Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Looking Pretty Good!

Well, just wanted to give you an update! I know you all love grassy paths or places in your garden. Ours is back once again. Not perfect, but pretty good for gardeners whose preference is herbs and not lawn! Answered questions on Gardenline today. Always an interesting day! Hope you are having an interesting day wherever you may be!

Monday, June 29, 2009

In Full Bloom!

We have a Chinese chestnut in full bloom! It is stinky at the moment when the flowers are blooming! It does give a lot of shade. Plants really have to survive if they are planted underneath it! The Herbal Husband got seeds or a seedling from a guy who was having a yard sale. He told us it was an American chestnut. The Herbal Husband was excited. My extension agent told me it was probably a Chinese chestnut and not an American. They are working on a better version of an American chestnut that would be more disease and insect resistant. Hopefully you are enjoying the shade of a tree wherever you are! Got to run! Going out to work on the front garden!

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Some of My Favorites are in Bloom!

Since I graduated with an art history degree from college, I had to get a famous painter into my mix in the garden. This is Hemerocallis 'Frans Hals'. Hemerocallis means beauty for a day! You have to be quick or you will miss them! One of my favorite edible flowers. You have to grow them without chemicals of any sorts to be able to eat them. I would not eat daylilies on the roadside. They make a fantastic presentation in a wine glass with a scoop of sorbet or ice cream and some fresh fruit or chocolate sauce. Don't forget to remove those reproductive parts, the stamens and pistils before you use it. The pollen can be the trigger for some people and their allergies so you want to take those parts out. It gives you a nice cup shape that fits into the glass. The lighter colors of daylily are also less likely to 'bleed' color than the darker shades. This big yellow daylily below is called 'Good Reason'. It was my Great Uncle Harry's favorite. My Great Aunt Roberta gave me a fan of this one before she died. She gave me a couple of others that I will share when they bloom. Do you have passalong plants that were shared? Please tell me about them.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Share Your Garden with the Master Gardeners!

This is the backyard of the first Share Your Garden of the season. It rained 3/4 of an inch just before we arrived! Timing is everything! Susan is our president and she has a lot of energy and commitment and has a beautiful garden. It is full of tranquility and edibles. She uses raised beds for her veggies and has areas of interesting pots and plants. Well done, Susan. It's our turn next in July!

Friday, June 26, 2009

Friendship Farms and Herb Groups!

Yesterday my Herbal Companion and I went on a bus trip to Friendship Farms in Westmoreland County with the Piccadilly Herb Club and some members of the Western Pennsylvania Unit of The Herb Society of America. It is out in the Laurel Highlands. Beautiful countryside. They specialize in native plants, very good bread and jams and Angus beef of the highest quality. I think farming is very difficult, but this family started in the 1960's and have been successful at what they know.
We had lunch at the Pepperwood Grille in front of Westmoreland Mall on Route 30. They had 'Fairy' roses, lavender and boxwood on our tables. It was a nice touch! Good friends, lunch and beautiful scenery. A great combination!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

It's Travel Thursday--Cordoba, Spain!

This is the fast train, the Ave, that we took to go to Cordoba at the end of our trip to Spain in March. Below a view out the train window. Since we went into the interior of the country, it was
going to be a warm day! Cordoba is due north of Malaga. It was full of tourists and a very lively city. Known for its patios, Cordoba was very influenced by the Moorish Empire. We also explored the Gardens of the Alcazar. The Cathedral of Cordoba was again influenced by the Islamic and Catholic religions. It was mysterious and beautiful in the same moment! We loved our day in Cordoba!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Reilly's To The Rescue!

Well, we were in herbal desperation mode! The herb garden was still looking a little bare! So I took a ride out to Reilly's Summer Seat Farm & Garden Center. If you live in Pittsburgh, you need to take a ride out there. I found these three 'Hidcote' lavenders. Just what we lost! Very excited! I'll post a picture of the new improved herb garden once we get it finished!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Radish Sandwiches!

