Saturday, July 25, 2009

Garden Crossings Delivers

Just wanted to, once again, share the love for Garden Crossings. They send you the best plants with the best packing method of anyone I've dealt with in the mail order plant business.

Know, too, that many of the plants in my order were on sale. Ever ordered sale plants from other mail order places, only to receive the tiniest, sickliest, most pathetic sticks you've ever seen, usually tossed into the box carelessly? Yeah, me too. Well, not from GC. Here are a few photos:

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Can't Afford Plants? Train Your Pet to Steal Them.

Viewers of The Colbert Report are familiar with his frequent "Monkey on the Lam" spots, featuring real stories of escaped monkeys and their adventures.

Well, here's the tale of a Monkey on the Take. He's been caught on tape robbing a local Dallas plant store. Police believe monkey used to steal from business

Considering how much I spend on plants each year, maybe I should trade in my labrador and tortoise for a gibbon...?

Monday, July 20, 2009

Garden Crossings Savings

Just placed a small-ish order with Garden Crossings. I've had a discount card sitting on my desk for awhile, begging to be used. (Use the code SAVENOW at checkout and receive $25 off a $99 order, or $15 off a $75 order, thru July 31!)

I've had my eye on a couple of types of golden barberry, both of which are carried by GC. There's the dwarf low-growing beret-type 'Maria' and the upright pillar-type 'Talago'. I wanted both of these, but the Talago was sold out, so I'm at least getting two of the dwarves to flank the variegated yucca at the end of our sidewalk. I've tried regular barberries there, but they keep burning up. Hopefully the goldies will last longer.

I also ordered a gorgeous new Aquilegia called 'Blackcurrant Ice' (shown at right), a couple of Heucheras ('Miracle' and 'Tiramasu') plus an interesting Brunnera called 'King's Ransom' that looks to be a cross between 'Hadspen Cream' and 'Jack Frost'. I hope it at least has the heat tolerance of Jack Frost...every Hadspen Cream I've had has melted during our intense Texas summer, never to be seen again, while the Jack Frosts have held up surprisingly well...when given adequate water, of course.

I also got an Echinacea 'Mac 'n' Cheese'. Didn't see the accompanying bright red 'Tomato Soup' variety in their catalog, or I would've gotten that too.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Go Fish

I've been growing fish peppers for the past couple of years with limited success. In most attempts, I put the plants into my community garden plot and watched as they slowly got munched down to nubs by various varmints during the growing season.

Well no more. I am now growing them in pots in the somewhat safe sanctuary of my own backyard, and my success has escalated...when I can keep the tobacco hornworms off the plants, that is. (I plucked off a hornworm as big as my ring finger the other day. Luckily, we have lots of attentive and hungry mockingbirds around our property.)

Anyway, this year's success of the lovely variegated heirloom Fish Pepper got me thinking: what exactly do I do with the peppers now that I have them? Are they hot? Are they a main dish type of pepper or a flavor-enhancing kind?

Well, trusty old Google provided me with some answers and then some. I learned a lot about where these unique peps originated and how their seeds have survived. Quite fascinating. Read on:

Heirloom Fish Peppers - I don't think there's a vegetable my buddy Kenny over at Veggie Gardening Tips hasn't grown. Check out his interesting and informative article about Fish Peppers.

Fish Peppers - Mother Earth News - William Woys Weaver offers a fascinating look at the history of these peppers, including a great story of how his grandfather was a key player in keeping the seed in circulation.

As for recipes...well, it's difficult to find them, mostly because when you Google on "fish pepper" you get a a lot of recipes with fish and peppers in them. There is some correlation in the name, however, as the traditional usage of the vegetable was as a flavoring in seafood dishes. A-ha!

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Lovely Lily

I planted this lily about three years ago and it hasn't bloomed until now. Gorgeous, yes? If memory serves (which it usually doesn't these days), I think this was a freebie/extra bulb from somewhere.

What I do know is that it is a very fragrant Oriental lily called 'Stargazer'.

Sunday, July 05, 2009

Surrounded by Squash

First, check out the picture of my "Siamese Twins" squash. This is a budding Zephyr squash, in actuality, but I guess the flower was double-pollinated? Pretty cool...I'd be interested to hear from any of you who have seen and/or experienced this before.

Here's the rest of my harvest...the yellow crooknecks shown are what I picked just from this week...just from one plant! I've already resorted to pushing some off on the neighbors, since hubby doesn't care for squash in any form, color or shape. I also used quite a bit making this yummy casserole.

Lastly, please check out my new Organic Gardening newsletter. Some of it is Texas-exclusive advice, but most is not. There are tips on feeding hummingbirds, composting, and a brief product review of my new Neuton electric lawn mower.