Archive | May, 2013

Fuchsia x “Princessita”

25 May

Ok, so I have a thing for fuchsias, so sue me, lol.

In this case, I bought this one as an already blooming hanging basket, complete with Bacopa monieri as a companion plant, half off because it was neglected and had some dead branches and stuff. Really, it looked fine, the nursery people at Lowes where I bought it had already watered it and it was perking up. Nothing at all wrong with it.

So for 15 bucks I decided it was worth it. We didn’t have much blooming for the hummers at the time, anyway, and this is a single that looked good, with to s of flowers. So, I got it.

Took. Week or so, but one of the Anna’s females is now using it regularly (along with the Salvia coccinea seedlings in with the Begonia boliviensis ‘Bonfire’, which she occasionally also will visit, and another hanging basket Fuchsia with a very compact variety with bigger flowers I thought was ‘Kathleen’ from the store tag, but has. Varietal tag I just found which names it “Auntie Kinks”).

The only real problem with this is weather or not I am going to try and overwinter these… My overwintered ‘Marinka’ fuchsias are still not flowering, and don’t look near as good. The standard I bought last year looks good, but oh has one poor lonely flower. I think the cool weather is inhibiting flower bud production even on these guys. Much as I love these, it may be in some ways better, if not cheaper, to buy new in flower, in spring.

I so wish I had. Greenhouse for these kinds of things…

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What’s Blooming May 23rd

25 May

Sooo, a bit late posting this, but better late than never, right? lol.

 

Abutilon hybrid (megapotamicum?)

Allium schoenoprasum

Antirrhinum majus ‘Rocket’

Aquilegia formosa

Aruncus dioicus

Barbarea orthocerus

Begonia boliviensis ‘Bonfire’

Begonia x ‘Katrin’

Begonia x ‘Kleo’

Brassica oleracea

Callibrachoa ‘Tequila Sunrise’

Callibrachoa x ‘Vampire’

Camelai japonica ‘Kumasaka’

Camelia japonica (striped pink)

Chrysanthemum partheniacum

Claytonia sibirica

Corydalis scouleri

Cuphea ignea

Cuphea llavea ‘Tiny Mice’

Cuphea x ‘Caribean Sunset’

Cuphea x Flamenco Samba’

Delphinium menziesii (nuttallii?)

Delphinium trollifolium

Dicentra formosa

Dicentra x ‘Luxurient’

(Elisiophyllum pinnatum)

Eriophyllum lanatum

Fittonia albivenis (red vein)

Fuchsia campos-portoi

Fuchsia magelanica ‘molinae’

Fuchsia¬†magelanica ‘Whiteknight’s Amethyst’

Fuchsia magelanica (Patrick’s)

Fuchsia x ‘Kathleen’

Fuchsia x ‘Prinessita’

Geranium phaeum

Geranium robertianum

Huechera micrantha ‘Palace Purple’

Huechera x (light pink tiny flowers, green leaves)

Hydrophyllum tenuipes

Impatiens hawkeri

Iris japonica ‘Ledger’s Variety’

Justicia brandegeana

Kalanchoe blossfeldiana

Lavendula viridis

Lobelia erinus

Lobularia maritima

Lonicera ciliosa

Lonicera involucrata

Lonicera sempervirens ‘Sulphurea’

Lonicera x brownii ‘Dropmore Scarlet’Meconopsis cambrica

Montia perfoliata

Myrrhus odorata

Myosotis laxa

Nemesia ‘Aromatica White Improved’

Nemesia (purple and pink mix)

Nicotiana (alata grandiflora?)

Osteospermum ‘Margarita Purple’

Osteospermum (white)

Oxalis oregana

Pelargonium x ‘Tango Velvet Red’

Philadelphus coronaria ‘aurea’

Pyrethrum coccineum

Ranunculus repens

Rosa chinensis ‘mutabilis’

Rosa gymnocarpa

Rosa x ‘Climbing Peace’

Rubus leucodermis

Rubus ursinus

Salvia coccinea (‘Forest Fire’)

Salvia coccinea ‘Snow Nymph’

Scabiosa alpina ‘Ritz Blue’

Schizanthus pinnatus hybrids

Sedum spathulifolium

Symphitum x ‘Bressingham Blue’

Tagetes x ‘Disco Orange’

Tagetes x ‘Disco Yellow’

Tellima grandiflora

Thymus x citriodorus

Tolmeia menziesii

Tradescantia zebrina

Trifolium alba

Urtica dioica

Viola labradorica

Viola x ‘Tiger’

Viola x wittrockiana

 

I have to admit, I missed some of the smaller weeds, and didn’t look closely at the grasses… it was raining out when I did the list, lol.¬† Still, a pretty impressive list.

