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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

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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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