My wife, Sweet Tomato, and also sometimes known as Darlin Girl thought it would be nice to grow flowers in one of the raised beds I have traditionally used to grow tomatoes. Now the garden and growing tomatoes has been my passion and responsibility for many, many years. I am the one that pours over seed catalogs in the winter, digs three foot deep trenches with a pick axe to remove clay that is the naturally occurring soil in San Diego and spends hours caring for my tomato plants through the summer. Sweet Tomato maintains an herb garden conveniently located at the edge of the raised beds in our garden. She helps me can tomatoes during the harvest and generally is supportive of my obsession.
So when Sweet Tomato brought up the subject of growing flowers instead of tomatoes, I was understandably aghast at the thought of flowers replacing tomatoes in my garden. In the early years of our marriage, I thought I was the boss. When our children were born, I realized I was not the boss, and never had been. I saw the boss’ job, and truth be told, I didn’t want it. So, after my obligatory wailing and gnashing of teeth, I asked Sweet Tomato what kind of flowers she wanted to plant and where she wanted to plant them. That is when Sweet Tomato added insult to injury and whipped out one of my own seed catalogs, turned to the back page and showed me several flower garden offerings for butterflies, bumblebees, hummingbirds and songbirds. I was mortified. One of my own seed catalogs used against me, the indignity of it.
Sweet Tomato decided that she would like the butterfly habitat which we ordered from John Scheepers Kitchen Garden Seeds catalog. To quote from the catalog’s evil propaganda: “…colorful mixture of happy summer butterfly camps full of yummy nectar and friendly host plants.” ‘Yummy nectar’, what is ‘yummy nectar’, as if I was going to eat the dang flowers. The catalog goes on with a whole list of flowers, none of which I had ever heard of before. So we ordered the butterfly flower mix and planted it this spring. I had some sunflower seeds lying around, so I planted those as well.
Here is the flower mix we planted.
Here is the flower bed in June, before the sunflowers sprouted.
Here is the flower bed in July with sunflowers beginning to tower over the original flowers.
As much as I hate to admit it, the flowers do add beauty to the garden. Sweet Tomato and I especially enjoy watching the small birds and finches in the evening that flock to the flower habitat.