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“GOD MADE RAINY DAYS SO GARDENERS COULD GET THE HOUSEWORK DONE”-unknown

Hosta collecting is  addicting!  I  received an email on Tuesday  that Carter’s Nursery in Athens was shutting down and  had hostas for $3 a gallon. Never mind that it is raining (I’ve already cleaned my house) I am on my way. So greedy as I was~~~I have been digging and planting all day.

One nice feature about hostas is they get tougher as they mature. I had a guy out last year to weed eat and he was standing in my hosta bed when I looked out. Thankfully they survived. Note to self-make sure you point out your plants from your weeds.

The garden value of hosta plants could be summed up in three words: reliable, useful and foliage. So, what about this shade thing? Shade conditions tend to induce fewer, but larger leaves. Mine are under trees but get filtered afternoon sun. Perfect. It may take some experimental moving before the ideal site is found in which the foliage size, color and variegation are at their best. Also, resist dividing your plants until they are 3 years old. Dividing after they have gotten quite large is they will lose support. Start dividing when the nubs are showing, usually mid March in Alabama.

I usually don’t do anything to my beds but this year I cleaned all the debris out and fertilized, then used a fine mulch. Goodness, I thought they will never come up but they have and are beautiful. I plan to start spraying weekly with Garden-Gro tomato plant food. Try it!

Display your hostas with a Designer’s eye. Plants should look good as a grouping, the colors, textures and forms could be used to compliment each other. And what about a fun element-a statue or something whimsical to add interest.

And finally~~slugs-ugh! It is true that killing slugs is like trying to get rid of wild onions-and I have plenty of both. I would not use slug bait (BAIT-get it?) I don’t want to attract any more. So, before attacking the problem, make sure that whatever method you use is environmentally safe (dogs unfortunately love this stuff) and we sure don’t want to poison our birds. Patience is the key-I look every morning and under flower pots-when I find them I just drop into a container of salt. I am also salting the rocks around my beds and other cracks they can hide in. You will never win the war but a few battles will be worth your time to slow them down.  Persistence-keep at it!

pictures to follow~~~if I’m lucky. 

“GOD MADE RAINY…

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“The violet thinks with her timid blue eye, to pass for a blossom enchantingly shy” Frances S. Osgood!

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The April Herb of the Herb Society of America is the violet. Called the “flower of modesty” because it hides its’ flowers in the heart-shaped leaves. A native of the Mediterranean region, the oil is used in the perfume industry.

Yes, it is pretty to see on a green lawn, but it is a weed and spreads rapidly.  KILL IT!

“Parsley-the jewel of herbs, both in the pot and on the plate.” Albert Stockli

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The March herb of the Herb Society of America is parsley. I have been busy cleaning up the garden and working on putting in my Koi pond that I just about let this month get away. Never fear I think-I made a delicious blue cheese herb spread for my Herb Society last evening. It was a hit!

2 tablespoons chopped walnuts (I used more and toasted them for more flavor) / 2 tablespoons chopped parsley / 2 tablespoons chopped chives / 1/2 cup of blue cheese crumbles / 1 8 ounce block cream cheese (cold)

Process walnuts, parsley, and chives in food processor until finely chopped. Place herb mixture in small bowl and stir in blue cheese. Set aside. /  Process cold cream cheese until smooth and add herb mix with blue cheese and blend thoroughly. Serve with triscuits or rye cocktail bread. Allrecipes.com

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“Ask not what you can do for your country. Ask what’s for lunch?” Orson Welles

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In an effort to try something new-I bought a lovely bunch of artichokes, and roasted them. I took lots of pictures but discovered later that I had not replaced the memory card in my camera.Image. Oh well, they were delicious, tho quite smelly in the house, they are little cabbages after all. I then decided to make hummus. Very easy, good, and good for you. Many recipes out there, I used one from Allrecipes.com. A nice treat and much better than store bought.

Snow day in Alabama-a good time for soup!

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Snow day in Alabama-a good time for soup!

Artemisia (mugwort) is known by many names, but it is the International Herb Society’s Herb of the year. It is a common weed in Europe and North America. There are many superstitions about the plant: it could protect people from evil spirits, sunstroke, and attacks by wild beasts. Better yet-a pot of delicious soup! Try Martha Stewart.com for a recipe.

Green veggie wraps

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“Plant carrots in January, and you’ll never have to eat carrots.”  Author unknown 

This is my new favorite thing to make and eat. So healthy, so delicious, and yes, really easy to make. 

For my New Years dinner I bought a ton of fresh collards to cook, but saved about five large leaves to make the wraps.

I made up a mixture of quinoa (a species of grain grown primarily for its edible seeds), roasted vegetables, and folks, the key  here is “flavor”, a little soy sauce, splash or so of Worcestershire, and of course-my favorite ingredient-cayenne pepper. So you might want  a dash of hot sauce, chili peppers or what ever spice you crave. I have been buying jalapenos and dicing them up and freezing to add to everything, especially omelets. *Wash your hands thoroughly after handling as I have had some annoying irriitations on my face.

So, how to do the wraps: 

Turn those beautiful collard green leaves on their back and carefully trim the spine with a sharp knife-careful not to cut through the leaf or your finger.

Have grain and veggie mix ready.

To a pot of boiling water add 1 leaf for about a minute or less, then immediately add the leaf to a bath of ice water-lay out on board or counter on top of paper towel. This leaf is  now so relaxed and willing for you to fill it with your wonderful mixture.

Spoon a layer of filling across (tablespoon or so) the leaf and fold over tightly holding all together, then fold up the sides and begin to roll up like a burrito. (Practice makes perfect!) Slice in half for a great  little appetizer or snack, to be dipped in what ever you choose-many dipping sauces can be purchased on the International aisle of your grocery store. Great for a picnic as they do not break down and can be kept in refrigerator over night. Hey! What about those brown bag lunches?

You can use any grains or fillings for yours. Be creative. Go for it !

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