Thursday, October 25, 2012

Please help me I'm fall-ing

This is a great time of year for the native shade garden (left) and the "twixt the shed and Magnolia" bed.
I'm also fortunate to have wonderful views of some magnificent large trees on my neighbor's properties: 
cherry tree (surrounded by black cherry trees and black walnuts). The view even extends into another neighbor's yard with an amazing metal roof (not visible in this pic).
red maple (love the Virginia creeper vine on that shed, too).
the king of the block, an oak. The low evergreen holly makes nice bird cover.

Happy fall!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Seedlings Taking Shape--Winter Garden!

My bed of many Asian greens is coming along nicely. Time to thin these seedlings!

I have a labeled diagram in my notebook, but this is an assortment of red and green komatsuna, tat soi, pak choi, Tokyo behana,  red and green Chinese broccoli, and yukina savoy.

Also in progress, kale transplants I purchased, safely ensconced under row cover until threat of cabbage moth is past:
Something was still munching the Brussels sprouts (slugs?), so the bed got a dusting of diatomaceous earth (DE).

Something is also awry in the spinach bed, so the newly purchased seedlings have a cover also, and need some DE stat in case it's slugs.

Time to give up on the okra and hope these turnip seedlings thrive.

We're flush with lettuce, with rows of radish, carrot, and some reseeded pak choi in between.
I'm so excited about these purple fava beans!

I detest cold weather, but cold season gardening helps a little!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Fall Flora 2

It is a constant challenge to incorporate all-season interest into the garden. The part of my garden with the most fall color is the native plant shade garden, where Hydrangea and Itea provide the most color. The serviceberry tree cannot be called "Autumn Brilliance" this fall since it has been afflicted with cedar-hawthorne rust, and what leaves are left are hardly brilliant. The anemone is brilliant green for now, the Heuchera "Autumn Bride" is going strong, and soon the Clethra will turn yellow. Then all that will be left are the dried Hydrangea flowers and the red twigs of the dogwood. The Itea will probably hang on for most of the winter as well.

The Hydrangea leaves look almost metallic.
 In the rear perennial border, Blueberries provide the most color--if not much in the way of fruit!

Happy fall!

Jam on It

I mentioned recently why I don't blog much about food, and you will see why here, but I had to share this genius use of fig jam (with balsamic vinegar). I've been on a pizza kick lately, which is good because I have not come close to mastering making my own dough. It's getting better--the addition of whole wheat flour actually helps. I wanted to mix it up with the toppings and tried this fennel-caramelized onion topping from Food and Wine. It was great but ended up a tad too salty. Then I remembered my fig-balsamic jam in the fridge and the perfect pizza was born, zazzed up with some arugula and parsley from the garden. Italian style!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Take that, rabbit!

Still no rabbit fence, it is just too big a project. In the meantime, row cover, cages, and bird netting will do the trick.
Fava beans under row cover--100% germination!

Fruit baskets cover up my lettuce for now
Bird netting over pyc hoops keeps the rest of the lettuce and radish seedlings safe.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Far-out Fall Flora

It's all about the leaves and subtle dusky tones at this time of year, but there are pops of color, too.
Mist flower (Ageratum sp.)
Pokeweed (Phytolacca americana)
Butterfly Bush (Buddleia sp.)

Dahlia "Otto's Thrill" -- The buds are nice since the flowers turn to mush within hours of opening. I've found it's better to cut them back in summer so they can bloom in fall when they might fare better.
Pineapple Sage (Salvia elegans) -- I like how the flowers start out dangling and move upright. A rare exception to my "no red" rule. Reliable hardy in my zone 7 garden, but sadly blooming when most hummingbird has departed.

My cypress vine is finally blooming!

I like the weird dark flower buds.


Zinnia bloom, above, and buds with cool black-edged scales, below

Food Posts and Grilled Cheese Goodness

I don't do much food blogging, even though I regularly make good use of my garden's bounty and think of little else but cooking and eating. Aside from time, the main reason is the photography aspect. I have trouble enough getting a decent shot outside in bright natural light, of flowers--and food photography is a whole different beast. But I would be remiss if I did not share the deliciousness of my lunch Saturday, a grilled cheese with havarti, apricot jam, and arugula. It was inspired by this recent Design Sponge post featuring grilled cheese sandwiches with jams and fruit (courtesy Ashley English) as well as the mild fall weather tempering the bite of the arugula that has self-seeded all over my garden. Another favorite blog, Glutton for Life, features a sandwich that is making me redouble my efforts to find concord grapes. I found a similar sandwich to my own at Love and Olive Oil, so you can head over there for a real recipe and mouth watering image. I find myself happy about fall--something I could not muster knowing winter is coming, if not for the fall vegetables.
Artsy arugula not taken by me, but my bro