Powerful Perennials by Nedra Secrist

Powerful Perennials: Enduring Flower Gardens That Thrive in Any Climate

By Nedra Secrist

Powerful Perennials: Enduring Flower Gardens that Thrive in Any Climate by Nedra Secrist

Powerful Perennials allows you to focus on your gardening goals, whether that’s fragrance, attracting butterflies, or creating a color-splashed river of the earliest blooms. This book takes into account short growing seasons, elevation and snow pack.

Powerful Perennials: Enduring Flower Gardens that Thrive in Any Climate by Nedra Secrist, has all the information you need to master cold climate gardening. Learning how to invest in the right perennial for the right location will save you time, money and backbreaking work. You will not be one of the suckers impulse buying on the first warm spring day.

More than just dealing with cold climates, Powerful Perennials is a plant-life saving reference for gardeners dealing with dry climates, poor soil quality and ill-mannered wildlife. Plant propagation and division is one of the best money-saving reasons to buy perennials.

Each chapter will help you select the best plants for your garden. For example, start with a handful of Bearded Iris and you will eventually end up with a river of colorful iris. Divide them every few years for healthier, more frequent blooms. Learn how to hybridise and create your own iris variety.

Selecting a variety may be the most difficult decisionwhengrowing Iris.

Selecting a variety may be the most difficult decision when growing Iris. Photo: PBH

Each plant recommendation includes simple and clear information about how well it tolerates droughts, cold seasons, wildlife, and native soils. Choosing the perfect plant doesn’t guarantee success. Powerful Perennials guides you through proper planting, care, and a bit of history.

While this book is written with the most challenging environments in mind, it is not limited to the Rocky Mountain states. Remember the Rocky Mountains stretch through Wyoming’s Zones 3 and 4, Idaho and Colorado’s Zones 4 and 5 and Utah’s wildly varying Zones 4 through 8. When choosing perennials in the Rockies, snow pack, elevation and freeze-thaw fluctuations must be considered.

Living in the South or Midwest, perennials much less complicated. Still, this book is very helpful in making the long-term investment in perennial additions to your home landscape wherever you live. Chapters on choosing the right tools, metal garden art accents, and container gardening are helpful and inspiring.

P1110688

DooDads Iris, photographed in Dave Niswonger’s home garden. Photo: PBH

About the Author: Nedra Secrist teaches gardening seminars and uses hands-on training courses to help gardeners succeed. Nedra and her husband own Secrist Gardens , a perennial nursery with locations in Brigham City, Utah, and St. Charles, Idaho.

You may also like:
Bees Make the Best Pets by Jack Mingo – review

Radishes are easy

Radish row markers

RG pink punch round Radishes

Pink Punch perfect globes that are crisp and mild.

  • Put radishes to work in your spring garden. Because the seeds germinate quickly, plant them at the beginning and end of other vegetable rows as living markers.
  • Mix in rows or blocks of lettuces and spring greens with radish seed to help space and thin young plants.
  • Sow every two weeks throughout the spring, for an extended season. Save extra seed to sow again in the fall.
P1180378

The first garden treats each spring are crunchy and spicy radishes.

 

The star of the salad garden was Crimson Crunch. A bright red radish with snow-white flesh, these perfectly round radishes are crisp and crunchy. If I could grow just one radish, it would be Crimson Crunch.

I planted these radishes in the corner of the garden and forgot about them. When I discovered them, they were huge. Probably, they measure 1 ½ inch diameter. And, they are NOT HOT!

Watermelon radishes.

Watermelon radishes.

These are beautiful red globes are solid and crispy, not spongy. Crimson Crunch is mild, perfectly smooth and round. This fall, they grew faster, milder and bigger than last spring.

Another pretty radish that is the star of my fall garden is the imported French Breakfast. Very crisp bi-color radishes, grow quickly in cylindrical shapes and perfect ball shapes.

Black radish, Purple Plum radish.

Black radish, Purple Plum radish.

French Breakfast radish from Renee’s Garden  includes both shapes in one packet. I still have a few in the ground, mostly just to see how well they keep.

Sparkler Radish

Sparkler radishes are great dippers on the veggie tray.

When you order radish seed, order extra. They are always a good spring salad accent and I will always plant them in a fall garden. Red globe radishes have plenty of potassium, vitamin C and folate.

Because they come up so quickly, use radishes as row markers as you plant other vegetables in the garden. Mix them and plant in with lettuce and spinach greens. Peppery radish sprouts are great on salad or sandwiches.

