Wednesday, August 16, 2017

BASIL BECKY..... Gardening from the Heart: More Dill Needed

BASIL BECKY..... Gardening from the Heart: More Dill Needed: So tonight I went out to harvest some Dill Weed. My husband loves fresh cucumbers with dill and onions. So I was trying to make a quick sid...

More Dill Needed

So tonight I went out to harvest some Dill Weed. My husband loves fresh cucumbers with dill and onions. So I was trying to make a quick side for dinner. I had some fresh cucumbers from the garden so....

However.....when I went out to the Herb Garden someone else had eaten all the dill weed.????

It is ok...I will plant more dill and I still had enough to make the following recipe. My pollinators come first..I can always eat something else

I was trying to mimic a recipe my mom use to make. Not sure it is the same recipe but very similar. 

4 Cucumbers , thinly sliced 
1 small white onion, thinly sliced
1cup white vinegar 
1/2 cup water
3/4 cup sugar
2 Tablespoons or more fresh dill
Toss together the cucumbers and onion in a small bowl. Combine the vinegar, water, and sugar in a sauce pan over medium though heat. Bring to a boil and pour over the cucumber/ onion  mixture. Stir in dill weed cover and refrigerate until cold, at least one hour. 

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

BASIL BECKY..... Gardening from the Heart: Here come the Surprise Lilies.. AKA Naked Lilies

BASIL BECKY..... Gardening from the Heart: Here come the Surprise Lilies.. AKA Naked Lilies: They are here....I love this plant. I  did not know about it when I lived in Indiana... but it is so cool and beautiful this time of ye...

Here come the Surprise Lilies.. AKA Naked Lilies

They are here....I love this plant. I  did not know about it when I lived in Indiana... but it is so cool and beautiful this time of year.... Here is an article from the Kentucky Gardener I wrote about 5 years ago.  I am really fascinated by them!

 Enjoy the Article!!

We bought the house we currently live in 20 plus years ago in the early spring. When we moved in I was so thrilled to see all the spring bulbs popping up everywhere. There were patches of daffodils, snowdrops, and hyacinths in many different spots. Plus in the out buildings I found many empty boxes from Brecks, Springhill and more. All this gave me hope of what the spring and summer would behold. I was not disappointed  when the first bulbs appeared. Although the plantings were randomly planted, the plants were just waiting for me to move them to the right spot.
 However one bulb had me stumped. Late spring I had strap-like, greenish, gray leaves up to 12 inches long and 1 inch wide in groups all over the yard. As early summer arrived and the leaves died off, I was very tempted to dig them up and throw them out. Luckily, I ran out of time doing more pressing garden projects, and let them grow.  Then in the late summer, I noticed arrow like spears shooting out of the ground. Each sheath would grow about 2 feet tall, and would open into 5 to 7 funnel shaped rose tinted pink blooms.  What a surprise!  
  After doing some research, which mainly consisted of asking garden friends, neighbors, and reading blogs, I discovered that they were Lycoris squamigera.  This is a plant with many aliases including Naked Ladies, Resurrection Lilies, Magic Lilies or Surprise Lilies. I love the variety of names. You may know them by a different name. If so please pass it on!!
Here are a couple words of advice I have learned about this very unusual plant. This may be the only bulb I know that needs a warning label.
#1) If you have an obsessed mower, like my husband, you must watch for the arrival of the stems emerging from the ground or they may be mowed down. I have slowly transplanted my” Naked Ladies” to flower beds. However, I bet if you let your husband know being careful and not mowing in certain area will result in a group of “Naked Ladies” appearing, he will greatly improve his mowing game!
#2) Be careful where you talk about your Surprise Lilies! I heard a story about a 
man who was going to his choir practice at church. He began to talk about the fact that he 
had several” Naked Ladies” in his front yard. The Music Director looked at him and said something to the effect: if this is true, then why in the heck are you here? 
#3) Practice self discipline when weeding in the spring. No one has ever needed  to warn me about this, as I have a long history of leaving “unknown” fast growing “plants” way too long only to discover I have nurtured a weed. If you get frustrated with the lack of flowers and discard the bulb, you will miss the big show.
#4) “Naked Ladies” do need to be transplanted and shared or replanted every so often. I read a blog email from a person who was complaining that he had too many  
“Naked Ladies” in his front yard.  Perhaps this is why this plant was included in Steve Bender and Felder Rushing’s great book. Passalong Plants.  However, do beware, as Felder Rushing mentions Lycoris, may skip a couple years before blooming when they are messed with.  I loved his comment about the transplanting problem, “You really can’t complain about all if this. It’s just the price you pay for disturbing Naked Ladies.” (Felder Rushing Passalong Plants.

