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Monday, February 15, 2021

These Are a Few of my Favorite Fruits

I've been gardening here in the Pacific Northwest for over 30 years, and also gardened in other parts of the country with different climates, so I was not familiar with varieties that would do well here and had to research new varieties. I planted several apples, my favorite is one named Liberty (from spraying!). She lives up to her name wonderfully, unlike Freedom, which eventually became diseased and had to be cut down. Liberty is late, which helps the pollinators to be around when she is blooming, and makes applesauce work come in the fall when I have more time. Liberty is loaded with wonderful apples, which are hard and  not the best fresh apples but make delightful applesauce with exquisite flavor and texture. 

William's Pride blooms close to Liberty in time, and ripens close to the same time, it is a hard apple and also has wonderful flavor when cooked for applesauce, the flavor seems to complement Liberty when cooked together.

An apple that I love for fresh eating is the yellow apple 'Greensleeves". The apples are large and have a great flavor and texture, and rarely have pest damage. I didn't find a photo of the fruit, just the tree, which has been the only apple I have been able to keep pruned to a size easy to pick.

Grapes have done really well here too, and the vines go crazy and try to grow up into nearby trees. The variety that makes the most grapes is the purple Glenora, sweet and seedless.

Some other favorite fruits are blueberries, I tried to get a wide range of ripening times so there would be a long season of berries. Some I grow are Chandler, Blueray, Patriot, Liberty, and Darrow. 

A last berry I like, Aronia, is the healthiest fruit in my garden for anti-oxidants. They are a very dark purplish blue and while my husband likes to eat them on his cereal, I prefer them cooked and sweetened with stevia, to make gelatin, they have a rich taste, obviously healthy. My grandkids like them as gelatin, too. The bushes are much larger than the catalogs say they should be, 12' or more tall, I have to pick them on a ladder inside of the bush.  I have to be sure not to wait too late, or the birds will come and clean them all out.  Here they are still green. They are borne on stems hanging from a central clump so that makes them easy to break off and put the whole clump in the bag. Then in the house I can pick the berries off the stems and put them in freezer bags.

I hope you enjoyed seeing some of my favorites. What are yours?    

Sunday, September 2, 2018

New Directions September 2, 2018

I know you have not see any new posts from me for months, I got burned out on some aspects of having a blog, so this may even be my last blog post.  What I am doing now is to have a Facebook Page which I welcome you to visit, and if you have a FB page or are on FB let me know if you want to friend me-

I show glimpses of my garden on my FB page but just small bits and pieces, and also I don't have to spend a lot of time on the web to do it so it frees up my time and keeps me from spending as much time staring at a computer.  I'm sorry not to be visiting all my friends from blogs all over the world, but part of it is that I developed a macular degeneration problem in my peripheral vision and want to do less looking at computer screens for whatever impact they have.  I have been getting Avastin intravitreal injections to treat the bleeder that was causing a blind spot.  The Retinal Specialist told me I could possibly stop getting the injections at 16 weeks apart.  But I read about some essential oils on the internet that can increase circulation to the retina, so I started putting them on my face some time ago, at around the 10-week shot interval.  Care must be taken to put the oils just on the actual cheekbone and above the eyebrows, avoiding the eyelids.  I do it in early evening so they are absorbed by bedtime.  Twice at the beginning when applied late I inadvertently rubbed some in my eye in the middle of the night.  Milk (or oil) on a paper towel can relieve the burning.    Anyway the first time I got a shot after starting the oils, I had applied them the night before and the I had proof the oils were getting into my actual eye fluid since they dispersed the shot fluid and I saw spangles all over the room.  When the nurse held up her fingers to check afterward, I could barely see them.  The next time I went in I stopped the oils a week before and that didn't happen, but my scans which had shown the damaged area as gold, were suddenly purple instead, and my scans started improving more and more with every shot.  I found 2-3 days were enough time to discontinue the oils before the shot.  So my last visit at 14 weeks the RS told me I could discontinue the shots, and I just have to go in after 16 weeks to have a repeat dye test that shows my retinal circulation to check that it is stable.  So if I have been keeping you in suspense, the 3 oils are Frankincense, Cypress, and Helichrysum.  I just buy inexpensive brands like Aura Cacia, Nature's Alchemy, Now, and recently other essential oils from Miracle Botanicals and Plant Therapy, I don't know if the expensive oils would have any better results, or not.

