Showing posts from September, 2014

Purple Perilla Frutescens var Crispa from Kitazawa Seed

Our Purple Perilla patch really grew into a thing of beauty this summer. And, it was all from volunteer seedlings that sprouted from last year's plants.
The deep purple leaves are beautiful as filler in flower arrangements and bees love the tiny flowers.

The flavor is delicious if you like cinnamon, which we do. Many people use this mint in salads, to wrap seasoned rice, and as a vinegar dye in pickling recipes. Here's a recipe that layers the leaves with a spicy vegetable sauce - sounds yummy - Misty Yoon. Or you could make Kim Chi following the recipe on Maangchi. Two of its names include Sesame, for example, in French its name is Sesame sauvage.

 Our original seeds came from Kitazawa Seed Another variety Perilla frutescens, is used in Shinto ceremonies. There is plenty of speculation about medicinal uses such as its containing Omega 3 oils, but nothing that sounds like it should be recommended...It's mostly grown for the varnish industry.
Of course, October is its time to…

Giant Swallowtail Butterflies are Papilio cresphontes Cramer

Giant Swallowtail butterflies are a thrill. We don't get a lot of them and I watch for their appearance every fall when they come to nectar and lay eggs on the Rue plants. 

Called Orange Dogs in citrus growing areas because their caterpillars eat Rue to the stems.
According to the U of FL, "Its range extends from southern New England across the northern Great Lakes states, into Ontario, through the southern portions of the Central Plains to the Rocky Mountains. The species ranges southward to Florida and the Caribbean, into the southwestern United States, and on through Mexico to Central and South America."

The caterpillars go through five skins but each one looks like bird droppings of one kind or another. 
It's one of those things: If you grow the host plant and avoid all chemical sprays and applications, you will get an opportunity to enjoy these gorgeous creatures in your garden or patio.

Rue or Ruta Graveolens, is fairly easy to grow from seed since the seed pods ar…

Fall is Shrub Planting Season - Flowering Shrubs

Shrub planting season is here and there are more choices than ever. Whether your garden needs tall or short, pencil thin or a thick, the selections for adding year-round beauty have never been so appealing.

Shrubs serve many purposes in the landscape and do not have to be those boring blobs of green
commonly seen around fences and foundations. In order to be called a shrub, plants have to be made of several woody stems that do not die to the ground over the winter.

If you think of a garden you admire, you probably see it as a picture viewed from a window or a terrace, with layers of plants. The plants at eye-level, between the taller trees and the shorter perennials are often shrubs.

The two main categories of shrubs are evergreen which hold their leaves or needles throughout the
winter and deciduous types that drop their leaves. Evergreens include boxwood, euonymus, Burford holly and Nandina (heavenly bamboo), as well as the needle-bearing juniper, pine, and spruce.

Some selected shru…

Cold Hardy Begonia grandis

What a great choice for the hosta bed!

Evidently they can be grown from seed but ours were nursery purchases.

The leaves are red on the back so when the morning sun is behind them it's quite a scene.

At the leaf axis you can see a little white bulbil forming.

They can be removed and planted to increase your holdings.

New - latest fruit tree additions

All seven of the new fruit trees made it through their first summer in the ground. They came from a variety of sources, both local and mail order as I researched and searched for varieties that would survive our weather, fungal diseases due to the high humidity here, high temperatures, sometimes-droughts, and every insect known to warm, humid zone 7 gardens everywhere. These photos are taken from the east -southeast of our 2.5 acres. In the first photo on the left is the raised bed usually full of garlic but pressed into service for winter squash and pumpkin vines.
The second photo is from the east. On the left is the same garlic-squash bed but you can also see the garden shed and the two new apple trees over there. The dream-fantasy-illusion is to have an allee of fruit trees that provides spring flowers for the pollinators, summertime shade for gardeners' rest and maybe some bits of fruit when they mature.

This year we planted a second Pawpaw (not shown), Red Currant bush (not vis…

Old House Gardens Heirloom Bulbs - order spring flowering bulbs now

Old House Gardens specializes in heirloom bulbs and we order something from them every fall for October shipping and planting.

As the summer begins to fade away, ordering bulbs for spring helps ease the blues caused by the realization that, oh, no, the garden is fading.

Here's what I ordered this morning (all photos are from OHG site)

Martagon lily - European mountain lilies
Early flowering, pink turk's cap type flowers, 3-4 feet tall
and a bit fussy according to the OHG catalog. Zones 3-7.
Prefer part shade.

Coral lily - native to Siberia! Zones 4-8. Can be short-lived
but self-seeds. Early flowering.

White Windflower Anemone - Strong white flower for bright
shade in zones 5-8. Here they grow to about 6-inches tall in
the mid-spring.

Avalanche daffodils/narcissus - grows 16-18 inches tall and has clusters
of sweetly scented flowers. It was discovered in Scilly Isles but has grown
well in our garden for years. We needed more! Zones 6-9.

We're enjoying the cooler temperatures and…

Terrific line-up of speakers at Muskogee Garden Club 2014-15

Muskogee Garden Club meets from September through May each year with speakers coming to share their wisdom, experience and ideas on a wide range of topics. Each meeting that has a speaker begins with coffee and snacks. The January meeting is a round-table discussion during which members and guests talk about plants, soil, houseplants and any other topic that arises. Two meetings are purely social: The December meeting is a holiday brunch, and the May meeting is an evening picnic at Honor Heights Park. Everyone is invited to attend the meetings and social events. Membership in Muskogee Garden Club costs $20 per year. Its Facebook page is found at this link Members bring plants they have divided or are ready to pass along, plus seeds, containers, books and other plant- and flower-related items to share. There is also a raffle at each meeting, with prizes provided by the club president. Everyone signs in to enter the raffle; there is no cost. • • • Here is the schedule of me…

Squash is Cucurbita pepo, Cucurbita argyrosperma

After several years of saying no squash we planted again, using the seeds saved from a few varieties.

The black skin acorns have been wonderful, producing as much as we can eat plus several bags for the freezer.

At one time, the term winter squash implied acorn, banana buttercup, hubbard and turban but now it includes practically any hard-shell squash or pumpkin that is eaten at the table. Ours is of unknown heritage since we saved the seeds from a fruit we baked last year. The All America Selection, AAS Winner is Cream of the Crop.

The cushaw and pumpkin soup varieties, Cucurbita argyrosperma, are slowly making viable fruits. They are the real reason we got back into the squash growing habit.

While many varieties of winter squash are available for purchase, cushaws are not sold here commercially.

We love pumped soup, breads, cookies and casserole that can be made all winter long from the preserved meat of the cushaw. Still check them daily for growth. Still hopeful.
The last pho…

Brown Turkey, ficus carica, fig harvesting time

One of the highlights of fall is eating fresh figs from our garden. We have three Brown Turkey, Ficus carica, plants that provide all we can use.

Some years they die all the way to the ground like they did this past winter. But they bounce back and produce.
posted from Bloggeroid

Hibiscus Cherry Cheesecake Mallow is Summerific

Proven Winners has definitely release a real winner with their Cherry Cheesecake Hibiscus or Mallow. Here's the PW link for all the information.

It's deer resistant, matures at 5-feet tall, hardy in zones 4 through 9, and tolerates most soil conditions. I tucked it into a place where I could keep an eye on it and noticed that it was getting a fair amount of leaf damage from a chewing insect but since we don't spray it had to take care of itself.
The next time I was watering and weeding, I discovered its first bloom - look at the size of it with my hand held in front! What a winner!