Gardening

Evening in the garden

Few posts of late due to technical issues … still, so many blooms and plant combinations this evening the garden we so lovely, I had to share.

The photos do not live up to what I like to post, they are all cell phone photos. Some are not in the best focus, but you get the idea.

Just a bit of tweaking and a lot of Mother Nature created these combos.

Just a bit of tweaking and a lot of Mother Nature created these combos.

Since I live in a clearing in a hardwood forest, I like to let my gardens go somewhat wild with self-sowing perennials punctuated by a few choices of mine. The result is a bed that looks different every year and every season.

Lavender

Lavender

There’s no such thing as too much lavender!

Roses and lavender

Roses and lavender

The favored rose in my limited rose collection … Star Rose Mystic Meidiland … an everblooming shrub rose with peach-colored buds that fade to pale peach as they mature. Perfect with lavender.

Lime Zinger sedum, annual milkweed (Asclepias curassavica), and the promise of daylilies in the background

Lime Zinger sedum, annual milkweed (Asclepias curassavica), and the promise of daylilies in the background

This annual milkweed does not reseed in Connecticut, but it provides a great punch of color and attracts butterflies … hopefully a Monarch or two.

Hydrangea macrophylla 'Let's Dance Rhapsody Blue'

Hydrangea macrophylla ‘Let’s Dance Rhapsody Blue’

Notice the name of the above hydrangea, yet it’s not blue. It grows in a raised bed created by manufactured concrete blocks that … obviously … raised the soil pH enough to turn the hydrangea this lovely shade of pink.

Endless Summer Hydrangea macrophylla 'Bailmer'

Endless Summer Hydrangea macrophylla ‘Bailmer’

And, what’s life without a bit of sweetness fresh from the garden …

The season's first raspberries.

The season’s first raspberries.

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Garlic scapes, the season is here!

It’s garlic scape season here in joene’s garden … one of the best perks of growing garlic.

Scapes are the flowering shoots of garlic bulbs. They wind and curl around tall, straight garlic leaves and will go to flower and eventually produce garlic seed, so if your goal is to harvest garlic bulbs, cut the scapes off when they begin to curl.

Garlic scape bouquet by Ralph Chappell Photography

Garlic scape bouquet by Ralph Chappell Photography

Use the scapes as an interesting indoor bouquet, which my favorite photographer then used for a photo shoot (above). As long as provided with fresh water daily, you can use these over a week or two. Their clean, fresh, gentle flavor adds a mild garlic taste to pesto, stir-fry, salsa or in any dish you would normally add garlic. Thin garlic scape slices with lemon juice add a wonderful flavor to baked fish. I like to blend the tender tips of scapes with a little olive oil until the consistency of a thick milk shake, then pour the mix into ice cube trays, freeze, and package as cubes to add to winter soups, stews, chili, and tomato sauce.

As noted, the scapes keep well as a bouquet for about a week when provided fresh water daily. To hold them longer, place scapes in a container of water in the refrigerator. They will hold there for up to a month when provided with fresh water every couple of days.

Those who preserve by home canning may try pickled garlic scapes. I have not tried this yet, but it’s on my lengthy to-do.

The scapes in my garden grow from fall-planted garlic, known as winter garlic, as the bulbs over-winter in the ground, begin to grow in early spring for mid-summer harvesting and curing. This type of garlic keeps well through winter. Spring planted garlic acts similarly but does not keep as well.

If you don’t grow garlic in your own garden, watch for garlic scapes at a local farmers’ market.

Share how you use garlic scapes … I’m always looking for new ways to use and preserve them.

 

 

Plant combinations – sometimes magic, sometimes not

Plant combinations are as endless as a gardeners imagination. When the combination is magic, all is right in the gardener’s world. When it is not, there’s choices to be made.

Transplanting one of the offenders near a more favorable companion is one option. Another is gifting the offender to someone more enamored of the plant’s attributes. These options are more necessary when the not-so-wonderful plant combination is due to dissonant foliage color or plant form. When the dissonance occurs only because of bloom times, the gardener can choose to look away until the not-so-magic bloom combo has passed … or shrug her shoulders, name the combo, and turn it into a tale.

I chose the latter.

Remember when baby shower decorations were blue and pink … when no one yet knew the gender of their little one? Meet my Baby Shower combination – a pink-blooming azalea of small stature (exact type unknown) and Amsonia ‘Blue Ice’ purchased years ago from the old Capriland’s Herb Farm.

Baby Shower combination

Baby Shower combination – pink-blooming azalea and Amsonia ‘Blue Ice’

I did not foresee these plants blooming at exactly the same time when I transplanted the azalea to the deer-protected fenced area.  At the time of the move deer had “pruned’ the poor little azalea to near death. Later that year I divided and transplanted the amsonia – one of the few truly deer-tolerant plants in my region – outside the fence.

The bloom times of the two have nearly coincided in previous springs but, this year, their blooms opened concurrently … in full Baby Shower regalia.

It’s not that I dislike either shade – or that the colors are highly offensive – I’m just not crazy about the color combination right now.

Thoughts?

 

 

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