Wordless Wednesday

Weed or wildflower?

Weed or wildflower?

Wordless Wednesday

Wednesday April 13, 2016

reblooming Darwin tulips

Spring blossoms promise summer fruits

Fruit plants produce some of the prettiest flowers

Peaches, blueberries and strawberries are blooming and beautiful this year. The raspberries and blackberries are not blooming yet.

The tree is covered with pale pink blooms.

The tree is covered with pale pink blooms.

You don’t need acres of land to enjoy home-grown fruit. My peach orchard is one dwarf tree. The blueberry patch is four containers on the steps of the deck. The strawberry field is a 4′ square raised bed.

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These soft pink flowers or the promise of peaches to come. Stark Saturn Peach is also known as a donut peach.

The donut peach is a white fleshed freestone, just 2¼-2¾” in diameter. Sweet fruit and heavy producer the years we survive long, harsh winters and late frosts. Even without a peach crop, this beautiful peach blossom floral display every spring is reason enough to own this tree.

I got my peach tree from Stark Brothers. The tree is about 8′ tall. Because it is a self-pollinating tree, Stark® Saturn Peach is a great choice for small space gardens.

Ozarks Beauty Strawberry plants are loaded with white flowers

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Imagine the berries.

Imagine the berries.

Scarlet red Ozarks Beauty is ever-bearing with a heavy, first wave of fruit. It should continue with a light production of berries through frost. After that early flush of fruit, strawberry production in my garden becomes occasional. Usually the wildlife score these occasional berry before I discover them.

I started with 25 plants in a 4′ x 4′ raised bed with one 3′ x 3′ tier. Plants were sparse. In this third year, the beds are lush and full of plants covered with blooms. It can take 2-3 years to really produce a good crop. So, this is the year! Maybe, in addition to strawberry shortcake, there will be enough for a small batch of strawberry freezer jam.

Get strawberry plants from Stark Bro’s, Gurney’s, or Jung Seed.

Blooming Blueberries

blueberry blooms

These beautiful white blooms promise to produce berries with that old-fashioned wild blueberry flavor.

 

Blueberries blooming in containers on the deck.

Blueberries blooming in containers on the deck.

Four containers of dwarf  Tophat Blueberry plants are growing on the steps of the deck. In the second year on the deck, we had a mild winter and the blue berry bushes are all blooming this spring. If I don’t cover them, I’m sure the berries will be bird food.

I’m looking forward to picking a few full size ripe berries while sitting on the deck. The plants will get no more than 2′ tall. I the fall, I’ll prune my spindly plants to encourage them to get bushy.

These plants are from Gurney’s . You can usually get the dwarf bushes, from Jung or Stark Bro’s.

 

Tastes like Summer

Picking a perfectly ripe, sun-warmed peach from the tree, gathering a hand full of the juicy raspberries, or popping a whole, sweet strawberry in your mouth is the essence of summer.

Home grown fruit is the best fruit you ever tasted. If you are fortunate to have extra fruit, make a jar of two of homemade jam. That  jar of summer jam will need little or no sugar.

Home grown fruit is grown for flavor. It’s fragile, and meant to be eaten soon after harvest. Fresh fruit is the most nutritious and tender produce you can eat.

Stark Bro’s has been around since 1816. I’ve bought several fruit trees from Stark over the years. It’s a reliable company that stands behind their products. The confidence-building growing guides will get you started with home-grown fruit.

During the Stark Brothers 200th Anniversary,  you can get some very good fruit trees and berries for under $20.

 

A gardeners final day of winter.

A slow cooked pork stew on a snowy day tastes even better loaded with foods from last summer’s garden. One tasty stew addition to the stew pot is sweet potatoes. Loaded with root vegetables potatoes and sweet potatoes, plus garlic, onions and carrots. Mild and sweet yellow sweet potatoes and homegrown garlic are from the garden.

White and sweet potatoes make this rich pork stew an even hardier winter fare.

White and sweet potatoes make this rich pork stew an even hardier winter fare.

 

 

From the summer farmers market: locally grown shiitake mushrooms – dried in the dehydrator and stored in plastic ziplock bags.

Home made tomato soup, several versions of stew and chili are wintertime mainstays here at the Hobson Estate.

Home grown tomatoes, garlic and peppers enhance the flavors of pork chili.