Serving suggestions:IMG_1050

  • Crostini with herb butter and radish slices.
  • Add snow peas, chopped radish to chicken or tuna salad.
  • Egg salad with grated radish and chopped chives
  • Eat radishes slices with a thin layer of sweet butter or olive oil and light sprinkle of salt. 
French Breakfast

“Petit Dejeuner” radish. Thinly slice radishes and serve on a lightly buttered baguette slices.

Radishes are also the last thing out of the garden in the fall. In mid November after a couple of frosts, I picked radishes in my zone 6 southeast MO USA garden.

Fresh asparagus recipes and growing tips

  • Fresh is always best

  • Best Asparagus Recipe

  • Purple Passion Asparagus

Visit the local farmers market or grow your own.

FRESH IS ALWAYS BEST

Asparagus grows so fast you can almost see it. In good weather, an asparagus spear can grow 10″ in a 24-hour period. Each crown sends up spears for about 6-7 weeks during the spring.

The outdoor temperature determines how much time will be between each picking. Early in the season, there may be 4-5 days between pickings and as the days and nights get warmer, you may have to pick every day.

It is a lot of hard work to establish a good asparagus bed. Considering that the plants will produce steadily for about 15 or 20 years, it’s worth it to give asparagus crowns a good start in a permanent home.

09244-1

I bought asparagus crowns at http://www.gurneys.com

The diameter of the spear does not indicate the quality or flavor of the vegetable. As the plants become older, the stems become larger in diameter.

Asparagus is high in Folic Acid and a good source of potassium, fiber, vitamin B6, vitamins A and C, and thiamine.

  • Stock up on asparagus while it is fresh and locally grown. Freezing is the best  way to preserve the color and flavor.

BEST ASPARAGUS RECIPE

IMG_8075

Fettuccine with asparagus, nutmeg, fresh lemon, Parmesan cheese.

My favorite asparagus recipe

Fettuccine with Asparagus

8-10 fresh asparagus spears (or one bunch)
3 Cups water (salt to taste)
10-12 ounces fettuccine
2 Tablespoons butter (or 1 tablespoon margarine and 1 Tablespoon olive oil)
Juice of one small lemon
freshly ground pepper to taste
freshly ground nutmeg to taste (1/4 teas)
½ cup freshly grated Parmesan Cheese

Cut each spear on the bias in one  inch lengths. Bring water to boil (add salt to taste). Add asparagus, when water returns to boil, cook one minute.

Drain and reserve three or four Tablespoons cooking liquid. Drop fettuccine in water, cook to Al Dente. Drain.

Heat butter in pot that cooked fettuccine. Add asparagus, pasta, pepper, cooking liquid and lemon. Toss to blend.

Sprinkle on nutmeg. Serve with cheese on the side. For variety, add a couple of Tablespoons of toasted walnuts or chopped parsley.

g06405Enjoy this original recipe for Fettuccine with Asparagus

◊ Must try recipe for Sweet and Spicy Szechuan Asparagus from the California Asparagus Commission.

◊ Growing Asparagus in Missouri guide sheet

which illustrates the parts of an asparagus plant, clear care instructions and the best way to start an asparagus bed.

What I’ve learned

I started my first asparagus bed with older heirloom varieties. The plants were productive and the produce was tasty. Plus, there was a bonus, I thought. Asparagus is a dioecious plant which simply means they are separate female and male plants. Oh yea! Even the birds will be happy enjoying the red berries or seed on the female asparagus plants.

Well, those seed are the reason we think that sometimes we find wild asparagus plants. All those little asparagus plants springing up from seed, come up with the vigor and enthusiasm of a weed These cute but scrawny baby asparagus plants self seed everywhere – in the yard, flower beds, sidewalk cracks and vegetable garden.

PURPLE PASSION ASPARAGUS

IMG_1873

This time, as I establish a permanent asparagus bed, I’m starting with

Asparagus officinalis “Purple Passion”

Purple Passion asparagus has burgundy colored spears with 20% more natural sugar than green asparagus. The sweet, tender, almost nutty flavored stalks are both cold and heat tolerant.

Very productive. Male and female plants. Self-pollinating.

 

You might also like  It’s asparagus time!  – How to select and freeze.

Look for my ASPARAGUS EVERYTHING PIN

Image

DIY Carrot Boxes for raised beds

Grow straight carrots

(Plus, after you grow these carrots, there’s Mom’s Carrot Cake)

I’ve been making mini raised beds. Little one foot wooden boxes without a top or bottom and 8″ tall. It is a little raised bed for the raised bed.