 

Lasagna Rolls

24 May

Ok, so this must be one of those new trendy things… I saw it on someone’s wall on Facebook, caught my attention cause it looked good and easy… So last night when I decided to actually do it, I looked up recipes and oh my, there are a lot of them out there.

But basically, it looked like a regular lasagna except you roll it instead of doing the layers. Easy enough, and we had everything to do it. Of course, in my usual style I kind of winged it, lol, so I have no idea the amounts of any of the ingredients I used. So I’m not even gonna try and include that, just a list of what I used.

To start, we had gotten some handmade spinach noodles from the Pappardelle’s booth at the Issaquah Farmer’s Market. We love their noodles, pricey but the flavor is so much better, and they always have new stuff to tempt us. So I boiled these noodles for five minutes, then took them off the heat and left them in the pot while I got the filling finished.

For the filling I mixed about a cup or so of Mexican ricotta style cheese, a good quarter cup Romano, about that of a nice goat cheese, and a handful of shredded cheddar and jack. To that I added a double handful of spinach, chopped up medium fine.

Honestly I oh just now realized I forgot to add an egg, lol. It was runny, but not everly so. Didn’t seem to need the egg, but I might add it next time if I remember.

So in the bottom of the pan, I spread a little of our home canned roasted tomato sauce, the. Started rolling the noodles with the filling. Basically separate the noodles (in this case, I had to cut them in half too), spread a little filling on each noodle, and roll em up! Messy, but not any worse than doing the usual sandwich.

Actually, I think I ended up using almost half the cheese filling I would normally use for lasagna, which of course is the “bad” part nutrition wise.

Once the pan was full (and what do you do with the extra noodles?!?) I topped it with the extra sauce from the jar, plus an additional pint of sauce, and baked it at 350 degrees for a out an hour. Turned out great! I Ctually kind of liked this better, and sin e the rolls a t like discrete portions, it’s really easy to serve this way. It would be great for a potluck or something like that.

Of course, this was meatless, but you could easily add sausage or ground whatever to the sauce. We even thought it would be cool to start the roll with a stick of the turkey pastrami or something like that.

The other variation I saw online I want to try was to use an Alfredo sauce instead of the traditional tomato sauce, maybe with a pesto kicker. That sounds good too.

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Fuchsia triphylla “Gartenmeister Bonstedt”

24 May

We bought this tender fuchsia at the Issaquah Farmers Market late last summer, and it is still blooming. It briefly paused in the middle of winter, but only at producing new buds, the flowers hung on till the next batch started again. We actually bought two, but one I left in the gallon sized container and left outside. It didn’t freeze out till after New Years.

And that whole time, the Anna’s used the flowers, even when they were frost bitten and a little off color from the cold. Now that the big one is out again, they are again using it. Luckily I took cuttings about a month ago, which are now about ready to plant out or pot up. I should probably plant the big one out in the garden and pot up one of the cuttings to overwinter next year.

Because I had such good luck with this variety, I jumped at the chance to try “Mary” when Patrick from the Hummingbird Forum offered me cuttings, and this spring when we found another variety at the Pat Calvert Greenhouse. I’ll have to go find the name on that one though.

At a y rare, this is a nice fuchsia not just for the brilliant coral pink red and orange flowers, but also for the dark reddish overlay on the nice robust foliage. It’s not really purple leafed, nor bronze at all, more a dark green with plum purple overtones. Very nice indeed.

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Rosa gymnocarpa

24 May

With its small leaves, airy branching structure, and diminutive dime to knuckle sized flowers, this is not the showiest rose on the planted. It is, however, an excellent native for wildlife habitat. The flowers, often amazingly fragrant for such a small rose, attract bees of all kinds but are especially beloved of bumbles. On any kind of dry day, even in cloudy cool conditions, these will be buzzing with bees.

Usually you will see it on the edge of a woodland, or just inside a bright open forest. It will take some shade in the garden, but for best flowering prefers at least some sun, particularly late afternoon sun. Full sun is often a little harsh for it, but if the roots are shaded and it doesn’t get too awfully dry, it will do well in full sun too.

Anything from regular garden soils to slightly sandy loams will work for soil. Drought tolerant once established too, though it doesn’t particularly do well with wet feet. Doesn’t need much in the way of fertilizer either, a nice mulch of leaves in the fall will be more than sufficient to keep it happy the next year.

