Thank you for reading igardendaily.com throughout the year. Cheers to happiness, health, giving and gardening this day and every day throughout the year!
I know it’s November and the leaves have fallen… Winter is so close that you can literally feel it getting closer each day. But you don’t have to let all of your planting aspirations disappear just yet, for you still have time to grow some garlic! It’s o.k. to plant garlic up until the ground freezes and is actually good to wait until it is consistently cool.
Garlic is really easy to grow as I found out this past year. I planted two varieties last fall in a small section of one of the raised beds. In July, I harvested the garlic and we’ve been enjoying it in soups, salsa, pastas, pizzas, etc… ever since. The flavor has been grand and it was so easy to grow that last week I was out getting ready to grow my own again.
This year I’m growing ‘Chesnok Red’ and ‘German Red’. Both are hardneck which means I will get two harvests instead of just one.
You may be thinking, “Come again, TWO harvests?”
Hardneck varieties of garlic send up a round stalk (a.k.a. scape) mid-season and when this stalk curls you can snap it off and use it as your first garlic harvest.
The scapes can be used just like scallions. Basically think of them as scallions that taste like garlic! The scapes have all the health benefits garlic offers and by cutting them you are helping the plant put more energy into the garlic bulb that is forming below the ground. It’s a win/win for garlic lovers!
Don’t sweat it if you didn’t already know this…I learned about it this last growing season and actually missed the window to harvest my scapes! I gazed at the curly tips thinking they were “cool” but as I read other garden blogs mid-summer I realized the “pig tails” were more than interesting form.
So this year I’m reminding myself as much as any of you that are new to garlic growing – get two harvests out of hardneck garlic!
Thinking about one last act of planting and going for garlic? If so, read on and then don’t dilly-dally for “Winter is a coming”…
You may ask what and I’ll answer honestly there has been so much going on in my garden and otherwise it’s official that I can’t keep up! The blog posts have not been finding their way to the published world although many an idea for posts has been captured on the “To Do” list. Drat, that us humans must sleep at night, otherwise we could pack so much more into a single day!
First off, I’m becoming more official! I’ve committed to the Idaho Master Gardener program and will be involved with these studies for the next 8 months. I will be learning much about growing all types of plant life in this desert/intermountain climate and I plan to share interesting experiences and information with readers occasionally. (I’ve already learned some great stuff about improving my native soil and my composting method has improved tenfold!)
In other official news, I’ve grown and ripened my first lemon since bringing my Meyer lemon tree to Idaho. For four years, I’ve tried to get a ripe lemon from this tree that was a gift from a dear friend.
I’ve encountered a variety of enemies such as scale, leaf-miners, extreme heat, etc… that have made it a tough process. This little tree has not been stingy with flowers but it has seemed an insurmountable challenge for it to hold on to the little lemons as they form. And then, to get one of the lemons to ripen from green to yellow has been another story.
But early this spring one little lemon formed and stayed on the tree (although it was the hottest summer in years) and in the last few weeks has turned yellow. It’s ripe baby! To all the naysayers (you know who you are) I told you it could be done!
Perseverance and patience…sometimes this is what it’s all about in gardening (and in life too, I suppose…)
Tomato season is officially over. After one of the most robust tomato seasons I’ve experienced, it feels o.k. to say goodbye. The bounty of tomatoes we enjoyed the last three months has been wonderful but it’s sort of nice to not have to find something to do with an over abundance of tomatoes every week. Just a couple of bowls left to enjoy…
As “yard crashers” our plan is to add more depth to this planting area by widening the berm and taking out some of the steep grade. We are also moving a couple of trees that are too crowded and adding a walking path that leads to one of the edible gardens. Later on, I hope to add an arbor as an entrance to the path that will serve as a focal point too.
I’m very excited about getting a bit more planting space and I hope the overall effect achieves more visual depth to our outdoor area. I want to get away from the current look of all the planting areas being pushed against the perimeter of the property. More on this project as it evolves…
Two more official updates – First, it’s o.k. to not have all of your bulbs planted in October! I did write in my last local garden article (Eagle Informer) to get bulbs in the ground during the first two weeks of October. However, with more than 100 still in a box, I’m thinking November is a great month to plant. Besides, I’m betting bulbs are not too inclined toward officialism and more towards vitalism.
Second, this is officially my 100th post! Wow, I was stuck at 99 for a long time and it feels great to move over the hump to 100. Here’s to the next 100!
How about you? Have you started any new projects this fall? What have you done to increase visual depth in your outdoor space?
A clever acronym for enjoying the long wonderful days of Fall? Not really, it stands for Raspberries, Sunflowers and Tomatoes – these are the beauties that have been attracting my eye and demanding my attention.
