Sunday, September 30, 2007
Thursday, September 27, 2007
Until a few years ago, I believed that everybody knew about rhubarb. Alas, this was untrue. We know two South African families that moved to La Ronge and got to discover rhubarb as a novel plant. We warned them about not eating the leaves, though this seemed to result in unnecessary paranoia. They wondered at the wisdom of eating only selective parts of "poisonous plants". The other family had a problem with young hoodlums grabbing the leaves off the rhubarb, playing with them, and littering the neighbourhood with them. That family ripped all the stalks and leaves off their plant, thinking they killed it. But no, the rhubarb lived on. It takes more than that to kill a rhubarb.
My rhubarb cookbook - with an introduction by the late
Canadian gardener, Lois Hole.
But back to my title. Have you tried tamarind? It is a sticky brown substance scraped out of pods of the tamarind plant and used to bring tang to such condiments as HP sauce and worcestershire sauce. I imagine the adventuresome British developed a fondness for this sour foodstuff while living in India. It is very very sour (like rhubarb) and needs sugar to sweeten it for candies or drinks, but can also be used to add a tart tang to savoury dishes. It is especially good with fish and I love tamarind chutney on East Indian dishes, especially samosas. The first time I tried tamarind chutney, I became nearly obsessed with finding out what this was and how I could make some myself! My tropical friends all knew about tamarind, of course, but I think it will take some more time and convince them about rhubarb.
Recipe for tamarind chutney:2 Tbsp tamarind paste (can buy this from Asian grocery, or in
my case, off ebay)5 Tbsp water1 tsp chili powder1/2 tsp ground ginger1/4 tsp salt1 tsp sugarfinely chopped cilantro leaves, to garnish
2. Add the chili powder and ginger to the mixture and blend. Add the salt and sugar and mix well.
3. Transfer the chutney to a serving dish, garnish with chopped fresh cilantro, and serve.
Note: It has a consistency thinner than most gravies and is quite spicy and tangy, but leaves you wanting more!
Wednesday, September 26, 2007
Large raised bed on the right:
Raised beds, blue spruce, and crabapple. You can also see three of the four "Carmine Jewel" tart cherries, which I planted in 2005. The water is Lac La Ronge.
View from the road:
The shade beds, under the poplars that I hate (I hate the fluff and the suckers everywhere).
The first of my sunflowers!
The perennial border along the driveway.
Bank of sedum (unknown type), which flowers yellow in July and turns red in fall. The mountain ash tree to the right has been stripped clean of its orange berries by the hungry robins. I would like to do something more with this bank, but it is composed of mainly sand, boulders, and rubble. It is impossible to dig weeds out of here and most plants would require addition of real soil.
Daylily planted last week, labeled with a Permastake, my favourite plant marker:
Morden "Blush" rose never looked this good all summer!
Large raised bed with fall colors in the background. My raised beds contain mostly perennials.
I bought myself some narcissus and botanical tulip bulbs as well as some Fritillaria imperialis bulbs for a relative in Penticton with a nasty deer problem. These flowers (and the bulbs themselves!) are repulsive to any nose, including those of deer. The woman at the Kelowna garden center said that you should avoid planting these next to your door so that their fragrance does not overwhelm you. I hope that they are effective!
I like looking at flowers in city parks, both for inspiration for my own garden, and to see what grows well in this particular climate. The southern Okanagan is hot and dry during the summer. This flower display uses cannas, zinnias, marigolds, salvia, cleome, ornamental peppers, and a few other plants.
Sunday, September 16, 2007
Kona has been observed spending hours gently licking and holding her rubber chicken. When it squeaks, she makes crying noises. Rubber chicken, rubber chicken, how I love thee...
Tragic rubber chicken injury:
Kona is beside herself with excitement:
Besides dog news, I got a few hundred bulbs in today. I even got a blister in my right palm while doing it! For all this work, I'm hoping more family members come for garden tours next May during bulb-o-rama.
Saturday, September 15, 2007
I cut this bouquet from my perennial beds for a party at our house today. The complimentary colors really represent the color scheme in my perennial beds quite nicely. My arranging skills may lack something, but the flowers look pretty regardless! Notice all THREE colors of my pacific giant delphiniums! (Guests say "Nice flowers." Me --the shameless flower nerd-- says while pointing: "There we have Summer Skies, Blue Bird, and King Arthur.")Digitalis flower, the "glove of the fox":
Delosperma, purchased this summer from the garden center as a "rock garden perennial", but from what I read, this succulent might not be hardy. I have no idea whether it will be there next spring or not! Fresh new Muscari armenianum (ordinary grape hyacinths)...no it's not a spring photo! This plant multiplies by seedlings and bulblets, growing thick like turf where it is not divided regularly. Now is the time to plant these bulbs for their bright blue flowers next April/May!
Friday, September 14, 2007
Thursday, September 13, 2007
And here is the soil quality analyzer, which enthusiastically consumes a small sample of dirt while spreading the rest on the carpet. Somehow this soil quality analyzer has a malfunction when it comes to more appealing items such as "Country chicken casserole".
Little yellow bird, seems to look most like a orange crowned warbler:
Resident-lawnmower-man thought my concerns were ridiculous, and added sarcastically "Yeah, and maybe it has epilepsy too." "Or blind AND epileptic." Not that he didn't care for the bird. He was the one who suggested that I need to give it a water bowl in addition to the bird seed. His family has rehabilitated several birds on their farm and RLM himself was a childhood chicken-raising entrepreneur who used the profits to buy a cow! I recall my urban child self being more interested in clothes at the mall...
Tuesday, September 11, 2007
Self-watering indoor garden: arrows indicate flow of water.
There is a reservoir on each shelf, with a capillary mat "wick" from the reservoir (the green boxes) to the adjacent tray, and another wick between each tray. Each tray has a capillary mat lining its bottom, which conducts the water through the holes in the pots, where the potting mix sucks up water and delivers it to the plant roots. I had to wet all the fabric mats to start the capillary action, and the trays have stayed moist for the past week. I add several litres of water to each reservoir per day, so the water must be going somewhere!
Capillary mat between reservoir and tray:
My edible indoor garden. There are spicy purple greens, cilantro, basil, and watercress as well as romaine, butterhead, green leaf and red oakleaf lettuces. My "Micro Tom" and "Red Robin" miniature tomatoes were just sown today. I can't wait to see my tiny, genetically-freakish tomatoes.
Lastly, I sowed a large number of Primula denticulata (Drumstick primula) seeds and got only three plants. I have tried these seeds before and only produced one plant from my efforts. They take an exceptionally long time to germinate and seem to grow very slowly. I am hoping to have nice robust plants by spring. Primula denticulata and Primula auricula are hardy to zone 2, thus are good selections for our climate. Has anybody else had experience growing drumstick primulas from seed?
Saturday, September 08, 2007
Annual salvia, still looking nice.
The large raised bed full of perennials. I made a spot for a new peony and have marked all the potential bulb locations with purple stakes. Hello bulbs, I am ready!
Smaller raised bed with perennials thinned, ready for new perennials and bulbs.
A fungus in the lawn -- looks like a cluster of dinner buns!
September month is bulb-planting month in the north! I am waiting from orders from Lilies in the Valley, Veseys, and a garden center in Campbell River, BC. Hopefully, all orders come before the ground freezes, which has been problem in the past with some mail-order companies.
Sedum "Brilliant", but no blooms yet!
"Blue Bird" Delphinium elatum -- reblooming.