Sunday, December 16, 2012

Outside Christmas Decorations

Last weekend when we were up at condo I admired how they just covered all the beds with evergreen boughs, stuck in white sicks, red beads and whallah the beds were dressed for the season. So yesterday when I was wishing I could do something outside I decided to go find stuff to decorate mine with at Hoerr nursery. And basically they had the same stuff. Exactly. I would have like to been a little different but really it was all the exact same. So ok it's better than another nap on the futon with a seed catalog.

I especially got a kick out of the last photo framed by the lovely camper. By the time, Pat gets that back to Dr. Miles family it'll be summer again. lol.

Then I had also noticed up at the Botanical Gardens this past weekend they had all of their roses pruned down and covered with mulch/bark/peat looking mixture. So I pruned back the roses today. Probably still not down as much as at CBG but all my heart could bear.

My rose pruned. Good thing I didn't prune down farther as later I found out only tea roses need the harsh pruning. The double knock out's recommend pruning to 12 to 18 inches once a year usually late winter. Shoot. I'm early but hopefully it'll work out. 

Saturday, December 1, 2012

First of the Month---Check Chores Due

My other plan is to use this blog's list of montly chores to stay on top of the garden. I think most of it is done but this well help me make sure. Need a garden calendar for sure. I have started one on outlook and have a different version on every computer I use so that's no good.

Ok so I figured out how to upload prior garden events to my new Google Calendar for Gardening!

Now to add it to the sidebar of this blog.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

End of the Month Garden Views

Here's the first installment of end of the month garden views. I figure November and December won't be too exciting with their muted colors and brown forms but if I get in the habit now maybe I'll remember to catch the garden year round.
Japanese Maple holding court with 6 mums.

Around he mailbox some beautiful colors still exist dusted with frost.

The Chocolate Chip Bugleweed (Ajuga Reptans) is not just drought tolerant
 but beautiful after the frost.

Ornamenal Kale dusted with frost.

Ornamental kale

Curly moss parsley frosted

Rosegarden and sage
Rockgarden under leaf blanket and Mugo pine hopefully just dormant.

Clematis produces one last bloom.


Hoop house covers lettuce and spinach that's about 3" tall.

It's still up in the air if these Brussells sprouts will be edible.

Fall after frost still some beauty

For some reason I coud ony label the first pictures and arrange on page. Ugggggggggh. So I'm  posting but I'll have to try and format later. Is this the flakiness Jean of which you spoke?

Sunday, November 25, 2012

New Vegan Brussel Sprouts Recipe

So I had to improvise since none of my vegan recipes for Brussels sprouts seemed well fancy enough for Thanksgiving. We had our Thanksgiving with Joe and his girlfriend Dez today. So I did a version from the bacon days using Smart Bacon. And it was shockingly good.

2 lbs. Brussels sprouts, ends cut off and halved, parboiled
6 strips of smart bacon fried, crumbled
3 T of olive oil (I'd change to 2 T next time)
2 T Maple Syrup
1 T Bragg's Aminos (like soy sauce)
1/2 c Pine Nuts

In case you didn't notice (I fail to see the directions that include cooking in the ingredients all the time so I'll repeat here):
1. Cut ends off Brussels sprouts then cut in half. Boil water. Parboil for 3 minutes. Drain in colander.
2. Fry bacon and crumble.
3. Added 1 T of olive oil to bacon since this was tofu bacon and it wasn't quite crispy enough to crumble.
4. Mix up remaining olive oil, syrup and Aminos. Add that, Brussels sprouts and pine nuts to a large bowl.
5. Decided I overdid the oil so before they soaked up the oil from the bacon I poured that out and mixed it into bowl and then put on cookie sheet. Heated up oven to 350 degrees and spread on cookie sheet and again drained off excess oil and roasted for 30 minutes.
It was delicious this way but I think if you decreased the oil to 2T total or even 1 and 1/2 then I think I would try sauteing in the pan to get that nice golden color on the sprouts. I also thought later Craisins would have also tasted good in this mixture.

