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Tuesday, October 5, 2010

All the leaves are brown...

Based on the weather lately, and looking at the plants in the garden today, it appears that summer is over.  I headed over first thing this morning and Elias was there (Pat is on vacation this week!) pulling out dead thyme plants.  He said they didn't have anything wrong with them other than that they were probably over-watered.  I did some more research on the UC Master Gardeners Website and apparently thyme has no serious pests or diseases.  I also found this article by Barbara J. Euser on the Master Gardeners site: "Make Time for Thyme."  She also over-watered the thyme in a patch of her garden next to some sword ferns, and it died.  

Here are some fascinating thyme facts from her article:
  • "Thyme is an essential part of the aromatic blend known as Herbes de Provence. Lavender is also one of the Herbes de Provence and according to the Gattefosse, the French father of aromatherapy, thyme is a 'faithful companion of lavender. It lives with it in perfect harmony and partakes alike of its good and its bad fortune.'"
  • "In The Book of Herb Lore, Lady Rosalind Northcote said that among the Greeks, thyme denoted graceful elegance, and the phrase 'to smell of thyme' was an expression of praise for those with admirable style."
  • "Thymol is the phenol that is thyme’s 'active ingredient.' Thymol has been used as an antiseptic since ancient times: the Sumerians recorded using it in 3000 B.C. The Egyptians used it for embalming...Commercially, thymol is used in over-the-counter cough syrups and cold remedies."
So as long as you aren't too heavy-handed with the water, thyme is a great garden option with an interesting history!

All around the garden other plants are in decline as well: the tomatoes, Hopi Red Dye amaranth, melons,  and beans are all on their last legs, although the squash is still going strong, despite the white mildew.  (Learn more about powdery mildew here.)

Some plants are looking fantastic, however.  The fino verde basil is particularly happy in the raised beds, the red metamorph marigolds add pretty oranges and reds sprinkled around the garden, the figs are going crazy, olives are sprouting, and my favorite right now are the sunflowers, which are in full bloom and worth a trip to the garden to see.
The brown turkey fig tree is covered with fruit.
Even though the Hopi Red Dye and elephant head amaranth are in decline, the love-lies-bleeding variety is going strong.
The Teddy Bear sunflowers were so popular last year we planted more of them this year!
The olives will be ready for harvest in November.
The fino verde basil is taking over!  Its smaller leaves make it great for pots.

So even though summer is over, the garden still has some end of the season gems!


Kara said...

Wow. The over watering of thyme is hitting home-- I have some half-dead thyme happening right now, but because it looks dry, I keep dumping more water on it, in a Catch-22 of thyme-killing!

UC Davis Good Life Garden said...

We love your comment Kara! Let us know if you see any other changes as you try to get out of the Catch-22-of-thyme-killing!