Hello Joey!

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My Joey (Ptilotus exaltatus) or pink pussytails is having a field day in a sunny container planting. The little seedling was a spring-time gift of gardening pal, Jenni C. Though I had my doubts about whether the Australian native would fare well with all the rain and chilly weather we had earlier in the season, it has turned out to be a stunning specimen.

All it took was a few weeks of hot and dry, and this little cutie took off with fuzzy, wuzzy blooms galore. That is in a nutshell, the key to success with this plant. Just think of what Australia dishes out — heat and dry and sunshine — and you know what Joey likes. This short-lived perennial might possibly survive a Zone 9 or 10 winter, but not here in Mid-Coast Maine, unless of course you have a sunny sunroom where you might try wintering. Otherwise, consider Joey a fair-weather friend. But my what a unique fellow he is.

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Garden success and failure, all part of the season

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Plenty of rain early in the growing season seemed a good thing. Even though it did delay getting the vegetable plot up and going, it eliminated the need to water as the seeds germinated and the small seedlings got established.

But we suspect it caused at least one serious problem, bean mosaic. By mid-July the climbing and bush beans were barely a few inches tall. Plus the leaves were curiously crinkled and yellowed. Turns out bean mosaic is the probable cause. The fungus disease is spread by aphids that most likely thrived during the rainy period. The solution is to pull and discard the plants. Sigh.

I’ve already started some new bean seeds, this time in six-packs to transplant into a different section of the garden in a few weeks’ time. There should be plenty of time for them to thrive and produce a good crop. No problem. We had decided to leave a part of the garden unplanted this summer, a place to put in late-season crops. Turns out that strategy will pay off as we will put the beans there. Then the bean rows will provide room for second crops of lettuce and spinach.