Sunday, May 19, 2024

May 19, 2024- it is lupine time

It is lupine time. And we have the new computer to help with the display. It has made the number of pictures this week possible.

I have never had this extensive a lupine display before. The first flowers were on  May 6, 2024. There are still flower spikes that have not yet opened. Of course we have had a relatively cool and wet last month. That is just what the lupines like. We are in the middle of 3-4 days in the mid 80's.  We will see how they hold up.

These are pictures from the last few days.

There is such a range of colors. Pink and blue and purple and white and even yellow. Within each group there are combinations.  

The background plants include the white woodsy anemone, and of course the cypress spurge.

I have put these pictures together to show you the color combinations of the lupines.

Joining the lupines this week were the Siberian Iris, midweek, and the peonies yesterday. They seem to like the warmer weather. Of course by hot weather I mean mid 80's. I should remember July is coming.

The Itoh peony, Bartzella, opened yesterday. It just took a good warm day to get some of these flowers to pop.

It is one of the plants that can compete with the lupines.

Julia's recipe

Another cucumber salad 

It's the beginning of cucumber season in the midwest, a cause for celebration. I really like cucumbers - straight up, in salads and in cold soups. This is a cucumber salad, from Better Homes & Gardens. Just a few ingredients, nothing exotic (depending on how you feel about dill). Welcome spring with cucumber salad.     

2 English cucumbers (5 cups thinly sliced);
1/2 cup thinly sliced red (or white) onion;
1/2 cup pitted kalamata olives, cut in half;
1/4 cup wine vinegar;
2 tablespoons olive oil;
2 or 3 tablespoons chopped dill;
2 teaspoons sugar; and 
1-1/2 teaspoon kosher salt.

I had English cucumbers from the farmers market. The best. You can use little Persian cucumbers, but of course, you'll need more of them. Other cucumbers would work, but the thing about English and Persian cucumbers is inconspicuous seeds. That's a big plus in this recipe. 

I cut the ends off the cucumbers. I did not peel them, but you certainly could. Or you could make a pattern by peeling alternating stripes. 

Then I used my mandolin to make thin slices. I only got a mandolin in the past year. It's a game-changer in making thin slices of firm vegetables like cucumbers and onions and potatoes and radishes and carrots. 

I did not use the mandolin guard until the cucumber was maybe 2 inches long. And then I did. The blade in very sharp. 

After finishing with the cucumbers, I peeled the onion and cut it in half. I used the mandolin on the onion too. 

I put the cucumber slices and the onion slices into a colander. I added 1 teaspoon of the salt and tossed the vegetables.

Then I constructed the press-the-vegetables tower. First, the colander in a bowl to collect the liquid, then a circle (I used a plastic lid from a big yogurt container - sometimes I use a flat plate) to cover the vegetables, then a big weight (here, the flour canister).

I let the cucumbers and onions sit for a while. The longer they sit, the more liquid is released. 

Even after a short "press," the cucumbers soften some, which is good. 

While the cucumbers were sitting, I made the dressing in the bottom of the bowl that the salad would be served in. 

I measured the vinegar and oil into the bowl and added the sugar, the last 1/2 teaspoon of salt and the dill. Then I stirred the dressing.

After the cucumbers and onions were pressed, I dumped them into the big bowl.

I tossed the ingredients around and then sprinkled the olives (which I had cut in half) over the top. 

We had the salad with the first hamburgers and potato chips of the season. Followed by blueberries and yogurt. It was kind of festive. 

We had salad left over. If anything, it benefitted from sitting overnight in the refrigerator. Lunch the next day.

Odds and Ends

We had forgotten the name of this very late spring bulb.  It turns out it is an allium named siculum ssp. bulgaricum. (At one time I knew what ssp. meant.) It can more easily be remembered as  the Scilian Honey Lily.

Plant exodus- most of the plants have gone outside. What remains are about 50 caladium pots, 20 hoyas and maybe 25 orchids. Actually as I think about it, there are still mamy plants that need to be moved. The leaves are emerging on the  Sycamore and the Walnut trees. I need that shade before some plants go outside. I am taking a few plants out whenever I go outside with a spare hand.

Caladium report- I am at about half that have sprouted. (50 out of 100) With this latest temperature rise the plants are now probably warmer outside than in.  I am now taking out even the ones that have not sprouted.

Garden ply report- I have about 35 amaryllis planted. I have taken over several tree peony seedlings. I want to see if they grow bigger with 4 months of full sun.

We got the new computer on Thursday. I really do appreciate how it is easier to post pictures. On the laptop I would have to email a picture from my phone, then download it, then drag it and mostly do that one picture at a time.

I have many tadpoles in the pond. They are tiny. I have not obtained fish, even the little ones I usually get. I was told the fish would eat the tadpoles, while they are so little. I needed to wait until the tadpoles were big enough to get away from the fish. Does that sound right?

The world continues to be a big scary mess. I just cannot believe that any sane person would support that orange nut who currently is on trial for fraud. I do not even want to begin to think about what it would mean if he were elected.

Pray for peace. Pray for reconciliation. 

I also hope for a good nights sleep. I wake up about 4 at this point. I try to go back to sleep, but sometimes that does not happen. So I get up by 4:30. I can be out in the garden before 6. Surprise- I am really tired later in the day.

There are now bugs. Gnats and mosquitoes. Could we just go back to the end of March?

I hope you enjoy the pictures. It is always good to hear back from you.



Pat said...

Wow--lupines! Those are spectacular. I like the shot of the lupins amid the spurge with a single yellow tree peony blossom. And I did not know that lupins came in that red color. Just gorgeous. I hope they won't mind the mid-80s temps.

The kitchen part of the blog was kismet. I had a hankering for a cucumber salad yesterday when we went shopping. For dinner I made pizza, and as a side had just salad greens with chunks of feta cheese and about 1/3 of a cucumber sliced up.

Now, after reading your post, I also have a hankering for a hamburger.

Dave said...

The photos of the garden are spectacular today, especially the lupines. Gorgeous.

Did Julia get back in one piece? I'm not a huge cucumber fan except in this kind of salad, heavy on the onions. I've never put olives in a cucumber salad. I'd worry that they would dominate.

I understand the notion of "hamburger season" but didn't realize there was an off-season for potato chips.