Saturday, July 29, 2017

This Year's Lilies

We really did have an amazing season for lilies this summer. Beginning with the Asiatic lilies, then moving on to the first, fragrant, trumpet lilies, all of the bulbs I planted last year grew marvelously. I can't wait to keep adding to the collection this fall as soon as the new bulbs start appearing.

Take a look at some of the lilies we grew this year.

Most of the lilies are all planted in two locations, aside from a very few we have begun planting out in the perennial beds. Here are the large clump near the patio. Early in the season a large group of pink Asiatic lilies bloom, followed by trumpet and tiger lilies, and ending with fragrant Oriental and Orienpet (Oriental and Trumpet hybrids) lilies.

The second, and new location is out in the Kitchen Garden. My thought was to plant some flowers that would attract pollinators. I layered the lilies with Dutch iris and several kinds of allium and have had steady blooms all summer. Sunflowers were planted as well to continue the display.

An extremely fragrant, double Oriental lily. I planted these late in the spring and they all grew well.

A close up of a fading 'Purple Prince' orienpet lily.

Fragrant, creamy yellow lilies.

A delicate yellow tiger lily.

And a gorgeous, peach throated lily. Remember that the pollen can stain, so you want to use a paper towel or tissue and pull off the anthers to protect your clothing or upholstery.

A better look at the 'Purple Prince' growing so tall and strong for it's first year.

Another shot of one of the stalks of the double pink Oriental lily.

An unidentified orienpet up near the patio.

When the 'White Stargazer' lilies began blooming in the Kitchen Garden you could smell them as you walked around from the front of the house. Absolutely amazing, and a major draw for bees! The sweet peas have been helping draw in pollinators as well.

Delicate pink edges.

A rather crazy looking, and extremely fragrant, double Oriental.

Nothing compares to the scent of white lilies, however. 'Casablanca' was my favorite, but these 'White Stargazer' lilies were a show stopper. 

And here, almost last to bloom, is a true 'Stargazer' lily.

And towering above the mint plants are some older  'Scheherazade' orienpet lilies. The first orienpets I ever planted.

Best of all, there were so many lilies this year I could have arrangements all over the house and no one would ever notice them missing from the Garden.

Monday, July 3, 2017

Berry Season is Underway

After a light year last year, this year we have had a bumper crop of currants and the first major crop of gooseberries. Unfortunately we have lost almost every one of our old blackberries and golden raspberries. So strange as they usually spread like weeds. Next spring I will need to do some major pruning of the currants and gooseberries, and I would like to plant some black and white currants, but for now I need to hurry up and finish picking!

We grow 'Red Lake' currants, and they were all seriously productive this year.

The currants grew extremely plump and red on the dangling racemes.

I always pick the entire thing. If needed I will remove them from their stems before freezing. For making jam, however, I toss it all in the pot. The stems come out in the food mill.

Down by the vegetable garden are three more currant bushes (don't ask me why I thought we needed six of one variety). They, too, are completely laden with fruit.

Back in the Berry Patch the gooseberries are a huge mess of brambles, but there are so many berries!

They line the undersides of almost every branch.

And they mean business. Some of their thorns are almost an inch long!

The tart, plump little berries are almost always mixed with sugar when cooking. The more ripe berries you can eat out of hand.

Here you can see the dark, riper berries. For baking, however, the green are the norm. I will divide these up before freezing whole. When I use them frozen you just snip of the head and the tail and they will be ready to go.

This is the fifth bowl of currants. I imagine we have picked about 20 lbs so far. Now, what am I going to make? 

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Appreciating Parsley

Despite being often overlooked and sometimes maligned, I love parsley and grow a large patch of it in the garden. I know most think of parsley as a garnish, but imagine tabouleh without parsley! Or a Greek salad with no parsley. Or my favorite pasta with a sauce made from butter, garlic, capers and lemon, and tossed with a ton of parsley. What would happen in a world with no parsley!?!

When I saw this recipe in the April 2017 issue of Martha Stewart Living I was like, duh, I'm sure parsley would be good sauteed. I always use it raw and thrown in at the end. I realized I had everything else I needed, so the next day I stopped by the garden and picked a large bunch of parsley.

Parsley flowers and seed heads look a bit like Queen Anne's Lace. I always let a few plants bolt so they drop their seeds and begin replacing the plant. Parsley is a biennial, and I always sow seeds in the spring as well as let the plants self sow because the seeds germinate very slowly. An old saying says parsley seeds go nine times to the Devil and back before coming up, and indeed they can take from two weeks to a month to germinate.

This patch is getting low. When the leaves are in full force I like to harvest as much as possible and freeze it in "logs" as explained by Margaret Roach here. Or you can see my previous post on the topic.

Do you peel your ginger with a spoon? Do it. It makes peeling so easy!

This recipe couldn't be faster or easier. Heat the olive oil, toss in the ginger and sliced garlic until fragrant.

Then toss in the parsley, salt and pepper to taste, a squeeze of lemon and done!

I've made this three times already. So tasty and fast. I might not have as much parsley to freeze this year!