Metal raised bed corners make for quick, easy assembly.

Metal raised bed corners make for quick, easy assembly.

Here’s how: cut four 2 x 8 x 12 wooden pieces. Cedar lasts longer, pine is cheaper. Scrap lumber makes me happy. I call it a Carrot Box because I made it to grow carrots.

Loosen and add organic matter or compost to the raised bed. Set the box in your raised bed garden. Fill with a light soiless mix.

Thinly sow carrot seed. Cover. Firm. Water. Details are on my hub page Grow carrots weeks ahead of the last frost.

For the best results, thin the carrots to 2″ apart.

Using a double-deep container with extra fine soil will be the key to growing carrots. It is critical that you fertilize and water carrots regularly.

IMG_0949

“Sunshine Orange and Yellow” carrots from Renee’s Garden. Wonderful simply oven roasted. photo: Patsy Bell Hobson

Rose Marie Nichols McGee at Nichols Garden Nursery has one of the best gardening blogs, The Gardener’s Pantry and newsletters.

She has good information How to raise carrots without using a spade or hoe

You might like:

How can you make a soup rich?  Add 14 carrots (carats) to it.

Mom’s Carrot Cake

with cream cheese frosting

I don’t know where the original recipe came from, but it is the best.

1 1/2 Cups vegetable oil
1 3/4 Cups white sugar
3 eggs
2 Cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp. soda
1/2 tsp. salt
3 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 tsp. ground cloves
2 Cups peeled and grated carrots
1 Cups chopped pecans
1 (8 oz.) can crushed pineapple

Beat together oil, sugar and eggs until well combined. In a bowl sift flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and cloves. Add to the eggs and sugar. Mix well. Drain the pineapple, add carrots, nuts. Mix well. Pour into 9 or 10 inch tube pan or a 9 x 13 inch pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour or check with toothpick.

Cream cheese frosting

2 (8 oz.) cream cheese, room temperature
1 stick butter, room temperature
1 box powdered sugar
2 tsp. vanilla

Cream cheese and butter together. Add sugar gradually until complete box has been added. Add vanilla. Refrigerate for an hour, then frost cake. Use all frosting.

 

Lettuce think Spring

IMG_8058

Renee Shepherd

Renee Shepherd

 

I met Renee Shepherd at my first Annual GWA Symposium*. I admit to being a little star struck meeting Renee of Renee’s Gardens.

“You’re Renee! Of Renee’s Gardens! I recognized you because you look just like your picture,” I said.

She was kind enough not to say anything.

It was about that time when I realized that I sounded like I had the IQ of a seed packet. “OMG, I just told this woman who she was.” 

Then, I quickly left, praying that Renee had not read my name tag.

Growing Salad Greens

Spring greens, spinach, strawberries with balsamic dressing.

Spring greens, spinach, strawberries with balsamic dressing.

I always order way too much seed for the spring salad bowl.  Lettuces, arugula, radishes, scallions, and spinach come up by the crisper full. I love salads. Plus, I like those generous seed packets that have enough seeds for succession planting all season. I will always plant more lettuces and radishes every single week of the spring until it just gets too hot.

baby romaines

Thin small lettuces to allow room for the others to grow.

I can never have too many spring greens, baby leaf lettuces, chopped salad, wilted lettuce. Top with chive blossoms or lacy chervil leaves. Serve with the lightest of dressings.

Renee’s Garden Seeds has a big gourmet greens selection. The only problem will be limiting your salad selections to the size of your garden. I like Renee’s combo selections because the seed combination’s are a thrifty way to get a lot of variety into a small garden.

Container lettuce, “Ruby & Emerald Duet” is a perfect pairing of emerald-green baby butterhead rosettes with red and crispy mini leaf lettuce. The “Caesar Duo” romaine lettuce combo of red and green baby size lettuces. These Romaines are the foundation of the best homemade Caesar salads you’ll ever make.

Romaines also grow to crispy, crunchy leaves, perfect on sandwiches. The “cut and come again” mescluns are a jumble of color, size and texture in containers or hanging baskets. Lettuces, radish and green onions will be gone before you need the baskets and containers for their warm weather annuals.

Last spring I tried the “Paris Market Mesclun”, a mix of several baby lettuces, chicory, endive, and arugula. Small successive plantings stretched the flavors, textures and colors of this “cut and come again” mix through the whole spring.

Yes, there is a real Renee. And yes, she selects, grows and eats this stuff before she offers it to us in her beautiful online only catalog. Plus, the website tells how to plant, grow, harvest, prepare and cook all these amazing vegetables.

