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Saturday, September 27, 2014

Spicing up Vegetables, Today's Flowers, and Critters, September 27, 2014

Welcome, today I am linking with-

Saturday's Critters hosted by Eileen

Today's Flowers hosted by Denise

I Heart Macro hosted by Laura

Macro Monday 2 hosted by Gemma and Mystical Magical Teacher

Blue Monday hosted by Smiling Sally

A Delphinum at Yard 'n Garden nursery is one of those rare blue flowers.

Roses continue to rebloom, the delightful mini Dream Waltz-

The eccentric mini Green Ice-

Some of the annuals are still blooming, Nasturtium and Browallia-

Nasturtiums have delightful streaking as bee guides, rather like eyelashes-

I hope you are enjoying fall.   Once fall fell the 90ºF / 32ºC temperatures cooled off and we have even gotten a little rain.  Last year I was depressed at the beginning of Fall because I was having a nice summer, but the hot dry summer this year had me wishing for cooler temperatures and rain, so I am happy.  I prepared for the rain by picking all the beans and especially dry beans I could find, the papery pods mold in wet weather.  Insuk's Wang Kong and other runner beans finish out well from summer's end and into fall, they like cool weather.

Most productive regular bean at this point turned out to be Grandma Robert's Purple Pole, it has slight strings but otherwise stays tender.

Chicory that had self-seeded from last year is getting big enough to harvest, it has beautiful blue flowers the second year.

I'm cooking up some Broccoli Raab at about a month after sowing today to see how I like it.  I couldn't tell the leaves from the radishes so I pulled a few of those too, they were tasty-

I've been exploring the health benefits of some foods so have been using them minced finely in all my vegetable dishes (home-grown squash, green beans, kale or other greens) this summer- fresh ginger root, fresh Turmeric root if I can get it or powdered if I can't, garlic, Oyster or Shiitake mushrooms, and lemon pepper.  

I'm happy to say that joint problems involving strain to my thumbs' tendons from my weeding activities with a knife or shears are surprisingly much improved after suffering with them for 2 summers previously.   I was also noticing that lower back pain I was experiencing for the first time in many years, in August, is gone, as well as occasional neck pain from old whiplash injuries.  Plus I like the flavors together.  I usually alternate cooking rice or buckwheat to go with them, and either eggs, dried beans, or meat.  Sometimes I roast or broil buttered eggplant, the brown stuff in the photo, to act as kind of a meat-like taste substitute.  

I like to put sour cream or soft goat cheese on it.  I also like to add microwaved banana or presently the abundant applesauce from my trees.  What healthy foods do you like?

Meanwhile in the critter category, this week I found one of those stylistically designed bugs, the lovely Candy-Striped leaf hopper, who graciously posed-

What design would you paint on this bug?   -Hannah

©Weeding on the Wild Side, all rights reserved.   I would like to visit you and comment on your blog, but if Google+ is the only option, I cannot, so I will comment here.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Lessons Learned- Ramping it up a Slope September 20,2014

Lessons Learned- Favorite Plants for Ramping it up a Slope.   

Today I am linking with-

Lessons Learned hosted by Beth of Plant Postings

Saturday's Critters hosted by Eileen

Today's Flowers hosted by Denise

Macro Monday 2 hosted by Gemma and Magical Mystical Teacher

Blue Monday hosted by Smiling Sally

I have a ramp with part of it an earth berm, and have slowly learned what plants can do well there in a very xeric and sunny environment, that would also do well on a sunny dry slope.  This year in particular I have not watered it all summer, in our dry season, with record heat.

Some of my favorite plants there are Oregano and Marjoram.  Dwarf Greek Oregano is nicely flavored and makes a dense low planting, it also is very easy to spread as I can just break off a piece and stick it in the ground and it will usually grow.  

Oregano is a plant I am considering putting in a lot of borders to fill in and make a nice dense planting that keeps down the weeds and also blooms.  I have grown it from seed but want to try more to grow it from cuttings.

Some Oreganos and Marjorams are variegated or chartreuse and make nice bright additons.

Some can get rather tall

Rosemary is a very good herb too for a slope, it is very tough and useful for cooking year round, I especially like to use it in the pan when roasting lamb, salmon, or beef.   

Thyme is also good but with time has been supplanted considerably by various heathers.
Heathers do well on dry slopes, and spread slowly to make quite large patches.   There are many varieties, and various ones bloom at different times of the year, so with careful planning, you can have some heather in bloom for most of the year, including winter, at least in the PNW where it is supposedly zone 8 but ranges down to zone 6 or lower for me since I'm at a higher altitude than most of it.

Correction- I looked better and Winter Savory IS still alive and doing well on the ramp.  Thanks Sue for encouraging me about its survival.   I will have to try cooking with some.

Winter-blooming heather

Kinnickinnick, Arctostaphylos uva-ursi 'Massachusetts', also makes a good ground cover on a sunny slope.   The taller shrubby growth is Rosemary.

