Friday, October 21, 2016

Where Cotton is King!!

Yes... So many of you  guessed the correct answer.   The "What is it Wednesday" was cotton.  I had picked up the stem at the Athens Georgia Farmers Market.

Interesting enough this corresponded to a visit to Waco Texas. I am a big fan of  "Fixer Upper" on HGTV and been watching the progress of the Magnolia Farms Store and Silos. So while in Dallas with my husband, I took the opportunity to drive on down.  Wow is this a super place. Plus it seems that they have many fans and the whole area was swamped.  I was struck by the details and the obvious unbelievable level of personal energy Chip and Joanna Gaines have put into this project. All the employees were so friendly and helpful. Here are some photos:

I think the Gaines's style stirs a sense of calm, family and better times. When life was just a bit simpler and we all slowed down more to enjoy each other. It certainly appeals to me. 

Oh yes....back to the cotton. It was everywhere in the decor. 

So if you are anywhere near Waco Texas or not this is a great place to visit. I left feeling very relaxed and excited about the future for a once deserted downtown.  Way to go Gaines!!

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

What is it Wednesday .....the wait is over.

Time to end the suspense ….It is Japanese Perilla or Shiso (Perilla frutecens).  This purple, leafy plant used most commonly in oriental cooking. People often looked at it and think it is Opal Basil or Coleus. But it is not. I must admit, it is very pretty and adds nice color to a garden. 

 However, I do want to attach a very strong warning with this plant. It is definitely invasive. It reseeds readily and will quickly fill a space with pretty purple and green plants and blooms. I actually pull it like weeds and only plant it in a pot. After all it is a member of the mint family. 

Shiso also  known as beefsteak plant or purple mint, is a valuable herb to many and a problematic peak to many other. It is toxic to grazing animals and even deadly to coast, sheep, cattle and horses. 

This plant is defiantly part of the “If You Can’t Beat it, Eat it Family”  Personally, I have not used it culinarily but keep collecting recipes to give it a try.  It must be tasty since it is used in Japan, China, Korea, Laos, Vietnam and South Asia  cuisines. 

So give it a try, if you are adventurous but be ready to weed!!!

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Digging and Dividing....and eating Orange Basil Cookies!

Thanks to all the great folks that came out to my gardens Thursday night. I enjoyed sharing why I feel the fall is one of the best times to dig and divided perennials. 

Although many feel this is a time when the gardens look as if they are dying back, I feel the crisp cool fall days plus the potential for more rain makes fall gardens yearning for a new look. 
Here are just s few basic tips for Fall Dividing:

  1. A general rule of thumb is that it is best to divide spring and summer blooming plants in the fall and late summer and fall blooming plants in the spring. (There are always exceptions to the rule, like lilies or some non-picky plants such as BlackEyed Susan's that always like an adventure)
  2. If possible pick a cloudy day with rain in the forecast. Might as well let Mother Nature help with the work. If a warm sunny time, be sure to shade the transplant and keep well watered. 
  3. Be sure to dig around the plant to get all the roots. Lift out the mom and divide. Careful examination of the plant will help you determine how best to divide. 
  4. Replant the strongest ones, allowing enough space for new growth.  Don't allow the transplant to dry up during the move. 
  5. A good feeding of compost or organic fertilizer, is a nice extra. 
  6. More than enough?   They make great gifts as Pass A Long Plants.

Last night I made one of my favorite cookies!! Orange Basil Cookies. I had several request for the recipe.Enjoy

1/3 cup butter (softened)
8oz cream cheese (softened)
1egg yolk
1 tablespoon orange juice
1 Box Orange Cake Mix
1 teaspoon orange zest grated
1cup raisins
1/2 cup walnuts or pecans
2 tablespoons dried basil

Mix together the butter, cream cheese, egg yolk, and orange juice.  Add cake mix  then stir in the rest of the ingredients. Chill dough.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees; butter cookie sheets, Roll chilled dough into 1/2 inch balls and place on cookie sheets. Flatten each ball with a fork. Bake about 10 to 15 minutes. 

