Are any of you other gardeners out there having a late summer battle against jungle-like vegetables and flowers? I'm afraid I misjudged just how huge some things can get. Here are some examples.
Next year the zucchinis will not be in the potager proper. They do not conform to the rule of thumb that no plant should be taller than the horizontal dimensions of the bed it's in. Also, I'm only going to have one plant instead of two. I have moss roses (aka purslane) I grew from seed (portulaca grandiflora) that only blossom when the sun shines on them, and the zucchinis have effectively prevented this. So every day I chop off huge leaves - up to two feet in diameter - to give them and also my boxwoods some light. The zucchinis are supposedly a climbing variety. That may well be, but they have conquered every pole I tried to fasten them to, just too heavy. One day an entire plant had collapsed on the ground, and I needed my husband to lift it. (Please click to enlarge.)
A gardening friend gave me some small seedlings after I'd admired her sunflowers last year. I planted them in one of my rose beds, carefully protecting each of the small plants with a snail collar. They turned into hardy plants, and when they'd reached about 2 meters in height (about 6.5 feet) I expected them to start blooming, as hers long since were. Here a shot of how they looked at this height.
My predecessor in the allotment had attempted to build a brick compost container, which turned out to be impractical since it had no earth contact and was impossible to empty. He soon realized this and had just closed it with a board. I decided to fill it with earth and see if it would work as a raised bed. As a first try I planted nasturtium (Tropaeolum majus) in it with great results. No aphids either. They haven't blossomed a lot, but the leaves are beautiful and a perfect cover for a previous sore spot in the garden. I am having to cut it back, though, in order to get to the compost bins.
OK, I admit that our sprawling blackberries are running riot because of pruning mistakes, although I do sort of enjoy the jungle-like feeling they give our patio enclosure. Our neighbor has kindly offered to help us prune them this year. HIS blackberries are perfect, and he's already pruned them for the winter, leaving just one or two stalks per plant. I'm sure we'll have a better harvest if we're more severe about pruning. I have to frequently chop away at them to ensure the survival of the Kerria japonica (Ranunkelstrauch) we planted in the spring.