Sunday, July 30, 2017

July 30, 2017- Pushing ahead

July 30. Oh my! Summer is over. School will start soon. The daylight is fading away. Then it will be winter. Sometime I am going to have to find a place for all those plants to live inside the house once again.

That is the way the thinking could go. You saw a hint of this part of my mind last week. I have a feeling that I am not alone in these observations.

There are several ways to get through this.
First there is denial.  Summer, as measured by the calendar, is not even half over. It started about five weeks ago. It lasts for another 7 weeks. Moreover, there will be lots of time for many good things before it gets cold. Good things include caladium and cactus. Both of these pictures are from this past week.

Then there is acceptance. Why am I drawing a blank when it comes to saying anything positive about acceptance. Acceptance is yielding to the inevitable. That sure makes it seem that acceptance is bad. Maybe a better way of looking at acceptance is to think of it as just not whining. Then when you stop whining you can get on with being useful and doing the good you can do. (Please understand this deep stuff will end soon and there will be pictures.)

Finally there is embracing the change. There is finding the good, the natural, that is in the change. That is not only thinking about the good things that will come in October or even January. That is understanding that the change itself is good. The change is also necessary to give us the other times, like the first crocus or Primal Scream, the daylily showing up after being gone for a year.

So there you have it folks. My little venture into the other and perhaps higher plane.
Now for some pictures.

Last week you voters preferred.....the cactus. It was a good picture. I once thought about putting the picture on a T shirt. What if you made the background red or green?

The total vote was:
cactus 15
black daylily 12
night blooming cereus 4
cascade of lilies 4
pizzazz the lily  4
conca d 'or 3
orange lily 1

This week's pictures

#1 Another night blooming cereus, called Mark Twain

I got this particular night blooming cereus from Logee's Greenhouse in Connecticut, many years ago. (That is a great place to visit if you ever are in eastern Connecticut.) This plant hangs in a different part of the yard from the other NBC. They usually bloom on almost the same day.
This flower looks like it had a jolt of electricity go through it. It is naturally frizzy.

#2 Tiger Kitten, the daylily

This daylily blooms later than most. I find late ones particularly appreciated.

Orange is good.

#3  Phlox

Phlox grow everywhere. This can be good. They bloom and make a wonderful contrast in color with the daylilies.
They can work their way to being invasive. They can choke out the daylilies that are their companion plants.

#4  The Waterlily

Finally. One of these flowers bloomed in an unobstructed way.
It is such a high class flower.
This year, as I have observed earlier most of the foliage in the pond must be 12-18 inches above the water. Most of the flowers have bloomed under some of that foliage. That has never happened for me in the 20 years I have had the pond.
The one thing I did different this year was not drain the pond this spring for cleaning. I just left it along. I think perhaps those extra nutrients may be responsible for the vertical growth. Next spring I will drain the pond.

#5 Delmar, the twin daylilies

This lovely pair of pastel lilies is also one of the remaining lilies this past week. It was appreciated.

#6 The purple coneflower

Some purple coneflowers seem washed out. Not this one. It positively glows.

#7 Summer Hymns, the daylily

Speaking of glowing, this great color lightened up the space outside the kitchen this week.

Please remember-you can vote for two this time of year.

Bonus section
This time of year I pay attention to the many potted plants I have around the yard. They will mostly have to come inside in several months and should get healthy before that happens. This weekend I weeded and fertilized all the amaryllis that are growing this summer for blooms to come.

Some plants are a little whimsical. I mentioned the potted pineapple a few weeks ago.
Well, I have two poinsettias, that are now 3-4 years old. Poinsettias are green plants most of the time. When the days get short, blooming is triggered and they will color up. As long as we have a late frost they will color up.

The trick is that they want no artificial light in the fall. They do not need to be in a closet. They just need to be in a room where the light will not be turned on in the fall. I have such a plant room. It gets rather crowded.
Here is one of the poinsettias last February 4.

Here is that plant now. I repotted it about a month ago, and am giving it 1/2 day sun. (I would give it full sun but I do not really have any of that.) Apparently the fertilizer it likes is what you would give tomatoes. It is high in one of those numbers. I need to do that soon.