My fall bearing raspberries are in high GDP mode. It seems the more I pick, the more there are! I don’t really think that’s true but they do seem to be ripening faster than in previous weeks. The flavor is definitely getting more and more dynamic as the nighttime temps drop into the 40s and 50s and more of the sugars produced during the day are packed into the little jewels at night. I’m freezing some and we’re eating many fresh but I’d like to find a great raspberry dessert or cookie recipe to make where these berries can really shine.
Now in a class of its own, is the golden raspberry.
The flavor is amazing- so sweet and light that it hard to describe. You just have to try one. If you have space for a raspberry plant in your garden, I highly recommend a golden raspberry. Ours is just 2 years old and was teeny, tiny when I planted the start from a friend. This year we have quite a few more berries than last and usually just eat them right outside in the garden.
The sunflowers ‘Chocolate’ and ‘Buttercream’ have been as delightful as any slice of wedding cake I’ve eaten!
I found these fancy name flowers in Johnny’s Selected Seeds after being inspired by some beautiful, yet different colors of sunflowers on Bumble Lush last year. One of the most fun experiences I’ve had as a garden blogger is seeing what other people around the world are growing and discovering new plants and varieties to try. If you are looking for new-found motivation or inspiration for your outdoor space, check out some garden blogs. I know it always works for me!
But for now…for me…I need to lay low on new ideas and inspiration until I handle this year’s crop of San Marzano tomatoes. I have never (in fours years of growing this variety) had a crop like this year’s. (To learn more about the fascinating, exotic history of this tomato click here).
Look at the bowlfuls and baskets of tomatoes this one plant is producing! The other difference compared to previous years is each tomato is perfect – uniform color, no cracking, splitting or dark spots. This is striking to me because every other year I get many nice ones but also many that have the imperfections described.
I wonder, has it been the weather that has made for the perfect crop? Or the amount of water or the soil enhancements? Puzzling for sure.
With all of these beautiful tomatoes I’ve been busy in the kitchen. Last week, I spent two mornings making marinara sauce that I can freeze and pull out in the cooler months. Although, we did have a first seating of it with some Fusili pasta last week!
I have two favorite marinara recipes and if you grow a plum tomato you may want to try one. Both are easy, classic and good! Most of the ingredients for both recipes come straight from the garden.
The first is what I call a ‘friendly marinara.’ It offers up a classic marinara flavor but with an underlying comfort food flavor. This is probably because of the classic vegetable combinations in it. This is definitely my children’s favorite. Click here for the recipe.
The second marinara is a bit more complex in flavor and tangy. It uses more herbs and some red wine. I like it a lot too so I had both of these “salse di pomodoro” going on the stove last week making me feel like I was Lidia of Lidias Italian-American Kitchen for a minute!
Marinara with Fresh Tomatoes and Herbs:
5 cloves of garlic
1 medium onion
1 bunch of fresh basil (about 1 cup)
3 sprigs of fresh oregano, remove leaves
4 fresh tarragon leaves
2 bay leaves
3 tablespoons of olive oil
1/2 cup of full-bodied red wine
Peel and mince onion and garlic. In a medium saucepan or dutch oven, heat olive oil on medium. In a food processor, place unseeded peeled or unpeeled tomatoes, basil, tarragon and oregano leaves. Process until liquefied.
Add minced onions and garlic to olive oil. Cook until sweating and translucent. Add red wine, cook for 1 minute. Add tomato puree and dried bay leaves. Stir and cover.
Allow to simmer for 1 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally. Remove cover and add salt and fresh ground pepper to taste. Allow to cook for 20 minutes more at medium simmer, uncovered to reduce liquid. Enjoy!
When I began making the sauces I was thinking that I should be outside enjoying the weather and getting some Fall garden tasks underway, but it turned out to be more fun spending some time inside utilizing so many fresh ingredients from the garden and making something I know we will enjoy once the garden has said goodbye.
What about you? How do you balance your time during the harvest season, when the weather is grand but there is a need to spend time inside preparing all of the food you’ve grown? Also, if I may, do you have any favorite recipes using fresh raspberries that you’d like to share? You can use the contact page if you’re willing to share.
At last – after 10 years of designing beautiful gardens and outdoor living spaces in the greater Boise area, Kecia and David Carlson, have opened their own garden design nursery - Madeline George Design Nursery. The gal and guy behind the Treasure Valley’s newest nursery are now sharing their ideas and creativity with the public through this most charming retail site.
I had been wanting to visit Madeline George (located at Highway 55 and Hill Rd) for quite some time, ever since I attended the Boise Home and Garden Tour and had the opportunity to visit the Carlson’s own garden as well as another garden (on the tour) the Carlson’s helped design.
