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Wildflower Wednesday

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Gail at Clay and Limestone hosts Wildflower Wednesday each month.

 

When I moved in over 7 years ago the wildflower meadow consisted of four-nerve daisies, prairie verbena, and mexican hats. I have since added blanket flower, horsemint, winecups, bluebonnets, black-eyed susan, tickseed sunflower and evening primrose.

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I also found this alamo vine in the front yard this week. I tried planting this before in the back and it didn’t take, so glad one just showed up on it’s own.

 

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Kirk Walden’s garden was our second to last stop on the Fling tour. The other planners, and I were busy at Articulture setting up for our BBQ Bash and weren’t able to see this spectacular garden and view with the rest of the Flingers. Luckily, Kirk offered to let Pam and I come visit a week later. We went out first thing in the morning to avoid the heat, and beat the blazing sun.

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The view is clearly the star of this space, and the design emphasizes this from every angle.

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The pool is breathtaking, the higher section giving the impression of a natural hot spring.

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A waterfall then flows gracefully to a larger main pool.

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It is clear that each plant was carefully chosen to withstand the harsh hillside late-afternoon sun, as well as lushly complement the water. Plants include gaura, pink skullcap, russian sage, snake herb, agaves, roses, palms, gopher plants, and grasses – among others.

Thank you Kirk for sharing your garden with us!

Freezing Carrots

Most vegetables are pretty easy to freeze, the most important thing to determine is whether the particular vegetable needs to be blanched and for how long.

Here is site which gives the times for various vegetables.

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The first step is to wash and peel the carrots. Make sure all carrots are in good condition and do not have large cores.

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Slice into 1/4 to 1/2 inch pieces.

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Bring water to a boil and blanch carrots for 2 minutes. Place carrots in ice water bath.

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Drain carrots. Even drained, it is difficult to get rid of all of the moisture. Since I use a Foodsaver, I par-freeze the carrots on a cookie sheet before individually packaging and freezing.

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Label and Freeze the packages.

I will use the carrots in marinara, stir fries and soups.

Bloom Day 4/18

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The spring has been very chilly so far, which is stalling many of the usual April bloomers. The roses aren’t complaining though. This is their best showing to date.

Belinda’s dream is stunning, and smells heavenly, but I am really loving Peggy Martin being the perfect shade of flamingo pink! All of the roses are repeat bloomers, which is a requirement in my garden.

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Bluebonnets are still going strong. They start at least a week later in my garden than some parts of town. I think it’s due to the gravely soil, and no additional water.

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Silvery-blue agave with bluebonnets, what a combination!

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The columbines have also loved the mild spring. They have hung on weeks longer than last year. I am loving how this bed is filling in. I had been unhappy with it for some time, but all it needed was the removal of 3 pale pink pavonias that were extremely happy, but poorly placed.

A few other bloomers.

The Wildflower Meadow

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Each year I add more wildflower seeds, and the meadow is really taking off.

Roses

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The roses are just starting to bloom, still a week or two out from peak bloom. This year’s first rose was Marie Daly, followed closely by Marie Gonzales. I am still waiting on Sweet Pea and Belinda’s Dream

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Making soup is often an all day event, allowing the flavors to slowly marry. As nice as that sounds, the reality can be quite different. Sometimes it is a Wednesday night, everyone’s hungry, and you have yet another ripe head of broccoli in the fridge.

The trick to quick soup, is to cook all of the individual ingredients separately.

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Chop the onions and carrots into small pieces and sautée them in butter, with some salt and pepper. Use butter instead of the usual olive oil, since it works better for making a roux. When the onions/carrots are almost cooked through, add a few chopped mushrooms to the mix.

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After softened, add 3 tbsps of flour. Cook on medium until flour starts to brown. Slowly add milk, stirring as you go. You can also add in some chicken stock for flavor.

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Steam the broccoli – taking the cooking time to under 20 minutes. I had great luck with romanesca broccoli this year – a very tasty and beautiful variety.

Cook a few red potatoes in the microwave. Once cooked, cut them into bite size pieces.

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I defrosted some previously roasted, frozen turkey.

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Once the soup is thickened,  add the broccoli, potatoes, and turkey, and shredded cheese until everything is heated through.

Serve with crackers or bread.