Sunday, April 23, 2017

It just keeps on going- April 23, 2017

The pink dogwood this week begins to look like a Japanese screen painting, particularly with the bluebells in the background.

The pink dogwood was a birthday present for Julia maybe 25 years ago. It used to grace our kitchen window. Several years ago a family of cardinals made a nest right there. Now the tree has grown and is up to our bedroom window. That is on the next floor. It makes it difficult to photograph flowers without getting out the ladder which I will not do.

The bluebells are at their best at the moment. The cooler weather preserves everything. Having mentioned cool weather it does appear that we are past any danger of frost. (It is a chilly 38 as I make the final edits this morning.)

The little iris have begun to bloom.
The tree peonies, including my own seedlings should bloom soon. My first seedling bloomed last year on May 5.  In the garden this year we are almost exactly where we were last year at this time.
The crabapple trees are blooming. We have white ones and pink ones. The white ones are enormous and full. The pink ones are aging and thinning. That is sad but they are probably 50 years old. They do not get enough sun. At least that is the explanation given me by the tree nursery. I tend to believe that since I would have thought they would have wanted to sell me replacement trees.

I hope you are enjoying the extra voting opportunities. I figure the pictures keep coming, so why not have some voting.

In last week's voting, the winner was the Double Bloodroot. What a story. It was lost.  Now it is back. I even have a source should I want some more.

The full voting was

Double Bloodroot 16
Pasque Flower  7
Black Hellebore  6
Daffodil  3
Tulip  3

This week it gets even better.
For maybe the first time ever, I have these eight pictures selected. They are all from this week. It was really difficult to limit it to even that number. You can tell that from the bonus pictures this week.

With so many pictures I think I will let you vote for two.
How are you at following directions?

So here they are.

#1 epimedium Flamingo Dancing

My epimedium (what would be the plural) are peaking right now. Some are finished. I am going to do the inventory and find some lost labels.

They can be difficult to photograph.

Education alert: They are also called barrenwort or horny goat weed. (I do not make this stuff up. )

In the bonus pictures there is another picture that could have been with this big group but I had to draw the line somewhere.

#2 Monsella, the crazy tulip.
This may be Julia's favorite flower. Bright. Colorful. But quite crazy.

In the front parkway it is the one group of flowers mot apt to have walkers stop.

They do not hold up over time. You really have to plant new ones every several years.
There is a picture in the bonus section of the  Monsella group.

#3 De caen anemone

This is a first time for me with this not hardy bulb. It looks like a poppy. It is an anemone.
I bought two of these red plants from a box store. It gives quite the  splash. It seems to be going to keep flowering perhaps until it gets hot.

You should know this flower comes in blue. Maybe I ought to find that plant.

Make sure to look in the bonus section for the progression of this picture  to the real closeup. It does make you think about what kind of picture do you like.

#4 Tulipa tarda
Go yellow.
This species tulip (found in nature) was first cultivated commercially in 1590. Wow. That flower has been around for a while. It grows low to the ground. I think the entire flower is not more than 5 inches tall. It is a keeper.

#5 Dainty daffodil

Some flowers will knock you over with absolute color. This is the other end of that spectrum. I really like the subtle pink.

#6 Dwarf Bearded Iris
This lovely little pair were some of the early blooming Bearded Iris.
The short ones bloom first. Then the middle sized ones. Guess who comes next? The tall ones-you got it.
I like the short ones since you never ever have to stake them. They will never blow over.

#7   Another great tulip
It seems like it is in the group called Lily flowering Tulips. I cannot determine the name. It might be called Ballade.
The red and white goes so well with the blue and green background.

Tulips can be good in a big group. They can also be good all by themselves. Well in my yard they are all by themselves in a sea of blue.

#8 Crown Imperial Fritillaria
This is right out of Dr. Seuss.
And it is also 2 feet tall.
Another great yellow flower.

Remember you can vote for two.

Bonus pictures

Another epimedium. They do make it hard to see the face of the flower.

Here is the backyard at the moment.

Here is the Monsella group.

This is one of my Mitsch daffodils. He was a daffodil breeder for at least 50 years. He designed daffodils that would cost $20 each (or more). I never bought any directly from him. My regret. Some of his varieties would become manageable in price, after so many years. This one was given to me by a friend.
The Mitsch  web cite is no longer available. It was quite something to see what a $20 daffodils would look like.

Here is another picture of this year's crown imperials. They are rather finicky. I bought 10 last fall. 3 of each color came up, and of those, only 4 bloomed.

I like this picture in part because of the shadow.

Bluebells start out pink. Sometimes they stay pink for a while. You think maybe you have the great pink mutation. Eventually it turns blue.

Here is this wonderful trillium  called luteum.

This is trillium grandiflorum.
I starts white and fades to pink.
This blooms later than the rest. It just started this past week.

Hosta Liberty and bluebells is a winning combination.