To return to gardening, I have extremely vigorous grapevines that ramble great distances, and I wanted to let them grow across the entrance to one of my beds, which are all surrounded with welded wire fencing with extensions of bamboo and netting to keep the deer out.  So I made a double rectangle of PVC pipe to make a little tunnel and the grapevines are supported across the top.  For some reason they LOVE this and respond by making an extreme number of grape clusters.  This grape is the seedless variety Glenora-

I tried tying up some vines in other places to see if I could encourage them, it seems to be working. 

I'm also having a bumper crop of Aronia this year, the plants are supposed to get 3-6' tall, 1-2 meters, but mine are way beyond that at 20+ years old.  Plants tend to turn into monsters up here in the Pacific Northwest.  The ladder next to the 2 Aronia shrubs is 7' tall, 1.3 m tall.  

Aronia is borne in clusters of berries called pomes, like apples, and are in the Rose family.  They are a little astringent and not very sweet, though my son will eat them raw.  The remarkable thing about them is that they are the #1 North American native fruit for high antioxidant content, also known as ORAC value, and about #3 in the world.  I have tried them raw in a You Tube recipe for a smoothie with almond milk and it was tasty.  Usually I have made Aronia gelatin (recipe)- 
Cook in water to cover until softened, blend, 
Pour 2 cups of cold water on 1/3 cup beef gelatin powder and stir fast
Strain the hot Aronia into the gelatin and stir to dissolve
Add Stevia for sweetening
If desired for improved taste and color, add 1-2 tablespoons of Citric acid
Add Almond extract
Add enough water to make 2 quarts (2 liters) of gelatin 
Chill until firm   

Everyone seems to like it, the taste is reminiscent of cherries or blackberries or ?.  But I have such a bumper crop this year I am learning to make juice instead- cook and strain, sweeten with Stevia.  Then I store it in the refrigerator in a quart canning jar, and to use, I pour a glass 1/2 full then fill with water or club soda for a great drink.  

The 2 shrubs tend to send out branches at a low angle so have made a grand snarl, and I had trouble picking them last year, especially up at the top, so I pruned out a lot of branches and this year I am able to get a ladder into most of it and get up to the top to pick, then I shorten the upper branches to hopefully make it lower next year.  

Today I am linking with-

Join Eileen to see more critters.  My critters are Cinnabar Moth caterpillars.  They are my favorite insect diversion and I watch over them and move them if the Tansy Ragwort plants they are on get eaten to the point they have nothing left to eat.  They were imported to control Tansy Ragwort but they are gone after a while and the Ragwort persists and keeps blooming so I have to cut off the flowers and rip out the plants anyway.   I think their stripes are adorable, especially when they are disturbed and roll up, looking like candy.  

The moths are rarely seen, they have black upper wings with red bands and dots, and red underwings that give them their color name.  When they fly, the red is visible, but when frightened they drop down and fold their wings so the bright red suddenly disappears, to throw off predators.  

Thanks for visiting, Hannah

©Weeding on the Wild Side, all rights reserved.   I enjoy reading your comments, and will visit your blog and leave comments there if possible, but I am not able to do so if google + is the only option.  I would like to return your visit so leave an URL to your blog or email address.  Be aware that in Europe or other countries Google may place cookies on the viewer's website.

Thursday, February 22, 2018

What's Blooming Now February 22, 2018

Welcome to my belated Garden Blogger's Bloom Day post!  To see what is blooming around the world check out hostess Carol's blog. Here are some flowers blooming Feb. 18 in my garden, I was amazed and delighted to finally get a bloom on my variegated Camellia japonica 'Taiyo', which I bought from the Collector's Nursery as a very small plant in 2002, and just had it's first flowers.  It has lovely variegated leaves, like creamy bird's feet, and has slowly been growing in front of my husband's shop where it is seldom watered, but perseveres.