So all jokes aside, I am thrilled that one of the previous owner’s of my house, felt the urge to plant this wonderful bulb. Previous owners include a missionary/ retired author, a psychiatrist, (who is probably responsible for the cage in my attic) and an owner of a fertilizer company who was looking to build a retreat far from the big city (Louisville)  This owner had connections to the bourbon industry in Kentucky. Or perhaps they might have been planted by the owners of the original house on the property that burned. I just don’t know who is responsible for planting them.  And even if I did, would they admit to wanting hundreds of “Naked Ladies” in the yard??   

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Party Time

Last night I hosted a baby shower for a dear friends daughter. It was a very hot night but we kept cool under the shade of the Big Siberian Elm. I love hosting garden parties. I always try to use any fresh veggies and herbs from the garden in all the recipes. To say I get a little obsessed with these parties is probably an understatement. 

So every dish had an herb in it...mostly Basil, plus we have tons of Blackberries in the garden so of course they had to be included. Here was the menu...

Dill Snack Crackers 
Cauliflower/Broccoli Marinated Salad
Blackberry Cucumber Caprese Skewers
Basil Lemon Chicken Salad on Croissants 
Limoncello Blackberry/Mint Fruit Salad 
Baby Girl Sugar Cookies
Blueberry/Mint  Infused Water
Moscato Lemonade

All the food was great tasting and beautiful for the eye as well...

Here is the recipe for one of everyone's favorite:  Opal Basil Broccoli/Cauliflower Salad
Ingredients:  1 head cauliflower; 1 bunch broccoli ; 2 stalks celery; 1 cup sugar ; 2 TBlSP Poppy seeds; 1tsp salt; 2 tsp dry mustard; 1 onion finely minced;  1/2 cup Opal basil Vinegar;  1 1/4 cup oil.
Break Veggies into bite sized pieces. Add Celery that has been cut into bite sized pieces. Mix sugar, poppy seeds, salt, mustard, onion,  vinegar and oil.  Add to Veggies and and refrigerate for at least three hours. I like to turn it over at least once...  So Yummy!!

This gets better the next day .......

I will put up more of recipes on later blogs or by request.  Now I am going to go finish off some of that Lemonade...

Friday, June 30, 2017

Here is My Excuse or Excuses...

So I came home from work early this afternoon with one objective to plant the herbs I had purchased for my talk last Friday in Owensboro.  They had been sitting for a week, since we left for a family vacation at Vero Beach the very next day.

First..I got side tracked by the news that I was on the cover of "Shelby CountyLife" .

Thank you so much for the garden love!!

Ok..then I got distracted putting together some vases of flowers for a special friend!

So finally to my mission:  but oh no a big distraction.  In all my talks I say my Herb Yarb in front of the herb house is totally culinary herbs.  However, Celosia has invaded and taken over.  I love it but it is not edible so it needs to be moved. 

There is so much and I hate just throwing it away. So I will transplant some and pull the rest and toss on a compost pile, so it does have a chance to grow. 
These flowers dry so nicely and I love using them in arrangements, but they need to not be in this garden. 

I did not get done...but got a good start...  tomorrow is a long day. We will see...

Monday, June 19, 2017

Clary Sage...the bloom worth pondering all weekend!

This bloom is well worth pondering about all weekend long, in fact, I feel it worth putting in any garden.....

Yes…this is one of my favorite Sages, of which there are over 600 varieties.  Clary Sage is the icing on the cake in the garden this time of year. When little else is blooming, this beauty breaks out its loveliness and blooms for several weeks. 

I love the bloom as much as it opens and when it is totally opened. It just unravels itself into beauty.  Starting out as a knuckle of loveliness with purple hues, it slowly evolves into one of the greatest blooms ever.  Don’t believe me, go by the Shelby County Park Herb Garden at the Tim McClure Botanical Gardens and be prepared to be wowed!!

Here is some of the most complete information I could find. This is copied off Please visit that site they have very complete information on many cool plants. 

Article from (pictures are mine!!) 

Salvia sclarea var. turkestanica, better known as Clary Sage has been grown in almost every botanical sanctuary in human history. Its uses are considerable: a flavoring for wines, an oil for perfumes, potpourri and incense. Medicinally, it's supposed to ease stomach ailments and even stop aging. Most importantly, it's gorgeous and thrives on total neglect. 
This plant has many plus points, it is easily grown in well-drained soil in sun or even partial shade. It grows well in poor soil resists slugs and other beasties, and doesn’t slump or need staking. In full sun, with almost no water, the large, grey-green leaves remain attractive all season long. 

