Monday, August 30, 2010
Friday, August 27, 2010
Earlier this wee
my friends and cohorts of
the Garden Designers Roundtable discussed "inviting nature into the garden". What things have you done in your landscape to encourage visits from birds, butterflies, and other wildlife?
Please share your stories with us here!
Wednesday, August 25, 2010
Monday, August 23, 2010
Two years ago, the narrow planting strip between my patio and koi pond was a colorful mass of annual 'Wave' petunias. In fact, it was just a bit too colorful! I felt it detracted from the more subtle, pastel colors of the waterlily flowers. I was ready to plant something perennial; something with winter color and structure, as well. I thought I'd found the perfect plant with this low growing, gray-blue succulent, Sedum D. var Glanduliferum. NOT!
After almost two growing seasons, I'm ready to relocate these plants (to the compost pile!) and try something new. This is a hot spot, with poor soil that must be hand watered by a sometimes inattentive gardener (that would be me). Turkish veronica, Veronica liwanensis, to the rescue!
This xeric, evergreen groundcover, native to the Pontiac Mountains in northeastern Turkey, will be covered with cobalt blue flowers in April and May. The fine texture of the foliage will offer a nice contrast to that of the pond's waterlilies.
As any true gardener, I am ever hopeful.
Friday, August 20, 2010
|Western sand cherry, Prunus besseyi|
Are you a forager?
There are a number of native plants that have edible, ripening berries at this time of year including chokecherry, currant and buffaloberry. (Although edible is a relative term---most of these fruits need a big infusion of sugar to make them palatable to modern Americans.) One of my favorites, pictured above, is western sand cherry. The ripe fruits are about 1/2" in diameter and are lustrous black in color. These native shrubs, and the dwarf cultivar 'Pawnee Buttes', are widely used in xeric landscape plantings
, so you may not have to look far to find them.
What do you forage for (Pssssst--no need to share your secret gathering spot!), and how do you prepare it?
For a good article on what NOT to eat, read this article on toxic weeds from Horticulture magazine.
Wednesday, August 18, 2010
Monday, August 16, 2010
- In full sun
- Weed free
- Has well draining soil (spade in 2" of well-aged compost)
Wednesday, August 11, 2010
Sunday, August 08, 2010
Consider adding a butterfly bush to your garden. They need full sun and moderately moist to dry soil. Several different colors are available, and a number of dwarf varieties, too. For great mid-summer color, fragrance, and butterflies galore, think Buddleia!
Friday, August 06, 2010
|Purslane between flagstones --- what a pain!|
Tuesday, August 03, 2010
That seems to be my life these days. Our bumper crop of apricots is finally ripe, and will not go to waste. We've been using a dehydrator for some batches, and prepping others for freezing by cooking them briefly in a light syrup of dark brown sugar and brandy. Here's my recipe if you'd like to give it a try:
4 cups of halved, pitted apricots*
1/2 cup brown sugar
3 Tablespoons cheap brandy
Combine in a non-stick sauce pan over medium heat. Bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally. Cover, reduce heat, and let simmer 5-10 minutes, until apricots are tender.
Allow fruit and syrup to cool to room temperature then pack in containers (I use plastic bags rated for freezer use) and freeze.
Alternatively, you can remove the apricots from the syrup with a slotted spoon and continue to cook down the syrup to a thicker consistency. Serve apricots and syrup over ice cream, pancakes, pork loin, etc. Enjoy!
* For best color, toss apricots - as you pit them - into a mixture of 2 quarts of water and 2 Tablespoons of "Fruit Fresh" (dextrose, ascorbic acid, citric acid). Lemon juice and water would probably do the same thing...
Next up? Apricot fruit leather!