I made some herbal butter for a class a couple of weeks ago. Do we have radishes! Yes, we certainly do! So just sliced up a breakfast radish. Yes, that's the type and spread the bread with the butter with the sliced radish on top. Yummy! I had some apple cider with it. Wished it had been lavender lemonade. Have made some since I made those sandwiches. Nothing like it on a hot summer day! Any kind of cold drink is a great thing! Hope you are staying cool wherever you may be!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Lots of Blooming in the Garden!

This is prime time in our garden! The left photo is a chocolate foxglove. No, sorry it doesn't smell like chocolate! So you aren't missing anything. I got it at one of my favorite herb farms Mulberry Creek. This is Karen Langan's description in their catalog:

"Milk chocolate-red flowers look good enough to eat- but don't. You couldn't squeeze in another flower between the narrow, glossy green leaves on sturdy stems. Seed stalks are dried for outrageous flower arrangements."

The herb garden is looking good and the heat will help the size of some plants this week! The yellow blooming plant in the right photo above is rosemary leaved santolina also from Mulberry Creek. The middle photo below is from the front and it is in transition from spring to summer. The "wild" day lilies are in bloom. The red bee balm is about to start blooming. Last Wednesday we had almost four inches of rain in the garden! We are supposed to have a hot and mostly dry week this week. Finally!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Happy Father's Day!

Well, this is my dad who adopted me 50 plus years ago. I was born in Pittsburgh and eight days later was adopted and raised in a small town north of Pittsburgh. I had seven glorious years with him and then he was killed in an auto accident. If you can, celebrate your father today and every day!

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Another Elder We Love!

This is Sambucus canadensis 'Acutiloba' or 'Laciniata' or American Elder. This one we have in our garden has a cut leaf which makes for visual interest in the summer. It is a deciduous shrub, multi-stemmed, 5 feet to 12 feet tall and has fruit that matures in September. It is native to the eastern United States and is hardy to Zone 4 and warmer parts of Zone 3. The flowers are edible and smell of vanilla. Ours is growing in shade and probably would be even better with more sun, but space is at a premium! This one below is growing in the herb garden of the Western Reserve unit of the Herb Society of America at the Cleveland Botanical Garden. It is a great garden and one you should visit if you are going to be in the Cleveland area this summer.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Guest Blogging for The Herb Companion Magazine!

Here is my latest blog and link for The Herb Companion magazine. This posting is about the New York Botanical Garden that I visited while I was in New York City in May. The picture above is the herb garden. It is very easy to reach by local commuter train and you get to see the magnificent Grand Central Station. The garden has its own stop and I enjoyed my afternoon visit immensely.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

It's Travel Thursday--Another Mountain Ride

Another travel Thursday has rolling around again and another hopefully wonderful story. Aren't the days just flying by? Well, this is Rafael and his burro. He comes every day from Riogordo to tend his olive trees and returns every night. He starts in the early morning and it takes him until mid-morning to get to his trees. He stops to talk with his friends along the way. My friend introduced me to Rafael and we shook hands. I will never forget his handshake. Very strong. Mountain people are a very special people no matter where in the world you might be. I know you are anxious to know what Rafael makes.
Here it is. A beautiful basket made of olive branches. We like to keep fruit in it. It is a beautiful memory of our trip to Spain! Thanks to our friends!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

We Admire These Two So Much!

We took our friends Jim & Laverne out for dinner last night. First, they came over to the garden for a visit. The Herbal Husband and I are really amazed at how well these two do. Jim is going to be 93 this year and Laverne was just 88. We want to grow up and be just like them! They were married in January 1945. It was 64 years ago! Laverne graduated from high school 70 years ago! They have great family support and a deep religious faith! Their memories puts ours to shame! We are so lucky to have them in our lives. So think of all of the older people in your life and celebrate them!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

We Have Something in Common!

I spent the past several days cutting lavender. A joyful process, but I can see that my lavenders are in decline because of overcrowding with chives and other lavenders. The reference in the title is the fact that The Cloisters lavender and my lavender are having a similar fungal problem. Lavender needs AIR CIRCULATION! We never give ours enough! We love our herb plants maybe a little too much because we want to jam all of them together! It only works for a period of time! So learn from my mistake, give your herb plants room to thrive!

