susansflowers

garden ponderings


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Amaranth aka Pigweed

Such a beautiful flower, I cannot imagine it as a weed.
(I better watch my thoughts, as one person’s weed may be another person’s treasure!)
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My first time ever to grow this flower, and I had no idea what to expect.
It is about as tall as a cornstalk (5-6 feet, or up to 2 meters), but its ‘tassels’ droop down instead of staying erect, as with corn.
The flowers are a beautiful fuchsia color, and quite elongate
– around 12 inches (30 cm) long.

I read that these flowers can be dried and used in arrangements past their bloom season.  Of course, I have to try this:-)
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The flower on the far end was cut a few days ago.  It was laying on a counter and making a mess by dropping pollen.  Time to learn how to dry these.

First thing I discovered was amaranth flowers come in erect or hanging forms.
A suggestion to keep the fall of the flower was to drape it over a box.
This is how I interpret how to arrange these flowers for dehydration.  The color of the flower has darkened already.  I’ll keep you posted as to the success of this endeavor.


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Flowers in the Vegetable Garden

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Strawberry plants are looking great.  I pick a couple of pints every morning.  My favorite ways to eat these summer gems is on a bowl of granola for breakfast, and on a dinner salad.  M-m-m, tasty!
Any extras get frozen on a cookie sheet and put away to be enjoyed in winter.
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Copy of DSCN3527 Copy of DSCN3535Summer squash is just getting going, I like mine small, young & tender.
A friend was surprised with a few zucchini at her front door the other morning.
The zuke elves are starting their rounds, watch out!
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Copy of DSCN3528 Copy of DSCN3536I’ve picked only a very few cherry-size tomatoes, and not one green bean – yet.
The best is yet to come in these departments.
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Copy of DSCN3530 Copy of DSCN3548Baby, red leaf, butter lettuce gone to seed is not necessarily glamorous.
The dandelion-looking fuzz balls are their flowers gone-to-seed.
Close-up the flowers are kind of cute.
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Copy of DSCN3538I try to keep flowers pinched from all my basil plants, as it is the leaves that are used.  Thai basil has the prettiest purple flower buds, and a few blossoms opened before they were pruned.
These leaves get dried to add flavor to curry dinners all winter long.
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Copy of DSCN3531Amaranth is new to me, and I’m not sure how much larger the flower will grow.  There are around a dozen plants, each about a yard (a meter) tall.
I keep checking this one, there is much for me to learn here.
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Copy of DSCN3526 DSCN3549Melons are such a gamble to harvest here.  Will the heat continue through August and September?  Since it is still July, it looks like this could be a good year.  Cantaloupe or rockmelon are the size of a large orange, so far.  Smooth-skin melons usually take longer to mature, but this one is on its way, also.
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And last, but hardly least, are a couple of my own garden nemeses:
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Someone was just here extolling the beauty of Queen Anne’s lace in the fields, and I objected.  The flowers are not evil themselves, but when they go to seed, the trouble starts.  It is a test of my patience to pick the burrs out of kids and my own socks.
The yellow flowers are not dandelions, but I would not be surprised to learn they are close cousins, as the flowers turn to fuzz-balls when they go to seed.