Amid the white fly infestation

I used store bought sprouts because I didn't have enough in garden to for sure feed 7 people. Really ended up being just right for 4 people that like a generous amount of sprouts (since I should have known the kids wouldn't eat them). Like an American portion not what you get at June. (NOT dishing on June, as I believe they're portions are healthier and keep any of the tastes from overpowering the others).

June is an amazing restaurant in Peoria if anyone outside of Peoria IL ever reads this.
My favorite place to go on Birthday or Valentine's day if in Peoria.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Themes for Ongoing Blog and MICE a link in the Lyme Chain!!!!

Reading a lot of other garden blog's and seems many follow various themes to their posts through out the month. One that is probably great idea is end of the month photo's of the entire garden/long shots to get an overview of how it looks through out the year. So I'll definitely start doing that. So that would mean I need to do an "End of the Month View - November 2012" here really soon.

I've been also following "A Way to Garden. Com" and she does monthly chores on a calendar. I'm more into following and trying to do those then keeping track of my own since I tend to putter. If I did a calendar for others as a guide. It'd be a lesson in ADHD for sure.

Monday dumped scraps in compost, decided to flip it but needed new place to put it. Looked for material to use. Noticed shovel and didn't finish turning over asparagus bed so finished that. Put shovel away in garage. Done!

Hey something got done. Give me a break!

Another great idea for a post 2013 Garden Resolutions. I wrote a few of those on top of my seed list.

Also Garden Clean Up to Reduce Pests for 2013 Garden thanks again to! Turns out the reason my Butternut survived (the only vine that did) even the pumpkin succumbed to the squash bug was butternut is resistant. My new favorite squash!!! Another pest issue I was unaware of and was celebrating early today but forgot another reason why it's important. Ding Dong the mouse is finally dead. After a year of cohabitation we finally killed our house mouse. And then guess what I find out. Mice are a link in the Lyme Disease Chain! HOLY SCHMOLY!!!!!

Rick Ostfeld, a senior scientist at the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies, has written a book on Lyme disease ecology…
“Ticks survive well when they feed on a mouse because mice are not apparently very fastidious – they don’t groom very effectively.  So ticks that end up on a mouse tend to survive the experience – they get their full blood meal.  So that’s one way that mice are bad.  The other main way is that mice are the source of infection for the ticks.  The ticks are born free of infection with the Lyme pathogen, and these ticks have to get it somewhere, and the main place they get it in nature is from white-footed mice.”
I may have to have Ame's cat Bruce Lee come over and patrol the place or at least sniff around and make sure there aren't more mice somewhere. It's hard to believe one mouse lead a bachelor's life here. 
Ok got a little off course there so I need to post a monthly series of shots of garden. Might do that eventually on my other site if we ever start remodeling again! Also 2013 Garden Resolutions. I'm working on a calendar to track when to plant by the time specified by mainly Botanical Interests and it's intersection with the Moon's guidance via the Almanac. I'm sure many will scoff at the Almanac but last year was predicted to be a bad year, barren for many, and I had my best year yet. And I planted according to the MacDonald's Almanac as given to me by Mrs. Marilyn Sturtevant. Thank you Marilyn! So if I can make a calendar that's worthwhile and figure out how to link to it here I will. Meanwhile just adding a monthly picture review and chores ought to keep this busy and some format. oooooooooooh it's cold outside time to get under the covers!

Friday, November 23, 2012

2012 Seeds Left


Seed Company

# Seeds Left




Achillea-The pearl Burpee unopened
Aesclepius-Butterfly weed Burpee unopened
Alyssum-Royal Carpet Burpee unopened
Amaranth-Love lies bleeding Botanical Interests lots good died before transplanting didn't restart
Arugula-Rocket Salad Botanical Interests lots good good good
Basil-Purple Petra Botanical Interests 0* good poor 0     
Basil-Siam Queen Burpee unopened
Basil-Sweet Basil Burpee Organic 0*x2 good good good
Bean Pole-Ky Wonder Botanical Interests half good direct sow
Borage Park Seed some good good good
Broccoli Raab-Spring Burpee lots good good good
Broccoli-Romanesco Burpee  0* good good 0     
Broccoli-Waltham Botanical Interests lots good great 0     
Brussel Sprouts-Rubine Territorial Seeds lots good good so-so
Burpee-Baby Choi Burpee lots poor direct sow none
Cantelope-Hale's best Botanical Interests lots good great few
Carrot-Carnival Blend Botanical Interests some good good great
Chives-Common Burpee lots good good good
Cilantro-Sabor Botanical Interests unopened
Cucumber-Homemade Pickles Botanical Interests few good good good
Cucumber-Straight Eight Burpee few good good great
Dianthus-Ipswich Pinks Burpee unopened
Dill-Fernleaf Burpee some good good good
Eggplant-Blackbeauty Botanical Interests lots forgot to sow
Fennel-Florence bulb Burpee unopened
Fennel-Herb, Bronze or Green
Flax-Blue Botanical Interests full poor
Grass-Blue Fescue Burpee 5 ok ok fair
Gypsophila-Baby's breath Burpee unopened
Hot pepper-Pepperoncini Burpee lots unsure
Kale-Red Winter Botanical Interests lots great direct sow great
Kale-Redbor Hybrid Territorial Seeds lots good good great
Lavendar-English Tall Botanical Interests 0 none even after stratification
Leeks-King Richard Botanical Interests 2 pkts great great great
Lemon Balm Botanical Interests lots good fair  poor
Lettuce-Buttercrunch Botanical Interests unopened
Lettuce-Mesclun Botanical Interests 0* great direct sow great
Lobelia-Cascade of Color Botanical Interests few good good good
Lobelia-Crystal palace Botanical Interests 0 good good   1/2
Mustard-Mizuna Botanical Interests 0 great direct sow great
Mustard-Red Giant Burpee few great direct sow great
Nasturtium-Jewel Blend Botanical Interests 0 good direct sow great
Okra-Clemson spineless Plantation products few good good great
Onion-Flat of Italy Botanical Interests 0 good very few 0     
Onion-Flat of Italy Botanical Interests lots poor
Onion-Red bunching Botanical Interests few unsure
Onion-Ringmaster white Botanical Interests 0 good very few 0     
Onion-Yellow granex Botanical Interests 0 poor none 0     
Parsley-Extra curled moss Burpee unopened
Parsley-Flat leaf Ferry-Morse some good good good
Parsley-Moss curled Martha Stewart lots good good great
Pepper-Chile Anaheim Botanical Interests few great great great
Pumpkin-JackO'Lantern Botanical Interests lots good great few
Rutabaga-Amer. Purple top Botanical Interests lots good good not sure
Spinach-Monstreux de Viroflay Botanical Interests 1/2 packet great direct sow great
Squash-Crookneck Burpee 2011 lots great great great
Squash-Patty Pan Botanical Interests 10 great fair and direct good
Squash-Straightneck Burpee 2011 lots great great great
Stock Botanical Interests some good good great
Sunflower-Mammoth Botanical Interests 0* poor direct sow 1     
Sunflower-Teddy Ferry-Morse 0 poor direct sow 0     
Sweet Pepper-California wonder Burpee  few good great good
Swiss chard-Ruby red Botanical Interests 2 pkts good good great
Tomato-Black sea man Hinterland Trading few good mouse at seedlings
Tomato-Brandywine Pink Burpee lots good good good
Tomato-Cherokee Purple
Tomato-Mortgage lifter Burpee few good mouse ate seedlings
Tomato-Roma Ferry-Morse few good mouse ate seedlings

* mouse or vole ate seed packets too!

Attempting to Get Organized Early!

This year I am getting a jump on things early and also rethinking some of my garden layout. I want to expand into front side yard some but without fencing it in since we haven't even finished the fence on North side of backyard yet. Plus I promised my husband I wouldn't erect one like the people in Canada. I thought their garden was great but they also had no backyard so they had no choice but to go all front.