I was especially surprised to see the flower now since it is winter and time for the Camellia sasanqua's to bloom, my large pink Camellia japonica blooms in early spring.  Apple Blossom bloomed heavily in the early winter, as it has for several years, but Yuletide had it's first couple of flowers last year and managed to have a few more this year, though in February.

The other group of flowering plants in my garden at present are the wonderful Hellebores.  They tend to have dangling flowers so it is hard to see their pretty faces-

So I had to hold up this one to see the pretty stippling of the petals with burgundy spots.  I always enjoy the complexity of their flower parts too.

There are signs of buds on some daffodils, so it won't be long for them to bloom as well.   What is blooming in your garden?     -Hannah

©Weeding on the Wild Side, all rights reserved.   I enjoy reading your comments, and will visit your blog and leave comments there if possible, but I am not able to do so if google + is the only option.  I would like to return your visit so leave an URL to your blog or email address.

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Monday, February 13, 2017

Snowpocalypse and Tomatoes, February 13, 2017

We had over a foot of snow in January, and every plant in the yard that could be bent, snapped, or felled did so.  Some of my ~20 years old fruit trees fell over from the ground.

This was the only original fruit tree when we bought the house so older than 23 years, it fell on a couple of other trees as well.  I'm considering trying to top it, stand it back up, stake it, and see if it survives.  Three more large apples fell over as well.  This was a wonderful early apple, William's Pride from the PR (Purdue) series.  Because of fruiting so early, it missed out on the codling moths and apple maggots that infest fruit that ripens later.  I'm also going to try topping it and standing it up  but it is very massive. 

Meanwhile, my early indoor seedling starting is underway.  I planted tomato seeds and have them transplanted into individual pots.  Some are heirlooms I have grown before- Black Pear, Lucky Cross (luscious 1# fruity-flavored bicolors, somewhat bumpy or prone to splitting), and Cherokee Purple. New ones are the Italian large pear-shaped Red Pear Gransasso, hopefully making a fragrant sauce, and bonus seeds- Cougar Red and Arbuznyi.  Then I'm experimenting with some new tomato strains with anthocyanin pigments bred into them because of their health properties in blueberries and aronia.  So the tomatoes are dark purple or with purple shoulders. I'm growing Adelaide Festival, Clackamas Blueberry (developed in my neck of  the woods, and supposedly they keep making fruit long into the fall instead of quitting like a lot of tomatoes), and also Indigo Rose.  

My grow shelf set-up is my design- metal shelves with 3 levels, with 4' fluorescent fixtures tied under the first and second shelves.  Two of the standard 10" x 20" flats fit on each shelf, and hold 36 2 1/4" square rose pots each.   Last year I added LED grow lights on the ends which make plants grow like they are on steroids.

The tomato in the middle with darker leaves was moved from next to the lights and looks darker, either from the lights or because of the anthocyanin pigments.  Some of the tomatoes are regular and some are potato-leaved.  
I have a couple of peppers I started as well and a few flowers.  Around the first of April I am planning to start a bunch of squash, both bush and vining.  I decided the vining squash might be better to grow on the inside of the deer fences than the pole beans which like to grow through the fence.  Bush squash include- Green Marrow, Genovese, Mayeras, and Caserta.   Vining summer squash include- Scarchuk's Supreme, Table Dainty, Upper Ground Sweet Potato Cheese type, long curved Tromboncino, and small egg-shaped Tatume.  I hope the voles will leave them alone and I will have a harvest to report on next fall.

