Sunday, August 31, 2008

Fall Already?

The leaves on our young red oak tree turned bright red, then brown and then fell off - in August. And although we are expecting cooler temperatures this weekend, it's not fall yet. I think the tree died. How can I be sure? Do we wait until next spring to see? I don't see any buds. This poor tree, it fell over in a storm two years ago, and all the time we've had it, it's hardly grown.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Pumpkin Peeking Through

A "Cinderella" pumpkin peeking through the landscaping in front. Our pumpkins in the back didn't fare so well, squash bugs invaded this year. We won't be planting any squash back there next year. We need to starve those horrid bugs out. I'm not generally a bug-o-phobe, but squash bugs and cockroaches give me the heebie-jeebies.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Black-Eyed Susans in their Glory

A nice, big crop of black-eyed Susans in front this year. If you grow these, let them stand over the winter and into late spring. Precious pine siskins love the seeds.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

The Zucchini that Got Away

I like to eat fresh zucchini, just lightly sauteed with fresh grated parm. I pick them when they're small and tender, unless they hide under the big leaves like the big one here that got away. Some people grate it and freeze it for muffins and breads. I don't do that. I don't think I've ever cooked up muffins or bread with zucchini. Maybe you have a recipe to share?

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Sweet Mini Roses

They may be small, but they pack big aroma. These are some of the mini roses growing along the sidewalk up to my house. This is their second bloom of the season. They usually bloom three times, even in light frost.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

50 mph Wind Gust

A beautiful, sunny day and then bam! And bam, and bam. Big winds knocked dozens of pears off my tree, with many crashing into the house and fence. When the danger of getting conked in the head passed, I went out and scooped them up - they'll ripen later. I don't know what kind of pears these are, but they never ripen on the tree. It always happens after they're picked.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Cherry Tomato Salsa

I grow around 10 cherry tomato plants each summer just for this moment - cherry tomato salsa. I made a big batch last night and we ate salsa and chips for dinner...then for lunch...then for dinner again and it's gone. We usually get a big tomato crop for this salsa in early July. Because of our weird growing season this year, we didn't get enough of a crop until this week, over a month late.
The recipe is below.

Warning: I don't measure for this recipe.


as many cherry tomatoes as you can get, garden-fresh is key for this recipe

medium-sized sweet onion, peeled and quartered

4 cloves of minced garlic

sliced deli-style jalapenos - I used a half cup, but we like it hot



Put the onion, garlic, jalapenos, and a couple of handfuls of tomatoes in a food processor. Pulse until you have small chunks in a slurry of yumminess.

Scrape it into a large bowl. Then chop, by hand, cherry tomatoes. It's labor intensive, but a labor of love! Mix it all together and salt to taste. Add cilantro just before serving. Unless you hate cilantro, then, throw the cilantro away! Serve with salty tortilla chips - we like Santitas.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Silver Wave Petunia

These are silver wave petunias, although they're more light purple with dark purple eyes. I really like them because they look like the glow in the dark. I grew these from seed, starting them in March. Next year, I'll start them in January. They didn't bloom until early July.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Trailing Petunia

This is a trailing petunia, which is similar to the wave petunia, and the seeds are less expensive. It goes through blooming cycles. The week after this, it will have very blooms and then the next week it will go crazy again. No need to pinch the blooms, which is a bonus. I have several hanging baskets along my fence because the fence is so ugly, I try to cover it up.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Fairy Flower

These delicate, purple-pinkish flowers bloom along long stems, with a flurry of variegated leaves at the base. It's charming, and called a "fairy flower." It's a perennial my daughter selected at the nursery when she was five. We have a fairy flower plant in a front planter, nice to have a couple of perennials tucked into planters, and one in a garden bed to add color and attract pollinators.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Thyme in the Garden

Another plant I use for decorative purposes, also for cooking, and for attracting pollinators and butterflies. This is creeping thyme. It even works well in hanging baskets and planters, and it comes back every year.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Amaranthus - Love Lies Bleeding

This is amaranthus - specifically, "love lies bleeding." What a horrible name! I ordered a packet of amaranthus seeds a few years ago and there will never be a need to plant it again. It re-seeds liberally, lots of "weeding" the seedlings. I grow this for the birds - they eat the seeds right off the plant through the winter - and for a friend who uses the spectacular flower sprays for dried flower arrangements. This plant does require staking towards the end of the season. I've read in some countries, this is treated like a grain.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Purple Rose that Smells Delightful

This is one of my favorite roses, and I don't know what it is. It was a sorry-looking thing on the clearance table at Lowe's that I picked up one year. I always feel sorry for those plants! It's my second-favorite rose as far as the smell. There's a lavender-colored one I like even better, but it's not blooming right now. It came without tags or ID.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Cosmos - One Packet of Seeds Will Last a Lifetime

I clearly remember planting the strangely-shaped cosmos seeds among my irises one spring about 5 years ago. My neighbor behind me said something like, "oh, well, you'll never have to plant them again." So true! I do have to do a fair share of pulling them out of areas where I don't want them. Cosmos are good cutting flowers and butterflies like them. They bloom when the irises are long-gone, and the leaves are starting to look ragged and faded. And the biggest bonus - goldfinches love Cosmos seeds. Even when you don't see goldfinches, their chirping and singing is a delight to hear.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Rue the "No Man's Land" Zone

This is common rue that I planted in our "no man's land" zone - the strip of property on the west side that is narrow and fenced in so sunshine is limited. I chose rue because I had read somewhere that cats don't like it, and I was on a mission to keep the neighbor cat from using my landscaping as a litter box. Did it work? No.....

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Yellow Rose of Boise

This is a rose bush at the northeast corner of the house. It came with the house, so we have no idea what it is, except that it is marvellously fragrant. And, as the roses open, they get some pink highlights. I've had a lot of compliments on this rose bush and it has resisted common rose ailments.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Blaze of Glory

This is a Blaze of Glory climbing rose that goes up and over the top of one of my arbors. It's main blooming splash is in June. There are fewer blooms now. I would call it moderately fragrant. It looked more "orange" when I ordered it, but I also understand that soil conditions, fertilization and climate can mean different colors. It's a very polite climbing rose. It requires minimal pruning.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Volunteer "Mystery" Plant

This blossom was at least 6 inches across, and it's the blossom of a......well, I don't know because I didn't plant this plant. It just showed up tucked among some lilies in my front yard. It appears to be a type of squash plant. I'm looking forward to finding out. I expect some type of fruit on it by September.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Anise Hyssop

This is a gem of a plant that I found in the Fred Meyer bargain bin two years ago. Anise hyssop (Agastache foeniculum) leaves smell like sweet licorice. We've made infusions with the leaves and they've been yummy. It's a native North American plant, and I've read some history that Native Americans used it as a medicine for upper respiratory illnesses. The flowers are a magnet for bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds. It grows to about four feet tall, and it's only fault is that it gets floppy and needs staking. It's related to mint.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008


This is the first nasturtium bloom I've seen this year, and unlike many of my late-bloomers this season, I think it's right on track. It's always a late-summer show with nasturtiums around here. I always tuck seeds around the landscaping and pots and baskets, and this year my daughter helped. Nasturtium seeds are great for kids, easy to handle. And the fun "treat" is that nasturtiums are edible. My grandmother showed me how to pull out the sweet part to snack on, and my daughter likes the trick, too. So much so, that I'm lucky any blooms are left.