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Saturday, August 25, 2012

Cooking with Cucumbers

This year deer got into my bed and ate all my squash plants when they were just starting to bloom.  I was heart-broken and went off to HD and bought a gallon pot with 5 crookneck squash, my favorite.  It's been a couple of months and now the new plants are blooming and setting fruit, so I will get some squash very soon.  If you have never had home-grown crookneck squash you don't know what a buttery nutty treat you are missing.

Anyway, with a dearth of squash, I have to cook my abundant cucumbers.  Tonight I made stir-fries with them.    Here are some of the ingredients, but the cucumbers I cooked were really yellow North Carolina Pickles, which yield heavily.  I used them all up in cooking and didn't want to go pick more for a photo.  Also pictured are a great stringy non-fishy-tasting seaweed, Elephant Garlic, raw Turmeric tuber, fresh Shiitake mushrooms, and raw Ginger-

I peel and cube the cucumber, saute in water with the other ingredients above, I don't mind chunks of ginger and turmeric so I just chop them, as well as the garlic and mushrooms.
I added some celery, seaweed, soy sauce, and cubed roasted chicken with pan juices, since I have company, usually we eat vegetarian food.

It can be served over rice or buckwheat.  How do you cook your cucumbers?


Friday, August 24, 2012

Wildflower Wednesday August 22, 2012

Welcome to Wildflower Wednesday here in the PNW.  Join Gail and other native plant aficionados on her blog Clay and Limestone!

Agastache aurantiaca that I grew from seed last year is blooming again, those sunset peachy colors are my favorite.  You can tell from the shape that hummingbirds would like these flowers.
They would look nice with some Verbena bonariensis, here washed out by the camera, so far I have been unable to germinate and grow Verbena hastata, which is native.

There are bright red inedible berries on Arctostaphylos uva-ursi, I love the deep green glossy leaves-

There are white insipid mealy berries on Gaultheria mucronata, Pernettya, also with leathery glossy green leaves, which has long wispy branches in my garden.

Gaultheria shallon, Salal, has ripe fruit and a few flowers still-

The berries are also ripe on the very lovely foliaged Cascade Oregon Holly Grape, Berberis (Mahonia) nervosa.  I just bought a plant of B. repens, which is stoloniferous, so hope it will spread and be a good ground cover.
Time to pick some more berries, in addition to the blueberries and blackberries.  Yum!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

GBBD- What's Blooming Now, August 2012

Welcome to August GBBD!  To see what else is blooming in other gardens around the country and world, go to May Dreams Gardens, hosted by Carol, who just celebrated her 2000th post!  Congratulations!

Some of the Malvas are blooming now, this one takes care of itself, Malva alcea fastigata-
A surprise was first-time bloom on Alcea ficifolia 'Antwerp' mixed, grown from seed a couple of years ago, which turned out to be a black red-
A Hibiscus 'Roselle' bloom is just opening, my first success getting it to bloom in a large container also containing a Moringa tree, and Cerinthe purpurascens.  Roselle is the plant from which comes the Hibiscus calyxes used as an antioxidant and colorant in teas like Red Zinger.  I updated the photo.
I hope to keep it alive by taking the container in this fall.  Also updated.
Next to it are blooms on my Kamo Eggplant, with a Sarracenia peeking in on the right-
Also on the deck are blooming a couple of geraniums I divided last year, in one of my favorite garden colors, peachy salmon.  They will spend the winter by my kitchen sink, hopefully in bloom.
Here is a self-sown Geranium pratense, the parent was Splish Splash; it gets rather tall-
Some roses are still blooming, here is my favorite Rugosa, Topaz Jewel, now about 6' tall-
The daylilies are winding down, but some Agastaches grown from seed this year are starting to bloom, the taller ones got deer-nipped-
Another rose, a ground cover type called Lavender Dream-
The herbs are blooming but I am going to save them for another post, so here is my last entry, Crocosmia or Montbretia, much shorter than Crocosmia 'Lucifer', and one of those super tough hard to kill plants.
Looming on the horizon are several days of near 100*F temperatures, so I will be properly commiserating with the rest of the country for a while.  I'm be doing a lot of watering.


Saturday, August 11, 2012

Daylily Seedling Bed

Well, they are no longer seedlings, but are all daylilies I grew from seed.  One parent was the garish and clown-like Erin Farmer (second row).  I've long since lost my old list of the other parents.  Daylilies are fun to hybridize.  I would mark the pod parent with a tag around the blossom stem with the pollen parent's name or initials.  I sowed the resulting seeds into seedling mix and chilled them in the refrigerator or a cold garage until they sprouted.  Some people soak the seeds in a weak Hydrogen Peroxide solution until the roots start to emerge, then plant.  They can be planted out the next spring.  Here is the extensive bed of seedlings.
This bed is in a drain field so gets lots of nitrogen and water.  The daylilies are tall because Erin Farmer is a 36" daylily in addition to all the nitrogen.  They tend to be weed-infested, with horsetail reeds, blackberry vines, and thistles.  They also tend to flop, but the sheer mass holds them up in the middle.
Here you can see the Erin Farmer influence, I like the color and the white midrib stripe.
Some have the color but not the long thin spider type petals.
This one is a spider type but more of an orange color, some are gold like the throat-
 So you see what a fascinating range of daylilies you can get from seed growing.  Pick a couple of  favorites and see what you can get.  This one has some white midrib striping but with the rounder ruffled edged petals, love those piecrust ruffles!
And finally for some tropical pizzazz, a twirly spidery cluster, 
Summer is almost 2/3 over, enjoy!