susansflowers

garden ponderings


1 Comment

Delicate Dill

Copy of DSCN4051
It has taken a number of attempts to get an acceptable photo of these teeny-tiny dill flowers.  The leaves are feathery delicate and lightly aromatic.

This herb is short-lived, but easily reseeds itself.  In the photo above is a late season seedling that emerged in a bed of turnips.

I have tried to preserve the leaves by freezing, but the results were just passable.  Best used fresh, dill is delicious on a fresh (not frozen) salmon, or try it on other light-flavored fish.

Advertisements


2 Comments

First Freeze

We had our first overnight freeze and a number of plants are now dormant for the winter.  Still, the first official day of winter is not due for over a month.  Leaves of the hydrangea quickly turned a droopy brown, and those of the lilac bushes are on the ground.

But there are also trees whose leaves are not finished with their autumn show.
I present three examples I found around my house:
??????????
First is a dwarf ginko tree, which is barely over a foot (30 mm) tall.  Daylilies keep trying to invade its ‘turf’ from the back and chamomile from the front.  The poor little ginko is so small, it cannot defend itself.
??????????
Next is a Japanese maple that is a fairly new addition to my garden.  While my other Japanese maple tree has shed all of its leaves, this one is still trying to put out new growth.  Some of the leaves are starting to turn orange, and others are sprouting the light green of new growth.  Is this particular tree native to the Himalayas?
Copy of DSCN1526
Last is one of the beauties of this area, a Sweet Gum tree, from the maple family.  It grows more vertical than the sugar maple next to it, which has a classic roundish leaf area.  The sugar maple gets its leaves long before the sweet gum in the spring, but the sweet gum hangs onto its leaves longer in the autumn.

Wild Himalayan Blackberry

Leave a comment

Wild Himalayan Blackberry

I like this picture as you can see the developing berries as well as the delicate flowers. Not only the stems, but the leaves, and even the backs of the leaves, have a multitude of thorns. Anyone who has gone berry-picking quickly learns how to pick these delicacies without getting too bloody in the process.

Some berry-picking hints, gleaned from experience (the best teacher):
1 – Go early in the morning, so you can wear long pants and long sleeves without cooking yourself in the summer heat.
2 – Bring clippers to be able to cut a path to a desirable clump of berries.
3 – Have plenty of clean buckets for the picked berries. If you are picking berries to be cooked into pie or jelly, for example, as big as a 5-gallon bucket is fine. If you want to freeze or eat individual berries, a smaller size bucket is preferable, so as not to crush the bottom layers.
4 – Avoid berries on a roadside where they have accumulated car exhaust. Along a stream is a much better location for picking.

Although locals love these tasty berries, the plant is an invasive in the state of Oregon. It was brought here in the mid-1800’s to help prevent stream erosion, after the local beaver population was decimated. (Oh, the tales that history can tell…)

Do know that you are competing with the local wildlife population, including birds, deer and bears, for your juicy berries?

Santolina in Bloom

Leave a comment

Santolina in Bloom

Yesterday, I pruned the flowering plants back, so they are not so large or plush anymore.  In my second entry in this blog, I showed a photo of this plant in January.  I thought it was pretty then, as so few plants have color in the winter. I like this perennial all year long, with or without flowers.  Although the flowers are profuse, they are very small.  It may not be known for its flowers, as the foliage is quite unusual: first of all, it is not green, but a sort of gray-green color; it sports thin, fine ‘leaves’, that emit a strong scent when brushed against.  I rather like the aroma, though some may find it too pungent and be put off by it.

The original plant was never pruned, and grew to cover a large area, about 10 feet square.  After a severe, unusual winter freeze (below freezing for 4 days in a row), a lot of the mother plant died out.  When I removed the dead plant material, what remained was a number of small plants.  I pruned and transplanted these around the house, and nursed them back to health.  Now, I notice that if I keep the mother plant pruned, it does not make more plants.  It appears the baby plants come from stems that root themselves in the ground.