Friday, September 30, 2016

OK..Mom Enough is Enough

              Mr Mother loved her cats!!  She had a small cat named Burky that she found the day my father went into a Nursing Home. The cat was very young and mom bottle fed it. It became my mothers companion for the rest of both of their lives.

But flash back, while my mom still lived in Brown County at Stoner's Lonesome, she faithfully feed an army of stray cats. It was very important to mom..They all had names from Stray Ray to Stoner...etc.

Before my mother would leave the house and move to assisted living, she had Janet(my older sister) and myself crawl under the house and get Stray Ray's kittens.  We each took two. One of mine was a paulydextrial cat.(a extra toe on each paw) and a duplicate of Stray Ray ...who I named Stoner.

They were feral cats so it took me many months of having them locked in a room and sitting with them to get them to come to me. They are tame, but still really skidish of anyone but myself.

So to make a long cat story short....I have them in the upstairs of my house, my son brought me a recuse kitty that claims the first floor of my house..Millie.  Chaos happens if the three ever meet up!!

But the story does not stop there. We had a momma cat in the barn two years ago and she had three babies. I began to feed them and now they have progressed from barn cats to gazebo cats.

As the story continues, when you feed stray cats the word goes out... So I am trying to trap, neuter, spay, and give away.

I hope my mom has found a good place for cat ladies in heaven, because I am not far behind her....

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Blackberry Lilly Plant

It is not a Blackberry or a Lily, but it is  Belamcanda chinensis,  Blackberry Lily Plant. It is actually a member of the Iris family and has recently been renamed  “Iris domestica’ 

This plant is very easy to grow and with its small star shaped bright orange blossom, adds good summer color. Each petal host some spots, which give it the nick name of leopard flower or leopard lily. What is very cool about this flower is that each blossom only last one day, then each night they begin the process of folding and twisting in upon itself to form the blackberry looking seed head.  Have no fear the plant produces many flowers during the growing season so it remains a pop of color through out late summer. 

The leaves are similar to iris and can reach from 1 to 3 ft tall.  They do best in full sun and require very little additional care. 

They are a great pass along plant, as they can easily be divided. The plant has a bulb for its base, but also can be shared by harvesting and planting the seeds. 

This plant is fun, unique and pretty!  What more could you want in your perennial border. 

Saturday, September 17, 2016

A Wonderful "Pass Along Plant"

 The 'Think About it Thursday Plant' is a great old fashion "Pass Along Plant". One of the plants you  will not be able to find it in nurseries or the big box stores.  You have to find someone special to pass it on to you.... That is how I received it.  It was from a wonderful lady who I have lost contact with but helped me with  my kids when I really needed the help and love.  Thanks  Michelle...

Hardy Begonia ' Begonia grandis'   spreads to form a large mound of beautiful foliage and very sweet pink blooms.

This quite beauty likes the shade, and a moist environment. It thrives wonderfully behind my herb house in partial shade along with ferns. I have tried to move it with no luck....

Michelle told me it was invasive but I have not had that luxury, in fact I worry about it year to year. It seems to be happy with the first place I planted it but no place else.  

I will baby it because it is a very unique wonderful shade pass along. 

Monday, September 12, 2016

Yes...It is Turtlehead ......

Yes, the 'What is it Wednesday' Plant is Turtlehead or  Chelone.  This plant is a win/win. It gets its name from the shape of its unusual flowers, which look like the head of a snapper turtle. Here is why you need it in your garden.

#1  It is blooming now.  When so much is dying back for the year.

#2  It thrives in part sun, actually mine grows in more shade than sun.

#3  Very reliable perennial that spreads but is not invasive.

#4   Grows from 1 to 8 feet....and spreads into a great clump.

Try it I think you will like it!!!


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