Over the course of July plants in the Renaissance garden have really taken root and are growing rapidly due to the heat. The excessive rain and flooding in June/July followed by a steady heat wave in July certainly tested the plants strength and my ability to remedy with solutions, but we did it!

I recently noticed a problem with the two hop varieties. They were defiantly sick and the leaves turning brown and yellow. They were not establishing good root systems, I think due to soil saturation when planted. I began to slowly feed them an organic vitamin solution and fish emulsion, as not to stress them too much. After two weeks of waiting with what seemed like little change, the hops are revived with new green growth.

Every two weeks I feed the entire garden fish emulsion and apply neem oil to the foliage of the plants. Neem oil is a way to organically prevent disease and fungal issues and prevents insects like aphids, caterpillars and others from eating plant foliage. It is helping with the insect munching for the most part and the plants are responding well to the added nutrition of the fish emulsion. I have had the most problem with fungus, aphids and ants on the Fava/Bell beans. They are particularly susceptible to fungal issues and although I watch and treat them regularly, they continue to have fungal issues.

Wattle fencing has began to take shape in the Renaissance garden. When the first piece was almost complete the garden already looked more period accurate. It’s so exciting to work in the garden as the fence continues to take shape and surrounds the space with a very tangible, very old tradition. Aaron Evan-Browning has been focusing on the construction of the fence and materials for it. The fence takes much more wattle material than were could have imagined and although Aaron has harvested willow and other shrubbery, he is constantly looking for more available materials. Many local willow trees  are covered with poison ivy and non-harvistable. This week Aaron harvested shrubbery around the Renaissance center and to our strike of luck, I believe it is a species Hawthorn! This is great because it’s period accurate and of course we want to be as historically accurate as possible. We are looking for any sapping size material that is or can be harvested, apple, willow, grapevine, hawthorn, really any softwood, of shrub that can be trimmed and wattled so we can keep up the fence momentum. If you have of know of materials that can be used for the wattle project, please e-mail Aaron at: aaevan@gmail.com, thank you.

The plant are growing at rapid rates. Current blooms in the Renaissance garden include: the first pink colored Angelica, fever-few is in full glory, hearstease, mugwort has grow into a hedge with its long stems of irregular white flowers. Borage has been flowering for almost two months and is already self-seeding with baby borage plants poking through the soil! Hyssop is blooming with long stems of irregular purple flowers, tansy’s yellow button tops abound. Helios radish are mature and some have flowered to attract small white butterflies. I have left them to benefit pollination. White horehound is spreading rapidly as the mint family always does and has small white flowers, alpine strawberries continue to produce in the center circle and yarrow began to bloom.

The flooding in early summer made it so I had to plant shell peas, carrots, turnip, radish, beets and safflower later than normal. This means that we actually have a nice crop of shell peas to pick now, believe it or not! The heat means that they may not last long. The dry beans are producing many beans but need to stay on the plants for the season to dry. This week, coriander and dill seeds have been harvested to dry.

*Look for an article about the Renaissance Garden in the Gazette sometime in the next week or so! Also, check out the UMass home page for a featured video and story or stop by to see the progress for yourself.

*We’re having an open house at the Renaissance Garden Saturday August 17th, 2013! Bring family and friends for refreshments and see the progress. See you here!

~Jennie

Historical Gardener at the UMass Renaissance Center

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Wattle Fence begins

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Aaron Evan-Browning works on the Wattle Fence

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Second Section

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Champion of England Shell Peas

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The Hops improving-Green!

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Fave Bean Flowers

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Yarrow Blooming

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Self-Seeded baby Borage

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Flowering Hyssop

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Tansy “Buttons”

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Feverfew

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Angelica

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Basil GIANT!

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Dry Beans

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Giant Leeks

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White Horehound and Hollyhock

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