These look great with an evergreen like sword fern or salal underneath them. They tend to grow up into a leggy vase shaped shrub. Hard pruning encourages them to spread out by root runners, so I tend to avoid pruning unless really necessary, and when I can I will prune a little at a time over a couple of weeks till I get the effect I want.

Ours seems to be the preferred hang out for the hummingbirds. They will sit in it watching out from its airy loosely fountain like branches, either high where they can be seen for the more dominant birds, or in low for the more timid ones.

My original plant was from a cutting taken from a plant direct across the street. I consider it not just native, but natural to the property, which is something few of my native plants can claim.

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Calliandra “False Mesquite”

22 May

Ok, so I have gotten more than a few new plants this spring to attract hummers. This is one of the more intriguing ones for me. I found it at McLendon’s Hardware of all places, in a gallon sized pot with the name “Calliandra ‘false mesquite'” scribbled on the pot in oil pencil. No tag, just the name on the pot. Dunno anything more than that.

Now looking it up on the web, there are apparently a number of related species in the dry areas of the south and southwest US, from the apparently common coastal Calliandra eryophylla, to the Texas endemic C conferta. For the moment, unless someone can confirm or give me a key to tell these apart, I’ll assume this is the more common eryophylla, though some of the other options sound as interesting.

And wonder of wonders, I’ve already seen a hummer working the flowers!

Since pretty much all of the species I could find with that common name attached seems to be from dry areas, I carefully potted it up with extra perlite in the potting soil, hoping that will help it develop. The next question is how hardy is it? Hopefully with some prey film from winter wet it will prove hardy too, since several of the species, including the two above named, should be hardy in some 8, if not in our wet winters here in Seattle.

I have to admit, part of the draw is it seems to be a naturally diminutive little shrub, kind of like a natural bonsai, lol. I love the texture of the tiny little compound leaves, and the greying pink Pom Pom, feather duster like flowers. I hope it continues to bloom for the whole summer, too, though eryophylla is supposed to be summer deciduous? Who knows in our climate, and with summer water.

Anyway, this will be an adventure I am sure, hopefully not one of those all too brief summer flings!

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What’s Blooming May 14, 2013

15 May

Another day in Paradise, lol… well, until you look at the weather. Its been bouncing back and forth between hot and muggy, and cold and blustery, sprinkling drizzle to even hard driving rain. I just hope this isn’t the new normal for around here… not my favorite weather.

So, here is what is in bloom in the garden;

Allium schoenoprasum

Aquilegia formosa

(Bacopa monnieri)

Barbarea orthocerus

Begonia boliviensis ‘Bonfire’

Bellis perennis

(Begonia x ‘Kleo’, ‘Catrin’)

Brassica oleracea

(Calliandra “False Mesquite”- eriophylla?)

(Callibrachoa x ‘Tequila Sunrise’)

Callibrachoa x ‘Vampire’)

Camelia japonica ‘Kumasaka’

Camelia japonica (stripey pink)

Campanula carpatica

Chaenomeles (x speciosa)

(Chaenorrhinum origananifolium ‘Blue Dream’)

Cardamine hirsuta

Choisya ternata

Chrysanthemum partheniacum

Claytonia sibirica

Clematis montana ‘Freda’

Corydalis scouleri

(Cuphea ignea)

(Cuphea ‘Carribean Sunset’)

(Cuphea llavea ‘Tiny Mice’)

(Cuphea x Flamenco Samba’)

Cymbidium ?

Dicentra formosa

Deicentra x ‘Luxurient’

Delphinium nuttallii

Delphinium trollifolium

Eriophyllum lanatum

Fuchsia magelanica ‘molinae’

Fuchsia magelanica (Patrick’s)

Fuchsia magelanica ‘Whiteknight’s Amethyst’

Fuchsia triphylla ‘Gartenmeister Bonstedt’

Fuchsia x ‘Display’

(Fuchsia x ‘Kathleen’)

(Fuchsia x ‘Princessita’)

Geum macrophyllum

Geranium phaeum

Geranium robertianum

Grevillea victoriae

Huechera micrantha ‘Palace Purple’

Huechera (x ? light pink, green leaf)

Hyacinthus hispanica

Hydrophyllum tenuipes

Iris douglasiana alba

Iris douglasiana x (Judith’s)

Iris japonica ‘Ledger’s Variety’

(Justicia branedeana)

Laburnum anagyroides

Lavundula viridis

Lathyrus biflora

(Lobelia erinus ‘Saphire’, ‘Blue Moon’, ‘Regatta Mix’)

Lobularia maritimum

Lonicera ciliosa

Lonicera x brownii ‘Dropmore Scarlet’

Lunaria annua

Maiantheumum dilitatum

Maianthemum stellata

Magnolia (dwf pink tulip)

Meconopsis cambrica

Montia perfoliata

Myosotis laxa

Myosotis sp (arvensis? pretty sure it came from the prairie salvage stuff)

Myrrhus odorata

Nemesia ‘Aromatica White Improved’, ‘Grape’

(Osteospermum x ‘Margarita Purple’)

Oxalis oregana

Oxalis oregana ‘Pink Select’

(Pelargonium x ‘Tango Velvet Red’)

Phaelenopsis ?