Renee’s Garden Sowing in seed-starting containers to transplant into your garden will get you headed in the right direction.IMG_9430

Renee’s Garden Seeds offered seed to garden writers. It’s a great way to grow and share information about what’s new for home gardeners. For example, I grew “Little Prince” a container eggplant. I was smitten. It was beautiful. The lavender blooms alone would be reason enough to grow Little Prince.

Being a garden writer and blogger is great fun because I get to share the joy and pleasure of gardening with others.

Little Prince in bloom.

Little Prince eggplant in bloom. Dozens of delicate lavender flowers become 2 – 4 ounce eggplants. Photo: Patsy Bell Hobson

 

Eat Little Eggplants

Small and tender, marinade little eggplant halves and quarters then, grill. Serve as a warm side or add other grilled vegetables for a cold marinated vegetable salad.

* GWA = Garden Writers Association

How to Grow Your Own Baby Greens

 

Snowed in with home grown tomatoes

My front yard.

My front yard. Photo by Jeff Hobson

A foot of snow does not seem like a lot if you are living in the east. And we have only had a couple of snows so far. I was delighted to be snowed in, with heat, electricity and my sweetheart. We could have gotten out in an emergency. But it is fun to be snowed in.

Whole tomatoes were frozen while at the peak of ripeness.

I filled the crock pot with frozen tomatoes. It was so full, the lid couldn’t fit firmly. As the tomatoes cooked down, I skimmed off the peels and the cores.

To the thawing tomatoes, add a coarsely chopped onion and a couple crushed cloves of garlic. Add salt and pepper if you choose.

Next, decide where to go with the tomatoes. Mexican or Italian are my choices.

Turn the heat on high, leave the lid ajar to reduce the water content. Break up  tomatoes with a wooden spoon or a potato masher.

Stir two pesto cubes into the sauce.

Stir two pesto cubes into the sauce.

Later, when the tomatoes have cooked down by half, use and immersion to blend as much or a little as you prefer. I decided to go for an Italian spaghetti sauce. As the tomatoes cooked down, I added a frozen cube of roasted garlic* and a couple of cubes of pesto.*

This is where I get creative and make this sauce Italian, by adding herbs and spices.

Rich, slow cooked spaghetti sauce made with homegrown tomatoes, garlic, basil..

Rich, slow cooked spaghetti sauce made with homegrown tomatoes, garlic, basil.

 

*Cube of roasted garlic* and a cube of pesto.* In the summer when we had a huge harvest of garlic, I roasted the cured garlic, mashed it up with a little salt and olive oil. Then, I put the roasted garlic paste in  a silicone tray of mini ice-cube shapes and froze them.

*Homemade pesto, minus the cheese, was made and filled plastic ice-cube trays and frozen.

These little frozen cubes of gourmet delights are stored in ziplock freezer bags, labeled and dated.

 

Tomato triage for too many tomatoes

When there is no time to can tomatoes in the heat of summer, freeze the whole tomatoes individually and store in a freezer. When tomato overload gets too hot and hectic in August, chill.

Slow cooked pasta sauce made by cooking your home-grown tomatoes and herbs on a cold winter day, priceless. 

My big break

Last week, Andraè Crouch, the ‘Father Of Modern Gospel,’ died. An old memory surfaced. He was my first real live celebrity interview. It was one of those events that nudged me on to a career and an education in journalism.

David Redfern/Redferns/Getty Images

David Redfern/Redferns/Getty Images

I heard about his passing on NPR: Andraè Crouch, ‘Father Of Modern Gospel,’ Dies At 72

The week before the big interview, I won a competition sponsored by University of Tulsa for Best Editorial. Being on the Tulsa East Central High School newspaper and yearbook staff were my credentials.

Andraè Crouch was performing outdoors in a Tulsa park. Armed with a pencil and spiral bound notebook, I nervously approached the back stage area. Lucky for me the first person I approached was Andraè Crouch’s twin sister, Sandra.

This many years ago, it’s hard to know what impressed her most. Maybe it was the confident approach of an award-winning reporter or, maybe my quivering voice and white knuckle grip on that number two pencil.

Gospel music pioneer Andraè Crouch went on to win 7 Grammy awards. You’ve heard his work as the choir director on Michael Jackson’s “Man in the Mirror” and Madonna’s “Like A Prayer.” I will always remember the day when I went from star struck teen to an honest to gosh reporter.