Salvia sclarea var. turkestanica 'Vatican White' is a choice white cultivar that is not that easy to find. This is a nobly architectural Sage, each of its branched stems is topped with a profusion of lilac-white blossoms and brilliant white bracts. The flowers are boosted in impact by the large petioles that surround them. They stand above the large, aromatic, mid-green leaves, which can grow up to 23cm (9in) long and remain attractive throughout the season. 
Coping well in sun or light dappled shade, the blooms are a magnet for bees and butterflies.

Sowing: Sow in late summer to early winter for flowering in spring the following year. 
Salvia sclarea is a biennial plant and like all biennials, seeds are generally sown in early summer, the young plants develop their first leaves and a good root system by the winter. In the coldest months they die down and return with a vengeance in spring ready to put on a first rate flower show

Sowing indoors:
Surface sow in pots or containers containing good quality seed compost (John Innes or similar) Cover with a fine thin layer of compost or vermiculite.
The compost should be kept moist but not wet at all times. Seed germinate in seven to 10 days at 20°C (68°F).
Prick out each seedling as it becomes large enough to handle, transplant into 7.5cm (3in) pots. Gradually acclimatise to outdoor conditions for 10-15 days before planting out after all risk of frost.

Sowing Direct:
Seeds may also be sown outdoors directly where they are to flower or in a reserve bed in a sheltered position. Prick out to 15cm (6in) apart and transplant in October. 
Although drought-tolerant once established, a moderate amount of water must be supplied to young plants.

Salvia sclarea is a very obliging plant, it will put on a show under almost any circumstances. If you grow clary sage in poor garden soil, it will hang in and produce tough little plants that need no extra watering to survive. But the richer the soil and the more water they receive, the bigger and lusher the plants get.
If you have a limited water supply, and can’t or don’t wish to amend your soil, it’s good to know plants that will survive under those conditions. Clary sage is one of them. It’ll even grow in semi-shade, though it much prefers sun. The only places it won’t do well are in full shade and boggy, permanently wet soils.
Clary sage is a biennial plant, it will grow a rosette of leaves in its first year, the following year it will send up stalks, flower, produce seeds and then will die leaving its offspring ready in the soil to return in its place. However, as with a number of biennials, if you stop the plant producing seeds, the plants will very often return the following year. They have not expended energy on producing seed and have enough reserves to see themselves through the winter to try again next summer.
Pruning the spikes is a difficult choice, because the bracts are so beautiful in the garden. However, the cut stems do look ever so pretty in flower arrangements. 

Plant Uses: 
Flowers Borders and Beds, Wildlife Gardens, Cut or Dried Flowers. Medicinal or tea herb, Beneficial plant, Culinary herb. 

Other Uses: 
Like all sages, the plant contains oil Clary Sage is an ancient species that has been grown for economic, culinary and medicinal uses, as well as for its handsome ornamental virtues. It is grown as a farm crop for the cosmetic and fragrance industry for its valuable sclareol resin. It is used widely in perfumes and flavouring for vermouths, liqueurs and wines.
Other varieties used for distillation are S. verticulata and S. candelabrum. All yield oils which are similar in composition and therapeutic properties. The world annual production of the essential oil is about 100 tonnes.

Salvia sclarea var. turkestanica is It is native to the northern Mediterranean, along with some areas in north Africa and Central Asia. It was one of the first Salvias described by the Ancient Greeks, who used it medicinally to make eye washes and other remedies.
It belongs to the Lamiaceae, Labiatae (mint) family

The genus name Salvia from the Latin word salveo meaning 'I am healed' or 'I am well', referring to the medicinal qualities of some of the species. 
The species name sclarea is derived from the Latin clarus meaning 'clear' or 'bright'. Tea made from the plant's leaves said to clear the brain so that one might see into the future.
The variant turkestanica means 'of or from Turkey'. 
It is commonly known as clary, clary wort, muscatel sage, clear eye, see bright and eye bright (but not to be confused with the wildflower herb Euphrasia also called eyebright). 
Muscatel is a sweet wine made from muscat grapes, the word is also used for an elusive taste found in some teas. The word denotes a unique muscat-like fruitiness in aroma and flavour. 
In the Middle Ages it was known as 'Oculus Christi', meaning the 'Eye of Christ' and was a highly esteemed medicine.


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