I was curious about these purveyors of meaningful, sustainable and stylish outdoor spaces. So when an opportunity arose for me to get away for a few hours, I made it my very own Madeline George field trip!
While you walk through the outdoor “rooms” there are interesting structures that serve as a focal point for the eye while inviting garden scenes convey a simple message, “Enjoy your day here.” All this, plus gorgeous plant vignettes incorporating all types of plant material, make a visit to this nursery a definite sensory experience.
Look at this “scene” below. I mean how can you not feel just a bit Parisian sitting here!
Although the notion “good design is worth its weight in gold,” is prevalent at Madeline George, the garden center’s real focus is on helping customers create what they ‘desire to experience’ in their own outdoor living space. “I want to understand what is important to my customers in their outdoor areas and if they are unsure, I ask questions. I like to engage with the customers enough to uncover the “feeling” they want to experience in their garden,” says owner Ms. Carlson.
The level of talent and knowledge Madeline George offers is unique. Ms. Carlson is well-versed in garden design and Mr. Carlson is a veteran of landscape construction. Their capabilities, coupled with staff specialists that have extensive knowledge of plants that work well in our climate and an extensive network of subcontractors that specialize in all types of hardscapes, local material sourcing and irrigation systems and you have a team that can create any outdoor space imaginable.
Keep in mind this broad level of services doesn’t mean customers must sign up for a turn-key project. Instead, the Carlson’s like to work with customers in a personal way, encouraging people to participate in the process as much as they like. “Our goal is to give customers the knowledge, resources and ability to transform a vision or idea into an enjoyable everyday experience, “ says Ms. Carlson. “Many times we help clients “see” what is possible via a simple sketch or a discussion about how to make use of current resources. A little bit of good design advice can go a long way.”
But getting back to the plants…. the true passion for most garden junkies! Madeline George offers a great selection of plant material ranging from cold-hardy conifers to heat-loving tropicals. This includes everything in between too, such as natives, perennials, annuals, japanese maples, deciduous trees, fruit trees, vegetables, shrubs, ground covers, vines and so on.
In fact, since starting the design part of the business in 2002, the owner’s have been leading the way in bringing new plant material to our area. They have forged relationships with new growers locally and around the Northwest and have tried many specimens in their own garden in order to offer a reliable, yet dynamic spectrum of choices.
Although there is much that pleases at Madeline George, I personally was impressed with the heavily laden canes of berries growing on a most beautiful iron arbor. They were expertly pruned so that nothing but luscious, juicy berries were in the line of sight as you approached the arbor. I couldn’t help but sample a few and they were delish!
Just beyond the berry tunnel was a fun spot featuring a favorite line of garden furniture. I first came across the Fermob furniture during a visit to a San Francisco nursery. Of course, the piece I had my eye on was not something I could bring home easily so I was more than a little excited to spot Fermob here locally!
I’m a fan of Fermob primarily because the designs are FUN and they come in 23 different colors! However, practically speaking, many of the Fermob collections are aluminum making them lightweight, strong and very weather resistant. One of the classic collections, the Luxembourg, was initially produced for the Jardin du Luxembourg in Paris, and has become something of a legend in its own right. Can’t you just picture yourself enjoying a little wine and cheese on this most festive furniture?
I left Madeline George inspired to try new ideas and plants in my garden so I hope it goes without saying all local readers should plan their own field trip to Madeline George! For others, maybe it’s time to finally make a field trip to a new nursery in your local area. After all, fall is a great time to update and rejuvenate and garden centers are a great place to get ideas flowing!
For Local Readers:
Madeline George Fall Sale is going on now! Several fun classes will be taking place this fall, check out the schedule below.
Sept. 1, 2, and 3rd – 10:00 a.m. Containers With Year Round Style
Sept. 15 – 10:00 a.m. Landscape Design; Techniques, Tips and Tricks for Creating Great Garden Spaces
Sept. 22 – 10:00 a.m. Great Shrubs for all Seasons.
Sept. 29th 10:00 a.m. Cleaning Your Perennial Garden Before Winter
Hours of Operation: Tuesday through Friday 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. Monday by Appointment. Design services by appointment, please call 208.941.1252 or email at email@example.com
It’s all in the name! Curious about the name behind this design center? I was and found out it is inspired by the couple’s favorite childhood storybooks. “Madeline” comes from the adventures of a French orphan girl written by Ludwig Bemelmans. “George” comes from the adventures of Curious George written by the Reys. Although not rooted in gardening, the name holds happiness and meaning to the Carlson’s and represents both the masculine and feminine touch the team balances as they work together. Besides, it just SOUNDS like the name of a great garden designer!
Oh my, August can be a hot one! And when the air as far as you can see is filled with smoke from wildfires, it makes you feel even warmer!