And now a vase for In A Vase On Monday, hosted by Cathy, this is a thrown vase I made long ago, and a basket made by my youngest daughter.   The dried arrangement is made of a sprig of Lunaria, Money Plant; and a similar plant with the same kind of pod structure but smaller, called Fibigia clypeata, which has yellow flowers ( third photo down from the top).  You can see they are smaller in the close-up.  They are fuzzy and stiff and I had to soak them to soften them up in order to peel off the outer layer.  There are also radish pods and mystery small seed pods in long narrow strips.

Today I am linking with-

In a Vase on Monday hosted by Cathy

Macro Monday 2 hosted by Gemma and Mystical Magical Teacher

I hope you are all looking forward to the upcoming gardening season with eager anticipation as well.

©Weeding on the Wild Side, all rights reserved.   I enjoy reading your comments, and will visit your blog and leave comments there if possible, but I am not able to do so if google + is the only option.  I would like to return your visit so leave an URL to your blog or email address.  If you are in Europe, I hope you are aware  Blogger may be putting cookies on your browser and hope that you are OK with that.

Monday, October 10, 2016

Favorite Container Garden Plants, Goldenrod in a Vase, October 10, 2016

What are your favorite container garden plants?  For several years, instead of buying starts to plant my containers, I've been trying out seed-grown plants or cuttings.  Here are some favorites this year for my deck garden.  If you would like to vote for your favorite, either of those pictured or one you grow yourself, leave your selection in your comment.

Browallia speciosa self-sows readily, in fact the seeds fall into my containers and come up the next year as a surprise.  They are very long blooming and make a cascade of blue-purple, sorry, they look washed out when photographed-

I also have a second variety, Browallia americana, that is a taller plant with larger flowers, this one came up much later in the season, notice the heart-shaped leaves-

Another very delightful container flower is the tropical milkweed, Asclepias curassavica, it would be an annual here  but as a container plant I can take it indoors in the fall to overwinter, this is its third summer outdoors!  I am so impressed with it, every branch is continually in bloom like a candelabra!

I'm also growing 3 different Cuphea, two of which have expanded petals at the end of their "cigar" tube- viscosissima which gets very tall and rangy-

C. llavea, also fancy flowers but also only a few blooms on the ends of long branches-

And finally Cuphea ignea, which looks like tiny glowing orange cigars, small plants but compact and well-branched, continually covered with lots of long-lasting flowers.  It makes me smile.  The flowers don't even get fuzzy and puff up like the other two before they burst open to scatter their seeds, which makes it hard to save seed-

Meanwhile, I had to make use of some of the Goldenrods blooming now for In A Vase On Monday.   Join hostess Cathy in her challenge to find some flowers to plonk in a vase, for your enjoyment.  Goldenrod makes great golden fall color in spikes of tiny star-like flowers, with a faint anise-like fragrance.  Here is a mixture of my three stalwart varieties, Solidago 'Fireworks', 'Golden Fleece', and 'Solar Cascade'.  I added some red clover for an accent.  After enjoying the vase for a while, I cut the stems off and dried the flowers for tea-

I bought 6 varieties three years ago, but the small ones, Solidago 'Laurin' and 'Little Lemon', did not return, as well as the more fragrant S. odora.  But I am happy to enjoy the 3 that do well.

Today I am also linking with-

Today's Flowers hosted by Denise

Macro Monday 2 hosted by Gemma Wiseman and Mystical Magical Teacher

What fall flowers can you find to put in a vase?   Have you grown plants for planters?  -Hannah

©Weeding on the Wild Side, all rights reserved.   I enjoy reading your comments, and will visit your blog and leave comments there if possible, but I am not able to do so if google + is the only option.  I would like to return your visit so leave an URL to your blog or email address.

Favorite instrumental version, from the movie Angel Eyes-

Monday, September 12, 2016

Visualize Whirled Peas, In a Vase on Monday, September 12, 2016

The hot summer weather seemed to end early this year with some cool early rainy days, after actually a pretty mild summer, though a few warm days remain.

