Saturday, June 27, 2015

Big Changes

My son, Casey, had a brain tumor removed this week.
So, I've been preoccupied.

The surgery took place at the UW Medical Center in Seattle.  Luckily the tumor was benign and was completely and successfully removed.  It was the size of a baseball and the surgeon figured the tumor had been growing for 15 years.  The surgery lasted 13 hours.

Two days before the surgery Casey and his fiancee, Ivy, were married in the hospital.  They had planned a surprise ceremony for that day in Boise but it was pre-empted by the unexpected quickly scheduled surgery.

My daughter, Vanessa, and I were lucky enough to be able to travel to Seattle to offer our support.

Casey has a ways to go to fully recover but his wonderful surgeon assures us this will happen.  It may take up to one year but I have no doubt Casey will give it 100%, as he does to everything.

The wedding, the surgery, and now moving to Seattle has all happened within one week.  It's been a whirlwind.  More like a hurricane.

I'm going to miss this little family like crazy.  My granddaughter was such a sweetheart in the hospital and was constantly signing, asking for her daddy.  I've been told she has been giving her daddy lots of kisses since the surgery.

My consolation is that my son is alive and well.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

June in the Front Garden

The month of June is a great time for our front garden also.  
I love driving up our driveway when I come home from work.  There is so much to see.  

Kim spread out the eremurus last year, or foxtail lilies, or desert candles, as some people call them. Here they're growing on the left of the driveway.
These plants grow easily from a bulb.  We've been lucky to have them reseeding themselves around lately.

The right side starts off with oenothera missouriensis.

I realize some gardeners hate Lychnis coronaria 'Blood Red', but how can you deny that gorgeous pop of color?

Here they are with Centranthus 'Coccineus" Red Valerian, or Jupiter's Beard, in the background.

Yes, lychnis do reseed, A LOT, but sometimes that's just what you want.  And they're xeric.
Here they are mixing with anacetum parthenium, (feverfew).

Speaking of reseeding and xeric, feverfew meets both expectations nicely.

And of course there are gaillardia in the front garden.

More eremurus closer to the house, mixed in with some yarrow, penstemon, and Russian sage.

Kim likes mullein.  I'm not a big fan, but the spikes are nice.  The neighbors Mulberry tree inserts itself onto our side.

Gaura of course, pink and white.

This nice pink penstemon bloomed this year.  Must have been waiting around for a while, we haven't seen these big pink ones in years.

Callirhoe involucrata (winecups) make a great ground cover.  They also seed around, just a bit.

Maybe digitalis goldcrest?

And I'm loving Mirabilis multiflor, Desert Four O'Clock.  Great color!

And in my last post I promised to show you our neighbors Buddleia alternifolia.
Isn't it something?
Love the shape and size.
(Ignore the weeds and the dead viburnum.  The new renters aren't into gardening.  Yet.)

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Glorious June

We came home from a week's vacation to find our garden exploded in color.  
I think June is the perfect month, at least for our plants.

Our buddleia alternifolia is blooming.  This isn't the best shaped one I've seen.  In my next post I'll show you our neighbors.  It's glorious.  But, as you would expect, the butterflies love this plant.

Peachleaf bellflower is strutting its stuff.

Princess Diana clematis climbs the iron gazebo right off the back porch.

And clematis Florida sieboldii adds stunning beauty to the bench arbor.

Frankie really missed us.  He hasn't shut up since we got home.
But come to think of it, he never really shuts up anyway.

We've planted two Goat's Beard in this area;  'Misty Lace' and 'dioicus' and they're doing their job.
The sculpture is one of Zella Bardsley's.

Clematis Comtesse de Bouchard and Constance Spry rose duke it out in the moongarden.

And the poppies.....this one is papaver 'Pink Ruffles'.

Along the back fence clematis 'Viticella Polish Spirit' is doing its thing for us and for our neighbors.

This unidentified pink yarrow brightens things up too.

I hope your garden is living up to your expectations!

Next post I'll share what's happening out front.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Let's Eat Oranges

It's all about orange today.

But orange in recipes.

I love to follow a theme when I cook.  (OK, just sometimes).  It's not like I think of myself as another "Martha".

But when I buy a bag of oranges it's fun to use it up in all kinds of recipes.  Here are some of my favorites.

For the main course Orange-Braised Chicken hits the spot.  This recipe is easy.  I left the prosciutto out because I'm not a big red meat eater, but I'm sure if you added it in the flavor would possibly improve.

Not a chicken lover?  Go with Orange Shrimp instead.  The salsa really makes this dish.

Here's another token orange flower.

Let's move on to dessert. 
This Orange Pound Cake is delicious.  Just be sure you follow the directions and use something like a wooden skewer (a toothpick just isn't long enough) to make holes in the top of the cake before brushing on the glaze.  I used a toothpick and the glaze only went halfway through.  (You can see my note to self in the lower right.)

Or try this Orange Almond Upside Down Cake of which I actually shot a photo when I made it.

The one change I made to this cake was to double the sugar glaze.  Doing so made the cake extra moist.  Don't be afraid to leave the orange peel on the orange slices.  But I would recommend using organic oranges.

Print off these recipes and have fun.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Tough Boise Winter

It's been a rough winter in Boise this year.

As this article by Margaret Lauterbach attests.  "We luxuriated in one of the warmest autumns on record, then as if a once-friendly door were slammed, the thermometer plummeted to one degree above zero on Nov. 15, 2014.  We weren't ready for winter then, and neither were our trees, shrubs or ornamentals.  Many were killed."

Our garden was no exception to this winter kill.  This is how our akebia quinata vines looked this spring.

Here's what we're accustomed to seeing;

At least they aren't entirely dead.  They're coming back from the base.
The ivy that used to climb the walls in the background and to the right all died back also.

Another victim of the harsh winter was our beautiful tree peony.

We won't be seeing these blooms for quite a few years.

I'm glad it's at least still alive and showing some growth.

We've heard lots of reports of the loss of cherry trees over this winter.

This article speaks to that issue.
"Cold injury usually occurs from a sudden freeze following milder weather."

One thing I have learned during my twenty-some years of gardening is that the garden changes, with or without our intervention.  Gardeners need to be resilient and willing to go with the flow.  The alternative is......insanity?  Ha ha, maybe!