What to do, what to do? Try to play it cool, of course!
One way to play it cool (mentally and physically) is to take a trip out to the garden, gather some fresh, simple items and mix up some refreshing treats that are sure to please during the last sultry days of summer.
Here’s a simple sweet the whole family can enjoy without a lot of guilt. In fact, if you have children that are interested in cooking this may be a perfect chef-d’oeuvre for them to try their hand in the kitchen.
Healthier Fruit Pizza
It all starts with the crust right? I found this great crust recipe from Blissfully Domestic that uses whole wheat flour and is very easy to make. Here’s the recipe and if you want to see more tap the link above to see how the crust comes together.
3/4 cup softened butter (salted or unsalted, I’ve made it with both and overall the taste is similar)
1/4 cup of sugar
2 cups WHITE whole wheat flour (This type of whole wheat flour is specifically recommended for baking. It is made from hard white spring wheat and contains all the benefits of whole wheat flour including more fiber, vitamins and minerals than all-purpose flours.)
Mix butter and sugar together until well blended. Slowly add flour and mix by hand until it begins to stick together. It will be crumbly for awhile, similar to shortbread, but as you continue to mix,it will begin to come together.
Once the mixture sticks together when you squeeze it, form all of the dough into a ball and place on buttered pizza pan. Press out slowly to sides of pan. (A cookie sheet or 9×13 glass baking dish will also work.)
Try to get an even thickness of about 1/4 inch throughout your pan. Now pop into 350° oven and bake for 15 minutes, watching the edges in case they get too toasty. When finished, remove from oven and cool.
1/3 cup plain Greek yogurt or sour cream
1 8 oz package of cream cheese, softened
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup whipping cream
1 cup fresh strawberries
1 cup fresh raspberries
Put it together: Beat Greek yogurt and next 5 ingredients in a large bowl. Once smooth, spread evenly over cooled crust. Arrange selected fruit on top and chill for 30 minutes. Enjoy!
Of course, you get to be creative with the fruit! Use whatever you have growing in your garden or is available at the farmer’s market and you can even add a bit of tropical flare with bananas, mango, pineapple, etc… I used strawberries and raspberries because I have a good supply.
Here’s another way to cool down but this one is adult only. We’ve named it Mr. Pimms R&B but the R&B stands for raspberry and basil instead of rhythm and blues. Although, listening to a little rhythm and blues on a warm evening with a cold one of these in your hand would be rather nice.
Mr. Pimms R&B
2 shots of Mr. Pimms No. 1 liqueur
1/3 cup simple syrup (Bring 1 cup of water and 1 cup of sugar to boil, stir until sugar is dissolved, cool)
Juice from 2 lemons
1/4 cup raspberries
4 large basil leaves
Muddle raspberries, basil and 2 tblsp of lemon juice together in small bowl using back of spoon or mortar and pestle. Once mashed well, pour into cocktail shaker with Mr. Pimms, the simple syrup and rest of lemon juice. Shake vigorously and strain over glasses half filled with ice. Top off with sparkling water. Serves 2. Enjoy!
If by chance you’re wondering about Mr. Pimms, it’s a British thing. We discovered it in early summer and according to the New York Times it is growing in popularity in the U.S. And of course, with the Olympics being in London this summer we thought it fun to bring a little British merrymaking to our house!
How about you? What simple home-made treats do you enjoy during the sultry summer days?
Oriental lilies are a must-have in my garden. Visually, they are foot traffic stoppers and they burn their fragrance lamps from the time the first blossom opens until the last petal falls.
Lilies bid ‘good morning’, ‘good day’, and ’good evening’ like no other…Their lovely sweet scent lightly covers the entire garden in late July and early August.
The oriental lilies I’m growing now are ‘Muscadet’ and ‘Casablanca’.
I can’t stand to keep lilies outside-only because they are such a favorite. So I cut a few to enjoy their graceful presence and pleasant perfume inside as well.
Orienpet lily ‘Silk Road’ is a new addition to my garden this year.
It is stunning.
Orienpet lilies are hybrids of crossing Oriental and Trumpet lilies. The idea has been to combine the best features of the two groups of lilies – fragrance, large flowers, more cold and heat tolerance and sturdy garden performance.
I’ve been impressed with the color, size and fragrance of ‘Silk Road’ especially since I just planted the bulbs last March. I picked mine up from B&D lilies at the Northwest Flower and Garden Show in Seattle. There are several vendors offering a good selection of Orienpets. I’m planning to add more to my garden this year!
How about you? Do you love lilies? Have you already added Orienpets to your garden? Do you have a favorite photo from this post? I’d like to hear what you have to say.
A few vendors for Orienpet lilies: