Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Bouquet Day!

Here's my sorry little submission for Noelle's wonderful meme: Monthly Garden Bouquet. All my little pretties can fit in a cordial glass ~ note the penny in the picture. (Feel free to ignore the hose :)

Okay! Onward and upward. 

These next two submissions are NOT mine. But, they're so cool I wanted to share. I hope you enjoy them.

My non garden-blogging friend, Karen, is a newbie to the world of Dahlias, but that didn't stop her from winning pretty much every prize in the house at last weekend's flower show.

Best Use of a Dining Room Table.
[These are just her winners. There were many more categories at the flower show.]

Three cheers for Karen. And, for Noelle, too. Creator of Monthly Garden Bouquet.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Mish Mash and the Mums

I'm on a mission to keep my new Hardy Mums alive. If you have any tips, I'm all ears.

I had to work all weekend. ALL weekend. As in 12 solid hours on Sunday but only half that on Saturday. Because Sandy suggested I knock off early to do wine and appetizers. (I'm only human.)

This is me working:

Well, actually this is me, behind the camera, killing time instead of working. But, yes! That's a real Sunflower.

Sometimes, when I receive a bouquet of flowers, I pull out the most favorite one and let it shine all by it's lonesome next to my computer.

That Sunflower replaced the previous Pom Pom Dahlia. Gone but not forgotten. An astonishingly perfect white Dahlia that kept getting more and more interesting as it slowly faded into oblivion.

Got the Dahlias for writing KC's press releases. (She grows them.) Got the Sunflowers for sending Jamie on my New Mexico horse ride 'cause I no longer wanted to go plus they wouldn't give me my money back.

Dearly Departed Dahlia

Got these gargantuan Mums for doing absolutely nothing. Seriously. I met up with Sandy for wine and appetizers, complimented her on the gorgeous Mums and she said, Here! Take them! (Don't ya just love how wine makes everyone all generous and stuff?)

Which makes me think I should be very forthcoming on flower compliments from here on out. You just never know when a gardener might be in the mood to gift you with something...

* After Googling Mums until my little fingers are all worn out, I'm beginning to wonder if the term 'Hardy Mum' is a conspiracy theory. Did you know Mums need to be planted in the Springtime in order to have half a chance at surviving the cold, cold winter? I didn't either.

** Mish Mash Monday is the brainchild of Monica, resident gardener to the fairies.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

The Unexpected Harvest

Our no complaints summer weather inspired a plentiful harvest of fruit I never intended to pick.

Crappy Apples

On express orders from pretty much everyone who's had to deal with me lately, I took a walk up over the hill, to visit the horses. Right after I picked them a couple buckets of crappy apples.

Not to be confused with crabby apples. (Recipe below.)

 Crabby Apples

The big apples aren't very tasty. The little crab apples are even worse. Unless you're a horse. (Though I've discovered a few cups of brown sugar can take the edge off pretty much anything.)

Walnut Crab Apple Bread Recipe
  • 2 cups crab apples, schmooshed, seeds removed. (might want to get rid of those stems, too.)
  • 1/2 cup butter (lightened up: 1/4 cup butter + 1/4 cup applesauce)
  • 2 eggs (lighter: same amount, liquid eggs)
  • 1 cup brown sugar (real maple syrup is healthier, but I haven't goofed around with it)
  • 2 tbs. milk
  • 2 tbs. cinnamon
  • 2 cups flour (+ 2 extra tbs. flour if you live in the mountains, like me.)
  • 3/4 cup walnuts
  • 1/2 cup golden raisins

Bake in a bread pan @ 350, for about an hour.

And, be warned:

* I've had mixed reviews on this recipe. I liked it. Bella thinks prepping and cooking baby crab apples is a huge waste of time. (She'd much rather eat them raw.)

What's that you say? These things produce fruit??
My soul goal for planting crab apple trees was the heavenly pink, white and fuchsia flowers in springtime. Fruit, if any, could be a tasty treat for the birds. Or, so I thought. We're gonna need lots more birds...

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day ~ September, 2010

Photo above ~ meet the perp. Happily munching his way from the front garden to the backyard. AND ~ he invited a few dozen of his close, personal friends so things are looking a little ragged around here.

You know how people always brag that their gardens are alive with color? Well, mine's half dead with color.

Lots of bright bloomers, but most are just halfsies. Relentless deadheading helps but after 5 months of long hours, hot sun and hard work these gals are pretty worn out. (Me, too!)

Big applause for this young lady. Columbines are generally June bloomers but ~ like I said ~ I'm a relentless deadheader. I do believe this is the latest I've ever seen a Columbine flowering in my garden!

I should be speaking the praises of Sedum, today. (Love that plant.) Thought I'd be a rebel and clap my hands for Potentilla instead. Petal Pink Potentilla, that is. The hardest working waterwise shrub in my gardens. Been blooming all summer.

White David Phlox ~ looks gorgeous in a vase and the fragrance... oooh la lah.

Plentiful daisy wannabes ~ volunteer Asters, Zebrinas, Marguerites, and (truly) wild Coneflowers.

Last but not least, Moth Orchids! Yeah, yeah, I'm sure you think this is cheating but they're squeaking in on a technicality. They've been living outdoors all summer! This is their 2nd re-bloom at Chez Kate, so I think this counts.

Oh! And, in case you're wondering... I'm planning to paint those garden chairs. Some day. Real. Soon.

As always, go give Carol of May Dreams Gardens a great, big hug for creating this wonderful Bloggers' Bloom Day monthly tradition.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Final Exam

"The Chocolate Flower prefers dry, pitiful soil."

That statement got me sooo excited!

After all, shopping for perennials that enjoy my harsh, garden environment is like braving the Nordstrom's shoe sale when you know, full well, your size 7 foot is the same size as a million other women sporting a Mastercard. (When you do find something that fits, chances are good that it's probably sold out.)

Which is why I was thrilled to find the Chocolate Flower.

It's easily mistaken for a Tickseed Coreopsis, until you brush past it, without thinking, and get a surprising whiff of that pretty chocolate fragrance.

This time of year, my waterwise perennials fidget nervously in the soil. It's report card time.

Did they learn their lessons? How to survive in the land of the inept gardener who sometimes wishes she'd started a horseback riding blog instead?  Because it's not like I'll coddle them with the promise of a do-over. No, no. Visions of the compost pile haunt them night and day.

Chocolate Flowers get an A+. Berlandiera lyrata USDA zones 4-8. Save yourself some $$$ and plant this easy bloomer by seed.
Hey, Smarty Pants:
Think you know a thing or two about native perennials who dream of a comfy life in your garden? Click here and take this wildflower quiz.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Sonic Blooms!

A vacation is what you take when you can no longer take what you've been taking. ~ Earl Wilson

It feels soooo marvy to get OFF of an airplane. To grab my bag from the noisy carousel. Turn my back on the rest of the sardines who were squished into the same plane as me...

Then, slide back into the familiar life I so gleefully abandoned two short weeks ago.

And, I suppose that's the great thing about vacations. How they knock a little sense into me. I return home, unable to recall what had been making me so batty that I desperately needed to leave.

This time around, I vacationed with two of my best buds: Week one I traveled with my happy little horse. Week two I scooted off to Oregon with a Master Gardener who is simply gaga over Dahlias.

Do you grow Dahlias? They're too fussy for me but after wandering through entire acres of bright blossoms, bigger than my head, I have half a mind to try.

I'm particularly giddy over these perfect, little Poms:

In case you're wondering... Yes, they do come in other colors than pink. I didn't realize that's all I photographed until I got home! ;-)

For everything you've ever wanted to know about Dahlias, including how not to kill 'em, click here.