which is so finely cut it resembles fern fronds.
My variegated Pesto Perpetuno basil from Proven Winners was so robust and bushy. At first glance, you might not realize this is even basil. The gorgeous variegated foliage has various shades of green and cream. The fragrance is typical of basil.
In recent years, improved varieties of Swiss chard have become available. This is one of my favorite vegetables. It is versatile, and mild-flavored, tolerating more heat than most greens. In containers and flower beds, I grew Pot of Gold Container Chard (Reneeís). These vigorous plants did very well in both situations. The gorgeous gold-yellow stems added a touch of color, and served as an accent to the green foliage.
Golden Chard (Territorial) is larger and more robust than Pot of Gold. This grew to about two feet in height. The stems are initially yellow, but over time this became a burnished gold. The yellow veins offer contrast to the green leaves. Golden chard looked gorgeous in flower beds and borders. It was ready for harvest about two months from the time I planted the seeds.
Our spring weather alternated between abnormally warmer or colder than usual. Somehow, this didnít seem to affect my Mega snap peas (Territorial) very much. Luckily for me, it turns out this variety performs well in both warm and cool weather. The plants were tall enough (nearly three feet) that they did benefit from some support. The luscious, juicy, crunchy pea pods were well filled. They grew to four inches in length, and contained about six or seven peas each. These were ready to pick in abo