An online journal inspired by the antics of our four children and a passion for my zone 6 Kansas garden.
This blog is a lot like a box of chocolates. . .You never know what you're gonna get (modified from Forrest Gump)
Thursday, June 24, 2010
What's Bloomin' Around Here
The gardens are just a total gift from heaven right now. Many, many things are in bloom and bring me joy daily! The Swiss chard "Bright Lights" was a new veggie tried this year. Might you believe that we haven't even TRIED eating chard until now?? I just grew it because it was beautiful. Isn't it?? There are red, yellow, orange, and white stalks--all topped by HUGE green leaves that resemble spinach or beet tops. We have tried eating them several different ways--but have found that we really like them plain, as a salad. It tastes much like fresh spinach; and J prefers to top his with Feta cheese and a little olive oil and vinegar. We just harvest the outer leaves, leaving the inner ones to mature. I read that you may repeat this cycle all summer. If it gets bitter with the heat, they suggest just pruning off the edge leaves throughout the summer until the weather cools again. It was worth it's $2 price tag a hundred times over. I also like it on a sandwich for roughage! It has a huge stalk, much like celery--the first recipe I tried called for sauteing the stalk, which was just OK, but I wonder if there is some other way that people eat that--it seems wasteful to chunk it all out--but the compost pile likes it! Sounds like this will be a plant sown in the greenhouse for winter consumption!!
The tomatos are growing well, though it will be weeks yet before we eat them. Surprisingly, the pumpkin patch has survived thus far, and looks promising for something fun in the fall! Fingers crossed and prayers up! I am TOTALLY going to turn Jeremy into a gardener yet!! He has actually been the one to monitor the watering of the veggies, and I am just lettin' him!! Soon we should have several pepper varieties, tomatoes, onions, okra, cucumbers, and watermelon. The corn is PATHETIC, but we have a few stalks. The chard will continue, and the strawberry plants have lived--most of 'em anyway, as have the rhubarb plants given to me by a friend who LOVES my rhubarb pie!
So, on to a quick tour of my favorites. .the pretty stuff!! My butterfly weed, all started by seed last year, with some scrawny ones started by seed this year-survived the winter and were spectacular--I expect next summer's show to be even better! I first discovered this in Indianapolis. My mom and I were wandering through some public garden area while I was conferencing a few years ago. It caught my eye. .but I had no idea it grew in Kansas until I spotted some on our geology trip 3 years ago. I love the vibrant orange!! And so do the butterflies. It was especially striking in contrast to the purple larkspur self-seeding behind it.
This was my first day lily to bloom. No idea now what variety it is--but it came in some collection that I bought (have you guessed that I am a sucker for "collections?") This was taken last week, and since then, several other varieties have bloomed, but none quite as vividly colored as this! My neighbor has some different kinds of daylilies that we are planning on swapping around this fall!
The white lily came from Brecks. It is a lily tree. I had never heard of such a plant--but they looked cool. It came as part of a. . .collection! They are to get 8 feet tall (probably in some place where rain isn't an issue) and be just LOADED with blooms. The three of the 5 bulbs that have bloomed are magnificent--better than I imagined. I do have them labeled, so I will know which is which. I was thinking about doing some photo logging in a journal to remember! The first of the cosmos are starting to bloom as well. One of my favorite plants! They were all self-seeded this year. Hee-haw!! No fuss!
This is a new-to-me coneflower "Rubinstern" from High Country Gardens. I got a free one with my purchase last fall, and I ordered an extra. . .just because! I'm in LOVE with the richness of the color! And it's tall--which I like--lots of stem--just right for a bouquet.
And to complete today's flowering tour, my hollyhocks. I planted one--years ago--go figure how I ended up with all these colors!! They are on the north side of my house, in the garden that desperately needs worked on!! They will never go away completely--if I decide they have to go from here, I hope to replant some of them along the tree row, visible from the kitchen window!
But for now, they are old fashioned, space fillers, and just downright heart-warming to me!
So, enough for right now!! Hoping everyone has a warmish, summer weekend--don't forget your sunscreen!
My husband and I have been married for 22 years and have been in the process of raising 4 rambunctious kids--3 boys and a girl--for a long time now. Two have successfully grown up. .And now we look like the American iconic family of 4! I work part time in health care and the rest of my time working with others-both in my home and in my community. We are active in our church and our local 4-H club. I have a lot of passions--but the ones you may find most on this blog are my family,my gardens, and my love for God! Hope you enjoy looking as much as I enjoy writing!