I grow lots of elephant ears. Sometimes there can have wonderful pattens.

Here was a pair of cactus buds from earlier this week.

One late oriental lily is Casa Blanca. It is a keeper, particularly since it is blooming when most of the other lilium are finished.

Here are more cactus pictures. I do think they may be done for the year at this point.

Saturday is the Iowa City Farmer's Market, a real community happening. Today there were apples, potatoes, peppers, tomatoes, leeks, cucumbers, eggplant, onions, sweet corn, garlic and lots of basil. We made pesto.

Here is a different white lily from this week.

Here are two more nice dayliles from this past week.

Julia's Recipe
Dinner Salad

When it's too hot to cook, there's salad. We make salad for dinner about once a week during the hottest time of the year, like now - late July. Salad-for-dinner is also a good way to use leftover meat of various kinds, and it's pretty fast if you've had a long day at whatever it is you do.

Here are all of the things that went into salad production.

First, we made a big bowl of, well, salad, to serve as the base for the things to go on top of.

Philip cut up about 6 cups of lettuce into little bits, and then he added about 1 cup of chopped red cabbage, 1/4 cup of finely chopped red onion and 1/2 cup of chopped red pepper. One could use scallions instead red onion, any color of peppers and other things like shredded carrots or thinly sliced radishes. The idea is varied and colorful, and in smallish pieces to be easy to capture on a fork.

Here is the salad mixture, waiting for salad dressing.

Next, I cut up the other things and made three sets of these things. Maggie came over for dinner so there were three of us. For each salad, I cut three grape/cherry tomatoes in half; I used the egg slicer to slice one hard boiled egg; I cut strips of leftover London broil and counted them out into equal piles; I counted out 5 kalamata olives each. I happened to have some cooked bacon leftover, so I heated it up in the oven for a few minutes (to take the chill off) and that's what is in front of the olives.

I also peeled and diced 1/2 of an English cucumber. I did not seed it because the seeds were small - if the seeds are big, seed the cucumber before dicing. I had about 3/4 cup cucumber bits. And I had some blue cheese crumbles. I like blue cheese. Some people don't. Feel free to use feta or some kind of goat cheese instead.

Philip made vinaigrette dressing - 2 parts olive oil to 1 part wine vinegar (white or red) plus a little salt and pepper and a small dollop of prepared mustard, preferably not the kind you get on hot dogs at the ball park.

I used 1/4 of dressing on the big bowl of salad and tasted the salad to see if it needed a little more salt. It did, so I added some salt and then divided the salad into 1/3s on the plates, as shown at right.

Then I arranged all of the other ingredients in little artful piles on top of the greens.

At the end, I drizzled the top with bit more vinaigrette and sprinkled about 2 tablespoons of blue cheese bits on top of the whole thing. That's dinner salad.

Of course, you can use what you have. Cold chicken is good as is leftover pork roast or leftover salmon. I have not had marinated tofu lately, but I think that would work too. Avocado would be nice instead of (or in addition to) cucumber. Strawberry or pear or apple slices could be used instead of little tomatoes. Be inventive, keep cool and enjoy.

Odds and Ends

The regular night blooming cereus bloomed  ten days ago. The 3-4 flowers were kind of duds. I did not think they opened all the way.
The next round is coming. Here are 4 on just one branch. There are maybe a dozen buds all about the same size at this point.
It is rather interesting how they will all bloom just about the same time.
It is as if the plant has decided to make one big push to find the pollinator. They will all send out their scent at one time.

It is repotting time. That means there was time to get to repotting yesterday. If you line up your plants to be repotted by size of pots, you start by repotting the largest. Then you can use the pot that plant came out of to report the next one. At least that is the theory.

It is also time to think about moving iris around. August is actually the time when this should get done. You want the roots to start growing before it gets cold.
In other words it is now time to start working on next year's garden. It is really just an extension of this year's. It is a circle or a line or just all the same.

Have a quiet week.

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