Here is the front parkway bed. You can see the Monsella tulips.

What wonderful color. This is not Monsella. It is almost the anti Monsella.

This is what is left from one of the tulips after the petals fell off.

This is the original picture from which the cropped picture at the beginning of the post came.

Here is a closeup of the petals.
The picture was taken from right outside the kitchen door, looking across the driveway at the dogwood. That is how I could picture the petals without a ladder.

De Caen #1
Remember this comes in blue.


Imagine that on your wall.
That should go into the all closeup competition.

Hosta Sagae  and bluebells.

This is a little Korean iris, back by the pod.

Nothing needs to be said about this marvel.

It looks like some prize winning floral display. Do you see how I could have had a few more pictures in this week's competition?

How about this for the center of a flower.


Another tulip

Another Dwarf Bearded Iris
I love some of the color combinations. The purple fuzzy thing is nice.

Here is that epimedium that should be with the 8. Then there would be 9.
This is Domino.

This is Epimedium Cherry Tart.

Here is my white bluebell. It is actually smaller than last year. Go figure.

Julia's recipe

Fish soup, maybe cioppino

Philip's father was born and raised in Chincoteague, Virginia, on the Eastern Shore, in an area of the country sometimes called Delmarva, but to be consistent it should be Delmarvi. Anyway, the family still owns the house that Philip's father was born in, and we go there in the summer for a few days, as we have done for many, many years. Katie and her family and friends now spend a week or even two at the house in the summer. We eat seafood and walk on the beach and read books.

In recent years, there has been a recipe written in pencil on a piece of paper affixed to the refrigerator in the Chincoteague kitchen with a magnet. I think of it as Denny's fish soup, and now that I look around on the Internet, I think it is a variation of cioppino.

We live in Iowa, which is pretty far from any seacoast, but sometimes a person wants fish soup anyway. This was the state of affairs a couple of weeks ago, so I made a variation on the variations of cioppino, one step removed from Denny's fish soup.

I had four kinds of seafood: about 1/2 lb. of sole, 1 lb. of little clams in their shells, about 1/2 lb. of scallops and about 3/4 lb. of medium shrimp. All frozen, all from the New Pioneer Co-op which participates in some ethical fishery society.  The fish stayed frozen until needed for the recipe.

I do not believe there are rules about what kind of seafood, but I think shellfish and swimm-y fish are both standard.

All of the ingredients are on the counter above, although not easy to distinguish one from the other. I started by chopping up an onion, some green pepper and a fennel bulb. I ended up with about 1 cup of onion and about 3/4 cup of green pepper. I don't use fennel much. I cut off the pretty green frond-y part, and cut off the root remnant and washed the remaining bulb. I did not peel it. I cut it in half and then sliced up each half. I ended up with about 1 cup of fennel slices. I smushed up 3 garlic cloves. Then I put 3 (or so) tablespoons of olive oil in the big red enameled pot and added the vegetables as well as about 1to 1-1/2 teaspoons of salt and 3/4 teaspoon of red pepper flakes. I cooked this mixture over medium heat (stirring some) until the onions were soft/translucent.

Then I added a quart of frozen chicken stock (the lump in the left side of the pot), 2 cans of diced tomatoes, 1 bottle of clam juice, 2 tablespoons of tomato paste and maybe a cup of wine. I used the wine to rinse out the tomato cans. I let that simmer for about 30 minutes, which was good because that let the frozen chicken stock thaw out and get acquainted with the other ingredients.

Meanwhile, I cleaned the shrimp and cut up the sole into smallish chunks (say 1" squares) and rinsed the scallops.  Then I added all the seafood to the pot and put a lid on it and let it cook for 5 minutes or maybe 10 minutes until 1) the clams were open, 2) the shrimp were pink, 3) the scallops were translucent and 4) ditto with the sole.

I added a splash of rice wine vinegar and put it on the table. While the soup was cooking, I made rice. Put a spoonful of rice in the bottom of your bowl, add a couple of ladles of soup and it's supper.

Odds and Ends

Have I mentioned dandelions?  They do show up in the garden. The task it to dig them up before they turn into one of those puff balls. Sometimes when I am watching the Cubs baseball game I will take a break and go dig up 25 dandelions.

Gardening can now start earlier and earlier. It is light out at 6:15.

Someone was asking me about the bluebells. I explained that in a month they would all be gone. The garden would be different. There would be leaves on all the trees. The orchids would be outside. So would the cacti and the orchid cacti. And then there will be lilies and lilium and caladium.

It just keeps on coming.

If you have read here to the end, I appreciate that. Sometimes I think I put too much in, each week. Your comments and reply emails keep me going too.

1 comment:

Pat said...

No, you do NOT say too much! I like the dogwood with the bluebells in the background. I also like the bonus picture of the epimedium "Cherry Tart." It looks good enough to eat! Let's have a dessert recipe from Julia that incorporates those colors! ... Pat