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Apples & Peaches

Our forlorn apple tree still stands despite my constant plans for removing it. Since the trunk of it is the size of a small house, taking it out is something to think about. And heaven forbid hiring someone to trample over my plants. So it remains. Every year, in the dead of winter, I cut it back although several of the limbs are difficult to reach and some always remain. This year, I cut more than I usually do and only two or three large branches still stood, reaching straight up into the sky.  Judging from the apples this year, maybe I'm doing something right - However, it is hard to find a good apple unless it is picked from the tree (hard to reach). The ones on the ground always have bad spots on them. We've never treated the tree for disease or insects and the thought of doing that doesn't appeal to me.  I usually make at least one pie or cake every year from the unblemished apples I am able to retrieve.  My go-to apple recipe is the French Apple Tart f rom Ina Garten.

Coleus "Kong"

Earlier this summer, I was looking for a colorful annual to go in a large pot next to our back door. The spot is shady and under a small porch roof. I was going to go with the old stand-by - impatiens - but saw this at the nursery and decided to try it. It has been spectacular.

Text and photos by Phillip Oliver, Dirt Therapy


  1. I plant to use more coleus next year. The coleus I planted in the arbor garden this summer, like your 'Kong,' is still going strong. It is shrubby and quite beautiful.

  2. Those big colorful coleus are certainly worth growing. They are so sturdy, not a bit fussy about light or water. Just give them room to grow.

  3. I love all the Kong coleus series for the shade garden. They are simply the best.

  4. Wow. Very eye catching.

  5. Beautiful coleus. Will you be bringing a lot of your pots and garden ornaments with you to your new digs in P town?

    1. I don't think I will bring any plants. Some pots and one or two statues but I am leaving the majority. :(

  6. I'm a big fan of coleus, but I don't grow this one very often. But when I did, it was huge and lovely! I've always had good luck taking cuttings of coleus over the winter, and they make pretty house plants while you wait.

  7. I've become a big fan of coleus lately. Such tough, undemanding plants. Kong is a beauty. :o)

  8. I keep meaning to try 'Kong' as I do love coleus, but, here in the uk they take so long to get going, and are still little toddlers in July, even when planted under heat in February. Kong is a lovely size, and looks so healthy. Coleus remains somehow under the radar , a lovely annual which gets overlooked. Is it just out of fashion, or does it get overlooked when it is compared to annuals with big, showy flowers ?


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