Home grown tomatoes, garlic and peppers enhance the flavors of pork chili. photo PBH

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As we wrap up winter, it’s inventory time for the deep freezer and pantry. We ran out of salsa around the first of the year. So, I need to grow more tomatoes (plus, onions, garlic, peppers, herbs)

We need more salsa, crushed tomatoes, spaghetti sauce, sun dried tomatoes, even more tomato soup.

We need more salsa, crushed tomatoes, spaghetti sauce, sun dried tomatoes, even more tomato soup.

Today, I think, “I can never have too many tomatoes.” In August, that will be a different story.

Paste tomatoes, Arkansas traveler, Giant Martian, Gold Medal

Paste tomatoes, Arkansas traveler, Giant Martian, Gold Medal

August:

“What was I thinking!?”

Garden Bloggers Bloom Day November 2015

GBBD 11/2015

Velvety red Zinnia

Velvety red Zinnia

One more bloom before the winter.

Encore azaleas. I know. In November.

Encore azaleas. I know. In November.

 

So amazing. It’s been a late, long garden season. I have many flowers this year that would have normally succumbed to frost by mid November. Not that I am complaining.

 

 

 

 

A few more last blooms of the season:

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Dozens of the little butterflies visit daily. I worry that they should be gone by now…

Anyway, The are three or four kinds of marigolds still blooming nonstop. Who has the heart to pull up such hardy colorful blooms? I want tell you what kind they are, I collect seed year after year. Be happy to share, if you want some seed.

And then maybe just one more…

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Campfire™ Fireburst Bidens hybrid

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A trial plant, Campfire™ Fireburst Bidens hybrid from Proven Winners.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I planted this hot little annual in a hanging basket this year, not the best choice. Next spring, I’ll grow this new Bidens in a mixed container of orange and yellow flowers.

Last Rose…

I posted one of theroses acouple of weeks ago and said "last rose of the year" but then the precious, fragrant rose quickly followed.

I posted one of these roses a couple of weeks ago and said “last rose of the year” but then this precious, fragrant rose quickly followed.

David Austin’s Crown Princess Margareta ® is often the first bloomer and the last bloom among the full size roses. So, again, “Last rose of the season”

Vegetables Too

I love that I am still eating garden tomatoes and basil in mid November.

The last big one.

The last big one. It’s not pretty, but it was tasty tonight. Yellow Brandywine.

This basket full of chard will become my version of spinach lasagne. The seed was from Renee's Garden.

This basket full of chard will become my version of lasagne. The seed was from Renee’s Garden.

The beautiful plant is container chard, “Pot of Gold” from Renee’s Garden There are no flowers, but the colorful stalks make this plant pretty enough to be in the front porch bed.

It’s a non stop producer, never bitter, always beautiful. I won’t pull it up until a hard freeze kills the plants. Use chard just as you would spinach.

Garden Bloggers Bloom Day with this post. For more Bloom Day posts from gardens around the world, visit May Dreams Gardens

Akk! First Frost

The killer hard freeze

"Italian Genovese" "Queenette" Thai basil, "Italian Cameo" L-R

“Italian Genovese” “Queenette” Thai basil, “Italian Cameo” L-R

First frost in fall is as nerve-racking as the last frost date of spring. It’s no surprise to a gardener that the first frost is impending. But dang, one more warm week and I would have had a dozen more one-pound golden-yellow tomatoes.

Gathering herbs before frost. I’ll pick all tomatoes with any hint of color, decent size peppers, and eggplant.

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A week or two more for fresh herbs and vegetables. Plus, I’ll make some casseroles to freeze. (Like the Court of Two Sisters eggplant casserole, Chunky vegetable soup, Ratatouille)

Then, this fall/winter, some home canned and frozen food we’ve accumulated all summer, will serve as comfort food on the coldest days.

Several fresh cut basil brought indoors before the frost. herbs in jars

Several fresh-cut basil brought indoors before the frost. herbs in jars

Bring in basil cuttings, even if is a possibility it might reach.

Learn more about Hardy Fall Vegetables  – Big beautiful leeks, leafy chard, sweet baby carrots are still in the garden.

"Pot of Gold" chard

“Pot of Gold” chard from reneesgarden.com

Where to find these recipes:

Court of 2 Sisters eggpla

  • Court of Two Sisters eggplant casserole – Next time eggplant starts piling up in the garden, make this recipe and freeze it. (Easy to double.)
  • Chunky vegetable soup
  • Ratatouille – Julia’s recipe!

Anna, must see Eureka Springs theatrics

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A Haunting Theatrical Experience: ANNA

We entered the auditorium just as the previous audience was leaving. “You’re going to love this!” Twenty people poured out the door gushing about the fun and scary – but not too scary – performance.

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The Story –

James and Annabelle Crowe graciously invite You to their lovely, Victorian home for an intimate gathering in 1937. Witness some very strange appearances and disappearances which are curiously unexplained. However, the frightening truth still lingers in the walls, and sometimes… you can hear it.

This walk-through experience is a unique blending of traditional theater, dance, special effects, and haunted house thrills. The show is filled with interactive theatrics, suspense and humor. There is murder and mystery, but not gore.

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Anna is fun, but not really accessible. Be mindful, you will be standing or walking in the dark, plus, there are short walks up and down stairs. The 40 minute performance is rated PG13 and limited to 20 people.

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Extra performances have been added. Get your tickets ASAP. (720) 278-5672, movemantra@gmail.com or online. Learn more on Facebook

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Written, directed, and performed by Melonlight, I hope this kind of Halloween entertainment becomes a Eureka Springs tradition.

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Wordless Wednesday

Love Lies Bleeding Amaranth

Harvest time in the Cotton Belt

cotton bolls

Cotton bolls are 2 – 3 inches in diameter. This boll is considered a fruit because it contains seeds.

Soybeans and cotton

soybean field

Soybeans in the field in October.

Driving through the Mississippi Delta region of Arkansas, and Mississippi, you can see the fields full and ready for harvest.

I don’t know much about growing cotton or soybeans, but the fields are beautiful.

 

 

 

The Cotton Belt

cotton fields

Cotton bolls.

The Cotton Belt begins at the back of the Carolina-Georgia tide-water and extends westward to the high plains of west-central Texas. It includes nearly all South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, and Mississippi, the greater part of Arkansas and Louisiana, and most of southern Oklahoma and central Texas. It extends into substantial areas of south central North Carolina, western Tennessee, southeast Missouri.

Today, Texas, Mississippi, Georgia, and Arkansas are the leading producers of the old cotton belt. The dryness of those areas makes it easier to control insect pests. Large quantities of cotton are also grown on irrigated land in New Mexico, South Arizona, and Southern California.

cotton fields

Photo taken in early October, Cape Girardeau County, Missouri. This field is usually harvested in late October.

That’s enough American grown cotton to make over 250 million pairs of  jeans a year.

The cotton plant has yellow and pink colored flowers. They are beautiful in the summer garden and lovely in flower arrangements. In October or November the cotton bolls put on another show.

cotton

Soft yellow hibiscus-like flowers of the summer blooming cotton plants.

If  you’ve never seen cotton growing, there are different colored cottons. Plants can grow 5′ to 6′ tall. The plant requires full sun and a long growing season, typical in the cotton belt states.

Start plants indoors. Wait until temperatures are consistently above 60º before planting outdoors.

 

Summer’s Surprise

Surprise lily

When I stopped by the Branson Candy Kitchen to visit Grandmother and Aunt Macy, it was a hot, clear Ozarks summer day threatening to reach 100 degrees again. Summer is the grand-daughter of Macy and the great-grand daughter of my grandmother.

Summer

Summer

Aunt Macy said “Summer, you remember your cousin, don’t you? This here is Patsy Kay, your cousin.”

“Hello Cousin”, Summer said. And then my cutest little cousin ran out the back door.

Grandmother and Auntie kept making pecan pralines while I sat in the company chair watching and talking. Every now and then, I was the beneficiary of an imperfect handmade praline.

You can’t sell the ugly ones. Everyone wants a beautiful praline. Yes, I ate the ugly pralines, the things you do for family…

surprise liliesSummer ran in the door with a hand full of Nekked Ladies and thrust them at me. “Surprise! Here cousin. Flowers for you!”

Oh! Thank you, Summer.

What are they cousin?

I’m sitting right in front of MY grandmother and I am not about to tell this cute little three year old that those flowers are called Naked Ladies.

You know the answer to that, Summer. You told me when you walked in the door: Surprise! They are Surprise Lilies.

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Surprise lilies easily multiply creating more bulbs to share.

You mean Nekked Ladies?, said Grandma. We all burst into little girl giggles.

And so, sweet Summer, every year when these bold lilies pop up, I’ll always think of you. One more thing, Thank you for the Surprise Lilies.

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