Monday, June 15, 2009

The Bees So Enjoy This Flower!

This is the Apothecary's rose I talked about the other day. This bee was really enjoying the pollen of this flower. I caught it in midflight! Hope you are enjoying the day wherever you may be!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Be Careful What You Wish For!

The Herbal Husband several years ago said he wanted a plant that attracted the hummingbirds to the garden. I told him that I knew of just the plant, but it could become very invasive! No problem, he said. We won't let it get to that point! Well, unfortunately this pile in the picture is all of the vines that have sprung up in other parts of the garden. It chokes out the good plants. So the botanical name is Campsis radicans. The common names include trumpet creeper (not a good analogy!) and hummingbird vine. Really for the first couple of years, the hummingbirds went right by it. Now they have found it and that is the bonus, the only one. If you see it in your local nursery, turn and run the other way!

Saturday, June 13, 2009

The Bug That Enjoys My Herbs!

It may be hard to see my nemesis in the jar, but that the safest place for it! Click on the picture to get a better view. This is the four-lined plant bug. A true bug with two stages and only one generation a season. Thank God! Here is a link to an article by Commercial Horticulture Educator, Sandy Feather from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on life cycle and how to control them. I'm going to be busy cutting back all of the damage these little pests have inflicted on my plants!

Friday, June 12, 2009

It's Travel Friday--A Mountain Ride!

I completely forgot about Travel Thursday yesterday! I was so intoxicated by the strawberries! Well, we must get back to Spain because our trip there was so wonderful! After lunch one afternoon, my friend took me over the mountain to see the views! Here are some of them.
This region is known for almond and olive trees, but also Spanish oak trees like the one above. We then came across a shepard and his flock. As you can see we were interrupting their lunch! The shepard had to come and herd them away from the road.
Being the wife of an architect, we are always looking at buildings. I was looking even before I married him (at buildings that is)! This one just was so impressive because it had been there for centuries and was in good shape.A perfect way to end a mountain ride is with a beautiful mountain sunset and dinner waiting at home!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

A Sweet Treat!

The Herbal Husband and I were out cleaning the garden yesterday and finding all of these sweet treats along the way! It makes the work so much more pleasant! We don't have a strawberry bed as such. We have them tucked into our flower and veggie beds everywhere! So hopefully wherever you are, you will take time to have a sweet treat! P.S. I just had to share a picture of our dessert! Decadent! Sorry we could not share! It has been a great year for strawberries!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Guest Blogging for The Herb Companion Magazine!

They say timing is everything. It's even true when you are visiting famous gardens, such as the Brooklyn Botanic Garden. Here is a link to my latest post for The Herb Companion Magazine. Hope you enjoy it! I also want to thank the ladies of the Greybrooke Garden Club for having me speak this morning. We had a great time!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Surprise! Surprise!

I was in the front garden working the other morning and guess what I spotted across the yard! Yes, it is one of my favorite roses and it thrives despite where we placed it! It is a David Austin rose called 'Graham Thomas.' Graham has this lovely fragrance to it, but it is a very fragile rose. So we allow it to perfume the air in the garden. Got to get ready for my presentation tomorrow. See you later! Hope you are enjoying your day wherever you may be!

Monday, June 8, 2009

Surrounded by Roses!

This is one of my favorite times of year because the 'Apothocary's Rose' and 'Rosa Mundi' are in full bloom. They are both gallica roses. They are one time bloomers, but very fragrant and the bees love them! Important! They are both very old roses (I bought new ones!), but they were grown by the Greek and Romans! They grew everything, didn't they? Here is a closeup of 'Rosa Mundi' which was named after Fair Rosamund, the mistress of King Henry II of England. Gotta get some gardening done before the rain comes! See you later! P.S. The hummer is back. It was sipping from the sage flowers! Whoo Hoo! Hope to get photos!