 I'm more  interested in an ornamental/edible garden in front on the side of the driveway that we share with neighbors. They moved in last year and thought the garden was beautiful so hoping to see how they feel about more in front. I have a feeling they'll be easier to convince then Pat!

So anyway that's a ways off. Meanwhile I have gone through my seeds from last year(s) and put into spreadsheet and started selecting what I need to order and from where. I'd like to share what I have so far if I can figure out how to embed a excel spreadsheet. I can at least show some ideas I'm playing around with in

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

My new Japanese maple....

My new Japanese maple.... by tridoc927
My new Japanese maple...., a photo by tridoc927 on Flickr.

Via Flickr:
I love these trees. So excited I visited this tree so many times and finally bought it and another weeping one and a tiger eyes sumac. I hear music when I look at it. I am a bit obsessed I guess.

Sunday, November 4, 2012
Sounds like her family is doing much of the same stuff I'm trying to do! She even called their home and garden a ranchette! I should perhaps change my other blog to Renovate my Ranchette!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Purslane gone wild

Purslane with beautiful flowers
This plant is trying to crowd out most of the succulents so I cut half of it off the plant and thought well looks like a good time to eat some purslane. A couple times I thought surely all the varieties are edible right? That was 2 weeks ago and no ill effects so should be ok. I added some to a Butternut squash soup when it called for peas I didn't have. I also made a purslane pesto. Yum.
I had no idea it was edible til it came in a CSA order. I thought wow this looks a lot like a weed in my garden.  Funny thing, I then tried to save the purslane that sprouted up but transplant it all to one corner. Didn't live after transplant. How can a weed/plant so able to live in a crack in sidewalk fail when I moved it? Too good of soil I guess. Because it sure thrived in the rock garden.
From another blog I found this on purslane that was quite reassuring:
Serenity in the Garden: The Magnificent Purslane - Edible Landscaping at i...: What was one of Mahatma Gandhi's favorite foods? and what did Henry Thoreau eat while residing at Walden Pond? PURSLANE . Purslane, lo...

Thoreau wrote of Purslane:

"I have made a satisfactory dinner off a dish of purslane which I gathered and boiled. Yet men have come to such a pass that they frequently starve, not from want of necessaries, but for want of luxuries."

IF IT'S GOOD ENOUGH FOR Mahatma Gandhi and Henry Thoreau it's good enough for me!

Bonnie meet Brussell, Brussell Bonnie

Here's the picture I was talking about....

Rylie and Brussell, the sprout.
But as you know this year they'll be PURPLE!!!!!

If it's not raining in am, I'll post a new picture of them.

Very Early Frost after very early spring!

Well we dropped to freezing every night this past weekend and I covered or brought in most of it but missed the basil which now looks bad.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Chicago Botanical Gardens Return Trip

I was so excited to return and take pictures but again I forgot a better camera. So these were all taken with my phone which I suppose takes a pretty good picture afterall. Especially when my best photo ever I couldn't reproduce again if I tried. I love looking at pictures I take but it's more for me so if I ever hope to entertain more people I guess I need a photography class at the least.

So look at this beautiful Butterfly Bush. WOW!!!
Butterfly Bush... DARK KNIGHT

Espalier Plum Tree

Espalier Pear

Espalier Apple

Espalier oh Espalier.... can't recall what kind.

Next year I'll plant beets like this for Pat!

Cabbage and Snow White Alyssum. I have expected to see a cabbage patch baby in such a beautiful bed.


Autumn Crocus
 I have many more to upload. Just can't find the time.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Oh no not the winter squash too!

Unfortunately I dug around the summer squash and I think I found the culprit. Squash bug.

If you aren't familiar with them by this name maybe you have heard of stink bugs. Yuck!
Apparently they prefer squash but can take out cucumber and melon as well. So there we have it.

Sad kale

Even the kale looks bad.

Oooooooooo h pretty roses

Wait til Ian sees how good my Russian Sage looks! He's going to be jealous.

Russian Sage and Red Double Knock Out Roses

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Brussel sprouts

These are if to good start!

I realize not easy to see.

They're about index finger end size. So they're coming along, some will be ready by November, Bonnie!