Thursday, August 2, 2012

Red Hot Flowers for your garden!

Extended Forecast
103°F / 78°F103°F / 80°F
Isolated ThunderstormsPartly Cloudy Day

I'm hoping that when you read this, you've had some much needed rain where you live. It looks like more of the same for us. Everything here is pretty crispy and brown at this point, but a good rain would change all of that. I've seen it before, hot dry summers that take their toll with dead grass, trees that literally drop their leaves to survive and gardens that bake in the noonday sun.

So what's a gardener to do when Mother Nature dishes out a hot, dry summer? Well, we don't give up! There's something about loving to plant things that shouts "eternal hope!" I inherited this from my folks, they were renewed every Spring to put in a huge garden, planning for bumper crops of vegetables and fruits.

I came across a great article this week on summer bulbs. If you live anywhere but the coldest parts of the country, it's as simple as plant in your flowerbeds, water and enjoy. If you do live where the winters get very cold, it's probably a better idea to put them in pots so you can easily bring them inside for the winter.

We all enjoy the beauty of red Amaryllis during the holidays, from Thanksgiving on we see them in stores. Many of us buy them, put them in a sunny window and then toss them after they bloom. They can be moved outdoors in the Spring if you will just fertilize the bulbs and keep the pots watered until the weather is warm enough to move them outside. When Autumn arrives, you allow the plant to go dormant by limiting fertilizer and water, that prepares them for holiday blooming again!

Asiatic and Oriental Lilies grow from bulbs or tubers and can last for years in the garden, providing easy to care for blooms. They are inexpensive (LIKE : ) showy AND they multiply on their own! 

Climbing Lilies like Flame or Glorisa are another beautiful addition to a patio garden.

Oxalis can be enjoyed as a houseplant, but they love being moved to the garden during the summer months. 

Lilium Lancifolium, Moma called them Tiger Lilies, are a champ in the garden. They are an old variety that's easy to grow and will quickly take over an area. That's a plus for me since I have a lot of area to fill. Another plus is that the bee's love them too! 

Calla Lilies are really a rhizome, but there are hardy varieties that can be planted in the garden then potted 
and brought inside if you live somewhere that the temperatures drop below freezing in winter. 

Caladiums are corms and are beautiful with their colorful heart shaped leaves. They love a shady garden and will do well in semi-dry conditions after they are established.

Colocasia are part of the Caladium family, commonly called Elephant ears for a good reason, they have huge leaves. They were my Grandmother's favorite, she cared for a pot of them for over 50 years, carrying them inside during cold Arkansas Winters! You can find them at your local nursery or if you live somewhere that has an Asian market, just go to the produce section and buy Taro root to plant.

Ornamental onions, Allium Cernuum, are perennial bulbs that do well in dry conditions. Their globe shaped flower heads sway in the summer breeze in shades of white and pink.

Liatris, or Gayfeather is another favorite perennial bulb that the bees and butterflies love.

We may be in a heatwave right now, but fall isn't too far off and this idea is a keeper... from P.Allen Smith Garden Home, one of the best ways to plant bulbs to enjoy next Spring. Whether your excuses for not planting bulbs are poor soil, critters that eat the bulbs or just plain too much work, this method will give you a huge display of flowers. Bulbs are planted close in containers and then covered with chicken wire if deer or squirrels are a problem. Go visit their website for more ideas. I am planting all my pots before the snow flies!

Refrigerator Cucumber Salad
 This is a great summer salad and can stay in your fridge up to 2 months.
4 thinly sliced cucumbers
1-large  sliced red onions
1-large  sliced green peppers
1-tbsp salt
2-cup white vinegar
1 1/2-cups sugar
1-tsp celery flakes
1-tsp red pepper flakes

Mix cucumbers, onions, peppers and salt; set a side. Put vinegar, sugar, celery flakes and pepper flakes  in a pot and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and  add 2 handfuls of ice until melted. Place all veggies in large mouth canning jars (2 quarts or 1 half gallon jar) Pour mixture over cucumbers,  store in refrigerator. Will keep up to 2 months. Makes 2 quart jars.

Deviled Egg Spread
Food & Wine – Sept 2009
1 dozen large eggs
2 tablespoons white vinegar
1 cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon yellow mustard
Salt & pepper
Paprika for dusting

Perfect Hard Boiled Eggs
In a large saucepan, cover the eggs with cold water; make sure the water is a good inch above the eggs. Add in the vinegar. Bring to a rapid boil. Cover the saucepan and remove it from the heat. Let it stand for 15 minutes. Drain the water from eggs and cool them under cold running water. Shake the pan vigorously to crack the shells. Let the eggs cool in the water.

Shell the eggs and halve them lengthwise. Coarsely chop half the egg whites and transfer them to a large bowl. Add the remaining white and all of the yolks to a food processor along with the mayo and mustard. Process until smooth. Scrape the mixture into a bowl and blend with the chopped egg whites. Season with salt and pepper. Can be made ahead and refrigerated overnight.

Peach Slab Pie 
box Pillsbury® refrigerated pie crusts, softened as directed on box
3/4 cup packed brown sugar 
1/4 cup cornstarch
2tablespoons lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon salt
9 cups sliced fresh or frozen (thawed, drained) peaches
1 roll (16.5 oz) Pillsbury® refrigerated sugar cookies

Heat oven to 375°F. Remove pie crusts from pouches. Unroll and stack crusts one on top of the other on lightly floured surface. Roll to 17x12-inch rectangle. Fit crust into 15x10x1-inch pan, pressing into corners. Fold extra pastry under, even with edges of pan. Crimp edges. Mix brown sugar, cornstarch, lemon juice and salt. Stir in peaches to coat. Spoon peach mixture into crust-lined pan. Break cookie dough into coarse crumbs; spoon crumbs evenly over filling.Bake 50 to 60 minutes or until crust is golden brown and filling is bubbling. Cool on rack 45 minutes.


  1. I'd forgotten all about the Gayfeather that I planted in my garden - it has disappeared!
    I hope you get some relief from the heat soon!

    1. I've lost so much this summer with the heat and dry conditions. I'm replacing some of my shrubs with crape myrtles, they can stand the worst conditions on bank parking lots! I'm also doing the Tiger Lilies and Elephant ears since those are the two that hold memories of my childhood.


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