GBBD 1/ 2015

Garden Bloggers Bloom Day

January 15, 2015

The only thing blooming is a Meyer Lemon tree. GWA members were given seedlings years ago. Mine did not make it home.

Blooms everywhere.

Blooms everywhere. The leaves are looking better, greener, everyday.

However, this past summer, I bought a Meyer Lemon tree. It was on the clearance table at a garden center.

It sat, potted, on the patio wall. Lush and green, it was outside until threats of winter approached.

A few weeks ago, I noticed the pale, yellowing leaves and the dry container. Rescued once again, the 2 ‘ tree is thriving with gro=lights, fertilizer and water.

Then, the lemon tree began to bloom!

I am exited, because you don’t see many citrus trees in the Midwest. It has thorns. I snipped them off – like you do roses in a vase.

It is the only flower I have this January. Plus. the poinsettia from last month still looks good.

 

IMG_4148

The true flowers are the tiny ones in the center. PBH 

*GWA: Garden Writers Association

What’s blooming in your garden on this January bloom day?

Join in for Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day and show us what’s blooming in your garden now. It’s easy to participate. Thanks to Carol.

We can have flowers nearly every month of the year. ~ Elizabeth Lawrence

Myths and Mysteries of Missouri: True Stories of the Unsolved and Unexplained

Book Review

Myths and Mysteries of Missouri: True Stories of the Unsolved and Unexplained  by Josh Young

Myths and Mysteries of Missouri by Josh Young.

Myths and Mysteries of Missouri by Josh Young.

This book just screams “Road Trip!” Each chapter is one of 13 myths or mysteries scattered across the state. One topic makes for a perfect day trip. Select a handful of mysteries for a weekend snooping and detective work.

The Jesse James family home is not far from his grave and close to a bank he robbed. I did not think there was a thing I didn’t already know about this ruffian. In Clay county people celebrate Jesse James.

Myths and Mysteries of Missouri author Joshua Young.

Myths and Mysteries of Missouri author Joshua Young.

This is where Myths and Mysteries of Missouri shines. There are Jesse James Days, festivals, carnivals, websites, marathons and parades to sort through. How much of the legend is true?

Super sleuth Josh Young has investigated how Jesse James managed to avoid capture, even while living a normal life in public. Practically every public touring cave in Missouri claims to be a Jesse James hideout. He is a local hero and his name is known worldwide.

Josh Young’s book separates the notoriety from the nonsense about Jesse James, Jim the Wonder dog, and the Horse Whisperer Tom Bass. Young’s book is a great jumping off place for armchair historians and road trip warriors.

Find Myths and Mysteries of Missouri: True Stories of the Unsolved and Unexplained on
Amazon,  Barnes and Noble,  Books A Million Buy an autographed copy at Long Creek Herbs

A Myths and Mysteries Series. Paperback, publisher Globe Pequot Press, 208 pages.

Here’s the thing

$200 Shingles shots (ZOSTAVAX)

(Spoiler alert: the medical system and the federal government did it.)

The drug company MERCK, is terrorizing the American public with those horrible shingles shot advertisements on TV. The ads are really scary. But if this shot will protect me from the fresh hell of shingles, I want it.

By shingles shot, I mean  ZOSTAVAX, a vaccine used to prevent Shingles (also known as zoster).

The pharmacist at Walgreens gives me the $200 shingles shot for an additional $20!
And then she says, “Now, maybe you won’t get shingles”
“Maybe?,” I said.

“It only works for 50% of the people who get the shot”, she says.

I’m thinking SOMEONE, like the doctor, the doctors assistant, the pharmacist, the pharmacists assistant could have mentioned that the shot is only 50% effective BEFORE they gouged me or my insurance company for $200.

A 50 – 50 chance of the shot working, would be a deciding factor for a lot of us.

AND why did the FDA approve something so useless? They should have said, “NO, go back and get the vaccination right. It is morally and ethically Wrong to make people pay a hard-earned $200 for something no more effective than a coin toss.”

AND, by the way, Walgreens, if I had known you were going to charge me $20, I’d have given myself the shot.

  • For more information: ZOSTAVAX vaccine  (MERCK)  Merck Sharp & Dohme Corp., a subsidiary of Merck & Co., Inc., at 1-877-888-4231.
  • Walgreens.com I got my shot at WALGREENS 3338, 1 S KINGSHIGHWAY ST, CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO 63703 (573) 339-1700.

This is a quilt. It has Nothing to do with shingles. Its just beautiful.

This photo of a quilt has nothing to do with shingles. It’s just a beautiful work of art at the National Quilt Museum in Paducah, KY.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...