Rhamnus purshiana

Rhododendron (sieboldii?)

Rhododendron x (old red between drives, old red by front deck, “wild” type)

Rosa chinensis mutabilis

Rosa gymnocarpa

Rosa x ‘Climbing Peace’

Rubus leucodermis

Rubus ursinus

Salvia coccinea (‘Forest Fire’? self sown seedlings from a pot brought indoors)

Salvia coccinea ‘Snow Nymph’

Salvia x ‘Phyllis Fancy’

Solanum lycopersicum

Sorbus aucuparia

Sedum spathulifolium

Symphytum x ‘Bressingham Blue’

(Tagetes x ‘Disco Yellow’, ‘Disoco Orange’)

Tellima grandiflora

Thymus x citriodorus

Tolmeia menziesii

Tradescantia vebrina

Vaccinium ovatum

Viccia sp

Vinca minor (Scott’s variegated)

Viola labradorica

(Viola x ‘Rebecca’)

Viola x wittrockiana

What’s Blooming- May 8th, 2013

8 May

After a couple of recent trips to various places to get plants… there are lots of things in bloom I can’t really claim any credit for, so to speak, lol. So, those plants are still listed, but in parentheses. Most of those are recent purchases.

Also, its finally warm enough that just about everything is outside now! Yay! Only the Phaelenopsis orchids and the amaryllus stay inside for the summer, everything else gets booted one way or another outside, lol.

(Fuchsia x ‘Rachel’) hanging basket

Claytonia sibirica

Begonia boliviensis ‘Bonfire’

Salvia coccinea (‘Forest Fire’?)

(Bacopa monieri) hanging basket with following fuchsia

(Fuchsia x [white and pink]) hanging basket

Tagetes x ‘Disco Orange’ and ‘Disco Yellow’

Pelargonium x ‘Tango Red Velvet’

Dacilorhyza sp? (weedy grass)

Cardamine hirsuta

(Cuphea x ‘Flamenco Samba’)

(Callibrachoa x ‘Tequila Sunrise’)

(Allysum [Lobularia] maritima)

Osteopsermum x ‘Margarita Purple’

Tradescantia zebrina

Camassia leichtlinii

Camassia quamash

Rubus ursinus

Viola x wittrockiana

Viola labradorica

Lunaria annua

(Salvia coccinea ‘Snow Nymph’)

(Salvia x ‘Phyllis Fancy’)

Geum macrophyllum

Lavendula viridis

Allium schoenoprasum

Barbarea orthocerus

Clematis montana ‘Freda’

Geranium robertianum

Lamium purpureum

Myosotis laxa

Camelia japonica ‘Kumasaka’

Camelia japonia (stripey pink)

Hydrophyllum tenuipes

Myrrhus odorata

Meconopsis cambrica

(Begonia x ‘Kleo’)

(Begonia x ‘Catrin’)

Brassica oleracea

Dicentra formosa

Delphinium nuttallii

Festuca (rubra?)

(Cuphea x ‘Tiny Mice’)

(Lobelia erinus)

(Viola x ‘Rebecca’)

Kanalchoe blossfeldiana

Fuchsia magelanica ‘molinae’

Lunaria annua

Iris x douglasian (Judith’s)

Iris x douglasiana (white)

Vaccinium ovatum

Bellis perennis

Choisia ternata

Magnolia (dwarf pink tulip)

Huechera x ?

Hyacinthus hispanica

(Chaenorrhinum origanifolium ‘Blue Dream’)

Fragaria virginiana

Tellima grandiflora

Taraxacum officinale

Vinca minor variegata

Rhododendron (sieboldii)

Rhododendron (“wild type”)

Rhododendron (red one between drives)

Grevillea victoriaea

Symphitum x ‘Bressingham Blue’

Maianthemum dilitatum

Delphinium trollifolium

Fuchsia (x magelanica- Patrick’s)

Fuchsia x ‘Whiteknight’s Amethyst’

Urtica dioica

Corydalis scouleri

Oxalis oregana

Rosa chinensis ‘mutabilis’

Iris japonica ‘Ledger’s Variety’

Polygonatum sp

Montia perfoliata

Chaenomeles x

Sorbus aucuparia

Laburnum anagyroides

This week has been hot in the afternoons, though nights and mornings are often still under 50 degrees. Thge combination has plants both hopping to bloom, and some still rather shy to grow much.