Today I am linking with-

Today's flowers hosted by Denise

In a Vase on Monday hosted by Cathy

The sweet peas are still blooming so I wanted some for In A Vase On Monday, hosted by Cathy.   I'm pleased they are doing well my first year in a long time growing them, some Royal Family and some Old Spice mixes, in a little thrift store vase-

I went around and looked for what else was still blooming.   I found a big spray of rose Clothilde Soupert which is a late bloomer well into fall and combined it with some Scabiosa atropurpurea I grew from seed this year, I was surprised they are blooming well.  Also I added some early-blooming heather, Geranium oxonianum 'Claridge Druce', Aster, Anemone japonica, Sedum, Browallia americana, and Ageratum.    And for foliage I cut some dwarf bamboo, and some Osmanthus heterophyllum variegatum.

I used one of my new batch of poured ceramic vases, I added the flowers from another mold.  The glazes are called shimmer but just added flecks of metallic silver so they fell a little short for me.

Meanwhile in the edible garden, the beans are doing well.  I've been cooking a lot of the regular pole beans like Zelma Zesta, a long red-streaked pole bean, meaty, early, and productive; 

Anellino Giallo, a yellow Italian shrimp bean (curved), tender when full of beans; 

Jembo Polish, a large flat bean with a distinctive brown swirl on large flat beans, productive, tender at large sizes;

Also growing well are some beans for dry bean use, like Ojo de Cabra, Mayflower, Turkey Craw, and since the Motorcyclist objects to the tough pods of the runner beans, this year I'm mostly picking and using them as shellies.  The hummingbirds are very appreciative of the red flowers of the runner beans, as well as honeysuckle, and even the tropical milkweed flower on my deck, which has bloomed  non-stop.

I'm also harvesting the usual cucumbers, tomatoes, peppers, crookneck squash, collards, kale, and hopefully some eggplant and okra.  I don't like having to add sugar to food so this year have been having fun throwing the abundant rhubarb into mixed vegetable soup and treating it like a vegetable.  It tends to disappear in the soup and just adds some tart flavor and nice texture.  What late summer vegetables are you enjoying?   Hannah

©Weeding on the Wild Side, all rights reserved.   I enjoy reading your comments, and will visit your blog and leave comments there if possible, but I am not able to do so if google + is the only option.  I would like to return your visit so leave an URL to your blog or email address.

Monday, August 15, 2016

In A Vase On Monday, Sizzle and Silver, August 15, 2016

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For In a Vase on Monday, answering hostess Cathy's challenge to find some flowers to plonk in a vase, I got rather carried away after not posting for a while, since I was inspired by some new vases I just poured and fired, this one I had to deconstruct and rearrange upside down to experiment with adding holes in the top, which had been the bottom, so I could play around with using them for arrangements.  I poured glaze in through the holes for the inside so it worked out OK.

I tried one vase of short stems of some hot summer colors, with Crocosmia 'montbretia', Coreopsis, Oxeye daisy, and deep magenta Lychnis coronaria-

Then I tried a fluffy arrangement of Monarda 'Panorama', I liked the effect with the short fluffy flowers in the holes.  I was surprised that in this photo the flower centers seem to match the heirloom silver glaze-

I'm drying some flowers and leaves to try them as a tea.

I couldn't resist another vase of some sizzling summer colors- ground cover rose Red Ribbons has a lovely ripple to the petals and this is all one sizzling spray; Crocosmia 'montbretia'; and a peachy  cactus Dahlia-

 Hard to see but fitting the color palette are small flowers of Gaillardia 'Sundance' and Coreopsis 'Route 66'-

And another vase with the peachy Dahlias, a gladiolus, and Crocosmia 'montbretia'-

I succeeded in getting earlier bloom from my Dahlia which I leave in the ground over the winter this year after very late October bloom last year, by inverting a plastic bin over the plant during the winter, though the other Dahlia of equal size last year that I treated the same way did not respond well but had very few stems come up this year and is still quite small.

And to show that my main emphasis in gardening is actually fruits and vegetables, I will throw in a photo of some of my pears that are especially abundant this year-

Summer is flitting by, I hope you are enjoying lots of flowers and fruits as well.    Hannah