Celeste close up-

Knickinnick has glossy dark green leaves and also has flowers in spring followed by red fruits.  At the bottom is another good ground cover, Rubus calycinoides, ground cover raspberry.

At the bottom of the slope, I have some Saxifrage 'London's Pride', which is variegated and has airy sprays of tiny pink flowers in spring.  It is very drought tolerant and rosettes can be broken off and stuck in the ground to propagate it.

There has been a long list of various plants I have tried that didn't make it on a slope.  Some are Anacyclus depressus 'Silver Kisses', Armeria maritima 'Splendens', Roman Camomile, Gaura lindera, Globularia cordifolia, Lychnis alpina, Raoulia australis, [Satureja montana- Winter Savory- correction, still alive!], and Silene- Alpine Catchfly.  These were all cute and beguiling plants claimed to be drought tolerant and capable of living in a rock garden, but for whatever reason did not make it on my dry ramp.

For Today's Flowers, some roses continue to rebloom, such as the very delightful Clothilde Soupert, with many delicate petals and a heavenly vintage scent-

And also the delightfully fragrant Sweet Chariot mini rose-

It actually sprinkled a little this week, to the delight of the parched Pacific Tree frogs that live here, whose croaks could be heard and occasionally were sighted-

And I discovered this fat little guy hiding inside my duck tractor, he was apparently too scared to move while I took his picture-

An update on my cool season greens, planted August 23, they are growing very fast, a mix of 4 kinds of Broccoli raab, and winter radishes-

Broccoli Raab getting big, this is the first time I have grown this in many years, and didn't pick it soon enough before, so I am looking forward to trying some soon-

I hope cooler weather and perhaps some cool season vegetables will brighten your days and table.   Happy Fall!      -Hannah
                                                            or cameras are macro

©Weeding on the Wild Side, all rights reserved.  I enjoy visiting your blogs and commenting, but cannot do that if google+ is the only option, so will comment here instead.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Actual Deer and Continuing Bloom September 13, 2014

Today I am linking with- 

Saturday's Critters hosted by Eileen

Today's Flowers hosted by Denise

I Heart Macro hosted by Laura

Macro Monday 2 hosted by Mystical Magical Teacher

Blue Monday hosted by Smiling Sally

Please pardon the poor photo quality, I carry my cell phone and it is handy in emergencies. It does well with still subjects but not with moving ones.  I've had a few strange encounters with a deer recently.   They like to come nibble my fallen apples.   Once I was standing near the apple tree and a deer I will call Dorene approached very tentatively wanting to go past me to the tree.   I waved the deer across and she looked at me then slowly went across in front of me 15' away to the tree, and ate apples while looking at me cautiously through a bed of raspberries, then went away to the woods.    Then possibly the same deer seemed to be headed into fenced territory under my ramp, I motioned for her to leave instead, she studied me a while then went the way I motioned.   I have no idea why this deer is not as skittish around me except that a group of deer ate apples last year not far from where I was working in the garden, so maybe she was one of them.

My latest adventure, a couple of smaller deer came around near where I was, then they retreated to the safety of a bigger deer, I assume Mom.   I tried to photograph them with my phone, cat Tortie was there with me.

 The deer retreated.  I then entered my big front fenced vegetable bed.  From there I saw a deer, possibly Dorene, coming across toward my front beds, following my cat.

Dorene kept following the cat until Tortie reached the edge, next to a trash can, and they appeared to sniff noses-

Possibly Tortie swiped Dorene on the nose because she startled backward and the cat dove into the bushes.  Very strange.  Then Dorene headed off-

One bed in which I have made some weeding progress is enclosed in deer netting and was planted with Amber Ghost Japanese maple and burgundy Heucheras.  It also had lots of very invasive plants, or weeds- Forget-Me-Nots, a small violet, grass, dandelions, Ajuga, etc.  It looked OK while the FMN were blooming, but then the weeds overtook them and it turned into a mess-

Recently I planted some Alpine Strawberries and Lupines. This spring it became engulfed in weeds, then I weeded the plants to the ground.   I put paper layers down then covered with chips.

 I think this is the first time this bed has been under control in a long time.  It has irises planted along the front edge, and some Monarda citriodora that has not yet bloomed-

and this year I planted Coreopsis lanceolata 'Sunburst', which took a long time to bloom and while pretty is taller than I would like.

I still don't know what I could plant there with so many invasive plants to fight.  I may start more Alpine Strawberies for a nice border and just leave the wood chips and Heucheras.

Evelyn, a fragrant Austin rose used for scenting soap and lotion-

A very fragrant tiny flower, Lonicera syringantha (lilac-flowered honeysuckle), is reblooming a little-

It makes a berry too-

A final square and  the whole quilt from the fair, made by someone else, as a gardener I appreciate all the artistic flower designs-

Just one week left of summer, how it has flown by except when the heat and drought seem to drag on forever!

Hannah                                                        or cameras are macro

©Weeding on the Wild Side, all rights reserved.   I enjoy reading your blog and commenting but if google+ is the only option I cannot, but will comment here or on an email link.