The last week or so I’ve been going a little over board on annuals for the decks and stuff… we’ve spent way too much, but gotten some really cool stuff. I hope it all does well for the summer. I want lots of color, and hummingbirds flying all over! lol

Molbert’s Tortoiseshell buzzed me today

6 May

Buzzed me then went and sat on top of a stem of nettles (Urtica dioica). Didn’t look like it was laying eggs, though it may have been checking to see if a female was about… He’s been flitting around the house all afternoon, hopefully he sticks around and finds a mate, lol.

Mango Freezer Jam

6 May

Ok, as anyone who knows me will tell you, I have a life long thing for peanut butter and jam sandwhiches. I mean, if there is decent peanut butter in the house, that is my preferred lunch, and often breakfast or a snack. But, not just any peanut butter will do, and I really do prefer to make my own jam too, especially since I really don’t like most cooked jams.

There is something about taking freshly picked berries and making a nice bowl full of freezer jam that kind of locks in all that summery goodness. Freezer jam is generally pretty simple to make with the right pectin, just follow the directions, but some fruits seem to work better than others. Strawberry and raspberry are of course classics. I also like blackberry, which we can pick for free, but I find blueberry jam kind of disappointing.

Recently we got a flat of beautiful ripe mangos from Costco. As usually, it’s just a little more than the two of us can comfortably eat, but I started thinking, why not make jam out of it? So I looked online, and there seemed to be several people making it with different kinds of pectin, so I decided to try it.

The results are yummy! I’m a little concerned about the natural stringiness of the mangoes, we’ll see how well that works on a sandwich,
But the sweet mangoes taste great as a jam.

A lot of people are kind if intimidated by processing mangoes, since they have that huge tough seed inside, but for this it’s pretty simple; stand the fruit on edge, and place the knife slightly off center but parallel to the flatter side of the mango. Cut down, trying to run the blade of the knife as close to the seed pit as possible to slice off the “cheek” of the mango. Turn it around and do the same on the other side.

Now comes the neat trick- with a spoon, scoop out the juicy fruit and scrape out the inside of the skin to get all the pulp out. For this, either take small scoops with your spoon, or one big scoop, and dice the mango fruit finely. I like my jams chunky, so I will probably dice mine next time and do a minimal mash on it. I left the pieces too big and had to use my potato masher, and made a gloppy mess. Not so many chunks, and longer strings. A fine dice I think would work better.

Once you have the pulp you need, follow the directions on your pectin of choice. I like the Ball Realfruit Instant Pectin designed for freezer jams. It is a powder you can measure out for just the amount of fruit you want. In this case, I used 5 cups of mango pulp (turned out to be four mangoes, but these were huge fruits, smaller ones would take more), 1 tablespoon of lemon juice, 6 tablespoons of the pectin and 2 cups of sugar.

I like to mix the sugar and pectin in a separate bowl, then add it all at once. The pectin dissolves better that way. I stirred for a minute or so, and set it out in the sun for ten minutes while I got the jars ready. 5 cups of fruit is about perfect to fill three of the canning jars in the photo, that is one batch there. I know some people say these aren’t good jars for freezing, but they work for me. I haven’t had one of these explode on me when they freeze yet, just make sure to leave at least an inch of space on the top.

Label the date on the top of the lid, fill the jars, and let rest for a couple of hours before you throw them in the freezer. I like to make sure the jam sets before putting it in the freezer. If its syrup (not necessarily a bad thing!) I want to know before I throw it in the freezer.

This is definitely different than my usual strawberry and raspberry, but I love mango, and this should make a nice break from the typical summer berries.

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Update- 7/2/2014

Found some seconds at the grocery store being offered at 2/.99, and decided to add them to some strawberry mash. I got six mangoes for basically $3, and that made 6 1/2, almost 7 cups of mashed mango pulp. I sliced a fine crosshatch in the fruit before scooping it out, and that worked perfectly! Now to make more jam… Think I will reserve 5 cups for another batch of just mango, and the rest will be added to strawberry and maybe add a pair of over ripe bananas that are sitting on the counter. Sounds like a good mix to me!